Dina Griffin, President of Interactive Design Architects (IDEA)


Dina Griffin became president of Interactive Design Architects (IDEA) in 1999, a leadership role that she had envisioned since childhood. Her interest in architecture surfaced in high school when she opted to study architectural drawing. Determination and her innate drive to succeed propelled Dina to follow her passion, despite challenges she encountered along the way. The only woman in an engineering class in college, she was told by the professor that there was no way she could major in architecture. This only fueled Dina’s resolve to become an architect and defined her calling to pioneer a larger role for women and minorities in the profession.

Under her leadership, along with partners Charles Young and Robert Larsen, IDEA has successfully completed a multitude of projects for clients such as The University of Chicago, Catholic Charities, Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago Public Schools, Anti-Cruelty Society of Chicago, Wilmette Public Library and the General Services Administration among many others. Dina has been instrumental in bolstering the firm’s commitment to collaboration and the opportunity to create, learn and interact with other thought leaders in the profession. The firm has partnered with internationally renowned firms including Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, HOK and Renzo Piano Building Workshop to complete noteworthy projects such as the Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago, widely acknowledged as a new icon in Chicago’s architectural landscape. Interactive Design was recently honored to join the team of Tod Williams|Billie Tsien Architects to design the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago.

As president of Interactive Design Architects, Dina is responsible for the day-to-day management of the firm, including managing staff, financial oversight, HR responsibilities, business development, managing and completing projects.

Dina’s belief that change is inspired through leadership has motivated her active involvement both within and outside the profession. In addition to past leadership positions with the American Institute of Architects, National Organization of Minority Architects and the International Interior Design Association, Dina currently serves on the Illinois Architect Licensing Board as Committee Vice Chair; the Leadership Advisory Committee of the Art Institute of Chicago; the Chicago Central Area Committee and the Advisory Board for Contract Magazine.

Reaching aspiring students is fundamental to Dina’s mission to encourage and guide minorities interested in building valuable careers in architecture. She is a sought after speaker, regularly presenting to schools and universities as well as to organizations including the AIA, NOMA, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science in Architecture; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign


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