This Black History Month, Related Midwest is highlighting some of the Black architects, construction experts and other community members who are shaping the look, feel and culture of our city today.
This includes Related Midwest’s partner Anthony Akindele, founding principal of Nia Architects, who sees architecture as much more than designing buildings and spaces. He views it as a tool to improve our city through creating sustainable living environments and neighborhood spaces that everyone can be proud of.
Anthony and Nia work on a number of projects that serve the Chicago community—from designing affordable housing in partnership with Related Midwest to working with CPS on school renovations and classroom design.
As a Nigerian immigrant, Anthony strives to bring his cultural background into his firm’s projects. He also wants to inspire the next generation of Black architects. To make that a reality, Nia visits local schools to speak to students about architectural careers—opening lines of communication, ideas and advice to ensure students understand that opportunities in the field are available to them. This inclusive approach extends to Nia’s internship program for high school students, many of whom have gone on to become architects themselves.
Anthony’s community-minded approach infuses everything that Nia does, including its collaborations with Related Midwest. Nia is one of a team of minority-owned businesses to work with Related Midwest on Phase 3B of Roosevelt Square, part of the innovative, master-planned, 160-acre development on Chicago’s Near West Side that will ultimately bring more than 2,000 homes to this vibrant neighborhood.
“Nia is committed to improving communities,” Anthony says. “We know one of the key ways to do that is through great design—and that starts with great master plans and buildings that meet the needs of those who live there.”