MKDA Celebrates Women's History Month: Kristin Aldan Gudmundsdottir

Join us in spotlighting Kristin Aldan Gudmundsdottir, our exceptional Regional Managing Principal for the Mid-Atlantic and leader of our Washington, DC Studio!

Kristin leads her diverse international team with respect and inclusivity, consistently surpassing client expectations with her dedication to strategic workplace planning and extraordinary design talent, notably in the financial and law firm sectors.

Despite opening our DC studio just four months before the pandemic, Kristin’s unwavering commitment to success in the face of adversity is truly inspiring. Her journey epitomizes resilience and underscores her dedication to growth within the DC market.

Can you share your career journey and the key milestones that have shaped your path in the architecture and interior design industry?

While studying Architecture in Madrid, Spain, I gained recognition in Iceland for my academic achievements and design projects, which led to me undertaking design work alongside my studies. After graduating, I simultaneously worked for a renowned architectural firm in Iceland and established my own studio, InnArk. The work of my studio garnered increasing attention, resulting in the growth of the studio and projects.

However, in 2009, the onset of the economic crisis altered the landscape for design firms in northern Europe. With limited project opportunities, I began exploring options “across the pond” and seized an exciting chance to relocate to Washington DC and collaborate with Genler on remarkable projects.

In 2019, I was unexpectedly offered another compelling opportunity: to spearhead the launch of MKDA’s DC office. Returning to Washington DC felt like coming full circle, as I resumed my leadership role, overseeing the MKDA office and team in this vibrant city, and embarking on projects that we’re immensely proud of.

What do you think makes women strong leaders?

I believe women are strong leaders because they embody intelligence, foresight, passion, and strategic thinking, combined with thoughtfulness, sensitivity, care, and honesty.

What advice would you give to young women aspiring to pursue a career in architecture or interior design and eventually reach leadership positions?

Love what you do. After graduation is when the real life learning begins. Actively listen, inquire persistently, and embrace trial and error. Believe passionately in your ideas and confidently share your vision and goals.

Are there any specific projects or initiatives that you are particularly passionate about or proud to have been a part of?

Of the many projects I have had the opportunity to bring to fruition over the course of my career spanning four design firms, I’m most proud of:

  • Being part of the design team of a Geothermal Plan and exhibit Center in Iceland, promoting and showcasing sustainability and natural resources.
  • Winning a Design competition for the design of the furniture used at Iceland’s Conference and Concert Center, HARPA.
  • Cultivating client relationships and actualizing diverse design concepts across the United States.
  • Seizing the opportunity to design an internationally acclaimed School of Architecture and Design.

What achievements are you most proud of during your tenure at MKDA?

We established our studio four months before the pandemic as the “new kid on the block” in D.C. We were excited to showcase our experience and capabilities, but had to navigate many uncertainties. Our resilience and commitment to staying strong in the face of adversity defines our journey and underscores our dedication to growth and success.