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September 30, 2020

Our Newest Team Member, Matt Holland


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We are excited to announce that designer Matt Holland has joined our team! Matt''s path to Whitten Architects includes a whirlwind trip around the world in 21 days, a stint as an extra in the movie Hairspray, and an ad agency job that taught him a life lesson. You can read his bio of course, but we also asked Matt to share a bit more about himself on this month's blog.

A. How did you get into theater? And what was it like being in Hairspray?

Q. As soon as I could pick up a tool, I've been making and building things. Theater Tech was a natural outlet in school, and luckily, my parents ran across the opportunity for me to take it to the next level at the Baltimore School for the Arts, a highly acclaimed magnet high school for Theater, Dance, Music, and Fine Art. Interestingly, the Hairspray movie was not related to BSA as I was simply picked out of a club by a scout. It was only two days of filming, but it was a memorable experience being on the set with some incredible personalities, including John Waters, Divine, Sonny Bono, Jerry Stiller, and a bunch of my friends. If you run across a VHS copy, you can find me on the back of the cover!

Q. How did your early experiences traveling the world inform your aesthetic?

A. Traveling with my mother, crisscrossing Europe on overnight trains, was an incredible experience for a young child getting his bearing. The arts and humanities have always been a keen focus for my parents, which translated into the privilege of exploring most of Europe's major historical sites. Even at an early age, I could appreciate the tremendous effort to create these masterworks of architecture. In my short time at Whitten, I have again witnessed the thoughtful design process, which seems rare in these fast-paced modern times.

Q. How did you get into advertising and do you have any good stories from your time working on big accounts?

A. After interning with an artist in Kassel, Germany for a summer during college, I quickly realized that my chances of becoming a successful artist were a longshot. So I started exploring other professions to express my creative side while still making a living and graphic design/advertising fit the bill. As for good stories, I learned the hard way to always double check my work after accidentally flipping a film slide (yes, physical slides pre-digital age). The mistake made Andre Agassi a lefthanded player in billboard and subway ads all across NYC when he was making a bid to defend his U.S. Open title.

Q. How and why did you make the transition to architecture?

When I explored creative professions after college, architecture came to light, but I honestly wasn't in the frame of mind to continue its rigorous education path, as I was eager to get a job. When we moved to Maine from NYC in 2006 to raise our family, it presented an ideal opportunity to go back to school and pursue architecture, which had always felt like a missed opportunity.

Q. What do you love about Maine?

As a family, we love the outdoors, and it doesn't get much better than Maine. Mountains, rivers, lakes, and the ocean offer endless playgrounds in all four seasons. We love to sail, ski, cycle, and hike, which brings our family closer together. We have our favorite spots, but we could throw a dart at a map and probably end up in an incredible place.

Q. What is your favorite part of your own home?

We live in a relatively open-concept house, and I love the energy that runs through the house with our vibrant family life. In particular, our kitchen table sits in a bright and airy nook, surrounded by windows on two sides, the kitchen on a third, and a staircase on the fourth. A sloped ceiling runs up to the second-floor hallway, and it instantly becomes the most lively area of the house. Many great family discussions have centered around the kitchen table over the years, and it always brings a smile to my face when I think about all of those amazing memories.


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