Studio

Our design studio in Asheville is not only where we work, it’s where we live, learn, and grow.

Each project offers an opportunity to discover something new. In support of this discovery journey, our studio atmosphere fosters team dialogues and charrettes, creative work sessions with our clients, and continuing education. Our culture of collaboration extends to the relationships we forge with our clients. Our staff is a dedicated team of design professionals with unique skill sets and personalities.

Samsel Architects Studio 60 Biltmore

Leadership

The principals at Samsel Architects in a team photoshoot
Duncan McPherson, AIA, LEED AP
Principal

Duncan was raised by parents who instilled a deep appreciation for art and nature early in his childhood. Family vacations were spent traveling to museums, touring in Europe or camping in the wilderness of Maine. The experience formed his passions and values, and it is the balance of art and science, the creative and the pragmatic, beauty and function, that is the essence of architecture and nature, that intrigued him about the profession.

Duncan graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Virginia Tech, and it is there that he fell further in love with the intellectual pursuits of architecture. It is also there that he fell in love with the Appalachian mountains. His time exploring the mountains and farm lands of Virginia inspired a deep connection to the land and a desire to create designs rooted in their sense of place and people.

Duncan joined Samsel Architects in 1999 and became a principal in 2010. He has focused much of his career on sustainable design and civic involvement. He has volunteered with several community and civic groups including chair of Asheville City Council’s Sustainable Advisory Committee, chair of AIA-Asheville’s Committee on the Environment, and is a co-founder of the non-profit Green Built Alliance. Outside of the office Duncan enjoys camping, gardening, music and photography while unendingly renovating his 1926 home.

Nathan Bryant, AIA, NCARB
Principal

Nathan joined Samsel Architects in 2000 and has led design teams on many projects, including hospitality, commercial, master planning and custom residences. Nathan also helped develop the design guidelines and visioning for several local planned communities, and serves as Design Review Architect for multiple planned neighborhoods in WNC.

From an early age, he was intrigued by many forms of art, design, and the craft of construction. The process of exploring ideas and sketching new visions brings the same joy today. That joy extends through the full practice of architecture and the phases of completing a built structure.

Traveling is and has been a vital source of growth, both in finding inspiration from the work of talented architects and from observing how people live and interact. Nathan enjoys being a perpetual student of architecture and enjoys the continued process of learning new ways to better our built environment.

Nathan previously served as President of AIA-Asheville and on the AIA North Carolina Board of Directors. He holds an active NCARB certificate and is registered in states throughout the region. Nathan received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Our Staff

Jim Samsel, the founder of Samsel Architects
Jim Samsel
One of the talented team members at Samsel Architects, in Asheville NC
Allison Markovich
Carrie McLauchlan, one of the talented team members at Samsel Architects
Carrie McLauchlan
Chuck Krekelberg, one of the talented team members at Samsel Architects
Chuck Krekelberg
Heather Hatmaker, one of the talented team members at Samsel Architects
Heather Hatmaker
Margaret Chandler, one of the talented team members at Samsel Architects
Margaret Chandler
Margaret Fullam, one of the talented team members at Samsel Architects
Margaret Fullam
Matt Sands, one of the talented team members at Samsel Architects
Matt Sands
One of the talented team members at Samsel Architects, in Asheville NC
Nick Markovich
One of the talented team members at Samsel Architects, in Asheville NC
Robyn Oliver
Tyler Housholder, one of the talented team members at Samsel Architects
Tyler Housholder

Our History

Samsel Architects was established in Asheville, North Carolina in 1985 by Jim Samsel. The foundation of our studio’s identity began with Jim’s values of environmental stewardship, service to our community, and design excellence. Jim played a fundamental role in the revitalization of downtown Asheville during the 1980s and 1990s. He served as an advocate and architect for many iconic downtown rehabilitation projects, including our office building at 60 Biltmore Avenue.

The firm began an ownership transition in 2010 and is now led by Nathan Bryant and Duncan McPherson, who have been with Samsel Architects for over 20 years. During that time, the firm has made significant achievements including the LEED Platinum certified EcoDorm, AIA- North Carolina’s 2016 Firm of the Year Award, and completed a Certified Net-Zero residence.

Over the past 35 years we have developed a diverse design sense and portfolio of experience. Samsel Architects has continued to evolve while our core principles of environmentalism, design excellence, and a commitment to serving our community have remained constant. Our staff continues the legacy of our values with every client and every project.

