10 Outstanding Woman Leaders: Elizabeth Lowrey: A Sophisticated Design Eye and A Collaborative Approach

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Elizabeth Lowrey, IIDA, RDI, Photo Credit: © Trevor Reid

BOSTON–Elizabeth Lowrey is a Principal and the Director of Interior Architecture for Elkus Manfredi Architects. She has been responsible for Elkus Manfredi’s interior architecture studio since its founding in 1988, and she has been a part of the firm’s leadership since being named a principal in 2002.

As part of Elkus Manfredi’s leadership, she has both shaped the culture of the firm internally and been a public face for the innovative, human-centric design thinking that drives Elkus Manfredi as a firm.

On Feb. 17, Boston Real Estate Times will honor Gray as one of the 10 Outstanding Women leaders in commercial real estate in a virtual award ceremony. To register for the event, please click here.

Admired for her sophisticated design eye, business acumen, and skillful management, Lowrey’s success can be attributed to her collaborative approach with clients. This has resulted in projects ranging from corporate, hospitality, residential, retail/entertainment, to higher education environments with clients including Walt Disney Imagineering, Publicis Groupe, Boston Consulting Group, New Balance, and Harvard University. She is widely recognized as a pioneer for her approach, which combines workplace strategy and design to create office environments that enhance organizational performance and firm culture.

Elkus Manfredi designed a new workspace for Publicis Groupe that for the first time co-locates all seven of its Boston companies, formerly located in separate officelocations around the city. The combined 215,000-square-foot Congress Square
workspace expresses Publicis’s vision of “The Power of One” in both the employee engagement process and the finished space. Here, a double-height amphitheater is used for companywide presentations, community gatherings, and client receptions. Photo: © Eric Laignel

Since the pandemic struck, Lowrey has been working closely with companies to evaluate their existing workplaces and redesign them for the expected hybrid world of remote/onsite working. Her insights are helping companies establish their virtual workplaces to more effectively deliver some of the typically irreplaceable benefits of physical proximity. For these efforts, Boston Magazine included her in their list of “100 Most Influential People,” writing: “An office interiors whiz, Lowrey will no doubt be instrumental in shaping what our workplaces look like once we all return to them…”

Opened in 1928, this eight-story limestone and brick Sears commercial building became a Boston Landmark in 1989 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. Today, 401 Park honors the building’s past while reinventing it for
today’s work/play world. The design strips monumental architecture to its industrial bones, creating a public interior of raw texture, craft, and structure. These elements combine to make an energizing environment for innovation industry tenants in the six office level stories above the atrium. Photo: © Robert Benson

Lowrey’s contributions to the regional real estate, business and civic communities have been widely recognized. She received the CoreNet Service Provider Leadership Award based upon the recommendations of her clients. She has also received the Real Estate Finance Association’s Annual Distinguished Service Award based on her contributions to the real estate industry. She is a member of Auburn University’s Interior Architecture Advisory Council, a board member of Boston’s Real Estate Finance Association and the Design Museum Foundation, a board member of Heading Home, on the Foundation Board of Directors at MassArt, and a member of the Design Council for the Park Avenue Armory Winter Show benefitting the East Side House Settlement. She holds a Bachelor of Interior Architecture from Auburn University and an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from MassArt.

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Lowrey launched an internal fundraising campaign to support Heading Home, a Boston area provider of emergency shelter, transitional, and permanent housing for low-income families and individuals, raising nearly $30,000 to fund 1,900 meals. Equally important, this initiative of the firm inspired five other local companies in various industries to introduce a similar model, creating their own internal fundraisers with employees and colleagues.

Boutique Design calls Lowrey a “maverick” and “silo buster,” and Interior Design includes her on a list of “20 Inspiring Women who make up the new face of the design industry.” She is a frequent speaker at design and architecture forums and delivered the Commencement Address at Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) in 2019. Her insights have been featured in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Fast Company, and Metropolis.

Elkus Manfredi Architects creates dynamic, connected, sustainable places and environments that foster community, providing a synergistic combination of services that include architecture master planning, urban design, interior architecture, workplace strategy, employee engagement and change management, and health and wellness integration.

With more than 30 years of design distinction, its diverse portfolio includes collaborative interdisciplinary science and technology hubs, community-building higher education campus plans and facilities, workplace environments that attract and retain talent, vibrant retail and entertainment destinations, welcoming and dynamic residential developments, and leading-edge hospitality experiences. Recent projects include Publicis Groupe, MullenLowe, New Balance Headquarters, MassMutual, Texas Medical Center, Children’s National Research & Innovation Campus, Ink Block, Boston University Booth Theatre, 401 Park Repositioning, the University of Chicago Woodlawn Residential and Dining Commons, White Elephant Palm Beach, and the Omni Hotel. The planning and design work of Elkus Manfredi Architects is founded on the conviction that the quality of the environment regularly and significantly impacts the quality of our lives. Elkus Manfredi is a member of the US Green Building Council and is a signatory to the AIA 2030 Commitment working toward the goal of carbon-neutral buildings by the year 2030.

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