Staff Spotlight: John Lavoie

John shares his professional development throughout the years and his aptitude for design

Headshot of John Lavoie
October 28, 2022
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John brings a wide range of work experience to his role as Marketing Coordinator at Finegold Alexander. During his years as a practicing architect, his projects ranged from adaptive use and preservation of historic buildings to commercial interior renovations. John is also a Graphic Designer, and – in his spare time– a landscape painter. John sat down with us to share his inspiration and advice for emerging professionals in the architecture industry.

Q: What inspired you to become an architect and a design professional?

J: When I was a little kid, I loved books, spin art, pottery and Lincoln Logs… so I never had any clarity. I studied Italian and Art History as an undergrad. One day when I was considering options for graduate school, I went to visit the GSD when they were having a day-long open house for prospective students. I sat in on a lengthy pin up/critique for one of the studios. I was absolutely captivated by the student presentations, design work, and the in-depth conversations that they inspired. I decided then and there that I wanted to pursue architecture… little did I know at the time what I was getting myself into!

Q: If you could give advice to a young designer what would you say?

J: The field and practice of architecture is unbelievably capacious. We need young people with every kind of skill set and all sorts of talents to move both this profession and our built environment into the future. As you move forward in your design career, you will inevitably make a series of course corrections over the span of decades. I started out as an art editor at a publishing house, then interned and eventually practiced as an architect, then studied and worked as a graphic designer, then shifted my focus to the marketing of professional design services, specifically architecture! The most important thing of all is to start your journey and take that first step.

Q: What have been some of your career highlights/proudest achievements so far?

J: I’m so lucky to have a professional home here at Finegold Alexander Architects, where I can pursue my passions for graphic design, communications and messaging, and architecture! Work is all about collaboration, and every day I thoroughly enjoy the give-and-take and ongoing discourse with my friends, colleagues, and collaborators here at Finegold Alexander.

Q: Do you have a favorite city to visit for architecture?

J: If I had to pick one, I would say Venice. That city is transcendent, I need to get back there soon. Palladio and Carlo Scarpa, here I come!

View of Basilica Di Santa Maria della Salute, ca. 1681, photo by andreykr/Adobe Stock

Q: Do you have a favorite building or perhaps a favorite architect?

J: Not so much a favorite building, but rather a favorite building type: art museums! I really love to see how architects handle the dynamic between their design for the building, and the precious contents it contains. Whether I’m in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum in New York, or perhaps Rafael Moneo’s Davis Museum at Wellesley College, I always wonder: when does the building make a statement and assert itself with the visitor, and when does it recede, to become a supporting player? I love unexpected venues in out-of-the-way places. Recently I visited Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland—the Pavilions there were designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners—which provided an incredible interplay between landscape, building and artwork… I’d highly recommend a visit there!

Photo of Pavilions Walkway -- Glenstone Museum Potomac (MD) October 2018 by Ron Cogswell on Flickr, taken October 13, 2018: