You may not know her by name, but you definitely know Dina Griffin's work—the Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago for instance. As president of the Chicago-based firm Interactive Design, Inc. (IDEA), her team won the assignment of Architect of Record and worked with renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano to construct the 264,000-square-foot building.
With more than 20 years of experience and as one of just a couple hundred African-American female architects in the U.S., Griffin, is already a legend in her own right. She talks to UPTOWN about her story as a trailblazer but first, Griffin sits with US to talk about upcoming projects, recent discoveries and her favorite brunch.
REFLECTIONS: Hometown: Chicago, IL * First job: The Architecture Department of Facilities at the now extinct Montgomery Ward Headquarters. * Words to live by: Find YOU and the world will see it. * Working on currently: Our firm is currently working on the Curtain-wall Replacement project for the AJC Ferderal High-rise Building in Cleveland and several projects for the University of Chicago, In May, I will be a panelist at the American Institute of Architects’ Annual Convention in DC, speaking on the role of women and minorities in the profession.
DIVERSIONS: Currently reading: Triumph of the City, Edward Glaeser. He makes the case for urban density as opposed to urban sprawl. * Recently discovered: I met Vernice “Flygirl” Armour this week. She is a black female who piloted an attack helicopter as a Marine in Iraq and is now a motivational speaker. Her mantra is “You HAVE permission to engage!” I will be reading her book, Zero to Breakthrough next.
PLAYING FAVORITES: Hotel: Hotel Sofitel, any city. * Getaway: Paris and the beaches of Mexico. * Brunch spot: RL, Chicago (I get a twist on eggs benedict and substitute spinach for the meat); Coco Sala, in Washington, DC. I order breakfast flatbread, no meat. * Last place you dined out: Oya in DC.