We are in pursuit of exceptional design with a powerful narrative. We are veterans to built-form who remain young at heart through pursuit of practice. We’re inclusive, inquisitive, generous of spirit and aspire to clients, consultants, and collaborators of the same mien. As catalysts and synthesizers, we thrive in conversation.
We work projects bottom-up and top-down. With the expertise to provide full architectural and interior design services from conceptualization to contract administration and commissioning, we are problem solvers who understand the value of limits.
We come to architecture from the fine and performing arts. We command the technologies of representation and production both of our generation and of our children’s. We work at varied scales and when possible, with our hands. We engage in careful craft.
WORKING GROUP 1 FOUNDER & PRINCIPAL
Melissa comes to the field of architecture with a background in the fine and performing arts. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College in 1988 with a focus in both fields, Melissa received a Master of Architecture degree in 1994 from the University of Illinois at Chicago, her studies garnering awards from the Environmental Design Research Association, the National Organization for Women, the Pratt Institute, and the Graham Foundation.For the past twenty-seven years, Melissa’s work has manifested in performing arts, institutional and residential projects, many of which involve the adaptive reuse of existing and historic buildings. All are the product of fruitful collaboration with client, design-colleague, consultant, and construction teams, and each reveals a dedication to artistry and craft.
Notable performing arts projects include the home for Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago’s historic Waterworks, receiving the USITT Award of Merit, the AIA Chicago Design Excellence and the Chicago Building Congress awards; the rehabilitation of a prewar Chicago Public Library for the Old Town School of Folk Music; multiple venues for Manhattan Theatre Club; and a reimagined 600-seat theatre for The Hotchkiss School in Lakeville Connecticut.
Melissa’s focus with her firm Working Group 1, has been on both residential and institutional projects in collaboration with colleagues from New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, for clients across the country.
Melissa was raised in the United States, Europe, and Japan, and calls both New York and the Northwest Hills, home. She believes that great space comes of a powerful narrative.