Meg Graham is a licensed architect and Principal at superkül. Recognized as a leading Canadian design practice, superkül’s commitment to design excellence has resulted in numerous awards and the extensive publication of the practice’s work both locally and abroad.
Since 2001, Meg has taught design at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, and been a visiting lecturer and critic at architecture schools across Canada and the United States. An articulate communicator and advocate for design, Meg is a past chair of the Toronto Society of Architects, a member of the City of Toronto Design Review Panel, the Board of Directors of the University of Toronto Schools and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design alumni council.
Meg received her professional degree from the University of Waterloo, winning the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal in her thesis year. She holds a postgraduate degree from Harvard. In 2015 she was made a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.
Balance – How do you strike a balance between life/work?
I never think about balance, because it’s a conceit. That may be because my work, practice and family are equally-weighted passions for me – with the caveat that family always comes first. I tend to live in a more intuitive way, doing whatever I am doing at the moment as well as I can. To paraphrase Madonna, I am driven by a horrible fear of being mediocre. I am constantly looking to push the envelope on what we do, what I do. The different things I do feed each other, keep me moving forward. I can’t imagine life without them, in ‘balance’ or not.
Evolution – How do you see the profession evolving?
We are in a period where the image of architecture is more important than its durability or, you could argue, its function. Conversely, our local and global communities are in great need of innovative and diligent architects and design professionals who have the stamina and vision to enable the creation of responsive and durable buildings and environments. They are in surprisingly short supply. I don’t know how the profession will evolve, but until that evolution strikes me between the eyes we will have our hands full designing buildings that are thoughtful, site specific -- and grounded in the idea that architecture is not disposable -- but a key player in achieving a sustainable and equitable future for our cities and communities.
Advice- Share a memorable piece of advice you have received from a mentor or a friend (please say who)?
Marianne McKenna, paraphrased: there isn’t one kind of architect, there isn’t a mold. Recognize your strengths and interests and pursue them.
Trajectory – In your career path, what critical steps helped you to achieve your current position?
Architecture requires great patience and a thick skin – it can take years to build a building and it can be a tough slog. This is true for men and women alike. I chose my battles carefully, and focused on those aspects of my profession to which I was naturally inclined -- and worked, over years, to become very good at them. Importantly, the places I worked were incredibly supportive of men and women both. The trick is to stick with it, trust your instincts, have great patience and craft your future – it doesn’t get handed to you.