“The Innovative and Inspirational Designs of Architect Peter Exley” 

 March 22, 2023

The Innovative and Inspirational Designs of Architect Peter Exley

Meet Peter Exley, the visionary architect behind some of the most groundbreaking and inspiring designs of our time. From museums to playgrounds, and everything in between, Exley’s designs have captivated audiences around the globe and earned him numerous awards and accolades.

Early Life and Education

Peter Exley was born in the UK but raised in Zambia, where his parents worked as teachers. As a child, he was fascinated by buildings and spent much of his time drawing them.

He went on to study architecture at the Newcastle University School of Architecture in England before earning a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. It was during his time at the University of Pennsylvania that Exley became interested in the intersection of play and architecture.

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Innovative Designs

One of Exley’s most innovative designs is the Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier, which he designed in collaboration with his wife, Sharon Exley, through their firm, Architecture Is Fun. The museum features interactive exhibits and playful elements designed to engage children’s imaginations.

Another notable design is the Lincoln Park Zoo South Pond Restroom in Chicago. The design incorporates sustainable materials and features a green roof, making it a model for eco-friendly design practices.

Playful Approach

A hallmark of Exley’s designs is his playful approach. Whether it’s a museum, a park, or a zoo, his designs are always focused on engaging people’s imaginations and encouraging play.

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In his own words, “Play is about discovering the world and the possibilities within it. Play is not about following rules, but about inventing them.”

Awards and Accolades

Exley’s innovative approach to design has earned him numerous awards and accolades, including the prestigious AIA Young Architects Award in 2007.

In addition to his work in architecture, Exley is also a prominent voice in the design community, frequently speaking at conferences and events around the world.


Q: What is Peter Exley’s design philosophy?

A: Exley’s design philosophy is centered around play and imagination, and incorporating those elements into architectural design.

Q: What are some of Peter Exley’s notable designs?

A: Some of Exley’s notable designs include the Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier, the Lincoln Park Zoo South Pond Restroom, and Maggie Daley Park in Chicago.

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Q: What awards has Peter Exley won for his work?

A: Exley has won numerous awards, including the AIA Young Architects Award in 2007.

Q: What is Architecture Is Fun?

A: Architecture Is Fun is the design firm founded by Peter Exley and his wife, Sharon Exley.

Q: What is the focus of the Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier?

A: The Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier is designed to be a highly interactive and engaging space for children, with exhibits and elements designed to encourage play and exploration.

Q: What is the Lincoln Park Zoo South Pond Restroom?

A: The Lincoln Park Zoo South Pond Restroom is a public restroom located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park designed by Peter Exley. The design incorporates sustainable elements and features a green roof.

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Q: What is the Maggie Daley Park in Chicago?

A: Maggie Daley Park is a public park in downtown Chicago designed by Peter Exley. The park features numerous recreational elements, including a rock climbing wall, an ice skating ribbon, and expansive playgrounds.

Legacy and Continued Influence

Peter Exley’s innovative and inspiring designs have had a significant impact on the architecture and design professions, as well as on the people who experience his spaces.

His playful approach to design has inspired countless other architects and designers to incorporate more whimsical and imaginative elements into their work, helping to create a more engaging and exciting built environment for us all.

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Peter Exley’s innovative and playful designs have captured imaginations around the world and transformed the way we think about architecture and design. His focus on creating engaging and inspiring spaces that encourage play and imagination has inspired countless other designers and architects, and his legacy and influence is sure to be felt for generations to come.

What do you think of Peter Exley’s designs? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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