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Portrait of leadership at MBB Architects, a women-owned firm

MBB Leadership, left to right: Sara Grant, Taylor Aikin, Mary Burnham, Jeffrey Murphy, Maricela Salas

MBB Architects is pleased to announce the promotion of architect and planner Sara Grant to partnership in the women-owned firm. Grant, who joined the New York City-based firm in 2004, has distinguished herself as a design leader in her work with educational, cultural, and religious institutions. Grant’s promotion signals the start of an exciting new chapter for MBB Architects, an award-winning firm established in 1998 by Mary Burnham, Jeffrey Murphy, and Harold Buttrick.

Mission-Driven Design Approach

Across her planning and design work, Sara promotes well-being through active design principles and inclusive design strategies. She has proven expertise in developing flexible program and planning frameworks that enable future evolution. Pairing client priorities with data-driven research and design methods, she creates inspiring places that accommodate specific needs. Her commitment to sustainable and equitable design—and to operational efficiency—infuse MBB’s entire studio culture. These values inform her service on the Van Alen Program Leadership Council, the GSAPP Alumni Mentorship Program, and the AIANY Committee on Architecture for Education.

Fostering an Equitable Workplace and Profession

MBB is committed to fostering a diverse and equitable workplace and profession. Through outreach and recruitment, mentorship and
professional advancement, the firm supports the professional development of our diverse team. This includes cultivating the next generation of women leaders and top women architects, who historically have faced obstacles in advancing to executive positions. Reflecting the firm’s WBE status, the 30-person team includes 56% women, 44% people of color and 30% LGBTQ. The firm’s equitable ethos extends to the communities with which it works—actively seeking and listening to diverse users and stakeholders to build consensus for action. All of the firm’s partners and its senior staff participate in civic leadership initiatives through nonprofits and public agencies.

Building Consensus for Inclusive Design

The firm’s new partner is a leader in inclusive design. With her inclusive, evidence-based approach, Sara Grant helps clients and stakeholders evaluate options and make strategic decisions for immediate and long-term impact. She applies relevant research, scientific data, and interview techniques to build consensus across diverse client stakeholder groups. Recognized as an innovator in active school design, and as an advocate for the design of equitable public spaces, she has spoken at numerous schools and conferences. A graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Sara draws on peer-reviewed studies as well as research grounded in the communities with which the firm works.

Strengthening an Award-Winning Firm

Sara Grant’s addition to the leadership team at MBB Architects will help the firm continue to serve clients and communities with the highest level of professionalism. Central to the firm’s practice is a collaborative environment that brings together a highly skilled team of architects with in-house directors for sustainability, interior design, and historic preservation. MBB creates cohesive and integrated projects by combining technical insight with careful attention to context, scale, and materiality. The firm’s expertise is reflected in its numerous awards and recognitions from the American Institute of Architects, Society of American Registered Architects, Interior Design Magazine, New York Landmarks Conservancy, Faith & Form, The Architect’s Newspaper, Chicago Athenaeum, and the Municipal Art Society.

Why Women-Owned Architecture Firms Matter

Augmenting the leadership of founding partners Mary Burnham and Jeffrey Murphy, Sara Grant reinforces the firm’s capacity as one of the top women-owned architecture firms in New York City and beyond. In a profession that has yet to achieve gender parity, women-led architecture firms like MBB Architects are an important piece of creating a more equitable field. Empowering the next generation of top women architects is key to closing the “leadership gap” in architecture, as the American Institute of Architects and other advocates have noted. Grant and Burnham—active in organizations such as the Architectural League of New York, the Van Alen Institute, the American Institute of Architects, and the Society of American Registered Architects—are regarded by their peers as leaders who contribute to the advancement of the profession.

With Sara Grant now part of the executive team at MBB Architects, the firm can continue to advance its mission of designing a more sustainable and equitable world.


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