2021 Young Architect Award Recipient
Emerging talent deserves recognition. The AIA Young Architects Award honors individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers.
Equal parts pragmatic and visionary, the contributions Danielle McDonough, AIA, has made to advancing the profession reverberate through a number of organizations. From her days as a student to the dawning of her professional career, McDonough has a deft ability to guide mission-driven organizations as they strive to implement effective change.
McDonough is an associate at CambridgeSeven, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she has worked closely with organizations such as the Museum of Science, Boston and The Foundry nonprofit from design through construction.
"An adept consensus builder, accomplished change agent, and fearless in the face of challenges, Danielle McDonough has already achieved much in her career"
She was the project architect for WBUR CitySpace, also in Boston, overseeing the 10,000-square-foot renovation of a 1920s building that has boosted the radio station’s reach. By upending traditional radio broadcast programming through its new $10 million live studio and performance space, the station has been positioned as the “heart of conversation” in the city. Throughout the project, McDonough worked closely with the station’s fundraising and programming teams as WBUR embarked on the largest capital campaign in its history.
“She built on her previous project architect roles to bring together a scope that involved not only a renovation of an existing building with many unknowns, but the added technical difficulty of a recording studio and performance space within it,” wrote Ruthie Kuhlman, an associate at RODE Architects, in support of McDonough’s nomination for the Young Architect Award. “The success of CitySpace—and its impact on WBUR and the city of Boston is a testament to Danielle’s ability to bring people together to focus on both the mission of the overall project as well as the detail design.”
While studying at Northeastern University, McDonough sought to amplify student voices and connected with the AIAS chapter at the university. As a sophomore, she served as the AIAS Northeast quadrant director from 2006 to 2007 and, three years later, she served a term as the organization’s national vice president. In this role, McDonough navigated a significant shift in the organization’s executive leadership while operating one of the largest annual conferences in its history.
After attaining licensure, McDonough began serving as an adjunct studio instructor at Boston Architectural College, which, unlike the city’s other architecture programs, largely serves nontraditional, working students. She was instrumental in crafting an online master’s studio, a course that has allowed her to engage with students as they pursue their degree while maintaining the traditional studio experience and the collaboration and camaraderie that comes with it. McDonough’s experience with distance learning has provided critical insight on how architectural education could potentially reach a much wider population.
McDonough’s service continues today as a member of the AIA Strategic Council and the Strategic Planning Committee. Alongside her fellow thought leaders, she was tasked with developing AIA’s 2021–2025 strategic plan, which seeks to transform AIA into a more outward-focused organization that is more proactive in the society where architects practice. In her immediate community, McDonough has served on the Boston Society of Architects’ membership committee, where she created a series of workshops that addressed the state of architectural practice and offered a forum for dialogue on issues such as compensation and new business models.
“An adept consensus builder, accomplished change agent, and fearless in the face of challenges, Danielle McDonough has already achieved much in her career,” wrote RK Stewart, FAIA, Principal, RK Stewart Consultants of McDonough. “She has also demonstrated her potential to continue to achieve much more as a leader of our profession and in her community.”