Eric Naslund, FAIA
Eric began his architectural career in 1983 after graduating with honors from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo but his fascination with design and building can be traced all the way back to kindergarten where his teacher remarked on his progress report that Eric excels at art and construction toys. His formal education also includes a stint at the Écoles d'Art Américaines in Fontainbleau, France, where he was recognized with a Mention Bien Prize. Being an Air Force brat, Eric has lived all over the country and was born in Madrid, Spain.
When not at Studio E Architects, Eric enjoys spending time with his family and friends, going to the beach, playing golf or riding bikes. His lacrosse playing days long over, Eric still enjoys catching a game when possible.
John Sheehan, FAIA
John is a native of the Golden State, born in San Francisco in 1960. He received a Bachelor of Architecture from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 1984. In 1986, he pursued a Graduate Design Diploma from the Architectural Association in London, England. John worked at various offices in Boston before moving to San Diego in 1989 to join his former Cal Poly classmate Eric Naslund at Studio E Architects.
John’s career has focused on producing thoughtful, sustainable, and life-affirming places for communities historically underserved by the profession. Fueled by an optimistic pragmatism - his work has wrested the exemplary from the unlikely. John has embraced the kit-of-parts of the region and created constructions of quirky complexity and unexpected richness. Making meaningful places from ordinary programs, slim budgets, and leftover sites -he has taken full advantage of the no-cost, natural “givens” of the West Coast – the sunlight, the breeze, and the landscape.
John has lectured at USC, Woodbury University, San Diego’s New School of Architecture, and the Monterey Design Conference. He is a frequent speaker at housing design conferences.
John has a keen interest in history and travel. After hours are spent hiking, biking, kayaking, making good food, and spending time with his wife and three children.
Mathilda Bialk, AIA
Mathilda graduated from NewSchool of Architecture + Design in 2006 with a Master of Architecture degree, and the academic honor Cum Laude. After five years of experience working on various project types and sizes at other local firms, Mathilda joined Studio E Architects in June 2007.
In 2020, Mathilda was awarded the Young Architect of the Year from AIA San Diego. She has also taught design as an adjunct professor at San Diego State University and volunteered for San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Orchids & Onions award ceremonies.
Mathilda was born in San Diego, grew up on the Central Coast of California, and the rolling hills, oak trees and ocean are in her blood. Her vacation time is often spent in Morro Bay and Borrego Springs. Her interests include her family, crochet and yoga.
Maxine Ward, AIA
Principal | LEED APmward@studioearchitects.com
Born and raised on a dairy farm in Northern Ireland, Maxine left the farm for the big city to study architecture at Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland. In 1994 she was awarded a scholarship to the University of Kansas, beginning her American adventure.
A licensed architect in California and the United Kingdom, Maxine has been practicing architecture in San Diego since 2003, focusing on affordable multi-family housing and public projects including charter schools. Maxine has been an adjunct faculty member at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design, San Diego, leading a graduate level design studio. She continues to serve as a visiting juror of student work.
She is an active member of the San Diego architectural community, serving since 2008 as a board member of the San Diego Architectural Foundation, where she was President from 2012-2014. She is a two-time chair of the Orchids & Onions design awards program.
In 2015, Maxine was awarded the Young Architect of the Year from AIA San Diego in recognition for her body of work and her commitment to all aspects of the architectural profession.
Senior Associate | Architectcdunphy@studioearchitects.com
Charity grew up on the east coast and received her Bachelor of Architecture degree in 2006 from Virginia Tech. A few short weeks later she hopped in her car and headed west seeking the warmth of the sun, the pleasant dry climate and spectacular beaches. She immediately embraced her architecture career in San Diego and created a strong foundation for her professional development. Her project experiences range from residential to mixed use to educational.
When Charity is not out on a road bike excursion, her free time is spent doing other outdoors activities such as, running, hiking or simply relaxing with a good book on the beach. She also enjoys spending time with her family and friends while impressing them with her latest creations in the kitchen.
Following his upbringing in the great state of Maine, Nate moved to Boulder, CO where he earned a Bachelor of Environmental Design from the University of Colorado. After graduation, he and a classmate formed an improvised design/ build outfit offering design and construction services aimed specifically at the unfinished basement industry generated by the surplus of tract home communities in the Front Range area. This continued until deciding to trade the mountains for the ocean in late 2002. After arriving in San Diego, Nate spent the subsequent years sharpening his skills via professional involvement with the AIA and day-to-day efforts at a small handful of architecture and design firms before landing at Studio E Architects in April of 2016.
Outside of the office, you can find Nate enjoying a night (or weekend) of live music, searching for the next best thing at a variety of San Diego’s craft breweries, plotting out a roadtrip and- as any good New England expat should- devoting requisite attention to the Boston Red Sox.
