We are a New York-based architecture practice that for over thirty years has made true-to-place projects around the country and the world. Each member of our design leadership possesses a deep and distinct area of expertise; together we create projects with unprecedented programs and unexpected architectural expression. Over time, we have built a wide range of experience in projects for colleges and universities, cultural institutions, private residences, boutique hotels, office and multifamily developments, and buildings for mission-driven clients.
We distill complex considerations–environmental, social, and aesthetic–into meaningful architecture. Our work is transformative: from the reimagination of old buildings, to the creation of exquisite new ones.
Our buildings create powerful first impressions and continue to delight. The architecture we make captures the values and aspirations of our clients; strives to enrich the world around it through enduring design; and is mindful of the distinctive qualities of each place.
We connect people and places to create meaningful and lasting experiences: we consider how changing daylight shapes a room; how people move into a site and through a building; how materials feel and look through repeated use. Our approach is human-centered at all scales, from the broad vision of masterplans to the focused details of interiors (and everything in between).
Some of our most significant past work includes the Distribution Headquarters for Cummins Inc. in Indianapolis, Indiana; the Rockefeller Arts Center in Fredonia, New York; 21c Museum Hotels across the South and Midwest of the U.S.; the Yale School of Art; and numerous residences for private clients.
We have won numerous awards for our work, including a National Design Award from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.
Our current projects include the New Residential Colleges at Princeton University, the Lewis International Law Center at Harvard Law School, and NXTHVN, an arts and community incubator in New Haven, Connecticut.
From a sole proprietorship founded by Deborah Berke in 1982 to a partnership formed in 2002 by Deborah, Maitland Jones, and Marc Leff, the firm expanded its leadership in 2019 to include eight additional partners. This broad and diverse group of 11 partners collaborates with the studio’s talented architects, interior designers, and technical and administrative staff.
As a studio, we are guided by the distinct histories and experiences of our team. We see our diversity as a strength, and our architecture and design practice as offering unique opportunities to fight systemic racism. With a platform of diverse initiatives, we are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and the linked goals of social and climate justice.
For more than twenty years, we have hosted exhibitions in our studio to support artists. The relationship is symbiotic. We provide a platform for the artists; their creativity enhances our studio environment. In many occasions, the Artist Program leads to future collaborations and referrals. In parallel, we also host talks and events for writers, performing artists, academics, and critics. All these voices enliven our practice and enrich our work.
Cameron Kursél, Thorsen Kursél
Employee Group Exhibition