A Brief Bio



I became interested in how people are affected by space during my studies of Human Factors and Ergonomics at Cornell University. As an undergraduate research fellow, I travelled across Europe and Japan to document how eco-schools around the world were changing students’ environmental attitudes and behaviors. Excited by these self-sustaining organizations, I pursued concurrent Masters degrees in Architecture and Education at the University of Oregon so that I could learn community-building and work with educators to design resilient green schools.

I worked with The Third Teacher + at Cannon Design in Chicago for 2 years, helping to expand private schools’ notions of 21st century learning by facilitating workshops, creating masterplans, and developing campaigns for transformative capital projects. Drawing from this experience, I went on to design large public schools with Mahlum Architects for nearly 4 years, earning my architectural license in Oregon in 2016.

As a mixed race female architect, I’m keenly aware of the creative potential in collisions. I lean into differences, reach out to collaborators, and illustrate collective value. I lead a thoughtful, inclusive approach to uncertainty and strive to create a beautiful representation of process. Ultimately, I aim to span digital and physical experiences, bringing craft, curiosity, and human stories to our design work. My passions extend beyond the built environment into watercolor and photography on alpine backpacking trips and making time to be inspired in a new country every year.


Let’s build something together. Write to me at emiday@gmail.com

Events & Speaking



Organizational Support




As part of my ongoing professional development, I attended SXSW Interactive in March 2018. This is an enthusiastic summary of my experience which I reported back to my firm.

I strongly believe that mentorship is an important part of firm culture and building community. It is essential that learning goes both ways. Here’s how I’ve been training my team on client engagement and facilitation to improve our practice, using Mahlum’s new brand colors.



Experience Reviews


I’m an adventurer and true foodie, with a keen eye on the environment so I’m always writing reviews and sharing great experiences. I’m a Google Local Guide Level 7 with nearly 200 reviews- mostly in Chicago and Portland, and a few places I loved during my travels.

Web Design

On the side, I help local small businesses create their initial web presence on Squarespace. I’m best at managing client relations, creative direction, and the simple build itself, so I’m always looking for collaborators in brand strategy, copywriting, photography, and digital marketing. I often swap services with other creatives, so feel free to reach out!




Many of my colleagues have been gracious enough to write about what it was like to work together. See their full recommendations on Linked In, or read excerpts below.

She taught all of us so many new ways to really listen to our clients and stakeholders and to translate the results of our listening exercises in graphics that are clear, & easy to understand.
— Rene Berndt, Associate Principal, Mahlum Architects
Over the course of a year, she kept our group organized and effective, and helped us stay true to our original vision.
— Stephen Endy, Mahlum Architects
Emi approaches all aspects of her work with passion & empathy. She always stands for the communities in which she makes an impact.
— Cole Hoffarth, Lawrence Group
She possesses a rare desire to both master the craft of building / architecture while also guiding clients through authentic design processes meant to help people and communities thrive in real time.
— Christian Long, Founder, Wonder x Design