Elizabeth McNicholas


MGLM Architects’ Principal “Beauty-Maker,” Elizabeth, lived much of her early adulthood coping with chronic illness – even spending a full year in a harrowing tangle with Stage IV cancer. Having methodically rebuilt her health, Elizabeth’s sensitivities and experiences have given her distinct insights into the impact of the built environment on both human well-being and its opposite: stress. She and her husband and partner, Matt, have presented widely on the subject in recent years.

Professionally, Elizabeth 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 cut her teeth on the designs of such significant projects as the United States Supreme Court Bookstore in Washington, D.C. and the King’s Cross Master Plan in London. She was privileged to work and study directly with her favorite architect-heroes, Demetri Porphyrios and Leon Krier, early in her career.

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 for the Chicago-Midwest Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA), and previously chaired the organization’s Education and Finance Committees. She has enjoyed multiple stints studying and working in the finest cities of Europe, though these days most delights in doting on her young son at home in Chicago.