Staff Spotlight: Maria Meza

Staff Spotlight: Maria Meza

Meet Maria Meza, Curran’s newest team member. Maria studied architecture at both Ball State University and Indiana University, where she was one of the first students to participate in the J. Irwin Miller Architecture Program. These days, she uses her skills to (literally) build community. Read on to learn more about Maria, her volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity, and her mad AutoCAD skills. 


Where are you from? What initially drew you to architecture? 

I’m originally from the northern coast of Colombia. I came to the U.S. when I was 17 and went to high school here for one year. I got my associate degree from Ivy Tech after that, then went to Ball State for architecture. I’ve always been creative, and when it comes to architecture, you have to have an artistic mindset. Also, I’m very good at math. Anyway, after working for a few years, I decided to go to Indiana University for their Master of Architecture program. It was brand new at the time, and I was part of the first class to be a part of it. 


What do you like about Curran? 

I’m drawn to smaller firms, ones that are more relaxed and less corporate. I also really enjoy working for firms that do a little bit of everything, that don’t specialize in something specific. Having different types of projects gives me the opportunity to always learn something new.


It’s great that you have such a diverse portfolio. Are there any types of projects you particularly enjoy?

I really like fire stations. Firefighters are great clients, too, and the buildings themselves can be similar to industrial projects. For example, imagine an electric company—they need an office area for people to come in, but they also have to store all their trucks. Fire stations are like that, too. It’s this combination of office and garage. 


Outside of work, what do you like to do? 

I do a lot of plein air painting, which is when you paint outside. You observe, watch, and draw what’s in front of you. I’m also really active: I boulder, I do yoga, I snowboard. I also like to rollerblade and ice skate. I also volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. I really enjoy working with volunteers and helping them through the home-building process, including how to install windows and put in doors and things like that. 


Based on your volunteer work and your fire station design work, it sounds like you value civic- and community-based projects.
Yes. As an architect, I like making an impact in the community I live in. I want to provide buildings that create a physical space for a community, as well as a sense of community.


Do you think those values come up when your family, friends, and colleagues describe you? 

I do think my coworkers would describe me as a team player. I like to help people—clients, coworkers, friends, and family members. If they have any problems, I’m always there for them. If someone seems to have too much stress or is feeling pressured, I like to be there and offer to help them with something.


What’s something else you’re really good at? 

This might sound weird, but I’m really good at architecture software. For me, you can draw a line in Illustrator or InDesign or Photoshop just as easily as you can with a pen and paper. It’s the same with CAD software—AutoCAD, SketchUp—they’re relatable and easy to navigate. Even if I’ve never touched a certain software before, I’m not intimidated by it. 


What do you find most rewarding about being an architect? 

There’s just something about drawing a building on paper and then seeing it be built. It’s exciting and fascinating and mind-blowing that I can walk inside a building that I drew. Seeing something that was in my mind come to life, exactly how I pictured it, is surreal and rewarding.

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