We bring collaboration and innovation to everything we do.

Thomas Robinson and Pamela Kislak founded LEVER in 2009 with a goal of making great design more accessible to projects regardless of budget or type. Today, they lead our two studios together with a group of 12 Principals and Senior Associates.

 

Our 50+ person team is a diverse collective with a shared passion for creating inspiring and innovative designs. We are curious, ambitious, hardworking, and fun, and our work evolves through a collaborative process. Giving back to our communities is a cornerstone of our firm culture. 


Interested in joining our team? View our available positions

Being engaged with construction is an essential part of our office culture.

We take time to gather as a firm, have fun, and enjoy each other's company.

Our designs evolve through a collaborative process of regular team pin-ups and dialogue. 

We value giving back to our community and dedicate time to service projects.

Hiking, ski trips, and other outdoor activities build community and help us find balance.

Take a real break from your desk — we come together for lunch, happy hours, and LEVER's traditional all hands Friday breakfast.

Interested in becoming an architect? Enroll in TeamUp, our youth design initiative.
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Team

Thomas Robinson
Principal

Thomas is the Founder and Principal of LEVER Architecture. He works closely with clients to develop the design vision for each project. Prior to establishing the firm, Thomas led cultural and institutional projects for Allied Works and Herzog & de Meuron. He received an MArch from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley.

Pamela Kislak
Chief Operating Officer

Pamela is responsible for the operations of LEVER Architecture. Prior to joining the firm, she spent 20 years leading marketing, strategy, and operations for growing companies. Pamela holds an MBA from the Haas School at the University of California, Berkeley and a BA from Dartmouth College.

Chandra Robinson
Principal

Chandra has 14 years of experience creating beautiful spaces that are accessible for all. She serves on the Portland Design Commission, and prior to joining LEVER, led the construction of the largest mass timber building in the US. Chandra received a MArch from the Boston Architectural Center and a BS from Portland State University.

Doug Sheets
Principal

Doug is closely involved in the conceptual development and design of LEVER projects. Part of the firm since its inception, he has played a key role in all of LEVER’s major completions. Doug’s expertise includes the design of significant institutional, educational, and creative office projects. He received a BArch from Ball State University.

 

Jonathan Heppner
Principal

Jonathan has over 18 years of design and management experience working with significant civic and creative organizations. As a native Oregonian, his interest in timber detailing and construction led to his management role on Framework, the first mass timber high-rise project in the US to receive permitted approval. Jonathan holds a BArch from the University of Oregon.

Sara Martin
Principal

Sara leads the firm’s business development, marketing, and communications efforts. She draws on 10 years of experience working in the offices of Selldorf Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, SOM, and OMA/ Rem Koolhaas among others. Sara studied architecture at Smith College and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Michael Faulkner
Principal

Michael has more than 15 years of architectural design and management experience working on large, high-profile projects for institutional, healthcare, and residential clients in the US and internationally. Michael received a MArch from Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a BArch from Penn State University.

Timothy Cooke
Senior Associate

Timothy is a licensed architect whose work focuses on integrating a keen understanding of material and energy use into the design process. In addition to his project work, Timothy leads interdisciplinary research at LEVER that is focused on increasing transparency and access to information about the forest practices associated with wood products used in the built environment.

Haley Coughlin
Senior Associate

Haley is interested in thoughtful, place driven architecture. With a diverse portfolio of campus and community projects, she excels at translating concept sketches to built work while developing trust-based working relationships with clients, contractors, and the design team. She is a licensed architect in California and received a BArch from Cal Poly SLO.

Chris Grosse
Senior Associate

Chris attended Illinois Institute of Technology, and worked in Chicago for 10 years before joining LEVER. His strong technical knowledge supports his focus on producing exceptional design, and his experience encompasses a variety of large-scale projects, including a student center, a rehabilitation hospital, and most recently, LEVER’s expansion of Adidas North American Headquarters which he led from design through construction.

Don Lee
Senior Associate

Don has practiced Architecture for over 20 years. He has managed an array of projects ranging from commercial high-rise and mixed-use to small residential. Prior to joining LEVER, he was a Senior Associate at Robert AM Architects in New York. He received a BFA and BArch from Rhode Island School of Design.

Jeff Stern
Senior Associate

Jeff is passionate about projects that push the envelope of sustainability to help combat climate change, improve our neighborhoods and cities, and create spaces that inspire. A licensed architect, Jeff has completed an extensive array of projects from carefully crafted custom houses to large public buildings. He works diligently to achieve an architecture that is clear, effortless, and without self-consciousness.

Bryce Tolene
Senior Associate

Bryce is a licensed architect with over 20 years of experience, specializing in complex educational, cultural, and institutional projects. He has worked in the Pacific Northwest and in Chicago, where he has developed extensive technical knowledge on envelope detailing and project delivery. He taught architectural studios at SAIC in Chicago and received a BArch from Ball State University.

ShaCari Alexander
Designer

ShaCari is a designer and artist with a keen interest in creating at the intersection of art, architecture, and social service. She recently earned a BArch from The University of Texas at Austin, where she developed a passion for equitable design – with an emphasis on craft, collaboration, and interpersonal connection.

Chinita Brazil
Controller

Chinita is a finance and accounting professional with over 14 years of experience. A native of Alabama currently based in Los Angeles, her past work includes six years in the architecture industry prior to joining LEVER. Chinita holds a BS in Accounting and a BS in Finance, MACC, and EMBA.

