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CYNTHIA SHONAIYA

Hord Coplan Macht

SAY IT LOUD - MARYLAND Exhibitor
Maryland Based Designer

Who or what inspires you professionally?

My passion is working with youth-encouraging & mentoring the next generation of architects, especially those from underrepresented communities. For 16 years I have led our Student Engagement Comm where HCMers mentor students from KG through college.

CYNTHIA SHONAIYA

Bio:

The great architect, Cindy Shonaiya is a Principal with Hord Coplan Macht, a 280-person planning, architecture, landscape architecture, and interior design firm based in Baltimore, Maryland. She joined the firm in 2001, became a partner in 2011, and serves on the firm’s Board of Directors. Cindy has 30 years of professional experience spanning three continents. Cindy’s passion is to motivate and mentor the next generation of architects. She leads HCM’s Student Engagement Committee.

How did you first learn about architecture and when did you decide that built environment profession was an area of interest for you?

Like many Nigerian parents, mine hoped I would become doctor, but an older cousin advised 13-year-old artistic me ‘Be an architect instead. I wish I was’. And since children pay more attention to cool cousins than to parents, architecture it was!

What do you do?

I am an Architect. I always start with that simple statement, because there are so few Black female architects in the US that often people haven’t seen one before. We are like unicorns. So it’s important to let people know we do exist.

What excites you in the work you do?

My design focus is on spaces and communities for the vulnerable in our society - the poor and the elderly- and I am able to see how these environments have a positive impact on their lives. This is what makes the work I do meaningful.

Who or what inspires you professionally?

My passion is working with youth-encouraging & mentoring the next generation of architects, especially those from underrepresented communities. For 16 years I have led our Student Engagement Comm where HCMers mentor students from KG through college.

 

What is your proudest professional accomplishment or achievement?

Leading the HCM team that won the AIA Design for Aging Merit Award in 2017 for the Brightview Woodmont project. Not only for the national recognition but also for the success it had in the community and in integrating seniors into the urban fabric.

Featured Project Name: 

Brightview Woodmont

Featured Project Location: 

Bethesda, Maryland

 

Featured Project Completion Date: 

2018

Role in Featured Project: 

Principal in Charge

 

Featured Project Description:

Demand for traditional suburban, gated retirement communities is fading in favor of more urban, walkable areas. The 113-unit building strives to fit every service found in a traditional retirement home into a more compact space. The eight-story facility also features a rooftop deck with views of the Washington D.C. skyline. Our design team thoughtfully conceived to place the different community uses, including transportation services and the memory care suite, at their optimum locations.

Photography Credit:

Max Kun Zhang IRIS22 Productions LLC