An Architect Who Forges Ahead in Her Own Lane


“You encounter racism, but you don’t tie it back to that,” she said.

A trustee of the nonprofit Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, Ms. Graziolo admires classicism for its symmetry, proportion and deference to human scale — pinpointing the ideal height for a windowsill, for example. She is inspired by the photographer Pieter Estersohn’s Greek Revival house in Red Hook, N.Y, and she cares about preserving historic buildings. But she opposes governmental efforts to “dictate” an architectural style.

“There are some beautiful modern structures,” she added.

Her former boss, Mr. Pennoyer, was at the Notre Dame career fair this spring and succeeded in nabbing a few graduates. “It’s a small world, firms that do work like ours,” he said.

Ms. Graziolo’s fledgling company couldn’t compete with more established outfits like his, and she was able to hire only one person. But not surprisingly, given her knack for finding alternative means of getting a job done, she has discovered other ways to recruit — and sometimes give aspiring Black architects a leg up.

Ms. Graziolo, who is a trustee of Cooper Union, makes time to meet with students at her alma mater.

“She has served as a mentor and role model, particularly for young female architects,” said Laura Sparks, the university’s president.

Ms. Graziolo has also forged a connection with Mississippi State University through an initiative of the Design Leadership Network, and she has had Black students of its College of Architecture, Art and Design interning at Yellow House.

Cole Arrington, 20, a junior in the college who is Black, spent three weeks this summer at Ms. Graziolo’s New York office and said he was glad his first internship was at a firm headed by a minority executive.

POST AUTHOR: Jane Margolies

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