Chicago’s Modern Twist with DII Architecture

Jereme Smith

DII Architecture pushes the boundaries of design to achieve the unachievable. Jereme Smith leads his team and they strive to fuse modern, creative spaces with functionality, using the highest quality standard. Smith’s design firm consistently experiments with layouts and materials to construct inventive designs that stand the test of time. We caught up with Smith to discuss the design firms latest projects and how he’s shaking up Illinois’ architecture.

Where do you draw inspiration before you begin a big project?

Context, whether it be the city, neighborhood or the existing building. The site, including surrounding buildings, trees, landscaping and topography. The client’s wants and needs, and research.

When facing projects that have many limitations, like the Tudor Home, what is your process for delivering a finished product your clients will love?

In this case, we really had to push and pull the design, stretch limitations and literally go beyond what was possible. The two cantilevers required design commission and zoning approval.  Extra communication is also required for a highly crafted and custom project – between the clients, city, and contractors.

We also worked and reworked countless floor plan layouts to arrive at the organized and efficient solution, which also created the ‘destination balcony’ at the end of a long, wide hallway, which pulls you through the different spaces.

Image Courtesy of Black Olive Photographic

What are a few architectural trends you’ve noticed this year in the Chicago area?

In general, I’m not a fan of trends unless I think they have solid design merit or will stand the test of time. That said, I am seeing the color black used for exteriors and interiors.  We are implementing this in a couple projects.

Black has a neutral quality like white or stainless steel, and becomes a backdrop for the space. Overall, we’re also seeing more honed, mature modern work, as well as more eco elements: bamboo floors, geothermal systems, solar shingles, wind turbines.

In three words sum up DII Architecture aesthetic.

Custom, craft, contemporary.

What is the design philosophy of DII Architecture?

It displays multi-disciplinary design in architecture, interiors, and functional art with the aim of transforming ideas, however improbable, into realizations. We are very flexible with each project’s approach and throughout the process, because every client and project is different.

Considering we are a true design and build company, the design and construction phases overlap, so pre-construction work can start before the final drawings and design is completed – design work, material selections, and details continue until the end of the project.

Image Courtesy of Black Olive Photographic

What sets your firm apart from others?

We view every project as a team with a triangle being the owners, builder and DII.  We are extremely dedicated to the clients and project to the final hour; making changes when warranted along the way. We have found a high level of success, all working together and striving for the same goal and final product.