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Full name

Ben McGhee

Title

West Coast Design Manager

Location

Seattle, WA

Blurb

freakitecture.com is the personal portfolio of an almost architect.

Biography

I decided I wanted to be an architect at the age of 8, since then, I've been working on it. After graduating at the top of my class from Ball State, I worked for several years in Indianapolis. My first position was with a small firm, it kept me busy with all aspects of architectural practice. My next position gave me the opportunity to work on larger scale projects and to fulfill positions as both project designer and project manager.

After just over three years of working, I decided to return to school, but I wanted to get a bit more out of the experience than simply a degree. My wife and I sold our house and moved to the Netherlands, an experience in itself but one that also gave me the opportunity to study at the third best architectural school in the world, TU Delft. While tough, the program was fantastic, as was the experience of living abroad.

With my wife receiving an offer to work for GGN in Seattle, we have relocated to the great Pacific Northwest. After a short stint working on some sweet stuff at ZGF (Zimmer Gunsul Frasca), I've taken a turn towards the development side of creating great design and am now the West Coast Design Manager for citizenM.

Alongside work, I have kept actively engaged with the local community, both architectural and otherwise: leading the Young Architects Forum, serving as the Public Relations Director of the Indianapolis AIA, participating in neighborhood meetings and design charrettes, and giving back through pro-bono design and urban investment. While in Delft I was a board member of ARGUS, the Architecture Master's Student Association, a demanding post that kept me engaged with students from all cultures. I'm looking forward to continuing these types of extracurriculars here in Seattle... so long as it doesn't eat too much into my hiking and kayaking time.

Experience

West Coast Design Manager

citizenM Hotels

Seattle, WA · May 2017 – Present

Having long been interested in the development side of architecture, I’ve started on a tangential path and will be leading the design management of citizenM’s West Coast expansion. In short, I’ll be working to ensure that our new hotels are just as awesome as our existing hotels.

Architectural Designer

Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects

Seattle, WA · December 2016 – April 2017

Had a great (albeit short) time working on a 1,200,000 sqft development for Vulcan while at ZGF.

Graduate Architect

Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf

Indianapolis, IN · 2012 – 2014

Architectural designer for a large quantity and variety of projects. Design architect of several projects, including a 450 unit urban apartment complex. Also fulfilled roles as project manager.

Graduate Architect

A3design

Indianapolis, IN · 2011 – 2012

Involved in all phases of the architectural process within a small architectural firm. Most projects were in the residential sector, from kitchen renovations to $30 million mixed-use developments. Majority of time spent developing schematic designs, creating presentation material and drafting CDs.

Education

MSc Architecture

TU Delft

Delft, Netherlands · 2014 – 2016

MSc Architecture within the Chair of Methods and Analysis at TU Delft, the Netherlands. Graduation thesis was a study of the commons, particularly in relation to the South American condition. Ranked third in the world, TU Delft’s rigorous architecture program places equal focus on theoretical and technical aspects. Studied under Kees Kaan, Tom Avermaete, Klaske Havik, Jorge Mejia Hernandez, Michiel Riedijk, and others.

BSc Architecture

Ball State University

Muncie, IN · 2007 – 2011

BSc in Architecture. Magna Cum Laude. Received the Henry Adams Medal of Honor for graduating at the top of my class. Presidential Scholar and Honors College graduate.

Elsewhere
Skills

AutoCAD, Sketchup, Revit, V-ray, Rhino, InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator

Specialties

Conceptual Design, Residential Design, Commercial Design, Custom Detailing, Physical Models, Public Presentations

Awards
2012 Indianapolis Service Award , AIA Indianpolis
For the creation and implementation of the 1x20 gallery show
2011 Henry Adams Medal of Honor , AIA
Ball State’s highest ranked graduate, class of 2011
2011 Award of Merit, Best and Brightest , College of Architecture and Planning