Chicago Workshop Architects & Builders is a truly unique company, engaged in both, Architectural Design and Construction. As architects, we see many opportunities to improve the residential construction process by combining design and construction into a one seamless process. As builders, we see opportunities for using innovative and streamlined methods.

We bring a much needed change to how residential construction gets done.


FOCUSED ON YOU. Every process is focused on the Client, providing a transparent, comprehensive and fun experience. We reduce financial risks associated with construction and provide a 100% comprehensive design + build process. Chicago Workshop Architects & Builders never stops improving our processes and systems. We use innovative construction systems to improve quality and client experience.

Our company is built around the five key methods and strategies, which help improve client experience and represent a significant differentiator for Chicago Workshop Architects & Builders.

1. THIRD-PARTY ACCOUNTANTS help reduce clients’ risk by only handling funds through a segregated escrow account. Independent CPAs handle all project accounting, invoicing, payouts, financial reporting and draw administration. This reduces our clients’ dependency on any one contractor’s office operations.

2. DESIGN + BUILD TEAM includes an Architect, a Designer, and a Construction Manager. Together, they work as a Team to take on all design, budgeting, bidding, construction and communication as part of one comprehensive process. From the initial design to a final walk-through, the Team’s goal is to make sure meet and exceed our Client’s expectations.

3. COMMUNICATION PROCESS serves as an important means of the checks-and-balances, keeping clients informed, and making all project participants, including the subs part of the entire Team. A cloud-based, custom designed transparent communication platform lets Clients see all construction notes, and helps the design and construction Team work efficiently.

4. COMPREHENSIVE 100% DETAILED PLANS include every aspect of a home, from trim profiles, to tile patterns. We minimize mistakes by minimizing field decisions. This also benefits communication, quality, scheduling, management and pricing. Plans are also done in 3-D, providing for an interactive Client experience.

5. MASTER CONTRACT unifies all project participants and aligns all interests, including those of a Client, accountants, subs, and the Chicago Workshop. A common framework and a common goal for the entire Team provides for better quality, warranty, process, schedule, and communication.

INSULATED PANEL SYSTEMS. We use innovative construction systems and methods designed to help us build quicker, avoid weather effects, reduce dependency on labor, drastically reduce exposure to mold, termites and toxins, and provide a better quality product, more design flexibility, and better warranty and energy efficiency. Read more – Innovative Technologies.

J.Scott MacKay, President, is an architect for a passion for efficiency in all things: design, construction, the use of renewable resources, as well as alternative energy solutions. Scott’s is the “architect’s architect”. He consults architects on the structural and mechanical aspects of design. He developed a proprietary drafting process, producing plans efficiently, and with the highest degree of detail. His plans leave no room for field decisions and provide many checks-and-balances, also known as the Chicago Workshop™ 100% comprehensive plan. Scott’s focus is on integrating construction plans with the construction processes, and making sure the plans and the process are one.

Scott’s experience includes both residential and commercial projects, including new homes, additions, residential development, commercial, light industrial, equestrian and hospitality. His construction oversight minimizes mistakes. Scott’s leadership, experience and attention to detail enable Chicago Workshop Architects + Builders™ to provide the highest quality structures possible.

Scott is an avid proponent of Net Zero Energy architecture and construction. He has developed remarkable Net Zero projects and always seeks new technologies and methods to advance sustainable buildings. For more than twenty years, he has contributed to public policy and advancement of architecture by serving at various times as President, National Director, and Board Chairman for Alpha Rho Chi, a National Professional Fraternity for Architecture, which is closely affiliated with his alma mater, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. His other passion is horses, as well as equestrian-use design. Scott is a 1984 graduate of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana School of Architecture. He is licensed in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Colorado.

Hernando “Nando” Moreno, CEO, has founded the Chicago Workshop Architects in 1985. His passion for streamlined processes and engineered systems has led him to start building his own designs, which he has been doing ever since. Hernando’s distinctive custom homes grace the shorelines of Winnetka, Glencoe and Highland Park. His extensive experience stems from designing and building many residential, multifamily, medical, retail, office and industrial buildings. Hernando focuses on construction management and on integrating all team members, including the designers, project managers and vendors.

Hernando believes in building healthy homes by using materials, systems and construction methods, which are free of formaldehyde, minimize exposure to mold or toxins, lessen the blowing of dust particles, and minimize leaks, condensation and site contamination. More often than not, engineered systems and construction materials, such as insulated panel systems offer healthier solutions, as well as better materials and processes. Under Hernando’s leadership Chicago Workshop™ has pioneered using engineered systems in tear-down markets (commonly used in commercial construction) to replace the traditional, and often inconsistent hand-built, site-erected components still used for residential projects. Engineered foundation walls, exterior walls, floor trusses, roof trusses, roof decks, and even radian heat systems are manufactured in controlled factory conditions, delivered exactly when needed and installed in days, rather than weeks.

