Mecayla Cobb enjoys planning the architecture of college facilities, performing arts centers and other educational sites. That's because people in those locations generally are open to trying new things, are aware of trends and are willing to try new things.
"It's a broad category that, each time I've worked on something, there's more to learn," said Cobb, a senior associate architect with Cannon Design in St. Louis city. She and her husband, Justin, relocated to Clayton's DeMun neighborhood from New York City three months ago.
An education in architecture
Cobb knew she wanted to be an architect starting in high school. She enjoys the field in part because it is a marriage of art and math. After graduating from the University of Kansas, she moved to St. Louis and worked for three years at Cannon. She then moved to New York, attended graduate school at Columbia University and worked with Cannon in New York City before returning to the Midwest.
She's particularly proud of a project underway at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There, she helped design the interiors of a new student dining facility at Gordon Commons.
She met with student groups and people associated with the university's dining and housing facilities to link menus to Madison and the school's history: The bakery, for instance, is named after school mascot Buckingham "Bucky" U. Badger. The facility includes 10 food venues in a single marketplace, along with dining halls and conference rooms.
The facility is expected to be completed in May.
"When you have really good clients," Cobb said, "you have really good projects." She's also working with Washington University to define what the classroom of the future might look like.
A typical day for Cobb involves making numerous client phone calls, reviewing plans for new facilities and testing ideas about how they might be laid out.
At home in St. Louis
Cobb said she and her husband have always enjoyed Clayton's DeMun neighborhood for its , its active residents and its central location. Her husband is from Webster Groves, and his family still lives in that area.
The couple found an apartment to rent in the Demun area and were "just ecstatic," she said. Many people in the area walk, for example, which reminds them of New York City.
"Clayton's offered a good balance of that," Cobb said. "We can still do those things and not feel like we're weird."