Interactive Design Architects (IDEA) is an MBE/WBE Certified architecture design firm founded in 1992 emphasizing listening, creativity, discernment and versatility to realize client goals.
We chose our name carefully and purposefully. Interactive represents, in a single word, the experience of working with us – two-way. responsive. hands-on. direct. We believe that words have power in their ability to effectively capture the essence of experience. Interactive Design sums us up pretty darn good.
We are relationship architects, building responsive and lasting connections with clients that best suit our capacities. We work collaboratively to reveal, develop and ultimately realize a client’s vision and, in so doing, earn our greatest asset – their trust. Successful projects are the outcome of our work because thriving relationships are our goal.
To build positive, lasting client relationships, we know that we must begin with understanding. Years of experience and hundreds of projects have confirmed that the path to success hinges not only on the design process, but on thoughtful listening and patient attention to the demands and nuances of a client and their culture.
This is a bold statement, especially among architects. For many firms, collaborating with a fellow architect falls into the category of unspeakable horrors. We are not this type of firm. For us, collaboration is an opportunity…to create, to learn, to interact with other thought leaders in our profession. We team actively with some of leading architects of our time, and maintain our MBE/WBE/DBE certifications to offer the greatest value possible to a client and project.
We know that communication is better when it is direct. We believe that there is a price for asking our clients to navigate hierarchical layers and, frankly, it’s too high. Ours is a curated staff of experienced and capable leaders working to ensure our clients get exactly what they need – skill, discernment, creativity, attention, access – and nothing they don’t – layers, attitude, bureaucracy.
IDEA is comprised of a team of leaders, practiced and talented architects empowered to serve clients directly, expertly and efficiently.
Dina became President of IDEA in 1999. Her experience in educational, municipal and corporate projects contributes significantly to the firm’s capacities and her adept leadership and collaborative skills are invaluable to all projects, especially those with multiple stakeholder groups. She often oversees interior architecture, FF&E and finishing details on projects.
A founding partner of IDEA, Charlie’s breadth of experience and depth of technical skill provide a solid foundation for all projects. His commitment to craft and design excellence are recognized by clients, peers and the media, his work featured in national and international exhibitions and his participation frequently requested for architectural juries and award panels.
A founding partner of IDEA, Bob’s extensive technical skills and distinct expertise in creating humane and environmentally appropriate habitats for animals in zoos has significantly deepened the capabilities of the firm. His work has been included in several architectural exhibitions. Bob has worked with the Lincoln Park Zoo for over 20 years, implementing a wide variety of projects for this beloved Chicago institution
Paul joined IDEA in 1997 with a deep skillfulness in civic architecture and historic preservation as well as extensive experience with libraries, academic, cultural and religious institutions. He is a sought-after teacher and lecturer for organizations including the Chicago Architectural Foundation, American Library Association, Chicago Public Library, Chicago Public Radio, Chicago Opera Theatre and Chicago Historical Society among many others.
Laurie joined IDEA in 2009 bringing to the firm a deep and varied portfolio of experience. From education to multi-tenant residential and commercial buildings to large-scale, mixed-use projects, Laurie provides leadership and consistency in project management, detailing and design.
Jeff joined IDEA in 2007 to provide strong experience with mixed-use commercial development, public libraries, aviation terminals, exhibition halls, commercial office buildings, academic facilities, retail and multi-unit residential projects. His technical background is significant, having performed engineering coordination as well as extensive on-site construction administration.
Melissa joined IDEA in 2009 contributing to the firm her experience with sizable, multi-use developments both in the United States and abroad. Her tenacious attention to detail and skilled approach to managing large scale projects makes her an invaluable member of the IDEA team. Melissa’s capabilities in 3D computer sketching helps clients to engage with a design and actively participate in its evolution.
Kristina joined IDEA in 2017, bringing experience in a combination of architecture and urban planning. She sees the two disciplines interlinked and over the years has developed an interest in multidisciplinary approaches which have the potential to tackle social challenges and can contribute to empowering communities. Her experience in both United States and abroad, along with her BIM capabilities, are a few of the assets she contributes to IDEA.
Patrick joined IDEA in 2018 bringing extensive knowledge working with BIM. As a student at IIT, he participated in research for “Wegocity: Tailor-Made Housing” investigating housing typologies at the Why Factory in Delft, The Netherlands. Prior to joining IDEA he was involved in the Chicago Architecture Foundation Newhouse Architecture and Design Competition and the ACE (Architecture, Design and Engineering) Mentor Program.
Kim joined IDEA in 2018, bringing experience in architecture and interior design as well as a graduate degree in civil and environmental engineering. Her love of design has pushed her to explore trade intersections within the built environment. Prior to joining IDEA, she was involved with K-12 and higher education projects scattered throughout the greater Chicago area. As an active member of NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects).
Brian joined IDEA in 2018, bringing a diverse range of experience in projects throughout the United States and Canada. His passion for photography and love of nature have ingrained in him the importance of site in the design process, which is evident in his undergraduate and graduate work. Prior to joining IDEA, Brian was involved in project types ranging from restaurants and early childhood education centers to airport concessions and residential restoration.
Smitha joined IDEA with the start of 2019. She has concentrated experience in corporate interior architecture, as well as with retail, hospitality, and residential projects. Smitha brings an educational background that focuses on understanding the way that context influences and determines project outcome. She has particular interest in the way that community development is influenced by design.