KSS Architects Welcomes New Hires

In 2020, KSS has grown to a firm of nearly 80. Over the past year, 16 new full-time employees have joined our team of dedicated design professionals eager to create built environments at the intersections of learning, commerce, and community. We are excited to welcome so many talented people to the firm—get to know them below!

Colleen Grogan, NCIDQ brings to KSS industry experience in space planning, feasibility studies, and extensive casework detailing for academic, adaptive reuse and historic preservation, corporate offices and headquarters, co-working, high-end retail, and conference center projects. Continually pushing the creative envelope on behalf of her clients, Colleen values the details that go into constructing a space and is motivated by challenging renovations and adaptive reuse projects that result in creative design solutions. In addition to her Bachelor of Interior Architecture and Design, Colleen holds a Masters of Studio Arts with a concentration in Interior Architecture, both from Marywood University. In her free time, she designs and builds furniture, often from salvaged materials, and enjoys painting, sketching, biking, and cookbook perusing.

Josie Venton-Gough, joined KSS as HR Coordinator. A native of Yorkshire in northern England, Josie was born into a globe-trotting family who instilled her with curiosity about the world and passion for people, other cultures, and languages. This curiosity and passion led Josie to teach English in rural Japan for five years after which she transitioned into the field of international relocations, assisting foreign nationals employed by global corporations with practical needs and requirements of an international move. She brings this rich experience to the KSS family where she enjoys being around positive, creative, fun, intelligent, and accomplished people each day. In her free time, Josie loves being active outdoors in all four seasons – walking at the shore, hiking, biking, skiing, and exploring new places in the USA and around the globe. She holds a Bachelor of Science in French with a minor in German from Aston University in Birmingham, U.K.

Sam Rubenstein is a recent graduate of Penn State University, where he earned a Master of Architecture in 2020, and the University at Buffalo, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Architecture in 2018. At Penn State, he had the opportunity to contribute to research involving the design of affordable, environmentally friendly, and flexible workspaces for craftsmen and merchants in Agbogbloshie, a commercial district in Accra, Ghana. For his graduate design thesis, he focused on the modification and re-use of single family homes in Huntington, West Virginia with the goal of a more coherent architectural language in sober-living communities in the wake of the Opioid Crisis. Sam also has experience working in transportation, working with clients like the MTA and the LIRR, he’s dedicated to using design as a tool to enhance community relationships and redefine the way the public experiences exciting spaces, which is what drew him to KSS.

Andrew Nuver brings to KSS a diverse background in architecture and interiors and looks for opportunities where he can apply ideas between disciplines. In his practice, Andrew is dedicated to finding proportions of space and material expression that will define a client’s aspirations. Carefully considering each detail, he thoroughly articulates design ideas. He takes inspiration from the communities served and works to ensure coherency as a design progresses. Material qualities and aesthetic ideas guide his design thinking which aims to embed beauty and order within highly functional solutions. He is skilled in the art of aligning artistic concept with building infrastructure. A client’s point of view, the qualities contained within each program, and the surrounding context all inform impactful work; Andrew believes it is the architect’s responsibility to fully understand these elements and use them to create new environments that reflect our time. Andrew is a graduate of Syracuse University School of Architecture where he earned a Bachelor of Architecture.

Tiakum Ao joined KSS Architects to work on a design-build team for a large-scale commercial project. Tiakum’s previous experience includes design-build private residential projects in Los Angeles, California; Birmingham, Alabama; and Manhattan, New York. Tiakum strives to bring value to the KSS team with his experience in design and construction. He is a graduate of the New Jersey Institute of Technology where he earned a Bachelor of Architecture.

Jonah Wortman, RA, brings to KSS experience in residential and commercial high-rise buildings, food processing and light manufacturing facilities, corporate and hospitality interiors, and custom residential projects. His career has spanned work in the entertainment industry, facilities management, and as a real estate agent, but only in architecture has Jonah found the professional passion he enjoys today. After all of the long hours of drafting and modeling required to develop a design to be built, he feels no greater satisfaction than being on site observing construction with a sense of what once only existed in the designer’s imagination has come true in reality. A native New Yorker, arts and culture were integral in Jonah’s his formative years and especially influential to his love of design. To balance urban life, Jonah enjoys spending time in nature, fishing, backpacking, and taking long walks on the beach with his German Shephard, Otto. Jonah earned a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.

Zach Beim is a recent graduate of the University of Virginia, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Architecture with a minor in Architectural History as part of the class of 2020. Zach enjoys working with his hands, and spends his free time taking on home improvement projects. He loves the details in a project and is fascinated by the way in which they impact the greater whole. Fittingly, he enjoys and has spent time studying the work of Carlo Scarpa, a master of connecting the littlest details to the bigger picture. He brings these interests into his work at KSS with an eye for detail and an inquisitive nature towards systems and the way in which parts of a building communicate. When not in the office or working on a personal project, Zach enjoys spending time outdoors running, playing tennis, or relaxing.

Steven Alvarez, new addition KSS’ marketing team, is a trained photographer with a keen eye for graphic design. He uses his background to inform marketing efforts by marrying concise language with impactful imagery. After 10 years of successful non-profit arts management, Steven made the jump to the AEC industry where he has spent the last five years sharpening his skills and winning projects of various types in multiple business sectors. Steven earned his BFA in Photography from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. When he’s not promoting the firm, he can often be found beautifying his home in South Jersey, behind his beloved Mamiya RB-67 medium format film camera, or exploring nature with his husband, Shamus, and their rescue pup, Waldorf.

