Mark A. Kestner
CEO, Principal & Co-founder
As a kid, I used to spend time in my dad’s office soaking up the energy of architectural design. Growing up near Charlottesville, I would visit Mr. Jefferson’s “Lawn” and enjoy the campus architecture with my family. I knew The University of Virginia was where I wanted to study. I graduated from there with a BS in Architecture and subsequently a BArch in Architecture from North Carolina State University.
Since then I’ve spent 20+ years in design and management for a wide range of projects in the United States and abroad. I enjoy the whole design process. The transformation from sketch to reality is an exciting journey, especially when it allows me to create a collaborative, fun, high-energy atmosphere for my colleagues and clients.
My particular areas of expertise include effective client relationships, complex new designs, adaptive reuse in historic and infill context, and Architectural Review Board processes. I’m best known for balancing tight budgets and schedules while ensuring project quality and long-term value.
I love spending time with my wife and three daughters. From the mountains to the coast, outside is where we have fun. I’m also a motorcycle enthusiast and have been riding everything, from Hondas to Harleys, since I was four years old. To this day I ride every chance I get.
Christian E. Henningsen, Jr.
AIA, NCARB, LEED Accredited Professional
President, Principal & Co-founder
I was born and raised in Philadelphia, where the built environment was an inseparable part of my childhood, and I can remember wanting to be an architect since grade school. I graduated from architecture school at Carnegie Mellon University and worked in Philadelphia, D.C., and North Carolina before coming to Charlottesville in 1998. At this point I’ve got 20+ years of new construction and renovation projects under my belt.
As an Architect, I love surprising our clients with design solutions that truly exceed their expectations. My areas of expertise include space planning, programming, renovation work and adaptive re-use, and building code interpretation. My goal is to leave each client feeling that they had a fun and productive experience with us, and I’m proud of the high percentage of repeat clients we’ve had the opportunity to serve over the years.
I love spending time with my family, and although I don’t think of myself as outdoorsy, I love hiking and I’ve run the Charlottesville Ten Miler five times. I’m preparing to combine my love of the outdoors with my love of woodworking by building my own rowboat. (Watch out for me at the Ragged Mountain Reservoir!)
Caitlin Byrd Shafer
Associate AIA, LEED Accredited Professional
After graduating from Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design in 2010, I spent years sharpening my design and project management skills at a design/build graphics firm. In 2016, I leapt at the chance to return to my first love: architecture.
I love transforming spaces to improve someone’s experience in the built environment. With an ability and desire to understand places in context, I enjoy repurposing through adaptive reuse projects, especially renovations of existing homes and humanitarian projects at a global scale.
When I’m not at work, one of my happy places is in the pottery studio. I love getting my hands dirty and seeing a project progress to completion.
When I left Lockheed Martin in 1999, after a decade in human resources and executive administration for defense contractors, I knew I wanted to be home as much as possible while my children were little. Now that my last child is entering college, I knew it was time to get back to what I know and enjoy: helping clients having a flawless customer service experience.
One of the best parts of my job is meeting new and interesting people, especially those in the Charlottesville area. You’d be surprised how many people share my loves of hip-hop music and Tupperware!
Ready to partner with a team that gets results (and has fun while they do it)? Get in touch with us here.