MEET THE TEAM

Wayne R. Adams

  • Joined Bva: 2011

    Education: B. Arch., Boston Architectural College; M. Arch., Syracuse University

    Hometown: Washington, DC

  • You earned your masters in Florence. What’s your favorite building there? There are several buildings that stand out, but not as much as the little streets and neighborhood squares. As Richard Meyer said, “Sometimes it’s not the architecture, but the qualities of a place that make you think of things in a different way.”

    Most unusual client request in a custom home? We’ve had requests like wine cellars, safe rooms—even those hidden passages to a fire-proof file room, but I’m waiting for that pool with a window in the basement, or that elaborate acoustically correct sound room, or that stairwell that goes down three stories to a passage to the garden shed 500 feet away for no reason at all.

    Tell us something we don’t know: Although I have more than 25 years in the architectural field, I’m constantly learning new things.

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Ankie Barnes

Anthony “Ankie” Barnes

Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, LEED AP

  • Joined Bva: Founded BVA with Steve Vanze, 1989

    Education: B. Arch., University of Witwatersrand, South Africa; M. Arch., Yale University

    Hometown: Johannesburg, South Africa

  • You lived and worked in London and Guatemala before moving to the States in 1981 (besides spending substantial time in France and traveling the world before and since). How does this inform your work? Living and working in these different environments has increased my range and appreciation of different cultures, genres, styles, vernaculars and materials in architecture.

    Single-most inspiring building: The Pantheon in Rome

    Tell us something we don’t know: I’m a closet rocker, have played guitar since I was 13, and have played in rock bands at high school and in a couple other bands as an adult in DC.

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Amanda Cantarella

Amanda Healy Cantarella

Associate AIA

  • Joined Bva: 2001

    Education: Business and Economics, West Virginia University; Assoc. of Science in Architectural Engineering, Farmingdale State University of New York

    Hometown: Long Island, New York

  • What inspired you about the architecture in your hometown? During the mid-20th century, prominent modern architects covered the Long Island landscape with their pioneering designs, injecting an earnest contemporary vocabulary into a once-traditional shoreline. These Americanized Bauhaus-style homes expressed an entirely innovative social ideal—a clear set of new suburban values. They placed considerable importance on minimalism, instilling in me the true significance of function. These historic buildings remain a profound influence on that unique stretch of land just east of Manhattan.

    You scout, stage, and coordinate BVA’s photo shoots. What’s your secret to creating a top-notch picture? In a word, editing. Selectively omitting superfluous items from the area being photographed and post-production digital touch-ups are essential to producing a beautifully composed and well-balanced image.

    Tell us something we don’t know: I once worked as a booking agent for Ford Models in New York City.

Alina del Castillo

Alina del Castillo

  • Joined Bva: 2014

    Education: B.A. in Performing Arts, Washington University, St. Louis; M. Arch. and M.S. in Sustainable Design, Catholic University of America

    Hometown: Aspen Hill, Maryland

  • How does your performing arts degree inform your architecture? In the theatre, everything has an objective or meaning behind it. But that intention isn’t prescriptive; you can’t make somebody see or do things a certain way. Context is another thing: A Shakespeare production is colored by the time and place in which it’s performed. Similarly, any work done to an existing building is influenced by the needs and desires of the current age.

    What’s your most memorable project at BVA? I’ve spent most of my time on commercial projects here in Georgetown, which are fairly large and involved—and still a work in progress. I particularly enjoy seeing them take shape on my way into work each day.

    Tell us something we don’t know: I minored in physics in undergrad. People would invariably respond that physics and theatre was an “interesting combination,” but I find architecture to be a great synthesis of the two!

Miriam Dillon

Miriam Dillon

ASID; Associate AIA

  • Joined Bva: 2010

    Education: B. Arch., Catholic University of America

    Hometown: Philadelphia

  • What was your design influence growing up? My mother took us on frequent trips to art museums, including the quirky mansion that once held the famed Barnes Collection. She also introduced us to some of Philadelphia’s great local architects, such as Frank Furness.

    Which came first—architecture or interior design? Architecture. My interest naturally evolved into a building’s interior details, and the desire to complete a home. As a designer in an architecture firm, we work more closely as a team from the beginning. Working in one location allows us to easily brainstorm and manage the details throughout the home’s construction.

    Tell us something we don’t know: I’m a wife and mother of two who enjoys downtime with the family. Hobbies include boxing two to three times per week, and playing on a ladies’ tennis team.