Jose works at the axis of research, speculation, and practice. Originally from Tijuana, Mexico, he grew up across the border within a bilingual, bicultural, and binational household. He practiced in the Bay Area for many years and has worked on various project types, including multifamily housing, higher education, and public interest projects serving the Latino community in San Francisco's Mission District.
Jose earned a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University and a Bachelor in Architecture from the California College of the Arts (CCA). While at Columbia, he was awarded the Lucille Smyser Lowenfish Memorial Prize for outstanding design. He has taught seminar courses in the Critical Studies program at CCA and occasionally serves as a guest critic at UC Berkeley and RISD. He also co-produces and co-hosts From the Margins: Perspectives on the Built Environment, a podcast dedicated to intersectional conversations with architects, activists, and scholars on the politics of space.
When out of the office, Jose enjoys bike rides with his husband and children, visiting the beach with his beagle, and attending live music shows with friends.
Kevin Bussett, AIA
Kevin is a third-generation San Diegan, second-generation architect, and proud Cal Poly SLO alum. He started as a Studio E Architects summer intern and re-joined the office in 2016 as a licensed architect.
Kevin takes a keen interest in local current events, especially housing policy. Outside of business hours, he enjoys exploring Greater North Park by bike with his wife and two young sons, gardening, and hunting for the next great deal on Craigslist.
Architect | Construction Administratorfgarcia@studioearchitects.com
As a licensed Architect and general contractor, Francisco comes to Studio E Architects via the design-build sector to manage and assist projects in the Construction Administration phase and to provide a builder's perspective early in a project's development. Formally trained in the Cornell University Architecture program, Francisco has supplemented his Modernist core through hands-on construction experience over the last seventeen years. From his fieldwork, he's maintained friendships with builders and tradesmen & considers them to be some of the best daily problem-solvers and resourceful critical thinkers. With this awareness, Francisco offers Superintendents building the firm's projects, to be a collaborative ally to resolve queries during bidding & building, while protecting the building Architecture's design intent and the owner's financial interests.
On his time off, Francisco finds any opportunity to use power tools around his canyon home or to track down good highlights from the weekend's English Premiere League matches.
Carlos grew up in the San Diego-Tijuana area, getting the best from both cultures. His interest in architecture started at a young age when he noticed the different typologies when crossing the border from one side to the other. His passion started when he realized that architecture is more than just beautiful buildings…but more about problem solving and creating unique experiences.
In 2015, Carlos participated in a summer program in the CA Institute in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. In 2016, he received his Bachelor of Architecture from NewSchool of Architecture + Design. Since then, Carlos has been practicing Architecture with passion and dedication.
When not in the office, Carlos enjoys playing soccer on a Saturday league, or rides his mountain bike when possible. He appreciates great food and living in an area with excellent culinary variety can’t make him happier. Occasionally, Carlos visits the vineyards south the border for a glass of wine, and why not…experience the amazing local architecture.
Marcela Gracia, AIA
Born in the state of Sonora, in Mexico, Marcela graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Arizona Cum Laude in 2013 and was awarded the Alpha Rho Chi Medal, and a Master of Architecture from the University of Virginia in 2015. While in school, she was the Director of the AIAS Freedom by Design program, serving the community through design + build projects while working on her thesis. After working in Arizona for a few months, Marcela moved to San Diego in the summer of 2015 to join Studio E Architects.
Having spent most of her life in the Sonoran Desert, she enjoys sunny days and warm weather. When not in the office she enjoys drawing, reading science fiction stories, and cooking new recipes.
Jeremy is a San Diego native who grew up surfing, skateboarding and playing baseball with his three younger brothers and older sister. He chose architecture after high school because he found a love for drawing and design at a young age. Also, having the privilege of being in and around job sites with his father, a general contractor/talented woodworker, architecture became his dream career. He transferred from San Diego Mesa College to The University of New Mexico and attained his Bachelor of Architecture in 2022.
Jeremy is passionate about many things, including family, sports (specific to the ones with bats and boards), weightlifting, art, fishing, and philosophy. If you’d like to find him outside of work, one of San Diego’s beautiful bodies of water would be a good place to start.
Matt grew up in Newport Beach before coming to San Diego to attend college at Woodbury University School of Architecture in 2018. After graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture in 2021, Matt joined the Studio E Architects team to apply his knowledge and strong technical skills to further his architectural career.
When not in the office, he enjoys exploring San Diego’s neighborhoods on his bike, learning about new advancements in architectural technology, and finding new restaurants to try. Matt also enjoys exploring local farmers markets to find new ingredients to explore within the kitchen to varying degrees of success.
