HARLINGEN — A colorful striped front is the first thing you see outside the offices of Megamorphosis Inc. But, there is much more behind the black building, which was renovated to house the architecture and interior design headquarters.
Established in January 1995, Meg Foster Jorn began providing residential architecture and interior design services as a sole proprietorship under the name of Megamorphosis Design. Her objective was to offer clients integrated architectural and interior design services.
But a lot of changes have happened since 1995; the biggest one being the death of Jorn.
However, Megamorphosis has stayed operating and continues to evolve with the times.
John Pearcy, Chris Sias and Jesse Miller are the three principal architects now. Miller is the newest addition to the firm.
The three agreed work has not stopped, but they have learned to accommodate to the unexpected changes the pandemic brought, as well as other challenges.
Sias said being located in Harlingen is an advantage geographically. For the three of them, it is easier to travel to different areas of the Rio Grande Valley.
“Other firms might not know there’s things happening in Harlingen, and that can help us in creating more opportunities,” he said.
Before, the firm focused on Cameron County projects, but that has changed.
Pearcy said projects are now all over the Valley. He credits it to attempting to do a good job and keeping every client they meet for the long run.
Miller said there are two ecotourism projects in the works, one almost completed: the South Texas Ecotourism Center in Laguna Vista.
There is also an expansion for Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen, which Megamorphosis has been working on since 2018.
“The projected completion is mid-2023,” said Sias, who has been working on that project specifically.
Another project they are working on is the transformation of an old cannery in Brownsville, which will be turned into a renovated space for small businesses.
“Most public projects, there is a request for proposals, and we kind of chase it in a way,” Pearcy said.
“There is a selection process, but the chasing of it comes back to making sure we do a good job. And we try to stay involved in different ways in the community. That way, we are not an unknown face,” he said.
The firm has worked on several big projects that have helped them gain popularity and recognition. Examples are the HCISD Performing Arts Center, the Brownsville Interdisciplinary Academic Building at UTRGV, Magnolia Gardens Public Housing and the office where they work every day.
Miller has experience in affordable housing, which is why he has worked closely on the projects Megamorphosis has done in that area. For Miller, it is always great to work closely with clients in creating places people can afford but also making those places look stylish.
“It is more than the looks. It is about how we can arrange things to make them feel welcoming and give people a sense of ownership,” he said.
Because of COVID-19, the firm had to learn to work remotely, though they are back to working at their office.
“Now, we have a new skill and a new way to work,” Pearcy said.
“The biggest takeaway was learning how to work remotely. It is important for us to have everyday interaction but knowing there is an option and learning how to do that and be effective is actually a pretty positive thing that came,” Sias said.
Not only did they learn how to work remotely, but also how to work better as architects when it comes to better ventilation, mechanical systems and what makes buildings “healthier.”
“These were things we did not pay much attention to in the past. A building is not just about what it looks like, the internal guts, how it breathes, the air conditioning system. The pandemic puts that kind of at the forefront and helps us reassess how we do those things,” Sias said.
In the end, the most important goal is not to make interesting-looking buildings but to create something that adds value to what a person wants and to the community, according to Sias.
“Something that is done well, people tend to take more care of,” he said.