Jonathan van Ostenbridge, RA celebrates the belief that subtle design principles applied within a responsive and reflective framework can advance and improve our human experience. Fueled by an altruistic sense inherent in design, he is driven to craft his design and technical expertise in the pursuit of an architecture that is cohesive with client, environment, and self. A graduate of the New Jersey Institute of Technology where he earned a Bachelor of Architecture, Jonathan is experienced in executing a diverse range of projects spanning workplace, hospitality, higher education, and residential design. He enjoys learning about building science, how the program of different building typologies functions, and how good design can transform a client vision. He is detail oriented and enjoys collaborating with the client, consultants, and design team to create a unique and responsive design solution.

Alessia Zegarelli joined the accounting team shortly after graduating from Hofstra University where she earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting this past spring. Alessia is excited to start her career with KSS where she hopes to gain insight into the architectural industry and the process of design as it comes to life in the built environment. In her free time, Alessia pursues her passions of cooking, caring for her dog, practicing yoga, and spending time with her family.

Annaliesa Harris, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, has always been deeply connected to her environment. Growing up in Oregon, she was always outdoors constructing everything from treehouses to vegetable gardens. This curiosity motivated to live across the country in St. Louis, New Orleans, San Francisco, Portland, and now New York City. The experience of living in a variety of places, along with her travels across the world, gave her a deep respect for the built environment. She brings this into her work by continuously thinking about the context of a building and its impact on the community and environment. Annaliesa earned her bachelors degree at Washington University in St. Louis where she embraced her love of art by producing as many hand drawings as possible. After working for three years, she returned to her home state to continue her studies at University of Oregon with a focus on urban design. After graduating in 2014, she moved to New York City and worked in a wide range of sectors including healthcare, commercial interiors, and higher education. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, eating, and exploring new places. She is excited to be a part of the tight knit community at KSS and inspired by their commitment to improve society through design.

Ramses Gonzalez is a recent graduate of Cornell University’s School of Architecture, Art, and Planning where he earned a Masters of Architecture. He believes the goal of architecture is to engage the common user, not only through formal design, but by providing functionality that adds to a community’s existing economy and culture. Ramses was drawn to KSS for its multi-disciplinary approach and the variety of projects the firm takes on. He appreciates the firm’s community engagement efforts and is excited to continue to explore his passion for community development. Prior to joining KSS, Ramses worked in Construction Management where he gained experience with the construction process and collaborated with various building trades. This experience built on his interest with hands-on making from scaled models to installations and digital fabrication.

Lindsey Wood is a recent graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where she earned her Bachelor of Architecture this past spring. She has always been inspired by the built realm and how the human/environment relationship can impact lives. Her keen interest in design and fabrication from a young age led to her exploration of those interests through experience in exhibition design, photography, and publication work. She has volunteered for multiple organizations combating homelessness and environmental issues and believes there is nothing more rewarding than seeing people empowered by their environment, with the ability to live a more fulfilling life through sustainable design. In her free time, Lindsey can be found hiking, camping, running, visiting art museums or at a local café.  She grew up hiking and camping in the Adirondacks and has a deep appreciation for the natural environment. She became an avid traveler in college and spent over six months traveling Europe, during which time she became interested in the impact urban planning and policy can have on communities.

Adriana Davis has worked as an architectural designer on a variety of large-scale multi-family housing projects in multiple phases of development. With experience at both boutique and corporate firms, she brings attention to detail through all aspects and type of design. In her professional career, she has worked at firms in New York, Colorado, and Los Angeles and thrives while working on projects in new environments the engage the surrounding area and site. Due to working in a small team, she has grown in both her technical design skills and client relations. Adriana’s passion for unconventional design has led her to participate in speculative competitions, including a competition about driverless cars and the role of storytelling in architecture. Adriana is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology where she earned a Bachelor of Architecture.

Lauren Greer, AIA, is passionate about civic and education design. She aims to push the boundaries of traditional architecture, redefining and questioning its place in society. Lauren believes design should improve the lives of people utilizing it and is interested in the possibility that the built environment can foster and support learning, healing, and creativity across socioeconomic boundaries. In her spare time, Lauren is part of a non-profit group for women identifying architects and design professionals, which focuses on gender equity in architecture through bridging the gap between academy and practice. She is constantly questioning the way in which design is practiced, and how it can be rethought to better serve and relate to a wider range of people.

Tyler Park is a recent graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University where he earned a Bachelor of Architecture. Two concepts which have grown increasingly important to Tyler as a student: the architecture of the everyday and the idea of slowness. The architecture of the everyday is what inspires him to be creative. It is often architecture which is built out of necessity, by non-architects. It rejects pretension for subtlety, and it plays an important role in making a place. It inspires Tyler to try to design architecture which can be accessible and impactful for everyone, and which resonates within its environment. The idea of slowness is what continually reignites his passion for architecture and what has become the common thread between all aspects of his life. Tyler is drawn to activities like camping and film photography because of the inherent slow quality of them. Studying at Virginia Tech, Tyler learned to love the slowness of process: hand drafting, model making, film development. These methods not only help to deepen his level of engagement with a project, but have become a means of joy and relaxation. With these two ideas, Tyler hopes to design architecture which is always meaningful and true to place and which always accommodates the human condition.