We are SCB

Emily Purcell


How long have you been at SCB?

4 years.

How did you end up at SCB?

I moved to Chicago in 2014 after finishing grad school at UW-Milwaukee. I was working remotely for the US Green Building Council, but wanted to find something local. The job opening at SCB was a good opportunity to go from focusing on LEED to working on bigger-picture green design.

What initially attracted you to study design or pursue a career in design?

I studied political science and then urban planning – everything I know about architectural design, I learned on the job. I love the parts of this job where design intersects with policy, working with green building codes and ordinances (and advocating for them to be stronger). Codes and policy are evolving fast to decarbonize the built environment, so staying ahead of those trends is vital for designers.

What projects are you currently working on?

According to my timesheet, I’m currently involved with 33 different architecture projects! I’m also putting the finishing touches on a long-term sustainability plan for the firm and working with the rest of the Technical Design Services team to integrate sustainability kickoffs and reviews into our design workflow.

What is the best thing about working at SCB?

I really appreciate that I get to work nationwide, and on a wide variety of project types; I am always learning from our design teams in different climates and different markets. Any sustainable design strategy that a client might be looking for – we’ve either done it somewhere, or know exactly who to go to.