Alissa McFarland

Associate Principal / Senior Lab Planner 202 909 4900

As an architect and senior laboratory planner, Alissa leads the planning of teaching and research facilities across the country for a wide spectrum of scientific disciplines. Having married her love for design with her passion for science early in her career, she is adept in distilling her clients’ needs to support their ground-breaking work which drives her dedication to shape research environments that promote engagement, growth and discovery. Through a diligent data collection process, she serves clients first by being a conscientious listener and then by applying her analytic understanding and technical design knowledge to arrive at creative solutions to unique program requirements. She works closely with designers and engineers to integrate and coordinate all disciplines providing successful outcomes for her clients.

"Our clients are my biggest inspiration. I enjoy the inherent challenges of complex building types and take pride in delivering laboratories that are well-coordinated, sustainable, flexible, functional and beautiful. If through design our clients can collaborate and are inspired and motivated to do what they do better, I have succeeded."

At the beginning of each project Alissa holds work sessions with stakeholders to define project success, and understand the values, needs and challenges of the different types of users and gain insight as to how each type of user operates throughout the course of a day to establish a project vision and guiding principles.  These principles serve as checks and balances for every project decision made for both the owner and design team.

Alissa is committed to process improvement and has developed tools for room and equipment data collection that streamline and enhance the user experience in pre-design and serve as the touchpoint for communication of design requirements to owner and design team throughout the course of the project. The tools enable data to be visualized and analyzed informing design early in the process and can also be integrated into the BIM model for a more efficient and automated workflow.