Levy Art + Architecture firm is an interdisciplinary studio operating at the intersection of architecture, environmentalism and art. Our work is inspired by a commitment to research and sustainability as a basis for the design process. The knowledge derived from this study is embodied in form, structure and light. It defines spaces that transform our daily experience and influence the way we live in urban and natural environments.
Our specialty is working in the landscape from Tahoe to Big Sur, California and beyond. We have completed several projects in the North Bay wine country (Napa & Sonoma), Kenwood, and Saint Helena.
We approach each project as an exploration that is technically innovative and challenges assumed conventions. Sustainability and site specificity are integral to the practice, informing spatial relationships and building systems. We engage in an inclusive process, working with our clients and the community to discover and realize the potential in every program.
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, as well as a member of the US 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. Ross completed graduate work at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. His projects have been recognized by the AIA and featured in numerous publications.
Senior Architectural Associate
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.
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.
Senior Interior Designer
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.
U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a non-profit organization that certifies sustainable businesses, homes, hospitals, schools, and neighborhoods. USGBC is dedicated to expanding green building practices and education, and its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System. LEED is a voluntary, consensus-based national rating system for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings.
SF Environment‘s mission is to improve, enhance, and preserve the environment, and to promote San Francisco’s long-term well being by developing innovative, practical and wide-ranging environmental programs in recycling, toxics reduction, environmental justice, energy efficiency, commute alternatives, and urban forest. As a city agency, they foster groundbreaking legislation, and educate the public by providing comprehensive and accessible information on a variety of practices, which serve as models for other cities and countries.
Architects / Designers / Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR) works for peace, environmental protection, ecological building, social justice, and the development of healthy communities. They believe that design practitioners have a significant role to play in the well-being of our communities. The program goals are to raise professional and public awareness of critical social and environmental issues, further responsive design and planning, and honor persons and organizations whose work exemplifies social responsibility.
The mission of the Viet Nam Green Building Council is threefold: FACILITATE green building and emissions reductions in Viet Nam; EDUCATE key sectors on the necessity of sustainable and adaptive building; and ADAPT communities and the built environment to the unavoidable consequences of global climate change.