Tamara is a native Brooklynite, but her family roots extend throughout Central America. She enjoys traveling, especially to the Caribbean and other warm beachy destinations, as well as mountainous regions, lake regions and…well, anywhere really. Tamara brings a positivity and warmth to BKSK – you’ll quickly know what we mean when she greets you at the front desk.
Fun fact: Her creative artistry is evident in a joint talent both behind, and in-front of the camera.
Zhiwen, a graduate of Columbia’s GSAPP, is originally from Xi’an – a 4,000 year old capital city known for spicy food and ancient relics. Coming from a place so rich in history left Zhiwen eager to explore the cultural and historical consequences of design. He’s always willing to lead or participate in design competitions both academically and in practice – enabling him to constantly collaborate and share ideas. Zhiwen lives in Hell’s Kitchen and in his free time serves as a lecturer and critic in China via Skype.
Why NYC? The varied traditional neighborhoods and museums are places of contemplation and knowledge, and an appreciation for an international mix of people, culture and food.
Born, raised, and architecturally-trained in Dublin, Ireland, Rachel also lived in Sweden, Italy, and London before deciding to make NYC her next adventure. While completing her Bachelor and Masters in Architecture at University College Dublin, Rachel developed a passion for sustainable design, and completed her thesis on urban food supply and production. Her love of sailing and competitive spirit makes Rachel a valuable addition to the BKSK crew for the annual New York Architect’s Regatta Challenge.
Favorite spot in NYC: Sitting on the steps of Grand Central’s main concourse with a coffee in hand, watching the world go by.
Fann was born in Belgium and raised in Scandinavia (both Sweden and Norway), before making the move to the United States to pursue her education. While at Bennington College in Vermont, she studied dance, studio art and architecture. A background in movement influenced her interest in architecture, and she is continually inspired by the visceral and ephemeral experience of spaces. Furthermore, a Chinese and Nordic background has helped to form an interest in multidisciplinary approaches to design.
Why NYC? While she misses the fjords and mountains of Norway, she is continually fascinated by the diversity New York City has to offer.
Alexandra was born in Romania, immigrated and became a Canadian citizen, and then made the move to NYC to attend architecture school. At this point, she’s equal parts Romanian, Canadian (probably a bit more Canadian), and New Yorker. Her design work is informed by comprehensive studies of social and architectural contexts, from which innovative programs and forms can be derived. An important consideration is always the balance of socially conscious design with contextual relevance. Alexandra holds a Bachelor of Architecture from The Cooper Union, and a Master of Architecture from the Yale School of Architecture.
Favorite things: Drawing and biking (she spent her honeymoon biking through the High Provence lavender region, and more recently through the Italian Dolomites).
With a degree in architecture, training in drawing, painting, photography, and graphic design, and professional experience in marketing, architecture, and experience design, Maria has explored the architecture field from many angles. Through her diverse experience, Maria learned to think critically and creatively about design from a variety of perspectives, which encourages unique solutions across multiple disciplines and media. Maria has a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Yale University and a Master of Architecture from Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.
Secret talent: During architecture school, Maria would channel the stress of long nights and studio reviews into her baking. She is now an avid baker who specializes in perfectly under-cooked chocolate chip cookies.
With an undergraduate degree in Urban Design and Architecture Studies and a Master’s in Architecture, Katie has a deep interest in how culture and history manifests itself in the built environment. She grew up in New Hampshire hiking the White Mountains, and tries to get out into nature whenever she can. When she’s not on the trails, she can be found scouring her favorite record shops.
Laura works closely with firm leadership to identify potential opportunities for new business, as well as to drive and implement firm-wide marketing strategy and brand positioning. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she maintains a deep appreciation for the natural environment, evidenced in yearly hiking trips to faraway destinations. At home in New York, she admires the city’s rich green spaces as well as iconic infrastructure projects.
Raised in a family committed to scientific research, in the midst of San Jose’s transformation into an anchor of Silicon Valley, Marcel brings a contagious enthusiasm for inquiry and analysis to his design work. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, known for its early adoption of new technologies in architectural practice. On every project, Marcel strives for outstanding performance and inspiring beauty, both inside and out.
His favorite building in NYC: The Lever House on Park Avenue, the second curtain wall skyscraper ever built in the city, and an influential turning point for the design language of midtown.
