Xan Young, Meis Architects
Xan Young, Meis ArchitectsPublished September 12, 2016
PRINCIPAL AND LEAD DESIGNER
For the past nine years, she’s worked with Dan Meis at various firms, including now at Meis Architects, a small, independent firm. She’s currently designing two European soccer stadiums (for AS Roma and for Everton FC), plus renovations at Staples Center and Paul Brown Stadium.
In Rome, the key issue for Meis Architects is re-creating the feel of the historic Colosseum without having it look like some cheesy, Las Vegas-style attraction. The $340 million stadium is due to open in 2019.
“Walking that line between acknowledgment and slavish replication is a little touchy,” she said. “You can see where the inspiration came from, but at the same time, it doesn’t look like something that could have been built centuries ago.”
Young fell into the discipline by chance after initially accepting a job at Morphosis, a Los Angeles firm that does about everything but sports design. As a backup plan, she had applied to a few more firms in Los Angeles, including KAA Design, where Dan Meis’ wife, Brandie, was marketing director. Brandie Meis forwarded Young’s résumé to her husband, who at the time was starting a smaller practice after leaving NBBJ.
In the end, Young accepted a job with Meis Architects and never worked for Morphosis. Her first project was a big one: to design an NFL stadium proposed for City of Industry, a Los Angeles suburb. The stadium never got built but the design exercise taught Young the importance of driving revenue from sports facilities.
“I think that was one thing I had to get used to when I got into this,” said Young, who now works in New York. “At architecture school, it’s all about the design. With these big sports projects, they have to get paid for. It’s a mental shift.”
- An attribute I look for when hiring: Curiosity.
- A networking tip I’ve learned: The best connected people I’ve met hate networking.
- Biggest challenge I face working in sports: The status quo.
- Best advice I’ve received for career development: Learn to be good at only the things you want to do more of.
- Woman in sports business I’d most like to meet: Mary Wittenberg. No one knows how to use sports to bring people together better than her.
- Most memorable sporting event attended: Soccer state finals in high school. You’re young enough so sports are everything, but old enough to know that if you don’t leave it all out on the field now, you never will.
- Causes supported: TransAlt (we should all drive less), Central Park Conservancy (we need to make the best use of our shared outdoor space; it’s what keeps the city breathing).
Game Changers 2016
Karen Ashnault: LeadDog Marketing Group
Wendy Bass, NBC Sports Group
Pam Batalis, Learfield
Jody Bennett, Charge
Kristin Bernert, Madison Square Garden Co. / New York Liberty
Tera Black, Charlotte Checkers
Valerie Camillo, Washington Nationals
Jen Compton, TD Garden
Keli Cunningham, West Virginia University
Janet Fletcher, Procter & Gamble
Jessica Giordano, GMR Marketing
Robin Harris, Ivy League
Kelly Hyne, LPGA
Denise Karkos, TD Ameritrade
Tracy Marek, Cleveland Cavaliers
Molly Mazzolini, Infinite Scale
Priya Narasimhan, YinzCam
Deanna O’Toole, CBS Sports
Michelle Palmer, The Marketing Arm
Katie Pandolfo, StubHub Center
Diane Pelkey, Under Armour
Sallie Sargent, Houston Super Bowl Host Committee
Susan Schandel, NASCAR
Kathryn Schloessman, Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission
JoAn Scott, NCAA
Tina Shah, Turner Sports
Debbie Spander, Wasserman
Carol Stiff, ESPN
Kerry Tatlock, NBA
Sarah Tourville, Fox Networks
Amanda Vandervort, MLS
Jaime Weston, NFL
Denise White, EAG Sports Management
Carla Williams, University of Georgia
Xan Young, Meis Architects
Game Changers: Selfies
Game Changers: Influencers