Matt McNicholas


Matt’s passion for restoring architectural ornament and a sense of wonder to contemporary architecture is one of the defining features of MGLM’s approach. With a goal of creating beautiful buildings that stop people in delight, Matt specializes in meticulous decorative details that enrich and bestow honor upon every project.

Matt regularly conceives and executes ornamental and decorative programs and designs for all types of buildings. An expert in the design of all things Art Nouveau and its various branches (e.g. Stile Floreale, Modernisme, Jugendstil, & Secession) he has created thematic content and served extensively as a thematic, decorative, and ornamental consultant for numerous high profile projects. Recently he was responsible for the interior design and detailing of the major spaces in the Paris and Frankfurt Temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and has worked on decorative and ornamental details for nearly a dozen other temples worldwide. A published and awarded artist and designer, Matt has served as guest design critic at Judson University, Andrews University, and the University of Notre Dame—the latter his alma mater, where he received his Bachelor’s of Architecture and Master’s of Architectural Design and Urbanism. He further teaches and lectures on the importance of ornament and architectural detail in the human experience, and holds an executive certificate in Neuroscience for Architecture from the NewSchool of Architecture and Design.

Prior to founding MGLM, Matt played an integral role on a wide variety of projects including the MIPIM award-winning luxury Villa Kennedy Hotel in Frankfurt and the King’s Cross Master Plan for London, England. He currently serves on the Board of Directors and Facilities Committee of the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and serves on the Board of Directors for Fenwick High School, where he also chairs the Facilities Committee. He is an established expert on architectural copyright, routinely producing reports in copyright litigation and he sits on the Education Committee for the Chicago-Midwest Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art. In his “free” time, when he isn’t completing live drawings for auction to benefit scholarships, he is playing on a Master’s water polo team and creating fantastical Lego vehicles with his son.

Art & Science of Ornament
Classical Traditions Conference, Salt Lake City, UT 2014
ICAA Chicago-Midwest Chapter, Chicago, IL 2016
ICAA Utah Chapter, Salt Lake City, UT 2016
ICAA Ohio Lake Erie Chapter, Cleveland, OH 2017
ICAA New York Chapter, New York City, NY 2017
Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, IL 2018

Art & Science of Ornament Part II
ICAA Utah Chapter, Salt Lake City, UT 2018

Tabernacle of the Iron Horse: Meaning and Symbolism in Train Stations
Midwest High Speed Rail Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL 2019

Architectural Ornament: The Details of Well-Being by Design
Traditional Building Conference, Oak Park, IL 2018

Art & Science of Ornament: Why the Details Matter
ICAA Chicago-Midwest Chapter, Chicago, IL 2018

Orientation, Legibility, and the Mantle of the ‘Other’
Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture Conference, La Jolla, CA 2018

Merging the Practical and the Symbolic in Train Stations
Congress for New Urbanism, Detroit, MI 2016