Los Angeles Principal Greg McCants knows a thing or two about work-life balance. After 23 years with ZGF, he’s worked in two of the firm’s six offices and continues to manage an array of complex projects. We caught up with Greg to hear more about his love for history, fencing, and raising puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind.
When did you realize you wanted to work in architecture/interior design? I was inspired by the wooded areas near my childhood home in Georgia. This experience of exploring how light and shadow alter color, and how the texture and spatial quality of natural forms differ based on the time of day and season created a fascination with creating impactful spaces.
How does living in Southern California inspire you? Southern California is everchanging, but it still feels like home. As a 13-year old living near Huntington Beach, I used to ride my bike on the dirt road bed behind my house that is now the 405 Freeway. Fast forward to the present, I still see the same crowd on Main Street and the pier in Huntington Beach as I did back then. As an architect, it’s inspiring to see that progression shape the area.
Coffee or tea? Coffee. Strong with a little cream.
If you could design for a fictional character, who would it be? Gordianus the Finder. He lived an adventurous, though fictional, life as an investigator for the non-fictional Roman advocate Cicero. I would design him a simple home for respite and refuge from the dangers of his occupation.
Favorite tool of the trade? This is going to sound dated, but the drafting board, the parallel bar, and my pens and pencils. I do my best thinking with these tools in hand. It’s just how I was trained.
Are you reading a book you just can’t put down? I’ve read the first two books of the FDR at War trilogy, a fascinating series about Franklin Delano Roosevelt by Nigel Hamilton. I’m currently waiting for the third book to come out.
Do you have any hobbies outside of the office? Gardening, fencing, and partnering with my wife to raise puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. We have raised nine puppies so far. We’ve met so many amazing people and pups with incredible stories.
What is the best advice you have ever received? In college, a friend suggested that I should study abroad in Italy during my fifth year of architecture school. I was at first hesitant, but it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The experiences I had in Italy, such as learning how to fence and enhancing my education, still enrich my life and career to this day.