BAC Alumna Embraces Hands-On Side of Architecture

Megan Lorenz ’14 Designs and Constructs Lockers for Local Shelter

Megan Lorenz building lockers for Y2Y Harvard Square. Photo courtesy of Megan.

Megan Lorenz working in the shop. Photo courtesy of Megan.

After graduating from The Boston Architectural College, Megan Lorenz, M.Arch '14, decided to embrace the hands-on side of the architecture field and pursue a career in woodworking. Shortly after commencement, Megan brought this aspiration to reality and landed a job at Kenyon Woodworking, where she initially spent most of her time sanding and learning the tricks of the trade. After some time observing her skilled coworkers and growing as a woodworker herself, Megan is now managing her own projects, constructing kitchens, built-ins, furniture, and more. Her education in architecture and her background with hands-on projects have given her a unique perspective on the design and detailing of fine woodworking.

It was during her time at the BAC that Megan discovered her passion for hands-on construction. She participated in several Gateway projects that required and improved this skill, most notably the Chinatown Library Furniture project.

"I've always enjoyed building things, but being involved with the Chinatown Library Furniture Gateway really solidified for me that construction was where I needed to be," explained Megan. "It is also evident to me daily how much the rigorous curriculum of the BAC has helped me. We learned problem solving, organization, and time management—those are the most valuable things I carry with me."

Megan, who is detail-orientated and brings creativity to all of her projects, is thrilled to have found a career path that allows her to pursue her passion of construction. A memorable project she recently worked on was Y2Y Harvard Square, a shelter serving a unique homeless demographic: 18- to 24-year-olds. Megan contributed to this project on top of her day job at Kenyon, so it was a true labor of love that required many late evenings. Gail Sullivan, managing principal of Studio G Architects, the firm that led the design of the shelter, asked Megan to assist with designing and constructing modular lockers for the shelter, given her experience constructing millwork at Kenyon. Megan, who had worked with Studio G during her time at the BAC, jumped at the opportunity.

The design for the lockers was based on the donated materials, which were old, solid wood doors that had been reclaimed from a Harvard University building that was under renovation. While a warehouse in Allston served as the construction and storage headquarters, Kenyon Woodworking generously allowed the team to use the shop's tools when needed. Since the lockers were modular, they cut all the parts at the shop and transported them back to the warehouse for assembly, before taking them to the shelter for install at Y2Y Harvard Square. 

"It felt great to see my hard work put into action for such a great cause, and it felt even better to do it with so many amazing people," described Megan. "This is the type of work I live for! I love working at Kenyon Woodworking, where most of our projects are very high-end and extravagant, because of the technical level of skill that those budgets allow for. However, it's also so great to be able to take those skills and apply them to reclaimed, donated materials and to produce something that is going to affect someone's life in a really positive way."

Megan did not stop after the lockers were finished. At that point, the directors of the shelter had put out a call for more skilled labor on the construction of the shelter itself, and Megan eagerly got involved. She ended up leading a project to clad a 50-foot-long concrete block wall in reclaimed wood flooring that was donated to the shelter. It was an opportunity to not only sharpen her own skillset, but to also work with many different passionate volunteers.

"The whole design of Y2Y Harvard Square, conceived by Studio G Architects, creates a warm and safe space for those staying there," concluded Megan. "I feel so thankful that I was able to be a part of it."

Read more about Y2Y in a recent Boston Globe article.