In the Spotlight - Ben Glaser

Morgante Wilson Architects

Jan 10, 2022 - 5 min read

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In the Spotlight - Ben Glaser

Books. LED lighting. Museums. These are just a few of the things that get Project Manager Ben Glaser excited. Read on for more.

How long have you been with MWA?

Since August, 2020.

What was it like being hired during COVID?

It was definitely a unique experience starting a new job in the middle of a global pandemic. Any time I saw someone without their mask on I’d stare at their face, trying to memorize it. It was difficult working with people, getting to know them, and only seeing the top half of their face.

Name one thing you like most about working for the firm.

I’ve worked for a few architecture firms. At MWA, I’m more involved in the entire process than at other firms I’ve worked at. It’s really satisfying to be an active participant throughout the entire process, rather than just a cog in a machine during certain phases.

Who or what inspires your work?

You can find inspiration everywhere if you’re looking for it. It’s in the shape of a leaf, waves crashing over a breakwater, sunlight reflecting off the glass of a high-rise, a painting, a sculpture at the Art Institute, an old ad painted on the side of a brick building – it’s everywhere. Good design is 99% invisible, so you need to pay attention.

What’s a new product on the building market that’s got you pumped?

I’m really excited about where LED technology is going. Tunable Whites allow the lighting in your home to supplement your circadian rhythm. You wake up at 6:00 in the morning and your lighting is really warm, like candlelight-warm. It takes you two hours to leave the house. In those two hours, the light slowly cools to a blue, similar to noon daylight. It’s so gradual that you don’t notice it, but it slowly makes you more alert. You get home at 6:00 in the evening and your light is that same cool blue. Over the next four hours, as you’re getting ready for bed, it’s the reverse of the morning. The light warms, and it naturally relaxes you and preps your body for sleep. Some new LEDs allow you to change the color rendering of the light, enabling you to change the mood, and highlight specific colors and art.

What would you say is the one thing every house needs?

Books. It was Cicero who said, “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” My wife and I own thousands of books. In fact, we met at a bookstore.

Are there books on your coffee table right now?

No, there’s lots of crayons. And a bunny sippy cup. The joys of living in a house with two small children.

What’s the most meaningful thing in your home?

My family photos. I have quite a few framed photos of my children – they’re incredibly photogenic, which they did not get from me.

How do you enjoy spending time outside of work?

I read. I also try to take my kids to as many fun/cultural/educational places as I can. I’ve taken them to the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, the Art Institute, the Museum of Science and Industry, the WNDR Museum, the Chicago Children’s Museum, Harold Washington Library, the top of the Hancock Center, Lincoln Park Zoo, and Morton Arboretum among other spots. There are still dozens more places on our list.

If you weren’t in the architecture field, what might you be doing instead?

Maybe the NBA, although I have athletic limitations. Maybe NASA, but I’m probably too tall. My parents said I could do anything I set my mind to, but I think they were lying to me. Maybe I’d be an author, writing history books.