James McGrath

Principal, Transportation Practice Chair, Transportation

James knew he wanted to be an architect from age five. But as he worked in architecture and delved into its details, he realized that it was human settlement patterns that interested him. “What is the human idea as written on the land? How are we going to design the places that we occupy?”

While earning his Master of Architecture degree, he was drawn to landscape architecture classes that talked about the city and contemporary American landscape. Omnivorous, he apprenticed and sat for his landscape architecture exams, honing a skillset he thought important to an urban designer of infrastructure. “There’re ideas embedded in how we do this thing called city building. That’s what’s most interesting to me to this day. I love great architecture; I love beautiful buildings. But it is often the space between buildings and the systems that matter.”

James lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, an educator and a poet, and their two children. A recent addition to the family is “Folly,” a Lagotto Romagnolo puppy who is a truffle sniffing dog in training.

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