Ken was raised in a family of painters, carpenters, and mathematicians, whose various talents inspired Ken’s interest in architecture from a young age. Despite only recently moving to New York, Ken has already developed an appreciation for the city’s diverse and bustling public spaces. A native of Michigan, he holds a master’s degree from the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.
His dream project: While there are too many to pick one, Ken would love to design and build his own house one day, ideally one overlooking the water.
Idan grew up in an Israeli Kibbutz, rooted in agriculture and communal living. His interest in architecture hinges on the ways it influences social development and well-being. For example, his final school project explored the various opportunities presented by creating a culinary center for both commerce and education in New York’s Lower East Side. Naturally, he prefers to soak up New York’s diverse districts by foot, but he frequently commutes via bicycle, along the paths that parallel the Hudson River.
A surprise from his past: Chocolate was the initial impetus for Idan’s move to New York; he was on the team that opened Max Brenner’s Union Square location
William hails from the Pacific Northwest, resulting in an affinity for the natural from a very young age. At the same time, William was always curious about the science and art of the built environment, leading him to earn a degree in architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design and certification as a Passive House Consultant. William’s appreciation of craft and everyday handiwork is evidenced in the renovations that he and his wife have led on their own home; those experiences have also left him with quite the impressive selection of power tools.
Why NYC: While there are many reasons, William readily admits to missing authentic New York pizza every time he travels.
After moving from Bombay to Austin for graduate school, Adel was compelled to move to New York City. He finds architectural inspiration in all of New York’s neighborhoods, from the canyons of midtown skyscrapers to the patina of outer borough warehouses, each offering its own sense of vitality. In general, Adel has noticed that waterfront cities possess a special energy, perhaps because of their history of commercial activity and resulting richness of social and cultural activity.
His favorite corner of New York: The main concourse of Grand Central; it embodies many of the characteristics of successful urban spaces, including the inherent promotion of diverse velocities.
Paolo’s passion for crafting healthy and delightful user experiences is seen throughout his portfolio of multi-disciplinary designs. Inspired by the diverse specialties and scales of creative professionals like the Eames, as well as by their partnerships, he actively seeks out opportunities for holistic design excellence and artistic collaboration. Paolo hails from Ancona, a capital city and seaport in central Italy, and always enjoys rediscovering its stunning natural waterfronts when he visits friends and family.
A surprise skill: Paolo is an accomplished keyboardist, who previously toured professionally with a band. Currently, he’s learning guitar.
While Eban’s initial studies centered on studio art and neuroscience, he ultimately earned a graduate degree in architecture, partly because of the profession’s willingness to wrestle with the complexity of the real world. Unsurprisingly, he finds New York to be an inspiring environment for architectural designers. The city’s availability of pick-up baseball games only adds to its appeal.
A surprise skill: Eban’s affinity for craft (and for music) is evidenced in his guitar, which he made himself.
A naturally civic-minded project manager and designer, Keith is a keen observer of the historical, environmental, and social influences of architecture on human experience. While raised and educated in Rhode Island, Keith has always felt at home in New York City, and increasingly finds comforting familiarity in its sights, smells, and sounds. Similarly, he loves to commute on foot and by train in equal parts, in order to absorb multiple facets of the energizing cityscape that surrounds us.
His favorite restaurant in NYC: Being a thoughtful craftsman himself, Keith always appreciates Lot 2 in South Slope, in large part because of the intention and care of their wares.
Originally from the mountains of Colorado, Jennifer developed her focus on sustainability by recognizing that the strongest architectural experience solves a problem, in the simplest manner possible, and without creating a new problem down the line. For her, the design process is at its most fulfilling when it results in construction practices that engage land and materials responsibly and in volumes that celebrate daylight and wind in a manner equal to nature’s. Now serving as BKSK’s Sustainable Design Director, Jennifer advocates for systematic approaches to design that address ecology, community, longevity, and beauty on every project. Outside of the office, you can often find Jennifer in her tiny urban garden or enjoying the expansive urban views from a neighborhood rooftop.
Her favorite corner of New York: The edges of the boroughs, where land and water collide.
Wil hails from Puerto Rico, where he developed a fine-grained appreciation for a multi-sensory engagement of the built and natural environments. His holistic interest in human experience, and the way in which these experiences are crafted, catalyzed his participation in two Solar Decathlons as well as his achievement of a dual masters degree in both architecture and structural engineering. Aesthetically, Wil promotes design approaches that thoughtfully explore form, scale, and proportion, and is a fan of the innovative use and combination of materials.
