Born in Seattle and raised in British Columbia, Joel Turkel earned a bachelor of environmental studies from the University of Manitoba, and a masters of architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was named the Ann Beha travelling fellow. He is a recipient of the Marvin E. Goody prize in architecture for his work on prefabricated residential building systems.
Joel worked under architect Fernando Domeyko-Perez and with several international groups including the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture in both India and Syria; the Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) in Ethiopia; and the Space in and In-Between Workshop under the direction of architects Steven Holl, Fumihiko Maki and Frank Gehry.
From 1999 to 2007 Joel served as the Creative Director of Empyrean International. During his tenure there, he played a key role in several major initiatives including the development of the Dwell Homes by Empyrean, a unique collaboration between Lazor Office, Resolution 4: Architecture and Dwell magazine. He is the creator of NextHouse, a series of prefabricated modern homes marketed by the Dwell brand from 2005 to 2008.
Joel is a frequent critic at architecture schools throughout the United States, and between 2002 and 2008 held a faculty position in the School of Architecture and Planning at MIT, where he taught both design studios and a graduate level course entitled The Prefab Workshop: Design, Fabrication and the Modern Delivery Mechanism.
In 2007, he founded Turkel Design with his wife and partner Meelena Oleksiuk Turkel. Their daughters are a constant source of inspiration.
Meelena Oleksiuk Turkel
Originally from Toronto, Meelena Oleksiuk Turkel was trained in Canada, Switzerland, and the United States, earning a bachelor of arts in architecture from the University of Toronto, and a masters of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MIT, her graduate research in digital fabrication, open-source manufacturing, and housing and land-use policy culminated in her thesis: Breaking out of the Static Dwelling: Redesigning the Triple-decker.
Meelena worked under both Thomas Payne of KPMB Architects and Paul Didur Architect of Toronto. Her interest in issues related to housing and the residential landscape has led to on-going involvement in several major design initiatives:
From 2004-2006 she was an active collaborator in The Lift-House Project, an outreach effort of Oxfam and the Special Interest Group in Urban Settlement (SIGUS) to provide disaster relief housing to Gulf Coast communities; a straw-bale construction venture providing low-cost environmentally-conscious housing to itinerant workers in rural Virginia, and in 2006 she was part of a design effort led by Arizona architect Rick Joy to prepare a new town plan for Bahia Balandra, Mexico.
Before co-founding Turkel Design in 2007, she worked in Japan with architect Shun Kanda and in conjunction with the Kyoto civic development authority on redevelopment schema for the machiya, the traditional Japanese townhouse type of the Kyoto prefecture.
She lives and practices in Cambridge, MA with her husband and partner Joel Turkel. With their daughters, they divide their time between Cambridge and Toronto.
Born in West Virginia, Jacob Wright was raised in upstate New York, where he received both a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and a Master’s of Architecture from the State University of New York at Buffalo, graduating summa cum laude.
Jake has had extensive multi-disciplinary design experience, working with Walt Disney World in ride and show engineering workshops focusing on the design, fabrication, and implementation of total sensory immersion environments. Jake has studied advanced 3D imaging, modeling, rapid prototyping, storyboarding, and matrix management strategies to create multiple experiences within familiar human-scaled settings.
From 2004 to 2008 Jake served as both Director of Client Services and Senior Project Manager at Empyrean International, where he routinely managed numerous custom residential projects and clients over geographically dispersed areas.
As a team a leader with the “Small Built Works” design-build community initiative projects, Jake’s work has been recognized with a Grand Prize by the National Council of Architecture Registration Boards (NCARB). Jake is a frequent guest critic and lecturer at design institutions throughout the Northeast.
Jake joined Turkel Design in 2009 and lives in Saratoga Springs, NY with his 2 children.
From his boyhood home in Toronto, to journeys through Mexico, Italy, and across Europe; Lino Granata devoted his life to the education and experience of architecture. Having received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Toronto, Lino moved to Seattle where he pursued a Master’s Degree in Construction Management from the University of Washington.
During a formative tenure at Baylis Architects in Bellevue WA, Lino’s custom single family homes evolved to meet the diverse lifestyle needs of his clients in the Pacific Northwest, California and China.
In 2005 Lino was invited to join the Northwest Home & Garden/Seattle magazine's 'Open House' committee of notable NW architects. Leveraging the committee’s selection of homes for publication; Lino was able to advance his lifelong effort to introduce modern residential design to a wider audience.
Today Lino brings his experience and sustained passion for world architecture and cultures to push the envelope on building material design and use, attention to lifestyle details and modern design aesthetics.
Diana Nee spent half her childhood in downtown Taipei and the other half in suburban Los Angeles, before uprooting to New England. She earned her Bachelor of Science in architecture along with a minor in Applied International Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In 2012, she received her Master of Architecture from Yale University.
Her international background led to her continued interest in designing across cultural borders. Diana spent a year at Continuum, an innovation and design consultancy, where she gained greater understanding of how qualitative research translates culture into strategies for design. During her time at Norihiko Dan Associates, she utilized her language skills to work between their Tokyo and Taipei offices on both the competition deliverables and construction documents for the Taoyuan International Airport Terminal One Renovation.
In her spare time, Diana is an avid shooter, a former member of the U.S national team. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA.
Turkel Design has a home-base in Boston, but Jeff is the only one of us who was actually born here. At Wentworth Institute of Technology, he earned bachelor’s degrees in both architecture and architectural engineering.