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Matthew Fiehn

Matthew W. Fiehn

AIA, LEED AP

  • Joined Bva: 2004

    Education: B.A., University of Colorado; M. Arch., Catholic University

    Hometown: Cold Spring Harbor, New York

  • How did you get into residential design? I used to practice architecture in healthcare. The altruistic component was appealing. However, I much prefer closely working with clients on a personal level, helping them to achieve their dreams of a home.

    You’re rockin’ that bow tie. I wear them pretty much every day. As one of the few people in the office who still draws with pen and ink (in addition to CAD), they stay out of my way at the drafting board.

    Tell us something we don’t know: I like banging on things until they break. Which is to say, I’m interested in the science of how buildings perform. If at all possible, I try out materials and assemblies at home to evaluate how they work before we use them on clients’ homes. I read up on the new theories and materials, go to seminars, interview manufacturers, and even go to the factories where they make the product.

Melanie Giordano

Melanie Giordano

AIA

  • Joined Bva: 1992

    Education: B.A., Carnegie Mellon University

    Hometown: Ponce, Puerto Rico

  • What moved you to switch from commercial to residential design? Commercial work slowed down during the early ’90s, and I was lucky to get into the residential field, which I love because of the more personal interaction with clients and faster project turnaround.

    Favorite vacation? Anywhere with my family, we often go to Puerto Rico to visit my family and enjoy the beaches.

    What grows in your garden? I have a flower and herb garden in a sunny spot, and a variety of ferns and hostas in the larger shady areas.

    Tell us something we don’t know: If I weren’t an architect, I’d like to be a painter.

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Daniel Harrison

Daniel Harrison

  • Joined Bva: 2004

    Education: B.S. in Business Administration, Columbia Union College

    Hometown: Lancaster, Massachusetts

  • Nats or Red Sox? Both, but if they played in the World Series, Sox all the way!

    What’s it like being an I.T. manager for architects? Busy, especially since for the past few years I’ve been more involved with building code compliance review and permitting—with a dash of accounting.

    Tell us something we don’t know: I played college basketball.

Ellen Hatton

Ellen Hatton

AIA

  • Joined Bva: 2001

    Education: B. Arch., M. Arch., Tulane University

    Hometown: Newark, Delaware

  • What opened your eyes in New Orleans after you left Delaware? The food, the music, the architecture, and the lifestyle were all so different from what I grew up around! Crawfish, zydeco, and shotgun houses helped to whet my appetite for exploring the world around me.

    Most inspiring architecture: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Art Nouveau

    Tell us something we don’t know: I’m an avid USTA amateur tennis player, and was on a mixed doubles team that took third place at Nationals in 2013.

Camilo Moreno-Hines

  • Joined Bva: 2001

    Education: B. Arch., University of Virginia

    Hometown: Born in DC, grew up in Virginia, Nicaragua, Chile, Uruguay, Argentina

  • That’s a lot of hometowns. I’m a child of State Department parents, and I’m bilingual. A “third culture” kid.

    Do you have a special skill? I’m an Autocad whisperer, troubleshooting all the office problems with this glitchy software.

    Tell us something we don’t know: I happily drive a 2000 VW Jetta that refuses to die.

Stephen Howard

Stephen William Howard

Committee member of L’Enfants—young classicists—within the Washington Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art

  • Joined Bva: 2016

    Education: B.A. In Architectural Studies, Judson University; M.Arch., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    Hometown: Windham, PA

  • What was your earliest architectural inspiration? The Clemens Center in Elmira, NY, where my parents had seasonal symphony tickets. It is a Vaudevillian theater that maintains, despite a stylistic pastiche of additions and renovations, a distinct sense of grandeur. On a monthly basis my young self sat transfixed by that cavern of stained glass, woodwork, velvet, and brass.

    How does your drawing affect your work? Sketching allows me to deconstruct a building and begin to understand the relationships of its components or give attention to details and textures. It trains my eye to recognize these things, which I might not readily notice from simply snapping a photo.

    Tell us something we don’t know: I am proficient at making balloon animals. Parrots are my favorite.

Stefan Hurray

Stefan Hurray

Associate AIA; board member, Cleveland Park Historical Society and the Washington Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art

  • Joined Bva: 2006

    Education: B. Arch. and B.A. in Art History, Carnegie Mellon University

    Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • How did you start your award winning blog, ArchitectDesign? I started ArchitectDesign (architectdesign.blogspot.com) to reach out to others with the same interests. It worked, and I’ve made friends across the world who share a passion for classical architecture and design.

