BuildingWork was founded by Matt Aalfs AIA. Our name, BuildingWork, reflects our straightforward approach to architecture: We work on buildings. We put places together in a meaningful way with a deep respect for craft, context, and detail.
Discovering the layers that make places special drives everything we do. Our collaborative team of architects brings enthusiasm and passion to every project, regardless of scale. We are a scrappy, nimble, and creative firm, and yet we have a depth of established expertise that enables us to address complex architectural challenges with elegance and pragmatism.
Matt has two decades of professional experience. He founded BuildingWork after a long tenure at Weinstein AU where he was the managing principal. Matt specializes in the design of civic and community facilities, adaptive re-use projects, and historic preservation. He designs innovative and carefully detailed buildings that contribute to the communities and clients they serve.
Matt is an alumni of the Urban Land Institute’s Center for Sustainable Leadership. Since 2000, he has served as a visiting lecturer and design studio critic with the University of Washington Department of Architecture. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Seattle’s ACT Theater.
Matt received a Master of Architecture from the University of Washington. He also studied architecture in Rome, Italy and at California College of Arts. He received his B.A. in Art from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Kate brings to BuildingWork a diverse portfolio of civic, creative office, and retail design experience. With a specific interest in exploring how a community adopts and adapts their environment, Kate has studied the intersection of architecture and life in Rome, Italy and Chandigarh, India.
Kate advocates clear communication, organized execution, and a collaborative approach to design. Recently, she has been involved in the creation of community libraries, the renovation of landmarked buildings, and the strategic revitalization of urban alleys and other public spaces.
Kate holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture with a minor in Architecture History from Miami University.
Rebecca has ten years of experience as an architectural designer. Much of her work has been in the areas of healthcare and education, libraries, and other public and community buildings. Rebecca leads projects from concept to conclusion, enjoying all aspects of the design process. Her versatile skill set enables her to engage in many different design challenges, ranging from developing a comprehensive hospital master plan to designing a light fixture for a library. She likes the processes of collaboration with clients, consultants, contractors, and coworkers.
Rebecca holds Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degrees from the University of Washington. During her graduate career, she received a Valle Scandinavian Exchange Scholarship in Finland, where she studied the adaptive reuse of industrial buildings in evolving urban communities.
Janell’s passion for letting a place tell its story champions her approach to design. A recent graduate from the University of Washington, Janell focused her studies on the intersection of culture and sacred spaces. With a team, she designed and built a memorial off the coast of Ireland which commemorates the Irish diaspora. In a later project she designed a series of living memorials to the history, culture, and language of indigenous tribes in the United States.
Janell holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Planning from The Catholic University of America, a Master of Architecture from University of Washington, and a pilot’s license and a glider rating.
Mark’s background includes urban infill, multifamily residential, mixed use, and custom residential architecture as well as passivhaus design in the Seattle area. He studied architecture in southern California, where he gained experience working for a Los Angeles firm focusing on institutional and historic preservation projects. Mark is particularly interested in adaptive reuse, exploring how urban environments evolve over time, and responding to the conflict between preservation and growth. He recently won a travel scholarship to study adaptive reuse projects in Madrid and Barcelona.
Mark holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Pomona College and Master of Architecture from California State Polytechnic University.
Madeleine has lived in Philadelphia, New York City, London, and Seattle, inspiring her interest in how cities blend new buildings with existing, historical architecture. Studying different urban climates, she recognizes how a community can be strengthened through civic architecture.
Madeleine believes successful architecture comes from thoughtful and sustainable design – both in use of light and energy as well as building preservation.
Madeleine has a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Washington and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Design and Architectural Studies with a minor in Metropolitan Studies from New York University.