Image: Karl Wolfgang

 
Architectural Associate, Poss Architecture + Planning and Interior Design 

Aspen High Class of 2009

From a young age, Maclean knew she wanted to be an architect. Her favorite subjects in school were art and math, and her parents also passed down an enthusiasm for art and design. She even built a 3-D model of a house she designed to earn a scholarship to an Anderson Ranch summer camp. But it was thanks to her Aspen childhood—spending so much time outdoors fostered a deep appreciation for the natural world, and joining the Environmental Service Club in high school raised her awareness of the impact buildings have on the environment—that Maclean decided to specialize in designing sustainable structures.

After graduating from University of Colorado in Boulder in 2013 with a degree in environmental design, Maclean considered moving abroad but instead came home, landing a job with Poss Architecture that fall. Now aiming for her architect’s license, she’s bought an apartment and plans to stay.

Maclean, 27, would eventually like to devote her time to humanitarian architecture. “With the changing climate around the world, cities and communities will need homes that are adaptable to things like changing tides and earthquakes,” she says. “I want to help impoverished communities because they are the ones that will be hit the hardest by natural disasters.”

Working in a place where architecture leans more toward energy-intensive luxury homes doesn’t deter her, though. “Because of the way the world is going, being a remote architect and having the technology available to work from anywhere is a possibility,” she points out.

Meanwhile, Maclean actively helps out in her own community. Voted “Best Volunteer” in an Aspen Times annual poll, she serves as a Big Buddy with the Buddy Program, gives time to the Aspen Institute, helps with Aspen Skiing Company events, including last year’s World Cup Finals, and helped coach the high school girls’ swim team last winter.

A typical Aspen local, she still finds time for outdoor pursuits like snowboarding, hiking, and climbing. And while she notes that work-life balance is important for her generation, Maclean says she learned that value early on from her “very ski bummy” yet hard-working parents. Spoken like a true Aspen native.

 

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