A surprise skill: Wil is great at remembering song lyrics, even if he has no clue of the artist or the song’s title.
In addition to working on a variety of architectural projects at BKSK, Taka is an interior design lecturer at Parsons and a former student of fine art. She is deeply committed to humanitarian design and has participated in Global Studio, initiated by the United Nations Millennium Project Task Force, and spent time mapping the refugee experience along the Thailand-Burma border.
Her roots: Taka was born in Japan, whose art, architecture, and egalitarian culture still influence her today.
In the summer of 1974, David traveled with his family through the Loire Valley in a VW microbus, one of several childhood adventures that were both architecturally inspiring and international in nature. David subsequently developed a deep appreciation for the historic contexts and natural beauty of a place, both evident in his work today. Out of the office, David spends time with his twin boys and his wife, an architect originally from Taipei, and can occasionally be spotted gardening.
His favorite dead architect: Alvar Aalto, in part because of the stunning curvilinear forms in his work, which were created in a computer-less era.
A lifelong resident of New York, Pedro has extensive experience designing for a range of clients throughout the city’s metro area. Of the many dynamic neighborhoods in New York, Pedro particularly enjoys the unintended charm of the Financial District, with its dramatic canyons and unique contrasts between old and new.
His favorite dead architects: Living or not, the most inspiring architects are those that don’t create form for form’s sake. Architecture should be rich, and about more than one thing.
A graduate of Chung Yuan Christian University of Taiwan and The Cooper Union, Wei is a thinker, artist, and designer who seeks out the narratives of a place. That said, his roots are found in time, rather than in space: both in the past and the dreams of the future. He is most drawn to New York City because of its constantly evolving identity.
The spark that got him into architecture: Everyday life.
Min’s architectural experience includes a variety of building and client types, though all of her designs consistently celebrate the interplay of texture, light, and form. Outside of the office, she is frequently found experiencing new activities, from surfing to learning to play the piano. A native of Seoul and an overall lover of cities, Min thoroughly enjoys the people and energy of New York.
Her favorite restaurant in NYC: Babbo, because who doesn’t love Mario Batali.
Zach’s interest in perspectives, from the overlooked infrastructures of cities to the unique vantage point of a bicycle, has taken him to Los Angeles, Prague, Andalucía, and New York, among several other architecturally dynamic places. Raised in a small town in the Colorado mountains, he also maintains a deep appreciation of community, ecology, and natural materials. Zach now lives in Red Hook, where he collaboratively runs the shared creative workspace SUPERSMITH and spends his free time experimenting in his shop.
His favorite bar in NYC: Sunny’s, on the Red Hook waterfront. There’s really no party like a bluegrass party.
While her roots are in Punjab, India, Harpreet is a Wisconsin native. Her interest in architecture also began in the Badger State, when her parents first rolled out the blueprints for a new house. A seasoned project manager, Harpreet believes that true architectural brilliance emerges most often from consistent hard work and thoughtful editing, rather than from a singular burst of inspiration.
Marissa is BKSK’s in-house preservation specialist, conducting historic building analyses and research for projects with historical merit. Additionally, she reviews and coordinates filings with state and local preservation agencies, and has directed historic building and district studies and National Register nominations. She earned her Masters degree from Columbia University’s Historic Preservation Program.
A member of the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland with multiple years of practice abroad, Joe regularly draws comparisons between the nature of design in Europe and the United States, which informs his valuable and unique perspectives on projects. Joe generally favors simplicity in design, as exemplified in modern architecture, and has a deep appreciation for its pioneers such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Unsurprisingly, “less is always more!” was a key takeaway from his time at the Dublin School of Architecture.
His home is: 3,176 miles east of New York. That said, nowhere compares to this city and its energy!
A spunky controller with a parent’s watchful eye, Irene helps keep the firm in line in more ways than one. While she is a fan of New York for several reasons, including how diverse and dynamic it is, she loves this city most because of her proximity to her family. Irene is the mother of twins, and recently became a grandmother.
Though he once considered a career in aerospace engineering, Pablo has always been inclined toward the built world’s more artistic fields. It’s also clear that Pablo has an affinity for the vibrancy of cities, having lived in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and now New York. That said, he thoroughly enjoys scenic bike rides in more natural settings, both within and outside of urban contexts.
