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Architecture Talent Spotlight #05: Matthew Morgan
June 2, 2021 at 4:00 PM
matthew morgan university of arkansas and city college of new york.png

First a student at the University of Arkansas and then at the City College of New York, Matthew Morgan has spent countless hours delving into the world of Architecture with inputs from various eclectic fields he has had a background in. Morgan has worked as a Project Coordinator and Engineer on various large projects in the United States. He takes great interest in teamwork, critical analysis, creativity, and delivering results.

Archslate: Tell us a bit about yourself:

Matthew Morgan: First and foremost, I am a team player. I approach teamwork like I do life, which starts with the ability to empathize and form friendships. I use this skill to build the trust needed to move expediently on large-scale construction projects, working with both representatives and stakeholders as well as subcontractor foremen and members of our internal team.

I hope to bring this skill, a strong work ethic, and creative energy to an architecture firm engaged in impactful and equitable design.

Archslate: Tell us a little bit about your background and what made you choose Architecture:

Matthew Morgan: I believe architecture benefits from multi-disciplinary knowledge. I chose the field because I was interested in topics ranging from economics and technology to art and anthropology. Since making that decision, I have tailored my professional experience to provide a working knowledge of multiple fields related to the built environment.

"I believe architecture benefits from multi-disciplinary knowledge. I chose the field because I was interested in topics ranging from economics and technology to art and anthropology."

Check out Matthew Morgan's profile on Archslate here

Archslate: What are some of your biggest achievements:

Matthew Morgan: After an undergrad degree in Real Estate Finance (and an Economics minor plus 60 hours of elective Architecture coursework), I worked for a general contractor. I spent five years learning about construction processes and management before returning to graduate school at The City College of New York.

My current academic work focuses on the intersection of data, policy, and urban design as well as social and financial impacts associated with architectural development.

Archslate: What types of projects do you see yourself working on:

Matthew Morgan: I hope to work on projects that push the envelope concerning sustainability and equity. This includes new construction materials, building form, technology, and models of ownership. I would like to contribute my analytical and research abilities, backgrounds in finance and construction as well as the willingness to get down and dirty, whether that is in the field or a BIM model.

"I hope to work on projects that push the envelope concerning sustainability and equity. This includes new construction materials, building form, technology, and models of ownership."

<a> Drawings by Matthew Morgan</a>

Archslate: How do you describe your design style as an architect:

Matthew Morgan: I am more interested in finding form rather than making it. I think the clues to creating more fair, positive, and productive environments lie in the traces of everyday life. This includes the patterns of our environment and our behavior, which can be described as data. But this is not to say I do not have a design voice.

I trust my intuition to lead me to those intersections of environmental and human behavior and seek leverage points that may not be typical or binary. I believe in risk as a design principle that should be embraced for its productive potential and analyzed and hedged to limit negative impacts.

I have an entrepreneurial spirit. I take issue with the role of architecture as a primary servant of rich people and corporations. In five years, I plan to have started a design-build-development company that focuses on highly local interventions producing alternative typologies. I had the same goal 10 years ago, but here I am still working to gain the skills, knowledge, and experience to make that possible. It is apparent that there may be other avenues to bring this dream to fruition. It remains my goal and vision for the next five years, and I have learned to gain satisfaction in the process of getting there.

"I trust my intuition to lead me to those intersections of environmental and human behavior and seek leverage points that may not be typical or binary. I believe in risk as a design principle that should be embraced for its productive potential and analyzed and hedged to limit negative impacts."

Check out Matthew's website here

Archslate: What is your most favorite project in your portfolio and why:

Matthew Morgan: My favorite project was the design of an autonomous city. We began with neighborhoods in which we could control/code the growth and then began forming strategic alliances and mergers with the neighborhoods of other students. My neighborhood housed a waste collection and repurposing center designed to create local circular economies.

After merging, our team produced a city manual to elucidate the goals, metrics, and strategies that defined our city in addition to an accompanying propaganda video. Rather than using animation software, our group chose a hand-crafted aesthetic to convey an idealized "day in the life" of our city. The construction of that set and story was the most fun I have had in school or at work.

Archslate: When searching for internships or jobs, what are you looking for?

Matthew Morgan: I seek a firm where people are treated with respect. A space where people respect each other's time and goals while working together to resolve challenges. Beyond professional relationships, I think a firm's work should show respect to the environment and to the people who inhabit it. I want to work in a firm where the projects have an impact on communities and where new tools are embraced and developed to achieve these goals.

Surface City; Day in the Life by Matthew Morgan

Archslate: Which firms do you admire the most that make it to your list of ‘Dream job’

Matthew Morgan: Beyond the form/light masters such as Peter Zumthor, Renzo Piano, and Frank Gehry, the first firm I admired was SHoP Architects because of their emphasis on multidisciplinary processes and its role in defining design problems as business problems. I am currently fascinated by the work of KPF's urban interface team and Sidewalk Labs who use data analysis and developing software as new tools and methods for measuring the impact of buildings on people, cities, and the environment.

In addition to these types of firms, I also admire speculative and unbuilt work produced to test alternative visions of the future. For this reason, I love Terreform and the work of the late Michael Sorkin.

"I seek a firm where people are treated with respect. A space where people respect each other's time and goals while working together to resolve challenges. Beyond professional relationships, I think a firm's work should show respect to the environment and to the people who inhabit it." - Matthew Morgan

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