Distinguished Legacy Award
A Fellow of the American Institute of Architects since 2018, Dina Griffin, FAIA, NOMA, IIDA, has over 25 years of experience in the practice of architecture. She is currently the president of Interactive Design Architects (IDEA), a Chicago-based firm that has collaborated on prestigious projects such as the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Barack Obama Presidential Center. Dina became president of IDEA in 1999. She often oversees interior architecture, furniture, fixtures, equipment, and finishing details on projects in addition to her duties managing the firm’s daily operations. Dina’s experience in educational, municipal, and corporate projects across stakeholder groups, complemented by her accomplished leadership and collaborative nature, have made her an invaluable asset to the firm.
An alumna of the University of Illinois School of Architecture, Dina received her Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies in 1986 and currently serves on the school’s Alumni Advisory Board. She is a former board member of the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the board of directors for the Illinois Chapter. Dina is also past president of the Illinois Chapter of the National Organization for Minority Architects. Dina currently serves as chair of the Illinois Architect Licensing Board, is a member of the advisory board for Contract magazine, and is a member of the Leadership Advisory Committee for the Art Institute of Chicago, whose primary mission is to bring the arts to underserved neighborhoods in Chicago.
Dina Griffin was the principal architect on the contemporary design of the new Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. The modern building replaced the previous deteriorating structure on the site at Mathews and Nevada and reopened its doors to students in 2019. Originally established in 1969 to serve and support black students, the center was designed by IDEA to be a welcoming and inviting space to students of all backgrounds on campus.
The Illinois School of Architecture awarded Dina Griffin the 2021 Illinois Medal of Architecture. The Illinois Medal, first awarded in 1981, was established to recognize prominent School of Architecture alumni who exhibit a lifetime of professional dedication and excellence in the practice of architecture. Dina joined the school’s list of distinguished Illinois Medal recipients and renowned architects such as Temple H. Buell, César Pelli, and Carol Ross Barney.