A Portland native, Cavanaugh earned his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Oregon, where he earned a one-year fellowship to study architecture and urban design at the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow, Scotland. He also earned his Master of Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate school of Design.
Before joining Otak, Cavanaugh founded the firm Architecture Building Culture (ABC) in 2009, which over the past 12 years has established itself as one of the leading design firms in the Pacific Northwest. Under his guidance, ABC has received over 26 design awards at the local, state, regional, and national levels for projects like the Lyllye Reynolds-Parker Black Cultural Center on the campus of the University of Oregon.
In 2012 Cavanaugh was given the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Young Architects Award, reserved only for individuals who show exceptional leadership and make significant contributions to the profession. In kind, ABC won the AIA Emerging Firm of the Year Award for the Northwest and Pacific Region in 2014.
Before founding ABC, Cavanaugh served in senior positions at several internationally recognized architectural design firms. From 2001 to 2006 he served as a Senior Associate at the Los Angeles-based office of Michael Maltzan Architecture, leading as Project Director on a number of major cultural institution projects like MoMA QNS, the Museum of Modern Art’s facility during a major renovation and expansion of its Manhattan home. MoMA QNS received over six major design awards, including the American Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, as well as the 2004 Award of Excellence from the New York State Chapter of the AIA.
With several lectures and publications to his name, Cavanaugh has been an instructor at Victoria University of Wellington, the University of Southern California, the Boston Architectural Center, Woodbury University, Otis College of Art & Design, and a guest critic at many other academic institutions. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at his alma mater, the University of Oregon.
“Otak is thrilled to have Brian Cavanaugh join our team to lead the Public Sector Business and bring his critical eye to our overall design direction," said Director of Architecture, Brian Fleener. "His experience in Public Sector work is extensive and will allow Otak to expand our services in this market.”
“I am committed to working in the public realm, and I am looking forward to elevating the architectural design of the office," Cavanaugh said. "The cross-disciplinary collaboration inherent in the way Otak engages projects is incredibly compelling to me and presents exciting potential for the ways our work can respond to the needs of our communities.”