Recognition + Publications

Awards

Best of WNC, 1st Place 2019, Local Architect
Best of WNC, 1st Place 2018, Local Architect
AIA Asheville Design Award, Merit Award 2017, The Cliffs at Walnut Cove
AIA Asheville Design Award, Residential Citation 2017, Craven Gap
Best of WNC, 1st Place 2017, Local Architect
George Matsumoto Prize, 3rd Place 2017, The Hammock House
AIA North Carolina, Firm Award 2016, Samsel Architects
Preservation Society of Asheville & Buncombe County, Griffin Award 2016, 7 Kimberly Avenue
Best of WNC, 1st Place 2016, Local Architect
Fine Homebuilding Houses Awards, Readers Choice Winner 2016, Fontana Bridge House
Custom Home Design Awards, Merit Winner Outdoor Spaces 2016, Town Mountain Residence
Best of WNC, 1st Place 2015, Local Architect
Fine Homebuilding Houses Awards, Readers Choice Finalist 2015, Old Fort Cabin
Best of WNC, 1st Place 2014, Local Architect
Preservation Society of Asheville & Buncombe County, Griffin Award 2014, Southern Highland Craft Gallery
Best of WNC, 1st Place 2013, Local Architect
Fine Homebuilding Houses Awards, Best Retirement Home 2012, Celo Residence
Hanley Wood EcoHome Design Awards, Grand Award 2011, Celo Residence
AIA Asheville Design Award, COTE Award 2009, EcoDorm at Warren Wilson College
AIA Asheville Design Award, 2008, The Preview Center (in association with Cutler Anderson Architects)
AIA Asheville Design Award, Honor Award 2008, Celo Residence
Preservation Society of Asheville & Buncombe County, Griffin Award 2002, 32 Hendersonville
AIA North Carolina Design Award, Merit Award 2002, Sourwood Inn
Preservation Society of Asheville & Buncombe County, Griffin Award 2001, New Morning Gallery Expansion
Preservation Society of Asheville & Buncombe County, Griffin Award 1998, Asheville Hotel
Preservation Society of Asheville & Buncombe County, Griffin Award 1997, Drhumor Building
Preservation Society of Asheville & Buncombe County, Griffin Award 1997, Fine Arts Theatre
Preservation Society of Asheville & Buncombe County, Griffin Award 1995, 134 & 138 Biltmore Avenue
Preservation Society of Asheville & Buncombe County, Griffin Award 1994, Eagle & Market Street Design Guidelines
Preservation Society of Asheville & Buncombe County, Griffin Award 1994, 64 Biltmore
Preservation Society of Asheville & Buncombe County, Griffin Award 1994, Carolina Apartments
AIA North Carolina Award, Tower Award 1992, Richmond Hill Inn
AIA North Carolina Design Award, Merit Award 1992, Blue Spiral 1
Preservation Society of Asheville & Buncombe County, Griffin Award 1991, Blue Spiral 1
Preservation Society of Asheville & Buncombe County, Griffin Award 1991, Milfoil Cottages at Albemarle Park
Preservation Society of Asheville & Buncombe County, Griffin Award 1990, Richmond Hill Inn
Preservation Society of Asheville & Buncombe County, Griffin Award 1989, 60 Biltmore
Preservation Society of Asheville & Buncombe County, Griffin Award 1988, 60 Haywood

Press

Carolina Home + Garden, Wide Net, Spring 2019, Twin Oaks Residence
WNC Magazine, Raise the Roof, March/April 2019, Beaucatcher Barn Home
Carolina Home + Garden, High-Stamina Refinement, Spring 2018, Mill Spring Modern Farmhouse
Carolina Home + Garden, The Little House that Could, Spring 2017, Old Fort Cabin
Carolina Home + Garden, Lake Life, Fall 2017, Camp Campos
The Family Cabin, by Dale Mulfinger, Old Fort Cabin
WNC Magazine, Historical Attraction, Spring 2016, Bent Creek Renovation
Carolina Home + Garden, Calm Intention, Spring 2016, Bonsai Pavilion
Cabin Living, In the Name of Preservation, Winter 2016, Laurel Cabin Renovation
Capital at Play, Designing A Legacy, November 2015, Firm Profile
Carolina Home + Garden, Serene Hideaway, Fall 2013, Fontana Bridge Residence
Fine Homebuilding Kitchens & Baths, An Elegant Enclosure, Winter 2013, Clogston Renovation
Carolina Home + Garden, On Mountain Time, Summer 2012, Celo Residence
Casa Naturale, Quasi Trasparente, Summer 2012, Celo Residence
Better Homes & Gardens Kitchens and Bath Ideas, Change of Plans, April 2012
All New Built-Ins Book, by Joanne Bouknight
Carolina Home + Garden, A Perfect Backdrop, Winter 2011, Kenilworth Renovation