Laura Pirie, AIA, who for over 28 years has designed and implemented thoughtful and integrated built environments, is the principal of Pirie Associates Architects. Her work across the country includes extensive, award-winning experience with museum, performing art, institutional, commercial/retail, and residential structures, as well as community visioning and urban design.
Laura’s work is driven by her passion to empower people to live a full and meaningful life, which she does through Pirie Associates and Conscious Pioneer, an organization she founded and leads. Her belief that the built environment has the ability to support aspirations and enhance quality of life can be discovered in the remains of ancient civilizations. With Conscious Pioneer, Laura leads groups to explore a purpose-driven life by experiencing ancient civilizations’ intentionality, connection to nature, and the places they made. Her deep understanding of these practices is reflected in the process and projects of Pirie Associates.
Brady Stone, RA has been shaping the built environment for nearly 20 years. He has worked hands-on in every phase of design and construction: as a carpenter, a design-builder and as an architect. As an Associate in the firm, he now brings all of this experience and a keen ability to organize complexities in clear and meaningful ways to his work at Pirie Associates.
Brady is not content unless he is engaged and grounded in the act of making where he can work an idea into its fully realized form. Guiding this passion at all scales is the notion of “fit.” Whether a structure, a space, or piece of wood, he understands that each intervention should feel well-placed, like it would fit nowhere else quite as well. His ability to craft a conceptual approach, develop a building’s tectonics, and impeccably detail spans all levels of project development and all project types.
Paul S. Butkus, ASLA, has more than 20 years of experience in the fields of landscape and architectural design. His work spans many scales, complexities and continents, ranging from residential backyards to performing arts centers, museums, university campuses, urban parks, and waterfront developments. As an Associate in the firm, Paul brings his diversified experience to all levels of project development.
Paul has a deep interest in how buildings and objects are constructed. Almost an obsession, this interest manifests itself in the extremely thorough and journalistic quantity and quality of photographs he takes of projects before and during construction. Paul’s passion for understanding why things are the way they are is particularly useful in adaptive re-use and historic preservation projects, where unlocking the history buried behind the surfaces and integrating new with old results in more sensitive and thoughtful interventions.
Monica Perez del Rio, Associate AIA has practiced architecture, urban planning, exhibition design, and interpretive design for over 12 years in three different countries. She began her career as a competition designer with AD+ projects in Spain and, less than a year later, moved to France to work with Jean de Gastines and Shigeru Ban. Notable projects include the extensively published social housing project in Mulhouse and the French Ministry of Culture’s presidential platform at the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
Monica’s design approach is most informed by her belief in the strength of human being. She feels it is our responsibility to use our intellect and creativity to improve the quality of our society and heal our planet. Monica’s design perspective is also shaped by her passion for art in all its forms which led her to practice as an exhibition designer in both France and the U.S.
Becky Nichols, NCIDQ, LEED AP, recently joined Pirie Associates and brings with her nearly 10 years of experience in the design industry. Prior to joining the firm, Becky worked on a variety of project types including retail prototype design and nationwide fit-outs, higher education and high school facilities, and commercial office spaces. She was recently awarded for her role as lead designer for the DSN Community Center in Ocean Township, New Jersey.
With the mind of a designer and the spirit of an entrepreneur, Becky most enjoys being a collaborative partner with her clients to help them achieve their mission. She works to first help uncover and define their identity, then to express it genuinely through their branding and environments. She believes in the power of the spatial canvas for storytelling and shaping experience.
Melissa Arminio Kops, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, LFA has been practicing architecture for more than 12 years. She has experience in many project types including: educational, institutional, museum, performing art, residential, adaptive reuse, and historic preservation, all with a focus on empathetic, sustainable, and responsible design.
Melissa’s passion comes from approaching every project as a chance to elevate the human spirit by encouraging a healthy connection to place, community, and ecology. She believes sustainability centers on human health and wellbeing, which is directly impacted by clean air, water, and ecosystem health. This humanistic view of sustainable design has the benefit of making it more tangible and immediate to project stakeholders.
Marisa Page, Associate AIA joined Pirie Associates as a recent graduate from Wentworth Institute of Technology and has been interning in the industry since she was a sophomore in high school. She has assisted with urban renewal projects and advocated for their long term benefits at the Congress of New Urbanism (CNU) Conference at Yale University. Her project background includes public works, commercial/retail, and residential projects.
Marisa’s drive to design stems from a fascination with the ability of our built surroundings to impact human psychological and physiological health. She is particularly interested in the hidden potential of places where people feel uncomfortable to be transformed into places that revive, excite, and improve wellbeing. She feels it is essential to connect to the natural environment within the built environment, particularly because the time our society spends outdoors has been significantly decreasing.
Charles Hickox has worked in art and architecture for ten years. Raised by architects inclined to artistic deviations, he was drawn to a zone of hybridized artistic and architectural impulses. He has extensive experience with fabrication and assembly on scales ranging from domestic to infrastructural; from hand-hewn furniture and house-building, to ornament and enormous steel sculptures.
Charles’ interest in architecture began in Boston, where he was impressed by the aristocratic pomp of Commonwealth Avenue and the ancient alleyways of the North End. For him, the architecture was transmitting communications akin to language, acting as a silent proxy for ideas beyond the limits of words. In moments on the elevated subway, he witnessed the city as a procession of simultaneous dioramas revealing a sublime framework by which we all live individually and at once. Years later, on an island pasture in Maine, he observed layers of intricate plant structures and hustles of bugs as they went about their work. It was as if there was another city operating antithetically to those he had known. Rather than “individually at once” it was “always everything.” If architecture could embody a language for cities, perhaps it could do the same for the human/nature interface. He started at the Yale School of Architecture the next fall.