Elizabeth McNicholas


“The one important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one’s work seriously and taking one’s self seriously. The first is imperative and the second is disastrous.” -Margot Fonteyn

A traveler at heart, Elizabeth—who originally hails from the hills and lakes of Michigan’s Leelenau County—firmly believes there is no greater way to fill one’s mental catalogue of design inspiration than by personally experiencing other civilizations, contexts, and perspectives.

How the built environment can foster social interaction and human wellbeing is one of the main drivers in Elizabeth’s design approach, and she brings a broad range of experiences in civic, ecclesiastical, and residential design and master planning—from wide regional to focused neighborhood contexts—to bear on MGLM’s endeavors. Prior to co-founding MGLM Architects, she contributed to the design of such significant projects as the United States Supreme Court Bookstore in Washington, D.C. and the King’s Cross Master Plan in London.

Elizabeth earned her Bachelor’s of Architecture and Master’s of Architectural Design and Urbanism degrees at the University of Notre Dame, and she holds an executive certificate in Neuroscience for Architecture from the NewSchool of Architecture and Design. She currently serves as a Director and the Chair of the Education Committee for the Chicago-Midwest Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA), and previously chaired the organization’s Finance Committee. Elizabeth is a licensed real estate broker, interior designer, and director of MGLM’s daily operations. She requires a healthy dose of yoga to counterbalance her Type-A tendencies.