His favorite corner of New York: There are endless corners of this city to explore, but Pablo’s long distance cycling also takes him to a number of neighboring regions. A current favorite is Bear Mountain State Park, up Route 9W.
Gerry is a seasoned interior designer with a knack for balancing modern and historic aesthetics, for a range of private, commercial, and institutional client types. Gerry joined the team in 2011 bringing with him experience gained at other top New York design firms, including Pembrooke & Ives, Alan Wanzenberg Architecture and Design, Perkins + Will, and IA Interior Architects. He also has a flair for the dramatic—Gerry is a lifelong fan of Broadway theater and is currently a member of the Lesbian & Gay Big Apple Corps, one of New York City’s historic marching bands.
Cindy’s experience includes a variety of clients and building types, though she always particularly enjoys exploring structure and materiality in her projects. Uniquely, Cindy holds two masters degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, in architecture and in landscape architecture. While she currently practices strictly as an architect, Cindy’s designs often feature a dynamic partnership of the natural and built environments.
David made his way to New York City via Seoul, Philadelphia, and Florida, developing a breadth of cultural understanding and an appreciation for the natural world along the way. With design experience that ranges from extremely contemporary to preservationist, David finds particular inspiration in exploring the ornamental beauty of historic architecture through a modern lens.
Robin may be “all business” at the office, but she is also an accomplished photographer, avid traveler, and a bit of a daredevil—having once parachuted out of an airplane and bungee jumped off a bridge. She also spends time doing development for Green Outlook, an initiative to build the first ever public restroom and maintenance facility in a New York City park that meets the rigorous standards of the Living Building Challenge.
With roots in New England, and an especially soft spot for New Hampshire, Jenniece is now a Brooklyn resident and active participant in its music scene. When working on site on downtown projects, you’ll likely catch Jenniece walking the Brooklyn Bridge home. She is an ongoing advocate of women’s rights and also of widespread access to urban green spaces.
While born in Maryland, Karen primarily grew up in the vibrant neighborhoods of Paris, often visiting Europe’s diverse cities and countrysides. Through the practice of architecture, she continually finds fulfilling parallel opportunities to explore the unique culture and history of places. Karen initially moved back to the United States to attend Barnard College, and has been in the dense but nature-filled New York area ever since.
Most valuable thing she learned in school: Of the many valuable experiences Karen had in Parsons’ graduate design-build program, a particularly interesting one was being her own end user, when she and her classmates upgraded the program’s studio space – and consequently gained a much deeper awareness around the complexities of user feedback and participatory design.
From John’s unique history in woodworking and farming to his role in architecture today, he has remained hands-on, both literally and figuratively. In each project, and for every client type, John consistently aims to provide positive social impact and to better connect people with the natural systems that surround them.
David is an experienced project manager for a variety of project types, in addition to serving as an adjunct assistant professor in City Tech’s program for Architectural Technology. Despite his technical savvy, he also strongly believes in the value of studying buildings and exploring design problems through hand drawing. Formerly of Hillsborough, New Jersey, David can often be found on the Long Island Sound, competitively sailboat racing.
Eve arrived in New York by way of Georgia, by way of New York, by way of Georgia, by way of North Carolina, by way of New York, by way of Ontario, by way of Alberta. Beyond her clear love for New York City’s energy and walkability, Eve is also a passionate advocate of animal rights and loves music and playing the piano. At the office, she can frequently be found promoting the human-centered value of natural light, fresh air, and thoughtfully chosen building materials.
A surprise from her past: Eve was the “Hoop Shoot Champion” of North Carolina in 1982, as well as a “Hula Hoop Champion” of Tortilla Flats in 2003. Needless to say, we dig her moxie.
Born and raised in Taiwan, Yee initially moved to the United States to attend the Rhode Island School of Design, and has been designing high-performance spaces in New York City ever since. He currently lives in Brooklyn and enjoys jogging in nearby Prospect Park, particularly due to the assortment of people and gatherings that are regularly found there.
Westchestah! More specifically, the SPCA in Briarcliff. But I’m in Riverdale now.
I ate a book about Louis Kahn once. It was delicious.
Did I mention the Louis Kahn book?
Electric fence. Gets me every time.
Momofuku Ko. Paws down. Chang is a genius. My best dreams are filled with his pork buns.