We are pleased to release this month’s installment of the Finegold Alexander Staff Spotlight, where staff share their personal stories and offer inspirations. Our spotlight this month is on Architect Megan Hoover, who recently achieved the status of registered architect just over a month ago! Megan attended the Parsons School of Design at the New School in New York City, where she received her Master of Architecture with Special Recognition for her contribution to the New School.
Q: What inspired you to become an architect?
Megan: I was always into designing things as a kid whether it was making plans for a new treehouse, re-designing my bedroom, or creating things from items I found around my house. In high school I really excelled in physics and math classes, but also developed a love for drawing and painting. When I learned what it meant to bean architect and what the field of architecture was all about, I knew that it would be a good fit for me, and I never looked back.
Q: Are there any architects that inspire you in your design process or inspired you to become an architect?
M: I’ve always admired the work of Alejandro Aravena and his perspective on social housing and the balance of technology, natural materials, and local manual labor and craft. He makes architecture accessible to populations that need it the most, and I appreciate the vision of making housing and public spaces available to the entire community, rather than only to those that can afford it. As architects, we have a social responsibility to improve our surroundings, and I am committed to upholding this duty.
"As architects, we have a social responsibility to improve our surroundings, and I am committed to upholding this duty."
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is starting the process of becoming a licensed architect?
M: Be patient and take your time. The process of becoming a licensed architect takes years, and the exams themselves are extremely difficult and it is very common to fail a few of them. Don’t get frustrated, be persistent, make a schedule and stick to it. It will all be worth it in the end!
Q: Do you have any favorite projects that you have worked on so far?
M: I really enjoyed working in the early design stages of the new addition for a large high school in Lawrence. This new addition houses a small gymnasium, classrooms, gathering spaces, and STEAM labs. It was great to work with the design team on this project and develop a design that both met the needs of the client and created a beautiful space for the students to learn and exchange ideas.
Q: If you could give advice to a young designer (say, a freshman in college pursuing architecture), what would you say?
M: Maintain balance. This profession can be consuming in both your academic and professional careers. It is easy to become passionate about every design you create, and the work involved to produce a final product is immense. It is important to have a life outside of architecture to maintain both your health and personal relationships. Having a balanced life will only make you a better designer throughout your career.
"It is easy to become passionate about every design you create, and the work involved to produce a final product is immense. It is important to have a life outside of architecture to maintain both your health and personal relationships. Having a balanced life will only make you a better designer throughout your career."
Q: Do you have any guiding design principles in your process?
M: Keep it simple and improve the surrounding context, but don’t be afraid to break some rules. All projects should meet the needs of the client and better the surrounding community. The best designs meet these criteria but also question traditional form.
Q: Which project are you currently working on? How has that been so far?
M: I’ve recently been working on the York Judicial Center for York County in Biddeford, Maine. I’ve been involved in the construction documents and construction administration phases for this project and it’s been great to see everything come together while working with a great team.
Q: Do you have a favorite city to visit for architecture?
M: I love visiting New York City for architecture. I went to graduate school there and lived there for five years. Some of the best architects in the world work in that city and there are constantly incredible projects being built there. Internationally, I would love to visit Copenhagen – I’ve heard great things about the architecture and culture in that city too.
Q: Do you have a favorite building?
M: The first building that comes to mind is the Sagrada Família. The interior of this cathedral is stunning, and the detailing on all parts of the building is absolutely incredible. Antoni Gaudí was truly a genius and his work in Barcelona is definitely worth visiting.
Stay tuned for next month’s Staff Spotlight!