About Dearborn Architects


We are an architecture firm based in Chicago

Firm Profile

Established in 1998, Panto-Ulema Inc. dba Dearborn Architects is a dynamic and progressive architectural practice. The firm excels in envisioning, planning, and execution of design projects for a diverse range of clients. The majority of our work is in the alteration, rehabilitation and redevelopment of existing buildings. The balance of the work is in conceptual design, initial planning and feasibility studies of large-scale commercial projects.

The key to our success is a focused approach in distilling client goals. Having clear objectives allows us to shorten timelines, enhance coordination, and provide flexibility in deliverables tailored to each project. This method is used throughout our diversified practice which includes market segments such as restaurants, commercial kitchens, dental offices, institutional/childcare, retail, salons, industrial, corporate and hotels projects. Our aesthetically pleasing and technically feasible solutions ensures a successful project outcome.

Dearborn Architects delivers outstanding service and has a reputation of providing quality and value. The firm has been recognized for its contribution to the Central Area Plan with an Honor Award for excellence in Urban Design from the American Institute of Architects. The firm received City of Evanston Preservation and Design Awards in 2014 for the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority at Northwestern University and 2011 for Evans Scholarship House at Northwestern University.

Since 2012, the firm offers owner representation services for corporations and organizations unfamiliar with or unable to manage the construction projects on their own. As Owner’s Representatives, we diligently safeguard the interests of our clients by providing guidance and consultation in decision making, to effectively manage uncertainty and change during design and construction.

In 2020, the firm launched Dearborn Sourcing to provide glass curtain walls replacement door and window hardware for high-rise residential building. Subsequently, the firm expanded into providing custom solutions for building products such as lighting, fixtures, furnishing and art works.

Meet your Architects

“A successful project is one that gets built without the Owner going broke and is put to use according to its intended function.”

Homan WongFounder

Homan Wong

• Creative and Artistic
• Responsible for Design
• Provides Art Direction
• Skilled in Construction Management
• Negotiates Construction Contracts

Homan Wong is architect with 35 years of experience in the profession. His core skills are in design and management.  When he founded the firm 24 years ago, he had the idea of adopting a multi-disciplinary design approach to smaller scale projects. He encouraged the staff to gain a working knowledge of buildings systems beyond the basics. Today, this vision has paid off in avoiding improper design decisions and delivering better coordinated projects.

He provides day to day management of the firm and overall design direction. He uses his deep knowledge of architecture and construction to solve complex design problems while creatively articulating his solutions in a clear, concise, and aesthetically sophisticated manner. His innovative style of graphic presentation has secured many collaborative roles in feasibility studies and master plans.

Mr. Wong leverages his abilities to assist clients on large construction projects as Owner’s Representative. He currently serves as an Owner’s Representative for a Chicago non-profit on a LIHTC financed housing and community center project. His prior experience in this role includes a 30 story dual branded Hilton hotel in Chicago and a 400,000 sf industrial complex in Joliet.

Mr. Wong is a registered architect in the States of Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Texas He is also board certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. Mr. Wong graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a Master of Architecture and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture. Additionally, he is a registered energy professional with the City of Chicago.

Mr. Wong serves on the executive board of the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce and is a director of the Hong Kong Business Association of the Midwest. Mr. Wong is also a 2019 graduate of the FBI Citizen’s Academy.

Executive Vice-President

Steven Smutny

• Intellectual & Analytical
• Building Code Expert
• Responsible for Technical Coordination
• Skilled in Construction Management
• Multi-Lingual

Mr. Smutny is an architect with 14 years of experience. He is an exceptionally skilled and astute architect that balances innovation with practicality. He works seamlessly within team environments providing leadership as easily as performing a support function.

He is a building code expert and has a deep understanding of construction technology and building science. On each project he applies that knowledge and technical expertise to resolve problems during pre-construction to avoid delays, additional costs and to prevent a negative outcome.

Mr. Smutny is a Licensed Architect in the states of Illinois, Minnesota and Washington. He is also a registered energy professional and self-certification qualified architect with the City of Chicago. Mr. Smutny graduated with a Master of Architecture from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Mr. Smutny holds leadership positions in multiple civic and institutional organizations. He is the current Chairman of the Near South Planning Board in Chicago, a Board Member of the Chicago Union League Club and Board Member of Rotary District 6450, as well its past Assistant Governor.


of innovation and delivery of quality architectural services has resulted in a diverse, dynamic, and successful firm operating in various markets including, corporate, industrial, retail, daycare, dental, restaurant and hospitality. The firm continues to develop new and efficient ways to improve architectural services to enhance the value of our services.


Our firm adopts design principles that are over 2000 years old!

The ideas in the Ten books of Architecture by Vitruvius (75BC-25BC) are directly applicable to our daily work. Creating beautiful works employing standardized parts, arranged in their proper order, economy in the management of materials, with the thrifty balancing of costs and common sense in construction are timeless. 


We routinely design mechanical, electrical & plumbing systems (MEP) for our projects.

The architect has the ultimate responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of the entire design, which includes MEP systems. For smaller projects, we find that coordination is seamless if the MEP component is done in-house. 


For 10 years our firm has provided Owner Representation services concurrently with traditional architecture services. How does that work?

Effective owner representation or program management requires a very deep knowledge of both construction and design. It also requires good judgement and fairness.

As an Owner’s Representative, the ability to offer advice from the perspective of a practicing architect on matters affecting cost, function and accountability is unique.

The ability to apply the Owner’s perspective when designing a project is extremely valuable in meeting the Owner’s expectations and ensuring a good project outcome.