Dutch MacDonald, AIA

Get to know the 2013 Chapter President

By Posted on January 15, 2013

w-DutchName: Dutch MacDonald, AIA
Firm: MAYA Design
Family: Wife: Becky Mingo; 3 Children: Max, Toby, and Atticus
Years in practice: 22
Education: BArch Carnegie Mellon University
Your first job: Paperboy. I traveled about 4 miles roundtrip everyday to deliver 22 papers!
Project you’re proudest of: The many loft buildings Downtown and in the Strip that were catalysts for revitalize housing in those areas.
What’s the best part of your job? Looking deeply at the intersection of technology, people, and environments.
What have you always wanted to tell your clients? Don’t short change the design process. It is much more cost-effective to design the right thing in a prototype (design/model) then course-correct while under construction.
What’s the most annoying thing architects do? Come to the table with pre-conceived notions about their clients’ needs.
What’s the next big architectural trend? Building as generators of intrinsic data that can be used to improve both performance and delight.
Advice to young architects: Don’t be afraid of non-traditional careers or career paths. Find your passion and excel in it. Architectural practice gives you a base to use design in solving complex problems.
Favorite outdoor space in Pittsburgh: A tie – Schenley Plaza and Market Square. The redesign of both has brought new life and commerce to these urban spaces.
Favorite indoor space in Pittsburgh: The lobby of the Fairmount Hotel with its grand stair. It is the equivalent of the grand lobbies of the early 1900s, but with the ornament coming from the facades of the building across Fifth Avenue.
Building you’d like to tear down: Although an easy target, the Allegheny County Jail, for the sole reason that it is an inappropriate use of prime riverfront.
Wish list for downtown Pittsburgh: A modern rapid transit system that allows people to easily traverse the city for work and play.
Wish list for downtown America: A modern rapid transit system that allows people to easily traverse the country for work and play.
Where you live in Pittsburgh and why you think it’s great? Friendship. It is a virtually intact colonial revival neighborhood almost entirely built over a span of a decade, and it is in walking distance of 5 great neighborhood shopping districts.
Best gift to give an architect: A paid sabbatical to explore the great cities of the world.
People would be surprised to know that: For most of my childhood I lived in a mobile home on my grandparents’ rural property. (I guess that’s why I like urban sliver buildings and shotgun houses!)
Favorite Kennywood ride: The is no finer coaster than the Thunderbolt.
I belong to the AIA because: It allows me to stay connected to my colleagues in the profession and contribute to the ongoing evolution of the practice.

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