Nicholas Elster

Nicholas Elster

Oakland, CA, US



I have 9 years of professional experience in the field of architectural practice, including residential, commercial and healthcare work. 

My experience as Project Manager has emphasized the importance of an interactive approach, allowing me to collaborate with other members of a design team, and to work closely with consultants and contractors.  The service-oriented nature of the profession has helped me to develop excellent verbal, written and visual communication skills for use with clients, and a wealth of technical knowledge and firsthand exposure with regards to construction and the building industry helps ensure productive relationships with other professionals.

Years of focussed work have helped me develop an acute set of skills relevant to site-specific design, yet applicable to problem solving in a larger context as well.  I'm looking for the opportunity to diversify my work experience to include other building types, especially socially oriented projects with community engaged processes and wider impact.  At the same time, I'm committed to retaining and expanding my practice of collaborative methods, sustainable solutions, and a high level of craft.

I am a licensed architect in the state of California.

I am a credentialed LEED Green Associate.


Professional Specialties:

  • Site documentation & development of existing conditions drawings
  • Work with clients to establish programmatic requirements, budget & timeline
  • Create schematic designs receptive to program, site & zoning restrictions
  • Consult with clients throughout bidding process & contract negotiations
  • Development of architectural drawing sets for all phases of design:
  • Collaboration with consultants, clients & contractors to coordinate designs.
  • Participate in construction administration as architect's representative
  • Excellent graphic, written and verbal communication skills.
  • Physical scaled models in various materials including wood, paperboard, plastics, etc.
  • Knowledge of California Building, Electrical, Plumbing and Mechanical Codes.
  • Knowledge of local zoning and building code in numerous Bay Area municipalities
  • Knowledge of best practices for sustainable design and construction


Independent design projects - The following projects were completed independently, as the sole design professional responsible for architectural duties:

Completed 2007    Wizig Alterations - Residential addition and renovation            Richmond, CA
Completed 2012    Rudnick Alterations - Residential renovation                               Princeton, NJ
Completed 2013    DeFlaun Casita - Guest house, new construction                       Petaluma, CA


Matano Kang Architects, Berkeley, CA, US, Project Manager & Architect

MMK Architects is a full service architectural firm whose work includes commercial, medical facility and residential design projects. A collaborative process from planning through construction and focus on schedule and resources, allows the firm to provide the highest quality, comprehensive architectural design services for its clients.

Sep 2013 - current

Self Employed - Freelance, Miami, FL, US, Architectural Designer

Jul 2012 - Aug 2013

Gary Earl Parsons, AIA, Berkeley, CA, US, Project Manager & Architectural Designer

Gary Earl Parsons, Architect (GEP) is a full service architectural firm with special emphasis on residential design. This award winning firm produces site-specific designs that are responsive to clients desires and informed by sustainable practices and Bay Area architectural traditions.

Project Manager responsibilities include:
• Client contact for all project phases including: programming, design & construction
• Zoning, planning and building code research
• Existing conditions documentation
• Schematic architectural design and site planning
• Design development and interior design
• Architectural construction documents: primarily Type III and Type V construction
• Written specifications for materials & methods
• Construction administration
• Structural drafting and detail development

Jul 2006 - Jul 2012


Miami University, Oxford, OH, US, BArch, Department of Architecture + Interior Design

Minor in Anthropology

1/2004 - 5/2004 - Barcelona, Spain
Significant coursework in Architecture

6/2005 - 8/2005 - Kyoto, Japan
Significant coursework in Architecture

Aug 2001 - Jun 2006

Areas of Specialization