Jeff spent many years at the Acorn/Deck House organization, rising to the position of studio manager. After that he worked with two innovative start-ups—Bespoke, which worked to automate the process of panelizing building components, and Blu Homes, whose goal was to make housing more affordable. With those 30 years of experience in prefabrication, Turkel Design simply had to hire him, and he joined us in 2016 as Senior Designer.
With a lovely wife and three grown children, Jeff is our “old hand.” In an office full of young people, he keeps us grounded. Jeff doesn’t really enjoy long walks on the beach, or watching sunrises.
Rob Gray is a born and raised native of Seattle, WA. His formal education includes a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration from Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. It was during his time in Bellingham that he developed his passion for exploring the mountains and waterways of the Northwest.
An extensive sales and entrepreneurial background shape Rob as the professional he is today. Rob‘s business experience features launching and operating several successful restaurants and catering businesses with his wife Sandra. Rob developed his passion for prefab housing during his ten years at Lindal Cedar Homes. As National Sales Manager, he was an active collaborator in the launch of the Lindal entry into the Dwell Homes Collection as well as many other strategic programs.
Rob ‘s passion for design and prefab, and his experience guiding scores of homeowners from initial interest to move-in, uniquely qualify him as a valuable asset to interested home builders. He is driven to help people obtain the home that they love, within their budget, and built to last a lifetime.
Rob resides in Seattle with his wife and daughter and continues to seek out beauty in nature and city life.
Born in Thailand, Pat moved to Boston with his family when he was young. He spent his undergrad years at Wentworth Institute of Technology, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in construction management, along with an Associate certification in the LEED green-building program.
He began his career as a vignette designer for a contemporary furniture company, collaborating with designers from Milan. Later, he joined Design Within Reach, working on several important residential and commercial projects.
Pat’s decade in the furniture industry fueled his passion for mid-century Modern design, and led him to join us in 2015, as a specifications coordinator. When not in the office, he is often out “antiquing” for mid-century furniture by his favorite designers.
Dale Allen-Rowse has been a licensed real estate agent since 2003 and was inducted into the Chairman’s Club at RE/MAX (the highest level of sales recognized by the company) within two years.
In 2005 Dale opened and operated his own Brokerage Firm which specialized in working with developers. Dale left Las Vegas in 2011 to seek new opportunity in Los Angeles where he was hired by Keller Williams as their Director of Training, overseeing the education of 450+ agents.
While residential resale of homes has been at the forefront of his career Dale’s passion has always been helping people build their dream home.
Dale has been in Sales with Turkel Design since 2016.
Growing up in Chicago, Julia Betkis was exposed to a diverse collection of world class architecture. The city provided the foundation for a passion for architecture that would last a life time.
Julia attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and has lived around the globe, fine tuning the art of operations management.
Julia has managed a variety of offices and firms - touring production companies, startups, boutique hotels, local artesian bakeries, have all benefited from her 20-plus years of operations management experience. Most recently Julia was with a global tech firm of over 350 employees.
Today, with a background in construction, Julia brings a unique management style to the offices of Turkel Design.
In her spare time, Julia continues to focus on her passion for photography and fine art. She currently lives in Boston, MA.
Oliver Bautista was born and raised in Dominican Republic. A graduate of The Americas Bicultural School, Oliver began his career designing low income housing for the National Housing Institute in Santo Domingo while earning his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Ureña.
From there he moved on to become part of the Design/Construction team of Malecon Center at KS Investment, where he was responsible for the daily construction supervision of commercial retail spaces and the NBA City restaurant franchise locale. Upon completing his studies he joined the studio of Franc Ortega & Associates, where he participated in the Verizon Wireless office building competition, and worked on the Cap Cana multi-use luxury resort. Under the mentorship of Franc Ortega and Jesus Hernandez he wrote his thesis on the subject of sports architecture— which his faculty has since used as a reference in their teaching.
Upon moving to Massachusetts he continued his career by working on New England style homes renovations and additions on the North Shore, later joining Derek Bloom Architects for new residential projects.
Oliver joined Turkel Design in 2016.
Born and raised in New York City, Anthony holds a Bachelor of Architecture with a concentration in Economics from Cornell University. His undergraduate thesis explored a scenario for an integrated road corridor in the greater Jerusalem area. His interests include architecture, landscape, and historical and contemporary culture.
Following graduation, Anthony worked at OBRA Architects and Gunn Landscape Architecture in New York. Prior to that he held design and research posts at the Institute for Building Research in Shenzhen, the Applied Research Institute in Jerusalem, and the Studio di Cesare Pietrousti in Rome. Anthony views cities and cultures as having a direct connection to his professional experience: he has visited sixty cities in twenty countries on five continents.
Ting Lun Lai
Ting spent his first years in Taiwan, then during high school moved to Vancouver where, at the University of British Columbia, he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. In 2012 he received his Master of Architecture degree from Washington University in St. Louis. His thesis focused on the Bottle District of St. Louis, exploring how architecture can adapt itself to variations in the weather and changes in use.
His professional work in landscape architecture has attuned Ting to the importance of making places that evoke memory and cultural connections—most notably in a competition he won in 2015 for the design of a market and plaza in the Chinatown district of Plano, Texas. His perspective on design is shaped by the places he has lived and photographed in his travels all around the world. But when at home, Ting is grounded, quite literally: he makes shoes of his own design, from scratch.