Director of Sustainability Allison McKenzie is an authority on sustainable architecture and design in the Cincinnati region and beyond. As an architect, she enjoys the unique challenges and problem-solving skills involved in planning facilities that are sustainable environmentally and financially.
What is your favorite thing about your role at SHP?
I love that I do something different every day. Functioning as a project manager on some projects, project architect on several, and director of sustainability on most of our projects brings an extreme amount of diversity in both the type of work that I do and the clients I get to meet and work with. Additionally, I typically have projects in all phases from the beginning of design to nearing construction completion, so I get to experience different project milestones regularly.
What originally attracted you to the industry?
I can’t actually remember making a conscious decision to become an architect. it just seemed like a given in my life that I was working toward. Rationally reflecting, I think architecture is simply the perfect blend of problem solving, creativity and making a difference in people’s lives for me.
If you had to pick a favorite project, what building would you choose and why?
This is such a hard question, because I look back fondly on aspects of all of them, and I really just can’t choose. All of them have been incredibly meaningful in different ways. I choked up at the dedication of the tiny Habitat for Humanity House I designed back in 2010 because it made such an impact on the family it made homeowners. I walked into the new Oxford Lane Library a few years back in awe of some of the beautiful details our team was able to design and include. My passion for architecture and its impact on an entire community was renewed when I walked into our newly opened renovation of Berry Intermediate in Lebanon a year ago and heard community members young and old exclaiming what an excellent job had been done preserving a community landmark and preparing it for the future. Currently, I reflect every day on the positive impact the new Winton Woods Schools we are working on will make on generations of students to come.
When you’re not working, what are some of your favorite things to do?
I have a real problem sitting still for too long. When I’m not working, you’ll likely find me quilting, sewing, doing paint by numbers or walking my dog Guinness (or dressing him up in sweaters… he loves sweaters. Seriously.). My husband and I are also avid travelers with recent trips to most of the Baltic Capitals and Iceland. Finally, if it’s Fall, you can find us at (or tailgating before) UC football games.