Daniel Jimenez, AIA
LEED AP BD+Cdjimenez@studioearchitects.com
Danny was born and raised in San Diego before leaving for college in 2005. It took him 16 years to make his way back home, when he joined Studio E Architects in 2021. Before joining the team, he studied at Yale University and Rice University and worked in the architecture offices of Studio Gang, SOM, and WRNS Studio in Chicago and San Francisco.
Danny is fascinated by how architecture shapes social interactions and organizes the flows of so many different materials, trades, and environmental processes. Outside the studio, he loves spending time with his wife and son, exercising, reading about design and philosophy, and rooting for the Padres and Chargers.
Growing up in sunny San Diego, as a child Michelle’s mother was convinced she would run off and join the circus, as she often used her swing set for anything other than it’s intended purpose. Unfortunately for Michelle the opportunity never presented itself, so in high school she was left to find a new career path. It was at this point she stumbled upon the world of Architecture. A career in Architecture would allow her to seamlessly blend her problem-solving skills with her creativity. After receiving her Bachelors of Architecture and a Minor in Art from Cal Poly SLO, she returned to San Diego.
When not in the Studio (E), Michelle can commonly be found at the Barn. As an avid Equestrian, she trains, competes and enjoys the unpredictable nature of a life lived with horses. And in what free time there is left, she enjoys honing her culinary skills (much to the enjoyment of those around her).
Architect | LEED AP BD+Cjmayfield@studioearchitects.com
Growing up between cornfields and cow pastures on the banks of the Mississippi River, Jennifer spent childhood summers and winters traversing the country in the family Chevy Transvan. From these adventures grew her interest in place, culture, nature and the idea of home. Jennifer pursued her architectural education at the University of Kansas and the University of Karlsruhe in Germany and comes to Studio E Architects with a professional background in community rooted design, construction and project experience spanning all scales and types.
Jennifer loves working with clients and communities to solve challenging and critical problems, operating with the firm conviction that the built environment has a great power and responsibility to the earth and future generations, socially, environmentally and economically. She finds extra energy and inspiration outside in nature, exploring on foot with her dogs and on two wheels with her mountain bike - bonus points for nature, particularly dirt, within the City.
Alina Prassas, AIA
Alina grew up in Colorado and earned her Bachelor of Environmental Design from CU Boulder. After a brief time spent as a sustainability coordinator, she then pursued a Master of Architecture at the University of Oregon, Portland, where she focused on resiliency and sustainable urbanism.
After moving to Seattle, she delved into community-based design and hasn’t looked back. Her professional work since then has focused on community facilities and affordable housing, and she is always excited to be able to help bring community-based projects to life.
When not at the office Alina enjoys climbing rocks, reading science fiction, baking sourdough bread, playing with her two crazy dogs, and spending as much time outdoors in sunny San Diego as possible.
Marcelle is native to the Tijuana/San Diego region. Coming from a creative household, she was encouraged to surround herself with art and design, taking many classes and workshops growing up. This passion eventually led her to Woodbury University, earning a Bachelor of Architecture in 2018. Her experience led her to several architecture firms in San Diego focusing on residential design, before starting at Studio E Architects in 2022. Marcelle considers Architecture as “placemaking,” she’s interested in how the built environment collaborates with communities, builds upon a collective identity, and is embraced by people in their daily lives.
When Marcelle is not in the office, she enjoys the outdoors— strolling around the city looking at architecture or hiking the many trails of Southern California. Marcelle loves to travel abroad, learn from other cultures, and spend time with family and friends. On an odd day you can find her baking, trying out a new recipe. With any luck she’ll have treats to share.
Vince, an Ohio native, had an early attachment to architecture through his many hours of Lego building and childhood trips to Europe to visit his family. In 2006, he graduated from Kent State University with a Masters of Architecture. Shortly after graduation, he made his way out to Boston to start his architectural career. He returned back to the Midwest briefly before finally making his way out to San Diego.
Having weathered many winters, he tries to take advantage of all the activities that the Southern California weather allows. He is always looking to explore whether it's driving the California coast, finding the new local food spots or latest coffee roaster.
Courtney Sawyer, AIA
Courtney grew up in Oklahoma, but has been enjoying the California sunshine for ten years and counting. She completed a Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma in 2012, spending her last year of school studying abroad in Madrid with an emphasis on architecture and urban design. She also has a passion for plants and landscapes and tries to integrate this aspect into her work whenever possible. She has varied experience in community-informed design, urban design, and began to focus her efforts on residential projects before joining Studio E Architects in 2022.
In her spare time, Courtney enjoys reading, running, hiking, gardening, and exploring the beaches of San Diego. You can always count on her for a terrible/delightful (depending on your perspective) dad joke or architecture-related pun. Guaranteed to leave you beaming every time.
