The market in aerial multifamily
In 1997, Lina Grigaitis graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with two masters, one in architecture and one in structural engineering. Times were good, and Grigaitis got an entry-level job right out of school. But she hit a wall. School-honed problem-solving skills were useless in the office. "Architecture graduates are very pumped to get into the workplace and to start being creatively productive," Grigaitis says. "Unfortunately, only a handful of architects will ever be able to express themselves creatively. This is a very depressing revelation. Architects start to question the reasons why they entered the profession in the first place."
It's a familiar story, but Grigaitis's solution was different. She started making birdhouses. She made the one shown here that first year out of school. "I just went home one day after work and indulged myself in some creative time. I designed and handcrafted this birdhouse myself. The outcome surprised me. I wowed myself. It was great." Grigaitis recently pulled the birdhouse out of mothballs with a plan in mind. Twenty-one years later, her career is a different place. Grigaitis is a licensed architect, a stay-at-home mom, and an organizer in the Chicago Women in Architecture. The birdhouse reminds her of a time in her career when she was was working a lot of hours but felt like she had no options. Now she may not be gainfully employed, but her career feels full of possibility. She foresees opening a design/build firm and going after big projects. But first she plans to deliver a very small project: the birdhouse. "The [birdhouse's] design is an explosion of an idea and is directly in line with President Obama's call for a renewed 'Spirit of Innovation,'" Grigaitis says. She wants to give it to First Lady Michelle Obama to hang in the White House vegetable garden.
Shown above: Painted wood birdhouse by Lina Grigaitis; photo by Patsy McEnroe.