This year marks Maugel Architects’ 25 years of being in business. Recently, HP had the opportunity to sit down with Brent Maugel, founder and president, to discuss the company’s secret to success and what the future holds for this Harvard-based design firm.
HP: Why did you start Maugel, and how were you hoping to differentiate your firm from others?
BM: In the early years of my career, I had the great fortune of working at some of Boston’s premier architectural firms where I learned about business, technology, construction, design, and most importantly, people. I was mentored by pillars in their trade — men and women of great character, vision, purpose, and passion. The great designers all had a magical ability to cut through the noise and clearly see the absolute boldest and best design solution; I think of it as making the Big First Move. I admired that ability to think outside the box and to solve client problems in a unique way.
I started Maugel Architects in 1993 when I saw there was a clear need to streamline the architectural delivery process to better service clients. I remember author Neil Gaiman’s 1993 commencement speech at the University of Art. Neil said to be successful in creative endeavors you need to “create good art, deliver it on time, and be a joy to be around. In fact, you only need two of the three!” We are fortunate to have practiced these simple principles over the years, because today’s clients demand and deserve all three. We also ingrained the creative problem-solving abilities of my mentors by always asking the question: How? As in, how can we bring the client’s vision to the world? How can we maximize the client’s value from the project? And how can we do so in a way that can be exceptional and visionary in every way?
Taking this approach, along with the Big First Move, has been the cornerstone of our success.
HP: After 25 years, what has changed for you?
BM: The profession is always evolving in ways that make every day an adventure. Client needs, building technologies, design tools, delivery systems, and demographics have all changed dramatically since 1993. In the early years, we focused primarily on tenant interiors and façade improvements. Today we have significant expertise in master planning, mixed-use development, healthcare, and life sciences.
The advances in technology have had a major impact on the industry — progressing from the days of pencils and erasers to today’s BIM modeling, virtual reality, and 3D printing. Who knows what new technologies will emerge, but we’re not waiting to find out. Maugel Architects has and will continue to invest heavily in technology and training our designers, so we can provide the best possible services to our clients.
HP: What do you see for Maugel moving forward?
BM: Our mission is to enrich lives through the shaping of exceptional spaces, and that will always be our compass. Our next 25 years will be exciting, showing the client the real experience of structures and spaces before they are built, offering collaborative client-designer partnerships that give the clients new freedoms to fully understand, clearly envision, and successfully execute the buildings of their dreams.
We have reshaped the firm around our people, founding a culture that is welcoming, engaging, and committed to the success of our clients, our staff, and our communities. We have a strong leadership team that takes the long view, anticipating how we and our clients can thrive and grow. I’m proud of their accomplishments and vision, and I’m confident they will strongly lead Maugel Architects into the next 25 years.