Nicholas Backer

Nicholas Backer

State College, PA, US



I am an architectural designer who combines my architectural studies, technological studies, and my background in information technology and systems engineering. I have been able to utilize and develop design processes that are efficient and economical while staying in the scope of a project. My internship with Christian Zapatka, a protégé of Peter Eisenman and Michael Graves, as well as my employment with Niles Bolton Associates in Atlanta, have allowed me to integrate and apply classroom theory into project delivery. I have been able to hone my skills in using Revit throughout the design process, while working with clients and stake holders on various projects from conceptualization through completion.

My study of architecture has given me perspective on design for physical spaces as well as allowed me to couple my previous education to facilitate solutions for design incorporating technology into a physical space. Using these concepts, I have been able to design common spaces in mixed use multi-family structures that fully utilize light, airflow, and circulation to create a sense of comfort and expanded space based on visual and aural continuities. In my graduate studies, I incorporated the human element in architecture by using physiology as a concept: providing lighting that corresponds to the human circadian rhythm, changing depending on the color temperature of the day to create a more natural, comfortable environment. I also investigated the creation of lightweight light control devices made of carbon fiber using Arduino systems that could control the lighting of an environment based on calculated need.  

Over the past year, I have been able to study and be cleared for the ARE, which I believe has greatly improved my architectural knowledge, to do freelance residential design/technical consulting, improve my 3D modeling and rendering, and researching the newest forms of technology to integrate into a smart house such as smart thermostats, and thermal sensors to read an individual’s temperature and adjust a room accordingly.

I am a quick learner and pride myself on my ability to creatively solve problems. I can mitigate and resolve issues  early by utilizing a design process called AGILE, a fast paced, iterative design process that is meant to create clear communication and avoid any ‘eleventh-hour’ issues that may suddenly arise. My experience with development methodologies such as AGILE have made me comfortable in a team design environment. I have experience and proficiency with Revit as well as Rhino3D, AutoCAD, the Adobe Suite, Lumion, Sketchup, Enscape, The Microsoft Office Suite, and have skills as a professional photographer and filmmaker.

My portfolio/blog can be found online at


Niles Bolton, Atlanta, GA, US, Architectural Designer

•Create 3D models and 2D construction documentation with Revit, Lumion, AutoCad, and Rhino 3D 7.
•Meet with and begin conceptual design with clients.
•Create visual renderings and presentation graphics/Packets for owners and clients.
•Conduct Construction Administration and attend owner project management meetings.
•Perform redline changes and revisions, as well as review submissions in BlueBeam.
•Coordinate with consultants for structural, MEP, lighting design.
•Assist in the multi-team architectural design process from conceptual design through completion of project.s
•Develop alternative solutions and presentation graphics to communicate concepts.

Aug 2019 - Jul 2020

The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), State College, PA, US, Teaching Assistant

• Assisted faculty with student grading.
• Assisted in teaching class material.
• Engaged with student questions and concerns regarding projects or assignments.
• Helped guide students in design decisions and provide advice on design problems.

Aug 2016 - May 2019

Christian Zapatka Architect, Washington, DC, US, Intern Architect

•Worked with clients face-to-face to achieve design solutions.
• Assisted in red line corrections and construction documentation.
• Created client models and renderings to showcase and explore design ideas.
• Assisted with site visits and analysis.

May 2018 - Aug 2018


The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), State College, PA, US, MArch, Architecture

MArch program at Penn State that allowed me to combine my mastery of technology with my love of design. Was able to come up with and research new ideas into making living spaces more livable and enjoyable such as setting up lighting to match a users circadian rhythm.

Aug 2016 - May 2019

Georgetown University, Washington, DC, US, Masters, Systems Engineering

A degree program aimed at honing ones skills at developing complex systems for integration or processes. Was a great mix of business school, IT, and engineering.

Aug 2010 - May 2012

The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), State College, PA, US, Bachelors, Information Sciences and Technology

Aug 2002 - May 2007

Areas of Specialization