Megan joins Finegold Alexander Architects as the Manager of the FA Energy practice, where she will collaborate with clients and engineers to implement strategies for decarbonizing campuses and facilities. Megan is a Certified Passive House Consultant with 12 years of experience in civic, higher education, and cultural architecture, and brings her expertise to FA Energy's efforts, emphasizing the importance of addressing carbon emissions in the built environment. We sat down with her to discuss her experience and inspirations for the work she does here at Finegold Alexander.
Q: What inspired you to become an architect/designer?
I didn’t consider a career path as an architect until a year into my university studies. Looking back at my childhood, however, I can see threads of why this profession caught my interest. My best friend’s father was a general contractor and she spent summers working for him as a teenager. I thought that was so cool. I learned words like ‘rebar’ and ‘concrete formwork’ from her. So naturally, I started college thinking about Construction Management. However, my first class was an intro to both the CM field and architecture. I was quickly convinced that architecture was the route I really wanted to pursue. It seemed like the perfect mix of technical knowledge and art and creativity. I had filled my high school electives with as many art classes as possible, simply for the joy of creating pieces with my hands.
The college class that really sealed my interest in architecture, however, was a course about LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The final exam for the course was the official LEED Green Associate exam. This was my first introduction to the environmental impact of buildings and recognizing how much work there still is to improve. This was the start of a passion that has fueled me in my career and is at the core of my love for architecture. I think that truly “good design” must always account for its carbon footprint on the world.
Q: If you could give advice to a young designer what would you say?
A bit of advice I received as a young designer is to “be a sponge.” Try to absorb as much as possible from lots of sources. Ask millions of questions. And find the things that you feel most passionate about in the profession and be authentically you.
Q: What have been some of your career highlights/proudest achievements so far?
A recent highlight has been completing the training and exam to become a Certified Passive House Designer. This is a highly impactful building standard that drastically reduces energy demand while simultaneously improving indoor air quality and occupant health. Combining Passive House certification with low-embodied carbon materials is a proven approach for reaching climate goals.
Q: Do you have a favorite city to visit for architecture?
I think the best cities are those that are walkable. The architecture and urban fabric are experienced best on foot, rather than by car. I haven’t tired of walking around Boston yet! I also have great memories of walking through Kyoto, Japan and Florence and Venice in Italy. I love the scale of these cities and happening upon unique seating areas, narrow alleys that are full of life, amazing local shops, and other surprise architectural moments.
Q: Do you have a favorite building or perhaps a favorite architect?
I can’t name just one. I am fascinated by architects that incorporate local materials and find inspiration from vernacular design such as Yasmeen Lari’s Heritage Foundation of Pakistan, Francis Kéré and BLDUS (architects Jack Becker and Andrew Linn).I also admire architects that go beyond building design to actively create systems or products that are sustainable. If the materials they want to specify in their designs don’t exist locally, they create them. A few products developed by architects: Mod Cell prefabricated panels and Timber HP wood fiber insulation.
We are thrilled to have Megan on the FA Energy team! If you would like to learn more about Megan, click here.