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Nilou Vakil, AIA, LEED BD+C

Nilou Vakil has been in the design industry for over two decades. She is currently the President of in situ DESIGN and

specializes in designing public buildings with a focus on civic projects, museums and cultural institutions. She has a passion for creating responsible urban communities that engages the community members in every step of the process. 

Nilou has practiced in both the U.S. and internationally. She was most recently an advisor and board member of the Regional Transportation District's (RTS) Advisory Committee in Colorado, working on the multi-billion-dollar lightrail expansion project. While in Denver she was a project architect for the reputable Tryba Architects. She is a licensed architect, LEED BD+C accredited professional, and has also overseen the coordination of projects in the international Estidama sustainability rating program in Abu Dhabi, UAE.


She is currently an Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Kansas School of Architecture and Design and former founding director of the interdisciplinary Interior Architecture Program. Her research is focused on community engaged design and connecting the professional processes of architecture to research. She was named 2017 - 2018 Design Intelligence Top 25 Architecture Educator in the U.S. for her teaching contributions to architectural education. 

Nilou is a champion of equity in architecture and has dedicated her professional and academic service to underrepresented members of the field. She has been invited to lecture and present her service to the community and her professional work extensively including venues such as NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects), AIA Equity by Design, Women in Design, KU's Spencer Arts Museum, Denver University, University of Colorado, Colorado Academy, the Museum of Contemporary Arts (Tehran, Iran) and the University of the Arts (Tehran, Iran).

Nilou earned a BFA in Design from the University of the Arts in Tehran and a Master of Architecture from the University of Colorado’s College of Architecture and Planning in Denver.


Joe Colistra, AIA


Joe Colistra has been in practice over two decades and founded in situ DESIGN in 2002. He has extensive experience in all types of housing, higher education and community-based projects. He has also completed several major urban redevelopment master plans for the City of Denver.


Both his service to community and design work have received great recognition. He is the recipient of several American Institute of Architects Awards, the Mayor’s Design Award, the Governor’s Design Award, and a Slow Home Award.

In 2013 his work received an inaugural Public Interest Design Award from the US Green Building Council in conjunction with the SEED (Social Economic Environmental Design) Network. Both his work and writings have been published extensively and he has been invited to exhibit and lecture around the world.


His professional work is complemented by academic research. He is the Director of the Smart Cities Institute and a Professor of Architecture at the University of Kansas School of Architecture and Design. He has also taught at the University of Colorado and the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

Joe earned a Bachelor of Environmental Design from Miami University in Ohio and a Master of Architecture from the University of Colorado at Denver.


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