Established in 1990, the office of Dirk Denison Architects offers a full range of programming, site analysis, design, preparation and administration of construction documents, and post-construction analysis, as well as interior furnishing and furniture design. Best known for its award-winning residential work, the Chicago-based firm has built its reputation of design excellence through a wide range of projects and scales, including multi-family, institutional and commercial projects.
Dirk Denison Architects believes in the power of architecture to construct experience. The firm’s work focuses on creating a narrative that combines the idiosyncrasies of site, program and, ultimately, architecture. It is a process that elicits surprise, revelation, information, poetry, and seduction while fulfilling a basic human desire to shape its surroundings. The success of DDA’s work has led to a continued relationship with many of its clients on both a professional and personal level, testaments to the meaningful experiences that the firm’s creations engender.
Dirk Denison, FAIA, MCHAP Director
Dirk Denison is an architect and an educator. He trained at The University of Michigan, the Illinois Institute of Technology and Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. In 1990, Denison established his practice, Dirk Denison Architects, in Chicago. His firm’s work has been recognized both nationally and internationally through awards and publications for outstanding residential and commercial design work. He was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in May of 2005.
In addition to studying at IIT, Denison has held multiple positions there as a full-time faculty member over the last two decades. As the Director of Graduate Programs, Director of Undergraduate Programs, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Supervising Campus Architect and Design Studio Professor, his teaching has focused on community-based planning, multi-family housing, and urban design. Denison led a series of joint design studios between the College of Architecture at IIT and Harvard’s Design School between 1994 and 1997, focused on public housing and issues of urban renewal.
Denison devotes a significant amount of time outside the office and classroom to the community and to the arts. He has a keen interest in contemporary performing and visual arts, and in addition to supporting art through his personal collection, he serves in various roles supporting the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and several other Chicago arts organizations. He also serves as an executive board member at the Cranbrook schools and has participated as an alumni board member at The Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Todd Webb, AIA
Todd Webb has been a contributing architect at DDA since 1997, where his work has been recognized through awards and publications. Originally from northern Michigan, Todd earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Architecture degrees from the University of Michigan and practiced in Detroit for three years before moving to Chicago. He looks forward to each new opportunity to pair cutting-edge building materials and innovative assembly strategies with a client’s custom spatial program.
Todd is responsible for the daily management of office operations, and tracks each project from pre-design through construction administration. He is licensed to practice architecture in Illinois and Michigan, and is a member of the American Institute of Architects.
A husband, father of two children (both swimmers and musicians), furniture designer, and cyclist, Todd loves building, racing, and riding bikes, especially through mud, rain, snow, and ice. Check out the news blog for his cycling-related posts!
Michael Flath, AIA
Michael joined Dirk Denison Architects in 2004 and became a principal in 2011. For the firm, Michael has headed several large residential projects, as well as the award winning L2O Restaurant and the mid-rise Culver House Development project here in Chicago.
After starting his pursuit in the fine arts, Michael made an early decision to switch gears and focus on architecture at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, graduating with a Bachelor in Architectural Science with a Certificate in Urban Planning. In 1996, he returned from his studies abroad to finish his thesis project on a regional Transportation Interchange and earned his Masters in Architecture at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.
After graduation, Michael moved to New York City joining the international office of Kohn Pedersen Fox & Associates (KPF). He worked on large mega-scaled projects along the Pacific Rim, including in the Philippines, Japan and China. He was an integral member of the design team for the Philadelphia International Terminal, from the beginning through operation before moving back to Chicago in Fall of 2003.
Michael and his wife, who is also an architect, enjoy slowing down to share their love of the arts, the excitement of city living, and just “chilling” with their toddler aged daughter.
Jacob Dodds received a Bachelor of Architecture, with an emphasis in Architecture History, from the Illinois Institute of Technology. A member of Dirk Denison Architects since 2007, he devotes most of his free time to personal study and to keepin' it real. He and his wife live happily on the south side of Chicago.
John Zacherle, AIA, LEED-AP graduated from Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!) with a Bachelors of Architecture with a minor in Industrial Design. Originally from the rolling hills of Virginia, he has made the flat lands of Chicago his home since graduating college and has been a member of DDA since 2008. When not architect-ing, John dabbles in photography, and product design.
Tyler Waldorf received a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering from the University of Kansas and a Master of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Tyler is a midwesterner at heart and enjoys the many great things Chicago has to offer. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, traveling, and taking in a good show.
Corinne Olsen, LEED-AP graduated
from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Architecture and a Bachelor of
Interior Architecture. After living in Alabama as a student
and working in the Non-Profit Realm, Corinne is happy to be back in Chicago, closer to
friends and family. She enjoys sewing, drawing, and working on her blog
in her free time.
Justin DeGroff, Licensed Architect, LEED-AP received a Master of Architecture degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology and a Bachelor's degree from the University at Buffalo's School of Architecture. With previous experience at a large NYC design firm, and an optimistic attitude towards architecture, Justin strives to find opportunities for integrated design solutions from whatever obstacles lie in a project.