Christina Dukes  on   Nov 29, 2021

Meet Maggie Willse

Margaret Willse launched her architectural career last May when she graduated from the University of Notre Dame, and if she’s any indication of the next generation of architects; the future is looking bright. Like other Gen Zers, Margaret is inspired by changemakers. In a field historically dominated by men, Margaret looks up to women who have made a name for themselves in the industry. She’s also motivated by architects who build for the better of society. In her words, “I’m passionate about making places for people and making places better for people.” So far, she’s using her craft and her voice to do just that. 
Right out of the gate at BBA, Ms. Willse was put on a historic home project in Woodlawn, near the University of Chicago [link to project details here]. The project involved renovating the inside of the home and doing an addition.  Her role involved a site visit where she took measurements and then drafted original drawings to new scale in a digitized plan. The renovation is rooted in traditional architecture while the addition to the home is more modern. For Margaret, it’s been amazing seeing this project come to life.  She studied traditional architecture in school and has the utmost respect for preserving the historic nature of a home while enhancing the space. She loves bringing together the new and the old. Projects like this are only one of the reasons she’s thrilled to be working at BBA. 
“The best part about working at BBA is the culture,” she tells me, “The culture and the people. It’s clear everyone enjoys working here and producing quality work for our customers. It’s been great to be part of the team. Everyone strives to do their best work and is free to ask questions and bring concerns to the table. We have weekly team meetings and also have done team outings. It feels like so much more than a regular 9-5.” 
Margaret also appreciates the autonomy she’s been given, even as a new college graduate. “Something I learned in school was that everyone is still learning. Just because I’m 23 and new to the profession doesn’t mean I don’t have good ideas. In architecture, perspective is everything and sometimes having a new perspective or new set of eyes on a project can make all the difference,” she reflects. 
This perspective fits the open culture of BBA perfectly. “Your ideas and thoughts and instincts can still be important and helpful. It’s a creative field. You can’t think that your ideas aren’t important just because of your age or experience,” she explains to me.
Ms. Willse is at no loss for ideas. She studied in Rome and got to see some of the most impactful buildings in the world, she finds inspiration on the treelined streets of Chicago neighborhoods, and she has another architect in her own family. This blend of experience is part of what makes her a good architect. She knows how to utilize her background and her skills. In her words, “Architecture balances practicality with creativity.” Margaret was always interested in art growing up, but she wasn’t sure how to translate her passion into a career. Now, as an adult, she’s thrilled to have found her dream job and can’t wait for all the opportunities ahead.