International Women’s Day 2021 | Nancy McClure

What attracted you to work in architecture?

My parents influenced me in both engineering and the arts, and architecture is the synthesis of both worlds. The goal of most artwork is to engage with its audience, and architecture is a multisensory environment that can have a profound effect on its users.

Describe a typical working day for you…

I have long-range initiatives that I work toward, but my day is also punctuated by many engagements with project teams and designers, solving issues and testing approaches. The outcome of specific problems are the building blocks of strategic vision.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

Becoming a thought leader in modeling strategy and data management. It’s the culmination of many years of project-specific problem solving, taken to a big-picture perspective.

What do you see as some of the challenges facing women in architecture?

Architecture bridges two worlds – development and construction, and both are largely male-dominated realms. Being accepted as a key contributor requires being seen past gender expectations, and that comes from putting your ideas forward, again and again, and consistently bringing value through your work.

Grand Hyatt Limassol, Cyprus

What advice would you give to young women aspiring to a similar career path?

Be yourself. Don’t let preconceptions define you. Investigate as many paths and roles in the industry where your interests lead you, then stick with the things that spark your passion.

Do you think parametric design is the future of architecture? If so, why?

We may think that parametric design is a new thing, but it’s not. It has been in the math and geometry of building design all along, only now it is being consciously applied into the programming of tools, towards a form of automation. But automation is NOT automatic, there are always constraints to be considered, and specific goals to attain. Design solutions are a synthesis of many criteria, far more complex than programming formulas alone can enable. The designer’s eye will remain an intrinsic key to the process, using parametric design as just one of their tools.

The theme this year is #ChoosetoChallenge; as one of the people spearheading Diversity+Inclusion within SB Architects, how does the firm address gender imbalances in its work?

One of the aspects of SB Architects that appealed to me is the number of women in leadership roles across the firm, and not just in the ‘soft skills’ range. The rise of these talented women isn’t the result of any D+I mandate, but evidence that the firm truly recognizes the expertise and focus these individuals bring to their work and rewards those efforts fairly. Imbalance, when it becomes apparent, is addressed by providing individuals opportunities to grow their skills, and cultivating an equitable working environment, rather than focusing on surface-level quotas.

Interview with: Nancy McClure, Associate and BIM/Revit Strategist

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