    Favorite fun fact about Cleveland Park History: I find it amazing that Cleveland Park started off as a summer retreat from DC; now, it’s considered so close in to the city!

    Tell us something we don’t know: Piano performance was my first passion. Architecture became a reality when I realized you could always be an architect who plays the piano, but can’t be a pianist who practices architecture!

Sydney Davenport Katz

Registered Architect, LEED AP

  • Joined Bva: 2006

    Education: B. Arch., University of Southern California

    Hometown: Washington, DC

  • You grew up in DC and studied in LA. What’s the biggest difference? Besides the beautiful weather in LA, the biggest difference I noticed was in lifestyle and attitude. Most people in LA are very laid back and relaxed. My time there allowed me to experience a more relaxed culture, which has influenced how I live my life here in DC.

    What architecture inspired you in California? The Arts and Crafts style from the turn of the century is prevalent throughout Los Angeles. Its honest beauty, balance and harmony have greatly influenced me as a designer; its structural expression and use of natural materials creates a warm and welcoming feeling.

    Tell us something we don’t know: I was valedictorian of my high school class—and gave a speech that made all the students laugh, and the teachers and parents cry.

David Mostrom

David Mostrom

  • Joined Bva: 2017

    Education: B.A. In Architectural History, University of Virginia; M. Arch., University of Notre Dame

    Hometown: Ballston Spa, New York

  • YOUR STUDIES TOOK YOU ALL OVER EUROPE. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE ARCHITECTURAL DISCOVERY? The Villa Lante at Bagnaia in central Italy. It is a beautiful garden villa that perfectly encapsulates the ideals of the Italian Renaissance.

    IN A CULTURE OBSESSED WITH MODERN DESIGN, WHAT’S YOUR BEST ARGUMENT FOR CELEBRATING TRADITIONAL ARCHITECTURE? We respond to buildings and places that remind us of tradition and give us a connection to the past. Traditional architecture is based on principles that reflect the world in which we live. It has been developed and perfected over hundreds of years. It gives a place meaning and order—from the portal of an arcade to the public plaza of a town square.

    TELL US SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW. I was a competitive figure skater and went to Junior Nationals. I coached skating for several years after competing with students ranging from the beginner level to advanced.

Camesha Murphy

Camesha Murphy

  • Joined Bva: January, 2017

    Education: B.S. in Interior Design, Westwood College

    Hometown: Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies

  • WHO ARE YOUR ARCHITECTURE AND INTERIOR DESIGN ICONS? My architecture icon is Frank Lloyd Wright. When I visited his masterpiece Falling Water in southwestern Pennsylvania, I really felt in harmony with nature, as Wright had intended. I have a long list of interior-design icons, but my all-time favorite is Elise de Wolfe— her lifestyle was as glamorous as her decor.

    YOU USED TO BE A KITCHEN PLANNER AT IKEA—WHAT WERE THE MOST POPULAR REQUESTS? Other than the usual “How do I get out of here?” and “I have to put this together myself?!” The most popular requests were for drawer dampers and glass-front cabinet doors.

    TELL US SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW: I love spending my summer weekends at the beach.

Michael Patrick

Michael Patrick

AIA, NCARB, LEED AP
Member, Society for College and University Planning
Member, Association for Preservation Technology (local); Association for Preservation Technology International (APTI)
Co-Chair, Outreach & Alliances Focus Group of the Technical Committee on Sustainable Preservation, APTI

  • Joined Bva: 2014

    Education: B.A. in Linguistics, College of William and Mary; M. Arch., University of Texas at Arlington

    Hometown: Dallas

  • Your portfolio is full of college buildings and churches; why are you drawn to them? Because they’re rich in meaning. I’ve had fun designing buildings and campuses for airports, hospitals, government centers and mixed-use/office complexes, but ultimately, I realized that I want to be working on projects that support and build up the human mind and spirit.

    Most inspirational college-campus architecture: My favorite building façade in general is Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art. It combines the richness of beautiful natural materials, placed and worked by hand, with pure innovation and the latest in technology. On each campus, I try to bring forward this spirit of the best of tradition and modernity, in a way that fits its own time and place.

