Nicole Dryden


I am constantly inspired by how our buildings live beyond what we imagined for them. That is the magic of working in K-12 – children mold their environments into whatever works for them, using spaces in ways we never could have dreamt of.”

If you asked eight year old Nicole what she wanted to be when she grew up, she would say without hesitation: “an architect.”  Nicole grew up immersed in architecture and would frequently visit her dad and family friends at several firms in the St. Louis area.  The unique ability of architects to problem-solve, invent, and help people has always inspired her, making architecture a natural career choice.

Today, Nicole is an Associate, Project Architect, and Sustainability Expert in the Education Studio at Plunkett Raysich Architects, LLP. Her responsibilities vary on every project – ranging from interviews, graphic development, community engagement, space assessment and planning, coordination/management, specification writing, detailing, and involvement through the construction process. In addition, Nicole has taken on the responsibility of strengthening our commitment to sustainability as a firm – working to improve upon and streamline the ingrained sustainability process. As a LEED accredited professional, she has helped to certify numerous buildings. She brings a wealth of knowledge from her experience with LEED, WELL, Fitwel, and Living Building certification systems, as well as ASHRAE 189.1, to every project. Nicole currently holds a Market Leadership Advisory Board position on the U.S. Green Building Council for Wisconsin, where she stays well-informed on sustainable movements and advances across the region.

Nicole enjoys variety and the ability to work on all aspects of the project process but most strongly values each and every client-facing interaction. She relishes being an advocate and resource for her clients throughout the entirety of a project – translating their needs and wants into something that is beautiful, functional, and within reach. She is inspired by the passion of the teachers, staff, and administrators she gets to work with, and takes the time to truly understand them as people, as well as their unique needs. Nicole feels that design solutions for learning spaces should lessen the daily obstacles of teachers and staff, supporting them to best serve their students.

Nicole’s creativity and adventurous nature extend beyond the office. She loves to pursue art and hobby projects that involve an array of skills and mediums, including glassblowing, baking, graphic and apparel design, printing-making, photography, and sketching. The most recent labor of love is her 100-year-old house, which she has been slowly renovating over the years. This constant learning and seeking of new ideas translates well into her professional career, where she is never afraid to tackle an innovative idea or new technique.

American Institute of Architects (AIA) (AIA WI, Milwaukee)
National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB)
U.S. Green Building Council, Wisconsin (USGBC) (USGBC WI)

Bachelor of Architecture – Tulane University
Masters of Architecture – Tulane University