Blair Cranston
Associate

Blair is a licensed architect with over 10 years of experience focusing on education, cultural, and commercial projects. He is passionate about creating spaces for people to work and learn collaboratively. He has worked on numerous projects while at LEVER, most recently the North Portland and Albina libraries. Blair has an MArch from Harvard University and a Bachelors in Chemical Engineering.

Jennifer Engler
Project Coordinator

Jen is a project coordinator and executive assistant with over fifteen years of experience supporting mission-driven organizations and nonprofit operations focused on access to nature and building community. Originally from NW Florida, she has put roots down in Oregon where her love of nature inspires her daily.  Jen holds a BS degree from Florida State University in Environmental Studies.

Jeff Ernst
Architect

Jeff is an architect with over 10 years of experience designing and executing a variety of project types, with a focus on private and multifamily residential projects. His approach is highly technical and creative, foregrounding the unique vision of his clients.

Michael Gastineau
Designer

As a newcomer to the Pacific Northwest, Michael brings 7+ years of design and project management experience across small and medium-sized cultural projects. His methodology embraces the potential of design as a collaborative investigation of context, craft, and materiality ­­- seeking precision and clarity through an iterative and immersive process. Michael holds an MArch and BS from Ball State University.

Michael Gross
Associate

Michael currently leads LEVER's 3D visualization efforts. His contributions are integral to the development of our projects, providing instant visual feedback loops during collaborative design processes. He has managed the design and construction of award-winning LEVER projects, including the L'Angolo Estate Winery. Michael received his MArch from Southern California Institute of Architecture and a BS from Portland State University.

McKenzie Gutierrez
Designer

McKenzie is a designer at LEVER. She is a recent graduate of the University of Oregon MArch program, and holds BS in Public Policy with an emphasis in Health Management from the University of Southern California. In addition to architecture, McKenzie has experience with community engagement, behavioral health, and academic research that informs her interests and work.

Ashley Koger
Associate

Ashley is a potter and ceramic artist whose interest in materiality and form greatly influences her approach to architecture. Her work on urban multi-family housing focuses on equitable access and designing inviting homes that help to fill the gap in affordable housing. She’s a licensed architect and holds an MArch from University of Oregon and a BSArch from University of Cincinnati.

Nate Lambdin
Associate

Nate's background in graphic design contributes to his ability to clearly communicate complex ideas to a diverse audience. He is a licensed architect with 11 years of experience designing and managing large projects for a variety of institutional and corporate clients. Nate holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from VCU and a Masters of Architecture from the University of Washington.

Kevin Lee
Associate

Kevin is a licensed architect who has over 10 years of design experience on domestic and international work. At LEVER, he was a part of the Adidas North American Headquarters, 843 N Spring St, and 2525 Hyperion Ave project teams. Kevin received his MArch from MIT and a BA in Architecture from UC Berkeley.

Henry Lennon
Designer

Henry is an architectural designer from the Midwest. Having worked on projects ranging from some of the largest stadiums in the world to small residential homes, he brings a diverse perspective and skill set to the table. No matter the scale, he is always focused on how our built environments affects the individual and helps to cultivate a community for those around it. He received his MArch from the University of Kansas.

Kelsey McWilliams
Associate

Kelsey is a designer and collaborator with a holistic, cross disciplinary approach to projects. Her designs explore texture and materiality with a keen sensitivity to a building's sense of place, and its relationship to the human experience. Kelsey holds a BArch from the University of Oregon and has over 10 years of experience in the Portland architecture and design community.

Doug Miller
Associate

Doug’s interests cover a wide range of scales, all the way from urban morphology to nuts and bolts. In addition to traditional architecture practices, he has worked in diverse settings that include an EV technology startup, several academic research centers, and, briefly, an English translation company in Tokyo. He is a licensed architect and has degrees from Princeton, UCLA, and Harvard.

Tyler Nishitani
Associate

Tyler’s experience is focused on civic, cultural, and community design. He is passionate about design excellence in service to the public realm, and brings significant experience working with communities on the design of libraries. Tyler previously worked with Kengo Kuma and Associates on an iconic new complex of cultural buildings at the historic Portland Japanese Garden.

Kayla Swanson
Designer

Kayla has worked on a variety of projects spanning adaptive reuse, renovation, and new construction, including projects for significant education and civic clients. She brings a background in both architecture and interiors to each project, balancing focus on the details amid big picture decisions. Kayla received her Masters in Interior Architecture and Masters in Architecture from University of Oregon.

Yen Vo
Associate

Yen is a designer and maker passionate about design that inspires, brings joy, facilitates growth, and engenders resiliency while being experientially sublime. Her approach begins with exploring how materiality and tactility can imbue people to experience and use space to live meaningful lives. She has honed these skills through a variety of experiences in urban design, healthcare, civic and educational projects.

Johan Wijesinghe
Designer

Johan is a researcher and designer with a highly-technical approach to architecture. His work focuses on sustainability and applications of digital technology. Previously, he worked for firms in London, Sri Lanka, and Los Angeles, and received a BArch from the Southern California Institute of Architecture and a MSc from University College London.

Madeleine Wilhite
Director of Operations

Madeleine is a collaborative operations strategist with over a decade of experience working with values-driven organizations such as Caldera, Headlands Center for the Arts, and now LEVER. A dedicated advocate for spaces that inspire and bring people together to create, celebrate, and learn, Madeleine’s interests lie in the overlap between art and the built and natural environments.