Megan is an Associate and Architect here at Finegold Alexander, offering a technical and detail-oriented approach with significant experience in all stages of architectural design and construction administration. She is skilled in leading and managing teams for large and complicated projects such as educational institutions, mixed-use developments, hospitality buildings, and sports arenas. She graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University School of Architecture with a Bachelor of Architecture and a minor in English and Textual Studies. Megan is also a co-chair for the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee at the Association for Learning Environments New England Chapter. The JEDI committee mission is to ensure that every A4LE member and community they serve are provided the opportunity to obtain tools and knowledge to understand the importance, value, and benefits of a diverse and equitable Association. Megan sat with us to share her initial inspirations for pursuing architecture and gave insight into how she works through the design process.
Q:What inspired you to become an architect?
M: I have a vivid memory of touring a middle/high school with my older brother when I was eight years old. Not much of the tour stood out, until we got to the art room with the rows of drafting tables. I saw the tables, asked what they were for, and after hearing the answer, decisively told my parents that I wanted to be an architect. I eventually attended the same school and counted down the years until I could take the architectural drafting courses. It was love at first class – combining my love of drawing with creating space, understanding scale, and thinking in three dimensions.
Q: Why did you originally want to be involved in the A4LE JEDI program?
M: A4LE is a fantastic organization focused on bettering the learning experience and learning spaces, and JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) is integral to the organization’s mission. Becoming co-chair was an opportunity to get more involved with JEDI-focused discussions in our educational community.
Q: How is it going being a co-chair on the JEDI committee?
M: Erin Flaherty and I have had a lot of thought-provoking discussions within our chapter, and with JEDI groups from other A4LE chapters. We’re hoping to engage with the greater New England community to understand the important issues that affect our community members, and how design can work toward improving the learning experience and learning spaces.
Q: If you could give advice to a young designer what would you say?
M: Embrace your curiosity, ask questions, and connect with other professionals. Sometimes it can feel intimidating to ask questions and reach out to leaders in the industry, but the architectural world is a tightknit community that embraces mentoring emerging professionals.
Q: Do you have any guiding design principles in your process?
M: On a macro scale, during the design process, I always want to understand how the decisions we make relate to or support the design idea. On a micro scale – how are these design decisions constructed? Although a decision may appear related to the bigger idea, if it is unrealistic and non-buildable, it ultimately needs to be reconsidered because it isn’t supporting the project design.
Q: Do you have a favorite city to visit for architecture?
M: Is it possible to pick just one? Whenever I travel, I love researching the local architecture, and planning my trip around exploring. I’ve dragged my non-architect friends to a Frank Lloyd Wright house outside of St. Louis, although usually my husband is my partner in exploring. I’ve turned him into an architectural enthusiast! It’s hard to choose a favorite, especially when there is still so much to see!
Q: Do you have a favorite building or perhaps a favorite architect?
M: The MIT Chapel by Saarinen. I love the entire experience of the space.