The Architect Elizabeth Graziolo Forges Ahead in an Open Lane


He said, “You encounter racism, but you don’t associate it with that.”

A trustee of the nonprofit Institute of Classical Architecture and Art, Ms. Graziolo praises Classicism for its symmetry, proportion and respect for human scale—for example, pinpointing the ideal height for a window. he is inspired By Photographer Peter Estersohn’s Greek Revival house in Red Hook, NY, And she cares about the preservation of historical buildings. But she opposes government attempts to “dictate” architectural styles.

“There are some beautiful modern structures there,” he said.

Her former boss, Mr. Pennoyer, was at the Notre Dame Career Fair this spring and managed to catch a few graduates. “It’s a small world, companies operate just like us,” he said.

Ms. Graziolo’s fledgling company couldn’t compete with more established organizations like hers, and she was only able to hire one person. But not surprisingly, given her knack for finding alternative means of getting the job done, she has found other ways to recruit—and sometimes pursue—aspiring Black architects.

Ms. Graziolo, who is a trustee of Cooper Union, takes time out to visit students at her alma mater.

“She has served as a mentor and role model, especially for young women architects,” said university president Laura Sparks.

Ms. Graziolo has also tied up with Mississippi State University an initiative of Design Leadership NetworkAnd black students from its College of Architecture, Art and Design have interned at the Yellow House.

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


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