Hernando’s construction methods begin with a 100% comprehensive plan, which includes and reconciles all systems and components to the smallest of details, such as countertop overhangs, or trim detail. This minimizes field decisions, interpretations and mistakes. The resulting overall building shell is superior in quality and is  installed quicker and more efficiently. This also, in no small part, helps Hernando fulfill his other passion: sustainable construction. The Chicago Workshop™ construction methods, under Hernando Moreno, and the team he has assembled, provide significant improvements in a home’s energy efficiency, result in less waste and leave a much lesser carbon footprint than most comparable projects. Hernando is a 1984 graduate of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana School of Architecture (Masters in Architecture).


Ramesh Gulatee, Architect NCARB, is a seasoned professional designer with a broad-based experience in the development of hi-profile projects in Chicago.

  • McCormick Place Corporate Addition
  • The Goodman Theatre
  • Peer Review Cook County Hospital

In addition, Ramesh was involved in the execution and delivery of some of the uniquely challenging housing projects in the Greater Chicagoland area such as the Fort Sheridan Development, Highland Park (infrastructure planning & remodeling: former US army barracks) and public transit integrated State Place Condominiums, Chicago, as well as an accessible housing development for the war veterans in Canada.

Ramesh is a principal at the LifeCare Design Studio, LLC. (LCDS), an architecture design firm focusing on the removal of environmental barriers and of creating design solutions for enabling accessibility for individuals, families and communities with accessibility issues due to physical and developmental disabilities, combat related injuries, or injuries resulting from accidents, as well as aging in place communities. LifeCare Design Studio works closely with nationally recognized special needs advocacy Protected Tomorrows, Inc. in providing comprehensive life care planning solutions.

LCDS’s project approach is based on creating design flexibility that lends to future adaptations through the integration of assistive technology, building materials/systems to create environments suitable for optimizing holistic live, learn, work and play conditions. Ramesh speaks across the country at professional and industry events as well as at institutions of higher learning (Illinois/Florida) in creating awareness of the importance of a barrier free environment for all Americans, irrespective of age or abilities. He is a subject matter expert on accessibility and sustainability (energy, water conservation/efficiency and green construction) and serves on the governing committee/advisory board/steering committee and recommendation body of the following organizations.

  • International Code Council, Wash. DC.
  • NAHB/Home Innovation Lab, Wash DC.
  • Illinois ADA Accessibility, Chicago
  • Architecture Review Board, Lincolnshire

In addition to above, Ramesh designed, built and managed the remodeling of LifeCare Center, Lincolnshire, IL. This center serves as the operations hub of organizations such as Special Olympics and others to provide one stop comprehensive services to the special needs community. Ramesh has expertise to provide accessibility specific design services and is currently appointed by the Illinois Circuit Court to work on a residential project for a special needs family. Ramesh is licensed in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Yavor Goranov, President of Chicago Workshop – YKG is a Licensed Architect and an experienced Interior Designer. He holds a Master Degree in Architecture from Virginia Tech. Yavor comes from a family of architects. He is proud to continue in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and older brother.

Yavor’s Projects can be found on three continents, including North America, Asia and Europe. He also successfully participated in several high profile international architectural competitions. But, for the past 25 years, he has been designing, building and renovating homes and commercial structures in the City of Chicago and suburbs.

One of Yavor’s passions and expertise is the Prairie style architecture. This specialty has provided him with a rare honor and opportunity to handle the historical architectural restoration of the former Burnham and Root Library at The Rookery Building, a Chicago landmark designed by Burnham and Root, one of Chicago’s most famous architectural firms.

In addition to being a world-class architect, Yavor is an accomplished builder. He has designed, built and oversaw construction for many noteworthy projects in the city and the suburbs, including stately single family residences designed and built to suit the sophisticated tastes and lifestyles of his clients spanning from Hinsdale to the North Shore. Yavor’s other notable commercial projects included a complete renovation and conversion of a Chicago Fire House Station into offices for a law firm, (which still included a sliding pole), as well as the design and construction oversight of the Fox Valley Ice Arena, one of the biggest indoor ice rinks in North America.

Yavor is always involved in all aspects of a project, providing his clients with a comprehensive Design + Build process, including architectural design, interior design and construction management. He is also dedicated to environment preservation and strives to minimize the carbon footprint of his Projects by means of creative designs as well using environmentally friendly materials and technologies.

Nancy Sublette, ASID is a licensed interior designer with extensive understanding of the timing and design dynamics associated with the construction process. Her residential experience includes the Ritz Carlton Residences, No.9 Walton, 10 E. Delaware, The Bristol, 2550 Lakeview, and many luxury homes in the city and suburbs.  Nancy’s other high profile projects include the residential lobby of the John Hancock building and the Woman’s Athletic Club located in a historic building along the Magnificent Mile on Michigan Avenue.

Nancy works closely with clients to fulfill their vision for their home.  She also creates bespoke furniture pieces for a variety of clients.  Nancy enjoys working with a wide range of budgets.  Her goal is achieving the client’s vision and surpassing their expectations.

Nancy believes the architectural envelope is the background that can make the interior great.  She has worked with many well-known architects, managing large and small residential projects.  Nancy’s skill and understanding of each project requirements from the architect’s, the designer’s and the construction manager’s perspective is invaluable to Chicago Workshop™ Architects & Builders.