Meghan Duarte-Silva

Project Architect | Perkins & Will

Meghan Duarte-Silva has a leg up on key pieces of sports development after combining disciplines in structural engineering and public assembly design during her college days.

It’s come in handy as Duarte-Silva, a project architect with Perkins & Will, played a principal role for planning renovations to big league venues Ball Arena, SAP Center and Empower Field at Mile High, and most recently, Spectrum Center, as the home of the NBA Charlotte Hornets arena goes through extensive upgrades.

Her undergraduate degree at Princeton was in structural engineering. While at the Ivy League school, she received practical training at AECOM overseas in Brisbane, Australia, and London, England. Thinking ahead, she completed her senior thesis on stadium design with a focus on the engineering aspect before pursuing a master’s degree in architecture at the University of Denver.
“I was fortunate to dip my toes into it as a senior in college and maintained that interest in sports architecture,” Duarte-Silva said.

During her postgraduate tenure, she interned at Populous in the summer of 2017, working on their events team for general International Olympic Committee space guidelines.

Her interest remained primarily in facility design, and her graduation in the spring of 2018 coincided with leadership changes at Perkins & Will in Denver, which had recently acquired the old Sink Combs Dethlefs, a firm with a strong reputation in sports development. Shortly after graduation, Duarte-Silva got a full-time job with Perkins & Will, giving her an opportunity to dive into mid-size regional arenas. Her first project was Monument Arena in Rapid City, South Dakota, which opened in 2021. She worked under Mike Harvey, now with Nations Group, an owner’s rep firm, before turning her attention to NBA and NHL venues with Perkins & Will associate principal Joe Dyer.

“Re-using and extending the life of these arenas is the way to go, and working with the operators to make that happen is where we provide the best value,” Duarte-Silva said.

Kroenke Sports & Enterprises, which owns Ball Arena and its primary tenants, the Denver Nuggets and Avalanche, has some talented women rising through the ranks of that organization, according to Duarte-Silva, as she discovered while designing the new PointsBet Lounge and the Summit Club, an exclusive space within the lounge, Duarte-Silva said.

Internally, Jenny Stephens, a principal and director of strategic development whose experience dates to 1990 with Sink Combs Dethlefs, has been another mentor in the strategic way she approaches the sports and entertainment market and everything else she does for the Denver office over her 34 years with the company, Duarte-Silva said.

“I hope that (award platforms) like this one can recognize more female sports architects,” she said. “I’ve been fortunate with my experiences and hope to bring more women on board and give that mentorship back.”


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