Marta Schalnat, AIA
Born in Madrid, Spain, Marta received her Bachelor of Architecture in 2015 from NewSchool of Architecture + Design where she received the Merit Scholarship. After two years working in a local Landscape Architecture firm, she joined the team in June 2017.
Her goal is to reveal inspiration in unlikely places. By using the power of design, Marta wants to change how people view the world and their role in it. She believes that architecture has an impact on people’s everyday lives and represents what makes humans distinctively unique.
Outside the office, Marta enjoys pretty much anything that involves being outdoors. She loves hiking, travelling, reading and learning new things every day, as well as spending time with her family and friends.
Maria was born and grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia. She received her first design degree from St. Petersburg State University of Technology and Design. After several years of working in Russia, she moved to Milan, Italy to earn her master’s degree in architecture from Politecnico di Milano. A few years later Maria moved on to San Diego, California, where she earned an additional master’s degree in architecture, from New School of Architecture. After graduating from New School, she immediately started her architecture career in San Diego, focusing on the multi-family residential sector.
In her free time, Maria loves to travel and explore new places with her family. She likes to spend time hiking or simply walking along the beach, or skiing during the winter. She also likes painting with oil and designing various home decorations.
Anayssa was raised as a military brat in San Diego then relocated to Spain for a few years before returning to the states and continuing her formative years in New Mexico. This is where she began to discover her passion for math and art. Anayssa received her Bachelor’s Degree at New Mexico State University in Digital Film Making with Minors in Theater and Psychology. After spending nearly a decade in the field of entertainment and their respected crafts she decided to go back to her original drive, Architecture. To pursue this career change Anayssa decided to go back to school and completed an Associates Degree in Architecture at Southwestern Community College. As Anayssa takes a year off before applying to Graduate Programs in the state of California she is continuing her education at Studio E Architects.
When Anayssa is not at work, she spends her time attending concerts, and stand-up comedy shows with friends. She also enjoys taking her dog to parks and the beach whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Jessica Vences, AIA
Jessica graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, then eventually continued her education journey at the NewSchool of Architecture + Design, earning a Master of Architecture and a Master of Construction Management. While architecture is her passion, studying all three of these disciplines gives her a unique perspective into how they can successfully work together.
Although Jessica sometimes misses the seasons of her hometown in St. Louis, MO, she loves all that San Diego has to offer, like beaches for surfing or reading a good book; proximity to mountains for hiking or snowboarding; the salsa dance community; a variety of restaurants; unique opportunities for volunteering; and the ability to easily travel to Baja California, Mexico.
Sarah grew up in the snowy tundra of Buffalo, New York, where she stayed to obtain her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in architecture at the University at Buffalo. Before moving to San Diego in 2021, she lived and practiced architecture in Philadelphia, primarily focusing on Mixed-Use/ Multi-Family Housing and Hospitality projects. Growing up in a tight-knit neighborhood-focused environment in Western New York, Sarah is excited to be part of the culture at Studio E Architects that fosters thoughtful and creative solutions to community-oriented projects locally in California. She is especially interested in approaching architecture from an inclusive design viewpoint and creating spaces that welcome everyone and provide solutions for all.
Outside of work, Sarah can usually be found exploring somewhere new within the playground of San Diego or planning her next off-the-beaten-path road trip with her husband as they set out to visit every state in the country (5 to go!). Sticking to tradition, though, most Sundays are dedicated to chicken wings and Bills football.
Marketing and Business Developmentahizon@studioearchitects.com
Arlen’s first architectural job in the early 2000s set a precedence for the kind of work environment she appreciates. Being surrounded by all the creative types has kept her in this industry. She has performed multiple roles in every firm she’s worked at and has brought support in office management, marketing, project and staff accounting, executive support, and human resources. Finally, a place to embrace her creative side, at Studio E Architects, her primary role is our Marketing and Business Development Manager. She is also a member of the Society of Marketing Professional Services (SMPS).
Outside of work, many of her favorite things are #1 her two dogs, being a homebody but enjoying an outing amongst good people, watching film and television, laughing at stand-up comics, shopping at flea markets and craft fairs, eating good food, DIYing, cooking, and finding the best cookie recipes.
Heather Davis is a California native raised around the avocado and citrus groves in Northern San Diego County. She has worked as an office administrator and graphic designer in a variety of industries, including housing, tourism, and now, architecture. As the Office Administrator Heather will be the first point of contact for many new clients and will provide administrative support to help keep the Studio E Architects office running smoothly.
Outside of the office, Heather runs an artist’s collective she cofounded with three friends, the Comic Artists of San Diego. Dedicated to supporting the local comic book artist community, she frequently runs the CASD booth at local comic book conventions and events. She also writes and illustrates her own short stories and comic books, building on the skills she learned while she earned her bachelor's degree in Illustration and Fine Arts from the Laguna College of Art and Design.