The diverse experiences of principal Ross Levy provide a strong foundation for the office. From commercial to residential projects, the goal of creating an innovative architectural response is consistent. Supported by a team of professionals with extensive experience and multi-disciplinary backgrounds, our office provides a wide range of knowledge applicable to projects of every scale. Working collaboratively, the people at Levy Art + Architecture share a passion for architecture and design that is sustainable, innovative, and socially responsible.
Ross Levy has been dedicated to sustainable design for the past twenty years. He is a licensed architect, building contractor and a founding member of The Viet Nam Green Building Council. In private practice, his work has been informed by the belief that contemporary, sustainable design is the thoughtful union of vernacular tradition and modern technology. Commissions in urban and rural settings have included work with a wide variety of collaborators and these opportunities have deepened his understanding of the relationships between planning and policy.
After completing graduate work at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, Ross apprenticed with Mickey Muennig in Big Sur who was trained by the legendary architects Bruce Gough and Frank Lloyd Wright. His projects have been recognized by the AIA and featured in numerous publications.
Karen Andersen brings a life long passion for design and art to the studio environment. Joining the office in 2000, she has extensive experience with residential projects including major renovations and interior design. Prior to settling in San Francisco, Karen completed her Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Arizona and spent time working as an apprentice to a journeyman carpenter to broaden her understanding of wood construction. Today, she has become proficient in sustainable practices with the design of systems such as on-site energy generation and water harvesting. She has also recently begun to study botany and the principles of “xeriscape”, continuing to expand her knowledge of environmentally conscious materials and methods.
Maria Cabrera Vergara
Maria has always been fascinated by the intercultural dimension of art and architecture, and she has traveled the world trying to learn about diverse architectural visions and ways of working in order to bring them into her practice. Born in Spain but raised in Belgium, her lifetime passion for the crossroads where architecture meets other disciplines such as art, design, photography, biology or technology has driven her career towards the interdisciplinary exploration of these fields. The belief that to become a better contemporary practitioner, she also needed to acquire a deep theoretical knowledge pushed her to pursue an MA in Architectural History and later a Ph.D. Once her research completed, she went back to practice where she tries to keep bridging her architectural training with her interest for conceptual ideation, constructive detailing as well as industrial and landscape design.
Patrick has had a lifelong interest in building. As a boy he would venture into the woods to build tree houses with friends. As a teenager he was passionate about drawing and making models. His wide variety of professional experience and knowledge spans from a diverse array of projects at various scales –hospitals, laboratories, office buildings and residential projects. Originally from Boston, he holds a Master of Architecture as well as a Masters in Real Estate Development from Arizona State University. During his education Patrick worked as a carpenter and handyman, and now designing and building furniture is a way Patrick stays connected to his love of working with his hands.
Design, Strategy + Curation
Sara Haag uses her education, combined with her career experience in brand strategy and business development to do a hybrid role at Levy Art + Architecture. She holds an Bachelor of Science in Urban Studies + Planning from San Francisco State University, and a Master of Architecture from California College of the Arts. Her previous experience in various creative fields in fashion, technology, product and landscape design embolden her to use big picture thinking to direct long term business goals and partnerships, but is also able to curate and focus on the details as well. She is responsible for various initiatives such as business development and branding, photoshoots, concept ideation, interiors and architectural design. Using divergent thinking, Sara’s super power is connecting things and/or people that are seemingly unrelated, to create things where function is rooted in beauty, ephemerality, and whimsy. With an strong interest in art and materiality, she is influenced by the work of architects and artists such as John Lautner, Mickey Meunnig, James Turrell and Olafur Eliasson. She is passionate about the power of design to change people’s lives, and transform the world we live in. In her free time she can be found doing yoga, attending art and design events, wine tasting, biking, hiking and skiing.
Shirin Monshipouri is passionate about nature and natural systems. Her work reflects natural atmospheric qualities. She recently gradated from the California College of the Arts with a Master of Architecture and won the Jury Prize for her thesis, ‘Constructive Erosion’. The project imagined an alternative history in order to reveal how relinquishing control of the way that we build our environment builds more awareness of the spatial and human qualities. By using erosion and other natural phenomenon as a design tool the result offered insights into how it changed the relationship between humans and nature. She received the Fall 2016 M.Arch Thesis award and CCA Jury Prize for conceptual risk award. She also was the joint recipient of the 2016 AIA COTE Top Ten for Students awards for her ‘Inverted Ecologies’ project which employed sustainable architectural design in order to preserve our natural environment. Shirin has an Associates Degree in Computer Science and a BA degree in Italian language. She has a very passionate about art and design and enjoys doing photography, drawing, painting, traditional Persian miniature painting and sculpture in her free time.
Melissa Todd spans the fields of art and science, using drawing as a tool to communicate ideas and relationships. She brings tacit knowledge of craft from working as a fabricator at a woodworking studio and practical knowledge of cultivation from working on farms in Oregon and North Carolina. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from Georgia State University and a Master of Architecture from North Carolina State University. She has experience in public interest architecture, including grant writing and working on projects with stringent financial and physical constraints. Melissa looks for every opportunity to explore both the nebulous urban and remote natural environments, and is influenced by the patterns found in both. Listening and observation are priorities throughout the process, and these are the best methods for understanding and translating the complexities of each project into a memorable spatial experience.
Frances Weiss values timelessness and integrity in design. She specializes in interior environments, materiality and color. With a keen eye for the details, she works with our clients and project architects in the initial concept phase, and then later to refine things further and help connect the spatial qualities to the tactile ones. Prior to joining Levy Art + Architecture, Frances worked independently on residential and commercial projects with architects and clients in creating and refining their designs. She has a BA in English Literature from Georgia State University and later attended UC Berkeley Extension’s Interior Architecture program. She has extensive experience in the design/build environment and is as comfortable in the design studio as she is on the construction site. When she’s not working, she enjoys perusing design blogs, yoga, cooking, and weekend excursions out of town.
Appreciation for craftsmanship and details led Kyra to a path that combines art and business. She has a background in both photography and costume design for theater balanced with more than a decade of working on the financial and operations side of design and manufacturing businesses in the Bay Area. Kyra earned her MBA from Mills College with a focus in accounting and sustainable business, and provides accounting services to maintain and support company growth. She is in charge of the financial operations part of the business and keeps Levy Art + Architecture running like a well oiled machine. Her passions include Slow Fashion, Clothing Design + Local Manufacturing, and dancing Argentine Tango.