Owner/Architect, Glenda Meads Architects
Meet Bloomfield Hills resident and architect Glenda Meads, whose list of clients is growing at a rapid pace, evidenced by the many “Glenda Meads Architects” signs popping up on new and renovated homes all over town.
Growing up in London, Ontario, Meads knew at an early age she’d be an architect. With a father who practiced dentistry and an artistic mother, she sees her career choice as a blend of her parents’ talents.
A passion for precision and creativity led her to the University of Waterloo School of Architecture in Cambridge, Ontario, followed by an internship with the internationally renowned firm of Arthur Erikson Architects in Toronto.
In 1988, Glenda married Steve Meads, a high school classmate who had moved to Michigan to pursue a career as an attorney. The two lived in downtown Birmingham for five years before purchasing their current home in Bloomfield Township.
Over the years, Glenda worked for Victor Saroki Associates, where she “learned a great deal about architecture, running a business and being involved in the community.” She then established Studio Pellegrina, a sole architectural practice, followed by Swanson Meads Architects, formed with friend and colleague Karen Swanson. Four years ago, she decided once again to venture out on her own, establishing Glenda Meads Architects.
“Business is great,” says the 50-something-year-old during an interview in her downtown Birmingham office, where she shares a bit about her personal life as well as life as an architect. One current project of note is the renovation of writer Elmore Leonard’s former home in Bloomfield Village, which she says “feels like old Hollywood.”
Industry changes: Technology has changed the industry dramatically. I can do so much more now than I could 20 years ago when I worked with a much bigger staff. The switch to AutoCAD technology happened naturally in our profession, but I still enjoy going back to my original technique of sketching on paper for initial design work.
Signature style: I love to create spaces and exteriors with light, proportion, detail and natural materials in styles that range from traditional to modern.
Professionally speaking: I love what I do — I love having a mix of residential and commercial work. Now that my kids are off to college, I find I can end my day when I’ve reached a good place in my work.
Proud career accomplishment: Being involved in two downtown Auburn Hills projects (a third is on the boards) that involve the renovation of a pre-civil war log cabin and an old commercial building into flexible classrooms used as satellite locations by area universities. It’s rewarding to be part of these projects that are revitalizing a downtown area.
Career thoughts: While my kids were small, I kept my career simmering so that when I got to this point, I could really focus. People are working on their homes again and I have a lot of really great design-oriented projects at this time.
Passion for: Snowboarding! My husband and I transitioned from skiing to snowboarding about 10 years ago. It’s a completely different feel, like gliding, which is what attracted me to it.
Life in Bloomfield Township: We’ve been in our home for 20 years and I love the large lot, the privacy, the way the land rolls through our quiet little street and the wildlife. We raised our two kids here, John (21) and Claire (18). Over the years, we’ve done additions and renovations to suit each stage of our life, rather than move or design a new house. It’s like a laboratory for me.
Favorite place to hang out: My backyard, either with a good book or with family and friends.
What I love to do on a warm summer Saturday: I’ll take a blue-sky winter Saturday over a warm summer Saturday any day!
What most people don’t know about me: I am a total Jeopardy nerd. I watch it whenever I get a chance and my family laughs at me as I shout my answers at the TV. NS
— Interviewed by Jane Gleeson