SGA Spotlight Series
Throughout the year, Studio G will publish profiles of our staff members to showcase our collaborative team. The following blog post is the first in this series.
Studio G’s Meryl Nistler and Taylor Davidson may be at different points in their architectural careers, but they are working together towards a common goal of bringing to life Studio G’s vision for education design.
Meryl, a registered architect and Senior Project Manager, and Taylor, a Designer, both work in the education studio at Studio G, focusing on K-12 projects.
GETTING STARTED IN ARCHITECTURE
Meryl knew that architecture was in her future from a young age. “When I was a kid, I used to rearrange my room all the time,” she said, adding that her room was “bright yellow.” It was then that she first realized that space and color can impact a person’s mood and “how that can change your day.”
Taylor grew up on a farm in Vermont and became interested in architecture in elementary school. He said he was the first person in his family to veer away from the farming profession and really leaned into art and design as a kid.
Meryl and Taylor are very interested in education design, but each came into it differently.
“I kind of fell into it,” Taylor said. He had been working in high-end residential design, “then I was contacted by a recruiter for a job in Boston for a firm that exclusively does schools.” After his work there, he found his way to Studio G.
“My career has paralleled my life,” Meryl said. “When my kids were younger, I was designing childcare centers. When my kids [reached] school age, I was designing schools.”
Meryl also worked on museum design right out of graduate school, including projects for Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
ROLE AT STUDIO G
“I am going where I’m needed,” Taylor said of his role at Studio G, where he’s worked since July 2022. .” He’s joined the Florence Roche Elementary School design team to help with K-12 marketing and business development efforts. It’s “a lot of design stuff,” he said– “creating diagrams and visual support for projects.”
Meryl has been at Studio G since October 2019. Beyond design and construction projects, she supports business development efforts, like proposals and client engagement, and leads Studio G’s team recruitment process.
SUPPORTING EACH OTHER
When asked about one another, Meryl said of Taylor, “He’s a quick study as far as designing or recognizing restraints and limitations and opportunities on sites.” She added that he is “very adept at understanding space and lighting,” and can “take a canvas and find opportunities to create smart massing.”
Taylor said of Meryl, “I think Meryl kind of embodies the beliefs that Gail espouses for the firm – approaching architecture with a mindfulness and a concern for its greater goal.” He said it has been “very helpful” to work alongside someone who has that mindset.
Prior to coming to Studio G, Meryl had not worked on a project with the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) before, so it was a “new avenue for my career,” she said. “I’m just seeing the grass is pretty green here.”
Meryl added that Gail Sullivan is “the first female leader” she’s had in her career, and Studio G has helped expose her to different opportunities she wouldn’t otherwise have had.
For Taylor, “licensure is the next step” in his career. After taking a break from study and exams, he’s been getting back into it and has three remaining. “That’s my biggest goal for right now,” he said.
When it comes to dream projects, Meryl said that the schools she’s worked on fit that bill.
“You only get one childhood,” she said, and “I really find schools impactful; to make an impact on students through their environment to create a lifelong observation of what’s around them is important.”
Taylor said his dream project is a “school where the budget allows a lot of the things that are brainstormed on the drawing board to come to fruition,” including “lofty ideas about how to improve a child’s or teacher’s experience and community. So many things have to get cut back because of budgetary restrictions.”
Taylor added that Studio G is “a really exciting place to work. Everyone’s really working towards the same goal. A lot of architecture firms can be very competitive or cutthroat, [but] I think this is a place where people support each other and work towards the betterment of our work.”
It’s a “unique culture where it is people-and work-centered with a good work-life balance,” Meryl said, “which is super important to make sure that’s maintained. Everyone’s voice is heard, and opinions are equal. It’s a healthy mind space.”