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Michael K. Chen

Michael Chen established MKCA in 2011 with experience in architecture and design offices in San Francisco and New York. He leads a team that is dedicated to producing exceptionally refined and conceptually rich design at a broad range of scales from buildings to interiors to furniture to urbanism and with a commitment to research and experimentation in materials, technology, and manufacturing.

Michael and MKCA’s growing body of work regularly appears in international exhibitions and media including the Venice Biennale, Architectural Digest, Elle Décor, Domus, Dwell, Interior Design, The Daily Mail, The New York Times, and T Magazine, and it has been recognized with numerous awards for design and research.

In March of 2020, Michael co-founded Design Advocates, a network of independent architecture and design firms collaborating on pro-bono projects for small businesses, institutions, and organizations that serve disadvantaged communities to help them adapt their spaces and operations to COVID-19 and beyond. Design Advocates has grown to encompass 120 firms and volunteers at work on over 50 projects serving the public good.

Michael studied architecture at the University of California at Berkeley, and at Columbia University where he earned an M. Arch. He teaches design studios and seminars at Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture and has taught previously at UC Berkeley, Cornell, Columbia, and Parsons School of Design. His writings on architecture, urbanism, and infrastructure have appeared in numerous academic and popular publications, and he is frequently sought out for his expertise and insight on emerging models for urban living. He is the recipient of grants for independent research from the Graham Foundation, Pratt Institute, Columbia University, and the Van Alen Institute, and was the John Dinkeloo Affiliated Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. He is a registered architect and a member of the American Institute of Architects.

Braden Caldwell

Braden Caldwell has been design lead on several high-end townhouse and brownstone projects integrating modern additions and building systems with delicate, historic contexts. He began his professional career as a student intern and junior designer at MKCA in 2012. Among his responsibilities, he has also spearheaded much the office’s micro-housing work and research. He has lead the completion of several complex, fabrication-intensive, and micro projects, including MKCA’s  Pied à Mer,  5:1 Apartment, and Attic Transformer projects, as well as a brownstone in Clinton Hill Brooklyn, all of which have been published extensively in print and online. Braden earned a B.Arch from Pratt Institute.

Natasha Harper

Natasha Harper has been the project lead for a number of projects with collaborative detail-oriented integration of architecture and interior design, including MKCA’s first health care project, a community clinic for Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, and numerous high end residential projects including the Watershed House  and the Carnegie Hill Apartment.

Natasha came to MKCA with extensive experience with Diller Scofidio + Renfro and the Rockwell Group, developing a high rise hotel and commercial tower for the Hudson Yards redevelopment, and experience as a senior designer and project manager at Roy Co. and at Open Shop Studio where she was responsible for numerous high end hospitality and commercial projects. She earned a B. Arch from Pratt Institute and an M.Arch from Harvard.

 

 

Agata Jakubowska

B.Arch, Pratt Institute
M.Arch, University of Pennsylvania

Thomas Kuei

B.Arch, Syracuse University
M.Arch, Harvard University

Rachel Lefevre

Rachel Lefevre studied architecture at Washington University and Yale, where she received an M. Arch and was the Teaching Fellow for Environmental Design, providing instruction on energy modeling and environmental analysis. Prior to joining MKCA, Rachel worked in small firms in St Louis and with Anthony Acciavatti at Yale on an exhibition at the Seoul Biennale of research on the Ganges River Basin.

 

Matt Malcom

B.Arch, Pratt Institute

Andrew Matia

Andrew Matia has been design lead on a number of urban building projects including New York City brownstones and MKCA’s ground-up Sudbury House in Northwest Washington, D.C. Andrew comes from a family of builders and engineers and has developed a number of the office’s technical approaches to energy, building envelope, and technical detailing, in addition to his role as an architecture and interior design lead in the office. Andrew earned BA in Architecture at Portland State and an M. Arch from the University of Pennsylvania.

Marisa Waddle

BA, University of Florida
M.Arch, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Archie

Archibald “Archie” Chen-Beck Wiener is a red dapple miniature dachshund, and a design trainee at MKCA. Born in Buffalo, he moved to New York City to join MKCA when he was ten weeks old. We’re pretty sure he’s an aesthete of the first order, and a prodigy. He Instagrams at @archibaldwiener.

Leroy

 

Leroy was found on the mean streets of New Mexico before he was rescued and moved to Brooklyn.  He is a Catahoula Leopard Dog, a breed best known for hunting wild boars.  Now he uses those skills as the head of security for MKCA.  He checks the perimeter at regular intervals and licks everyone that comes to the door to make sure they’re up to snuff.

Hobbies include jumping, licking, thrashing sticks, belly rubs, and cuddling.

 

Hayes

Texas born. Brooklyn raised. Hayes “The Destroyer” Caldwell was chief surveyor at MKCA. He scouted numerous upcoming projects, always marking his territory with great care. His many hobbies included watching Cartoon Network, shredding take-out menus, and barking at inanimate objects. He retired to puppy dog heaven in 2019.

Milo

Milo Chen-Beck, Top Dachshund Emeritus watched over the early years of the practice, before retiring to puppy heaven in 2017. A lover of hard rubber toys, fake fur, and stuffed lobsters, he served for many years as food taster-in-chief at MKCA, reflecting his upbringing in the Meatpacking District and Chinatown and his Californian, Southwestern, Chinese, and Jewish family background.

Profile

Michael K Chen Architecture is an architecture practice providing innovative and superbly crafted work for clients seeking thoughtful and considered design. MKCA's services integrate architecture, interior design, and product design through a cohesive, coordinated, and collaborative process. We have experience designing and building at a diverse range of scales and bring an ultra-refined sensibility and attention to detail to projects ranging from individual apartments to single family homes and larger buildings.

Our approach is deeply informed by curiosity and a love of tinkering, of drawing, of discourse, and of making. Our methods and capabilities are at the leading edge of design, analysis, manufacturing, and construction, but we strive to produce exceptional experiences, intricately choreographed spaces, and works that are unexpected, hyper-useful, intelligent, and full of delight.

The practice has been recognized for excelling at complex urban projects, and we are adept at synthesizing multiple functions, systems, and constituencies into elegant and beguilingly works. MKCA serves a diverse and international client base. We are based in New York City and work across the United States and worldwide.