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Jul 12, 2023

Sindu Maliakal Meier AIA

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Sindu Maliakal Meier

Photo by Paige McWhorter.

Associate Principal, William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc.


BArch, Carnegie Mellon University

Professional or personal website:

When did you first become interested in architecture as a possible career?

In fifth grade, my family visited Washington, DC. We went to each of the Smithsonians and all the monuments. I enjoyed seeing people from across the country and around the world coming to experience our nation’s capital. The buildings and monuments make up so much of that experience.

Who or what deserves credit for your success?

My parents—they pushed me to excel and made many sacrifices for me and my siblings.

What is your favorite Boston-area building or structure?

Boston City Hall and the Federal Reserve Building.

Has your career taken you anywhere you didn’t expect?

I spent five years in Portland, Oregon. One of my first projects in Portland was the Portland International Airport. It is a fun building type that combines multimodal transportation, retail, and the visitor experience.

Which one of your current projects excites you the most?

I am currently working on implementing the Blue Wing Master Plan we developed for the Boston Museum of Science and the South Residential Village at Case Western Reserve University, which includes 600 beds and student amenities for the second-year class. Each institution has an inspired vision to improve their campuses and be leaders in their fields.

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Case Western South Residential.

Image by William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc.

Have you won any award(s) from the BSA or another establishment? What elements from that project would you like to see shape the future of the profession?

Our transformation of the Boston Public Library (BPL) won the Harleston Parker Medal in 2017, and the King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools [in Cambridge] won the BSA Sustainable Design Award and the BSA Design Excellence Honor Award (both in 2020) and the 2023 BSA Harleston Parker People’s Choice Award.

I like staying involved with our clients and watching how they use the building and make it their own. At the BPL, we continue to give tours to architectural students and their professors, and discuss transformative renovation, sustainability, and reimagining the public library. At the King Open, we recently visited the kindergartners to discuss architecture and sustainability using their new school as a case study.

What are some changes that you have implemented at your firm (or for yourself) to address issues of equity in your profession?

Our office has made a conscious effort to cast a wider net and recruit from across the country. We have a strong mentoring program and review process to make sure all staff members have access to opportunities and have a voice in how to grow themselves and the firm.

If you identify as a minority, what are some ways your colleagues could help you feel more empowered at work and as an architect/designer?

I am a female and minority, and I feel it is my responsibility to advocate for myself. I also have great mentors both in the firm and in our Boston community.

What is the most effective step you’ve taken in your work toward a more sustainable built environment?

I am very proud of the work we did at the King Open/Cambridge Street Upper Schools and Community Complex. We recently returned to the building to teach the kindergarten class about architecture and sustainability. The children have a greater baseline understanding of sustainability and their environmental footprint than I did at that age.

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Photo courtesy of William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc., staff

Who do you most enjoy partnering with on a project?

I really enjoy working with our public and institutional clients who have an outsized public impact. It is fun to imagine with them and then realize their vision/goals with our architectural project.

What are you reading right now?

I am reading The Great Gatsby with my daughter.

If you could sum up your outlook on life in a bumper sticker, what would it say?

The transformer sticker and my kids’ schools are the only stickers I would put on my car.