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 DesignIn 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.



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  

Senior Designer

Bachelor of Architecture                         Emphasis in Architecture History                      Illinois Institute of Technology


Tyler Waldorf

Executive Assistant

Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering, University of Kansas

Master of Architecture                               Illinois Institute of Technology

Justin DeGroff, AIA, LEED-AP 


Bachelor of Science in Architecture     University at Buffalo's School of Architecture

Master of Architecture                                 Illinois Institute of Technology


Michelle Simoni 


Bachelor of Architecture                               Focus on Urban Design                           Bowling Green State University

Master of Architecture                               Illinois Institute of Technology


Tiffany Sherrill, PHR

Business Manager

Bachelor of Science in Accounting/Business Management                                                 Focus in Human Resources                       Robert Morris University

Scott Collier, AIA


Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering Purdue University

Master of Architecture                               Illinois Institute of Technology.


Gina Cannistra, NCARB

Intern Architect

Bachelor of Architecture                                 University of Notre Dame

Master of Architecture                                   Yale University

Connor Brindza

Intern Architect

Bachelor of Science in Architecture     University of Cincinnati College of DAAP

Master of Architecture                           University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture


Ivan Silvestre, LEED GA, CDT

Intern Architect

Bachelor of Architecture                             Minor in Construction Management              Illinois Institute of Technology

Katherine Putnam

Interior Designer

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Theatre                          New York University, Tisch School of the Arts

Master of Arts, Interior Design                Harrington College of Design