Mackenzie, born and raised in Olympia, Washington, likes to say that architecture chose her. She became inspired in an industrial engineering class in college. Mackenzie realized she had been drawing houses since she was 8 years old. She earned her B.A. in Architectural Studies at the University of Washington. She then earned her Master of Architecture, Concentration in Neuroscience for Architecture, High Distinction, at NewSchool of Architecture & Design (NSAD). During her master’s degree studies, Mackenzie was awarded the school’s Board of Directors Scholarship, and its President’s Award Scholarship. While at NewSchool, she received one of the two American Institute of Architects (AIA) San Diego Design Awards in the Student Design category for her thesis project regarding school environments and childhood creativity.
She moved to San Diego in 2016. After she moved to San Diego, she started volunteering for the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture’s conference. She has served as ACE Mentor in both Seattle and San Diego, and still works with a student group from San Diego’s Hoover High School. In Seattle, she was the co-leader and architect mentor for a Seattle team. ACE students, paired with professionals in the architecture, construction, and engineering fields, learn the day-to-day tasks of a planning or building project through hands-on experience. Through her current work with ACE Mentors, Mackenzie plans and organizes lessons, secures speakers, gives lectures, outlines projects, and organizes other mentors.
Mackenzie is the published author of “Learning Environments for Creativity.” In her book, she provides designers, educators, school administrators and the community with evidence-based principles and strategies for designing spaces that support student engagement, and nurture learning and creativity. Her book has been translated into Spanish and distributed throughout Mexico.
In the immediate future, Mackenzie plans to expand her professional certifications and earn her architectural license. Long term she intends to continue designing spaces that encourage creativity as well as educate people about the role the physical environment has on creativity and well-being. She strives to bridge research, education and design in her work and believes high impact, positive change is possible in a collaborative environment where all voices are heard.
At Platt/Whitelaw, Mackenzie’s responsibilities include project management from schematic design through construction documents, as well as coordination with clients, consultants, and agencies. Mackenzie also oversees construction services – including fielding questions during the construction bid process through construction administration once the builder is selected. Her contributions to Platt/Whitelaw make her an important member of the team.
In her spare time, she likes to get her hands dirty with all kinds of crafts, from sewing, pottery and furniture making, to just about anything else that piques her curiosity. She also enjoys hiking and traveling to new places (anywhere from secluded natural environments to busy cities).