In Their Natural Habitat – Morgan Lanigan
Morgan and I go way back.
Back in 2011 he mentioned that he wanted to get involved with Saint John Cut – of course I happily added him to my roster.
In 2012 he ran for Saint John Common Council and I got to know him on another level.
Now here we are in 2013. He’s participated in 3 Saint John Cut events and has just started a new job with ACRE Architects in Uptown Saint John. He’s a true community builder and I’m happy that we have him in Saint John.
Keeping with the theme of creatives living and working in Saint John – Here’s Case No. 11.
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Hi Morgan! Tell me about yourself and what you do.
Hi Barb! Who I am and what I do depends somewhat on the time of the day and the day of the week!
By day, I am a Senior Architectural Technologist and the newest recruit at Acre Architects, an award-winning modern architecture firm headquartered here in beautiful (if historically conservative) Saint John, NB. Not many people care to know the difference between an architect and an architectural technologist but, simply put, an architect develops the grand project vision while I break it down into pieces, figure out technical components of how to execute it and keep it dry, then communicate the vision and technical challenges through drawings to a contractor to make sure it is built according to the architect’s vision.
I share my evenings among several volunteer gigs, from serving as Chairman of the City’s Planning Advisory Committee and of the recently created Strategic Urban Partnership for the Greater Saint John region as well as CEO’ing ft2 Group Inc., the real estate development company I co-founded in the past year with my two business partners. I’m really excited by our latest acquisition, the old Adanac Club Building at 22 Canterbury Street, and I’m currently in the process of hatching plans for its major makeover into a mixed-use building on one of the best blocks in the city. Stay tuned for more details!
What is the main function of your work?
With every project, whether it be architecture or real estate development, the main function of my work is to make cities better and, in particular, Saint John. At Acre, we’re busy challenging norms and pushing the boundaries of architecture in an attempt to show that we can move beyond the nostalgia of 19th century architecture to create a new, authentic identity reflective of our present. With ft2 Group we’re planning projects that underscore modern urban lifestyles, bring life back to amazing vacant buildings, and revitalize our dense inner-city areas to create a sustainable future. I’m happy to say that we’re making significant progress on both fronts.
Who is your typical client?
Architecture is about a creative process and a unique opportunity to explore new ideas that emphasizes craftsmanship, functionality, and artistic expression (after all, it doesn’t take 6 years of university, 7 registration exams, and some 5600 hours of qualified on-the-job training to just pick a plan out of a supermarket magazine). Our typical clients tend to be people who know that one size doesn’t necessarily fit all, want a customized solution to their every want and need, and enjoy participating in the creative process. Our clients generally come to us with a challenge, not an answer; it is our job, with their help, to unravel the solution that is wrapped up in the riddle.
What is the coolest thing to have happened to you in the past year?
I’m very grateful to have had a pretty fantastic and eventful year so far — among many other things, I recently joined one of Canada’s top architecture firms, I realized a long-held dream of starting a real estate development company, bought a fantastic property on Canterbury Street with endless redevelopment potential, and — hot off the press! — was just nominated as one 21inc.’s Top 50 Emerging Leaders in Atlantic Canada. Mind you, none of this comes without a lot of hard work and help from the hundreds of friends and family who support me every day, but it is incredibly rewarding to succeed at the goals we set for ourselves. And with still 3 months left in 2013, who knows what else might be around the corner!
What’s a typical day like for you?
I am your classic overachiever which means that I am always working. Always. After a full 9-to-5 work day at Acre, I’m usually off to a meeting or two for one of the dozens of committees that I serve on, come home to make dinner for my wife, followed by some business planning or hands-on renovating for ft2 Group, and I normally wrap up the night by brainstorming ways to make Saint John better, such as my current plan to revitalize Main Street. There’s no rest for the weary! Did I mention that I’m also renovating my century-old home on Douglas Avenue at the same time?
How can people stay in touch?
I love discussing great ideas about architecture, urban design, and Saint John with like-minded people so hit me up if you’re interested. I’m in love with Twitter, I’m brand new to Instagram (@laniganm), and I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com — drop me a line!
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