Coffee & Conversations: Megan Paris Colfer, AIA, GGP

Back to News

As a licensed architect and certified Green Globe Professional, Megan uses her skills to collaborate with a variety of clients to visualize and create sustainable spaces together. When chatting over coffee, we learned how community has become a theme throughout her career.

What about architecture gets you out of bed Monday through Friday?
I think architects and designers have a large responsibility to shape the built environment in their own communities. Some architecture students have dreams of going to New York or Dubai, but I want to impact the lives where my family and friends live. We don’t often think about all the daily spaces we move through that are designed to enhance our lives.

Was there a pivotal moment in your life that inspired you to get into this industry?
Growing up, my grandparents lived in rural Tennessee. There were so many structures, homes, and main streets that were empty—but I could see so much potential. Their languished state seemed like such a tragedy to me, so I wanted to learn everything I could about putting buildings back together and giving them new life.

What has your professional journey been like since then?
I spent the first decade of my career deciding where to set down roots with my spouse—starting in Tennessee, then South Carolina, and ultimately Raleigh—so I had the opportunity to work at several different architectural firms during that time. With that unique experience, I was exposed to a wide range of personalities, best practices, and business approaches, which has helped shape how I approach career relationships, goals, and motivations.

What’s a recent project or role that you’ve enjoyed?
In the last few months, I’ve really enjoyed taking a more active role in mentoring younger colleagues who are going through the licensure process—providing them support, resources for studying, and an understanding of being in their shoes not too long ago. With so many hurdles to overcome like gaining real-world experience, studying for tests while working full-time and possibly managing a family too, and then actually taking the six exams, my goal is to make their experience a little easier.

What excites you about the future of architecture?
We have a basic responsibility to create a built environment that enhances the health, safety, and welfare of our communities, but it’s also critical that we design more equitable and environmentally-responsible spaces to shape the future. These things will happen as more and more diversity is represented in our field. Sometimes it feels like we’re crawling but, if we keep pushing, I know we’ll see real change.

Last but not least, what is your go-to coffee order?
I usually get overwhelmed at all the options and default to a vanilla latte!