Meet the 2021 Civic Design Awards Jury
Christina Bollo is an assistant professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and a licensed architect in Illinois and Washington. As an architect, she designed affordable housing for non-profit clients in Oakland and Seattle with Pyatok Architects and SMR Architects. Now, as a housing researcher, she focuses on the manifestation of housing policy in design and the health and well-being ramifications of housing design on the people who live there. Her research has been funded by the American Institute of Architects Housing and Community Development Knowledge Community and a recent webinar can be found here.
Dina A. Griffin, FAIA, NOMA, IIDA, became president of Interactive Design Architects (IDEA) in 1999. Under her leadership, along with partners Charles Young and Robert Larsen, IDEA has successfully completed a multitude of projects for a variety of clients. 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 and Renzo Piano Building Workshop. In 2016, IDEA was awarded The African American Cultural Center project at Dina’s alma mater, the University of Illinois. That same year, IDEA was selected to join the team of Tod Williams|Billie Tsien Architects to design the Barack Obama Presidential Center in Chicago.
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 and board positions with the National Organization of Minority Architects and the American Institute of Architects, Dina currently serves on the Illinois Architect Licensing Board as Chair and has served as treasurer for Region 4 of the National Council for Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).
Reaching aspiring students is fundamental to Dina’s mission to encourage and guide minorities interested in building valuable careers in architecture. She was elevated to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in recognition of her service to the profession, and to society, through her dedicated outreach to minority architecture students and emerging professionals.
Athi Toufexis, AIA, ALEP, LEED-AP, is a Principal at StudioGC and one of the firm’s pre-K-12 Practice Leaders. Alongside the other firm principals, Athi has continued StudioGC’s dedication to servicing the public sectors of northern and central Illinois. Most recently, Athi was recognized as one of ten practitioners in Illinois certified as an Accredited Learning Environment Planner.
Athi strives to create future-ready solutions to better prepare students for the ever-evolving world of tomorrow. She supports school districts and communities in transforming their visions into inspiring built realities through collaborative planning, design, and implementation. As project Principal, Athi has led projects that include the new Bridges Adult Transition Center in Lincolnwood; Hill Elementary School in Aurora; and the renovation of the Dolton Public Library.
As an advocate for introducing young learners to architecture, she frequently is a guest teacher in elementary, middle, and high schools. Athi also often serves as a guest reviewer at her alma mater, the University of Illinois.
Wei Yu, AIA, is the founder and design director of Chicago-based architectural and interior studio Yu & Associates Collaborative. Born in China, Wei moved to the United States at a young age. With his multi-cultural background, Wei believes that a well-crafted design has the power to uplift the spirit of individuals and communities. He enjoys dialogue with clients and is involved with all projects at the studio. Wei earned his Master of Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He worked for high-profile design firms in Chicago and Minneapolis prior to establishing his own studio.
In his free time, Wei likes to spend time with his family and his black lab, Vader. Growing up in Minnesota, Wei loves winter outdoor activities including snowboarding and ice fishing. Wei is an active member of his local community, serving on the board for a non-profit organization. A member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Wei is licensed in Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. He also maintains an active National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) certificate and serves as the Chicago Director for AIA Illinois.