BLDUP Spotlight: Clara Wineberg, Principal SCB 01/31/22

clara wineberg

The BLDUP Spotlight is a weekly feature where readers gain insights on developments around the city and get to know local industry experts. Today we chat with Clara Wineberg Principal at SCB and Executive Director of the firm’s Boston office. With over 25 years of experience in professional practice, Wineberg has led several of SCB’s significant and award-winning urban mixed-use projects and has been actively engaged in the firm’s expanding practice on the east coast and in Texas.


BLDUP: What is the last book you read that you would recommend as a "must-read" to the construction and design community? Why did you find this book so important?

Wineberg: Design and construction are part of a much bigger context within our economies and in the world. I read to create context for design – to understand the world and the issues that make the design solution appropriate and inspired.  

  • “Sunnyside Gardens Planning and Preservation in a Historic Garden Suburb” by Jeffrey Kroessler. Great book on the story of affordable housing through the eyes of one project and its impact on a community.

  • “Educated” Tara Westover – really inspiring story of perseverance

  • “Palace Walk” – Naguib Mahfouz – extraordinary family story during British occupation in Cairo.

BLDUP: Do you have a daily or weekly routine that you follow? If so, how do you feel it has contributed to your success? How has this routine changed/been adjusted given the current situation? 

Wineberg: On a personal level – fitness is key to my routine. Whether it is yoga, spinning or strength training – having dedicated and focused time is fundamental to having a clear head. On the business side – I like to end the week with two simple tasks. First, I create a summary of what I achieved that week – I am a firm believer that you cannot achieve goals that you do not track and nurture. Second, I draft one thank you or note of encouragement to someone on my team. This task has been key during this remote work era. I want to make sure my team members know they are seen and acknowledged. Both tasks are important, but the end-of-the-week notes have been transformational. They give me a moment to think about the people I work with every day and beyond the immediate tasks. When we spend a considerable amount of our waking hours together, like we do, each of us striving for something better, it is important that we take a moment to acknowledge accomplishments, reflect and connect. This simple moment each week has allowed me to retain staff, mentor, and keep an open door.

BLDUP: During the course of your career, what was the biggest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it? What other accomplishments hold a special place in your heart and why?

Wineberg: Although the AE industry moves at a glacial pace – we have made some progress.  17 years ago – I made the difficult decision to take a couple years off from traditional practice. As I embarked on a life as a mother, I did not want to feel guilty that I could not spend the amount of time in the office. Instead, I chose a sequential approach to my career at that stage. I gave myself the freedom to be a mother for a couple of years with the personal commitment to come back and pick off where I left off.  Once I was ready, I reached out to one of my former colleagues and now fellow partner and I was able to jump in with full confidence I was at the right place for myself. 

I am particularly proud of my work and impact in Philadelphia.  I started working in Philadelphia nearly 10 years ago, and since that time I have led the design of six significant high-rise tower and neighborhood residential projects. We have worked hard to build relationships with consultant partners, the city and of course clients who are open to new design voices. 

BLDUP: The COVID-19 pandemic brought on a unique set of challenges, how has this affected your business in the short term. Do you expect to see long-term effects on building design/architecture going forward?

Wineberg: I am of a generation that had to push and advocate for flexibility when I had my children. We are now the beneficiaries of advanced digital design, collaboration and communication methods, and the pandemic has taught us that there are alternate work arrangements.  I hope that flexibility is the lasting impact of the pandemic and makes being a mom in the architecture industry easier- so we can get more women engaged in the industry. 

BLDUP: What upcoming projects are you most excited about? 

Wineberg: I am excited about all the new projects that are advancing now that we have established our East Coast office, in a short amount of time we are expanding both our multi-family and life science practices in Boston and Philadelphia and continuing with significant multi-family projects in DC, Atlanta and Florida.

BLDUP: What do you hope for the future of your company in the next 30 years? What legacy do you want to leave?


  • The legacy of firmly establishing women as leaders within the Architecture industry. 

  • Establishing SCB’s presence in the East Coast and beyond.  

  • Creating vibrant sustainable urban projects that impact people’s lives either by providing housing, or a welcoming place for people to work. 

  • Be one of the first Hispanic women to lead a top 50 Design Firm. 

BLDUP: Have you had a mentor or someone who has helped you during your career? What are the most valuable lessons you learned from that person?

Wineberg: Do not confuse being busy with being effective – I see this all the time. Young staff are busy doing tasks, but not thinking about the bigger picture and seeing how their efforts really contribute or should be aligned. I continually remind myself that to achieve my goals I need to make sure I am focused on the strategic initiatives and not get buried in minutiae. 

BLDUP: What is a favorite quote that inspires you or you strive to live by?

Wineberg: Nietzche: “Without music, life would be a mistake.” ...  

We all seek inspiration and aspiration – it can come from the sublime, from art, from beauty.  

Contributor Bio


SCB is an architecture, interior design, and planning firm that practices nationally from offices in Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, and Seattle. Since 1931, SCB has made a lasting impact on the nation’s skyline, campuses, and neighborhoods, helping our clients across the country achieve their goals, serve their constituencies, and make their mark.