    Most awe-inspiring church structure: I’m completely taken by the 5th-to-9th century, Byzantine-inspired early Christian churches of Rome. They combine utter simplicity with an unbelievably beautiful decorative program, and they express a sacred iconography that I’m drawn to.  

    Tell us something we don’t know: I love to dance, especially Argentinian Social Tango (not the fancy stuff!).

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  • Past Work
Adam Podbielski

Adam Podbielski

  • Joined Bva: 2016

    Education: B.S. in Architecture, University of Maryland

    Hometown: Reisterstown, Maryland

  • DID YOUR NATIVE MARYLAND’S COLONIAL ROOTS INFORM YOUR LOVE OF ARCHITECTURE? Definitely. Volunteering as a docent at one of my favorite historic homes, Charles Carroll Jr.’s Homewood, has given me the chance to share my love of traditional architecture with a wide audience.

    TELL US ABOUT YOUR SIDE GIG WORKING WITH SPINSHEET MAGAZINE. Many people assume Annapolis is the only game in town when it comes to Maryland sailing, but my experience stems from my involvement with the Baltimore City Yacht Association, which not only takes advantage of the ideal deep-water sailing conditions in Baltimore Harbor, but also schedules a much longer racing season than almost every other club in the region. Being a contributor for SpinSheet Magazine has been a great way for me to help shine a light on the vibrant sailing scene north of the Bay Bridge.

    TELL US SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW: My racing team and I have won our class in the Fell’s Point Holiday Lighted Boat Parade for two years in a row now!

Nancy Mansour Rizk

  • Joined Bva: 2014

    Education: B. Arch., Lebanese American University, Beirut

    Hometown: Beirut, Lebanon

  • What brought you to the United States? I moved here with my husband in 2013. It was the beginning of a new venture for me where I also wanted to take advantage of the opportunities provided here to advance my knowledge and skill sets to take my architectural career to the next level.

    You once worked on a huge commercial project in Doha, Qatar—how does that compare to architecture we see here? The architecture in Doha and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region is quite different from the U.S. One of the main reasons is that historically, the U.S. has gone through various phases of architectural developments, but the gulf region didn’t have any distinct architectural aesthetic prior to the oil boom. Since the economic revolution, the Gulf States have imported their architectural concepts from Europe and the U.S. with a very modern taste, while keeping the gulf’s cultural touch in all their designs.

    Tell us something we don’t know: If I weren’t an architect, I’d want to be a fashion designer! Elie Saab is my favorite inspiration.

Steve Vanze

Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, LEED AP
Member, Association for Preservation Technology (local); and Association for Preservation Technology International (APTI)

  • Joined Bva: Founded BVA with Ankie Barnes, 1989

    Education: B.A., Brown University; M. Arch., University of Virginia

    Hometown: Briarcliff, New York

  • You’ve been instrumental in the development and restoration of historic Georgetown properties. What makes them special for you? The built environment is an expression of our cultural values—especially in Washington, where Greek revival influenced so much of the Federal architecture. The use of specific historical references in the buildings of that period was an intentional reminder that the values of the new Republic should draw on past, idealized democracies. Helping to save that history is important for us today.

    What drives you to donate so much time on pro bono projects and community service for local architecture organizations and exhibits? Abraham Flexner, a pioneer in the reform of medical education in the early 20th century, said that the measure of a true professional is that he gives back to the profession and to his community.

    Tell us something we don’t know: I love modern architecture.

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Hannah Weber

Hannah Weber

Associate AIA

  • Joined Bva: 2013

    Education: B.A. in Architecture, Judson University; M. Arch. and Masters in Architectural Design and Urbanism, University of Notre Dame

    Hometown: Stevensville, Michigan

  • You spent most of your life in Michigan. Why DC? I have a background in classical architecture, and am interested in studying how this tradition is translated from its origins in Europe to its unique manifestation in the United States. The east coast in general, and our capital in particular, are the best places to find examples of American Classicism.

    So, you’ve also been a chemistry lab technician and assembly line worker. I couldn’t find a job in architecture as a summer intern in Michigan, so I went after any job opportunity, no matter how inconvenient or unexpected. These experiences, though irrelevant to my professional CV, continue to help me approach problems from different perspectives—and ultimately, I’m not afraid to try something new.

    Tell us something we don’t know: In graduate school on a field trip to Athens, I got to stand inside the Parthenon during its restoration. That is probably the coolest thing I have ever experienced.