Architectural Designer

Kaplan Thompson Architects Kaplan Thompson Architects Employer:
Portland, ME, USLocation:
Wed, Feb 7 '24Posted on:

Kaplan Thompson Architects is a Portland, Maine architecture firm prioritizing sustainability, creative design, and technical excellence for every project. We focus on single-family homes (both new and renovations), multi-family residential, educational, and non-profit design projects. We are seeking an Architectural Designer with 1 to 3 years of professional experience. This is a unique opportunity to get in the door with a design focused, mission-based, award-winning firm named to the Architect 50: Top 50 Firms in Sustainability in the U.S. 

We are seeking candidates who live within commuting distance of our office in Downtown Portland and are able to work in-person for the first six months of employment. Once this training period concludes (and you have endured enough of our terrible jokes), we offer a flexible environment with options for both in-person and hybrid work. Some members of our team maintain a permanent desk in the office, others take advantage of flex work-stations for several days of in-office time per week.

We value your time and a healthy work-life balance. We observe a 40-hour work week, and time spent on project work beyond your weekly obligation is reimbursed quarterly as comp time or a cash bonus.

Our workload and commitment to efficiency, project productivity, our clients, and the environment are rigorous, but so is our desire to foster a sense of community amongst our team and our peers. We enjoy company happy hours, birthday lunches, and occasional bowling parties, as well as a dedicated Slack channel for sharing photos of your canine or feline companions. As if that’s not enough, let’s just say that after hours, we aren’t afraid to push up our sleeves and turn the conference room table into a ping pong court. 

If you are ready to be dazzled by our stunning assortment of nutritious office snacks (and meet the position requirements below!), we are ready to meet you!

Compensation, Timing, and (Excellent) Benefits

We offer competitive salaries in alignment with prescribed AIA rates at or near the top levels for the region.

This offer includes 3 weeks of paid vacation / personal / sick time annually to start. Our benefits package also includes 100% medical coverage on Health Insurance and 100% coverage on Disability Insurance.  Additionally, KTA offers a 401K benefit plan that allows you to save for retirement. With this plan, KTA will match your contributions up to 4% of your salary. There is no waiting period to receive these benefits. 

We also offer 10 paid holidays and 3 paid floating holidays. A commuting stipend of $60/mo. will be provided, and may be either spent towards a parking space, bus pass, or kept by you if an alternate form of transportation is used. Bonuses are distributed in accordance with hours worked and success of the office. Annually, every employee has the opportunity to spend up to $500 and two days pursuing professional development, which might include attending a conference, taking a class, or participating in another approved activity. Designers interested in achieving licensure also enjoy access to company-paid training materials and reimbursement of ARE expenses upon successful completion of tests. We also offer one paid Community Day with the entire office and up to 24 matched hours over the year for any a Community Service project you would like to pursue.

Kaplan Thompson is the only architecture firm in Maine to have received the JUST label for a socially just and equitable organization.


Design Skill

  • Undertake a variety of assignments requiring the application of standard architectural techniques for small projects or selected segments of a larger project.
  • Show an ability to assimilate programmatic requirements into competent design solutions.

Technical Ability

  • Provide Building Information Modeling, research, renderings, presentation documents as required.
  • Perform design layouts and features, which require researching, compiling, and recording information for assigned project work.


  • Act as a design assist to more experienced Architectural Staff with occasional client and builder contact.
  • Write reports, notes, and provide correspondence as projects require.


  • Work in a collaborative team structure with other architects and designers on single-family and multi-family residential projects, restaurants, and sustainability-focused institutions.

Industry Awareness

  • Strive to incorporate sustainable solutions throughout your work
  • Produce work that is consistent with the quality and design aesthetic of the firm, and the region.


  • Participate in office culture.
  • Strive for professional and personal development.



Required: Minimum BArch completed and 1-3 years of relevant work experience; location within commuting distance of our office in Portland; ability to attend construction site visits within a 3-hour range of Portland, regular in-person client meetings, and in-person office events. Access to the office requires climbing one flight of stairs. Construction Administration requires navigating job sites lacking accessibility features.

Preferred: Concentration in sustainable design; solid macramé and/or needle-felting skills


Required: Excellent aesthetic and/or technical design skills, strong written and verbal communication skills, drafting with BIM modeling experience

Preferred: Education/interest/experience in the field of sustainable design, experience with ArchiCAD, software proficiency with Mac, Microsoft Office, Gsuite, Adobe Creative Suite, Keynote or Powerpoint


You bring: 

  • Affability and a positive attitude
  • Joy and creativity to your projects and your workplace 
  • An emerging design vision, drive, and a deep belief in a more sustainable future
  • The ability to push boundaries and think unconventionally

You embrace: 

  • Working independently and meeting timely goals
  • Adaptability to work on multiple projects with changing project schedules 
  • Collaborating with other team members and external partners  
  • Active participation in the health and vibrancy of the business
  • Maintaining rigor in quality of work and written communications

You are comfortable with: 

  • A flexible environment with options for both in-person and remote work
  • An open, collaborative team approach and a collegial studio atmosphere
  • Communicating when you see room for improvement and coming to the table with solutions

You can expect from us: 

  • The opportunity to work on high-performance, net zero energy, Living Building Challenge, and Passive House projects, with all the rigors and joys they entail
  • Professional development support and resources
  • A portfolio of mission-driven projects 


The expected starting range for this role is $54,000 to $60,000 base salary plus benefits that equal a total compensation package in the range of $66,000 to $71,000. 

To view some of our work and our philosophy, please view


Ready to join our firm? Please send a resume, brief cover letter, and examples of work to [email protected]. Our first test for consideration is rigorous: please also mention your most useless superpower in your initial response. No calls, thank you.

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