MASS Design Group And Atkin Olshin Schade Architects Combine Offices In Strategic Partnership

MASS Design Group And Atkin Olshin Schade Architects Combine Offices In Strategic Partnership

Office merger pairs deep experience with innovative methods, amplifying the social impact of mission-focused organizations

SANTA FE, N.M., NOV. 1, 2022 – MASS Design Group (MASS) and Atkin Olshin Schade Architects (AOS) today announced a strategic partnership between the firms’ design studios, with the combining of the AOS and MASS offices in Santa Fe. AOS and MASS have operated in separate offices next to each other, collaborating on joint projects for years. In recognition of this close relationship and complementary services, the AOS Santa Fe five-person team will join the MASS team as one office, making it one of the largest architecture and design offices in Santa Fe, with 18 employees. 

In addition to the merger of the firms’ Santa Fe offices, the firms will enter into a strategic partnership aimed at better serving current and future clients to achieve their missions and goals. The partnership will also provide opportunities for MASS’s offices to partner with AOS’s Philadelphia office to pursue innovative approaches to preservation, adaptive reuse, and design for mission-focused organizations throughout the northeast and nationally. 

“After collaborating - and being neighbors - for years, we are excited to bring our teams together under one roof,” said Shawn Evans, AIA, APT-RP, MASS Principal (previously Principal of AOS’s Santa Fe office). “There is excitement for what the future holds given the incredible talent brought together with this partnership. We are pleased to join the MASS team and know that it will help us provide capacity in the Santa Fe community and beyond for years to come.” 

Combining the Santa Fe offices brings together nearly two decades of experience working with Native Communities in the American Southwest. AOS, now recognized as partners in Native design across the southwest, opened its Santa Fe office in 2004. Joseph Kunkel, MASS Principal and Citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, first started working with Evans and AOS over a decade ago, a partnership which more fully developed in 2013 when Kunkel was named an Entreprise Rose Fellow at the Santo Domingo Pueblo Tribal Housing Authority. AOS was soon hired to lead the Wa-Di housing development which Kunkel managed for the Pueblo. Since then, Kunkel grew the Sustainable Native Communities Design Lab at MASS, and the firms have continued to collaborate. AOS´s Garron Yepa, of Navajo (Diné) and Jemez Pueblo (Walatowa) descent, will support projects in tribal communities. Evans, Kunkel, and Yepa have all participated in and facilitated community conversations in both Native and non-Native communities in order to inform and inspire the next generation of designers. Yepa joins MASS as a senior designer. 

“This partnership strengthens our capacity to mentor and train the next generation of Native and non-Native designers who are committed to addressing Indian Country’s biggest challenges through our Sustainable Native Communities Design Lab,” said Kunkel.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) honored MASS Design Group with the 2022 AIA Architecture Firm Award nationally, and the AOS Santa Fe office was named Firm of the Year in 2021 by AIA New Mexico. This combination of talent will provide expanded design excellence and knowledge that will benefit client projects across the southwest, including housing, education, food systems, public health, and memorials.  

“We are pleased to announce the partnership with MASS and believe this collaboration will advance the work of both of our firms” said Michael Schade, AIA, Principal with AOS based in their Philadelphia headquarters. “The partnership will better serve the communities we work with by bringing together our talented staff and combining our areas of expertise.”

AOS´s work serving communities through design is widely respected and recognized in the industry.

¨We have long admired AOS´s strength of partnership with clients and find their work exemplary," said Alan Ricks, AIA, Int. RIBA, MASS Founding Principal and Chief Design Officer. ¨It is an honor to work with AOS and learn from the design excellence standards they have founded and practiced through the decades."

About MASS Design Group:
MASS Design Group is a nonprofit design collective focused on creating social impact through the built environment. The firm has a team of over 200 architects, landscape architects, engineers, builders, furniture designers, makers, writers, filmmakers, and researchers representing 20 countries across the globe. The firm believes in expanding access to design that is purposeful, healing, and hopeful.

The American Institute of Architects honored MASS Design Group with the 2022 AIA Architecture Firm Award. In 2021, MASS was named the Architecture Innovator of the Year by the Wall Street Journal, for their origins in healthcare and commitment to architecture as a medium for healing. 

About Atkin Olshin Schade Architects:
AOS Architects is a nationally prominent architecture, interiors, preservation and planning firm known for projects for cultural, religious, institutional and commercial clients that are designed to respect their surroundings and celebrate the communities they serve. Founded in 1979, the firm will continue to operate their practice from Philadelphia. 

The firm’s award-winning projects include the Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden & Parking Facility for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, renovations to Richards Medical Research Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, the Owe’neh Bupingeh Preservation Project at Ohkay Owingeh, and Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, NM.


Contact MASS:
Amber La Croix, Communications 
[email protected]

Contact AOS:
Kate Evans, Director of Marketing
[email protected]