Karen Brenner

Karen Brenner

New York, NY, US

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Integrating passion, resourcefulness, creativity, and excellent organizational and communication skills in leading a team in the complex process of bringing an architectural concept to successful realization in the physical world.

  • Lead Projects from concept development through close-out, maintaining forward motion, ensuring fulfillment of the design vision and resulting in the finest quality execution
  • Actively listen to and partner with Clients to understand and respond to their needs and communicate project status
  • Develop and Implement Standards and Establish Templates for document format and content, project processes, and organization to improve work efficiency and enhance the caliber of deliverables
  • Work Independently and Hire, Train and Mentor Staff to advance options applying an analytical problem solving attitude and investigative skills, research materials, systems and assemblies, interpret codes, navigate the NYC Department of Buildings and Landmarks Preservation Commission approval processes, and create fully detailed, clear, concise, and well-coordinated documents that convey objectives and establish priorities
  • Develop, Review and Critique design concepts, drawings and specifications | Identify and resolve omissions, errors, discrepancies and potential construction problems
  • Inspire and Lead, Delegating Effectively and Participating in a Team by showing respect for every individual involved and expressing pleasure in a collaborative spirit
  • Project Management | Coordinate and Direct Consultants and Suppliers | Track drawings and drawing changes | Track Submittals and RFIs | Prepare and review bid packages, bid leveling, and negotiate and award contracts | Scheduling | Review and process payment applications | Evaluate and track costs
  • Collaborate with Contractors to achieve excellence in project delivery, working together to quickly address unforeseen site conditions when they occur


Robert Young Architects, New York, NY, US, Senior Atchitect

Project management and supervision of staff for development of details, issue drawing sets for building approval, agency permitting, and construction, consultant coordination and construction administration | Mentor other project leads in best practices, project standards, project management and deliverable organization
▪ Tribeca Penthouse Apartment New York NY
DD through CA for a 4,000 SF loft style residence gut interior and facade renovation

Sep 2017 - current

Gertler Wente Associates Architects, New York, NY, US, Senior Architect

Space Planning through final completion | Supervise and mentor as well as directly involved in design, product research and selection, develop construction documents in compliance with NYC Building Code and ADA regulations, establish building standards, coordinate with consultants, and construction administration, including review submittals and quality control.

▪ Massachusetts Residence Monterey MA
CD development for new residence and adjacent studio in contemporary interpretation of local style

▪ 502 Park Ave Penthouse New York NY
Create an in-laws suite within an art-oriented lavish NYC apartment

▪ 1407 Broadway New York NY
Building Architect of a 42-story commercial office building for renovation of interior public spaces and tenant build-out

Feb 2016 - current

Independent Consultant, Independent Consultant

Short-term engagement to quickly step in and fill an immediate need for various phases from Concept to CA

Nema Workshop New York, NY 2015
▪ Breads Bakery World Trade Center New York, NY
DD and CD for a 2,068 SF retail shop emphasizing the verticality of the space and creating a sense of constant activity

Tiffany & Co. New York, NY 2013
▪ Varied Phases for Multiple Locations
Layout through CD's applying established corporate standards in response to diverse space configurations for retail roll-out

LABO Design Studio New York, NY 2013
▪ Upper East Side Townhouse New York, NY
CA for final phase of a minimalist designed interior renovation of a single family residence

Schrimmer Design Group New York, NY 2013
▪ Murphy and Durieu LP Corporate Offices New York, NY
Space Planning through CD for international securities trading company 12,500 SF corporate offices in accordance with Building-Owner build-out standards

Cooper Robertson & Partners Architects New York, NY 2007
▪ Windmark Beach Lifestyle Resort Inn & Spa Port St Joe, FL
Concept Development through DD of ground-up 3,000 SF spa and two, mirror-image 30-room hotel buildings

TSL Design Group Los Angeles, CA 2001
▪ DFS Galleria San Francisco International Airport San Francisco, CA
Concept Development through CD for themed airport duty-free shopping galleria with luxury retail boutiques targeted at international customers

Jan 2001 - Jan 2016

Beech Associates Design Build, New York, NY , Project Manager

DD, CD, CA and Project Management | Review, negotiate and approve purchase orders, proposals and payment requisitions | Monitor project construction for time, costs, safety, quality and scope

▪ Fifth Avenue Townhouse New York NY
Interior and roof-top renovation, restoration and addition of a McKim Mead and White Architects-Designed residence

Aug 2014 - Sep 2015

Gabellini Sheppard Associates Architects, New York, NY , Senior Staff Architect

Work with Partners Michael Gabellini and Kimberly Sheppard on complex projects requiring focused attention to detail

Tasked to update and implement office-wide policies and procedures for organizing and executing projects | Mentor staff | Review and critique drawings | Supervise projects to meet the high demands of the office

▪ East 84th Street Townhouse New York, NY
Historic restoration of the front façade, complete demolition and new construction of interior, rear façade, roof and sub-basement of a Warren and Wetmore Architects-Designed residence, using light and volume as sculptural elements to define space

▪ David Yurman Flagship Retail Boutique New York, NY
Interior and facade renovation of a five-story townhouse with 2,800 SF, two-story retail space establishing a new brand aesthetic using a compliment of wood, glass and steel to accentuate the jewelry on display

▪ Hotel Edition Istanbul, Turkey 2009
Interior renovation of the public spaces of a bank converted into a 77-room Marriott International hotel in collaboration with Ian Schrager exploring elements drawn from traditional Byzantine architecture expressed in a modern language

▪ Echelon Hotel Resort Las Vegas, NV
SD, DD and partial CD of the 16,650 SF hotel main entrance and public concourse of a 400,000 SF shopping center of a new Las Vegas strip resort for Boyd Gaming Corporation

Mar 2008 - Dec 2012

Karen Brenner Architect, Venice, CA , President/Owner

Responsible for all aspects to establish the practice and manage projects | Team with lawyer, accountant and bookkeeper | Generate business | Nurture professional and ethical relationships | Prepare and negotiate agreements | Obtain agency approvals

▪ Mulholland Drive Residence Beverly Hills, CA
Interior, exterior, swimming pool and landscape renovation of an 8,000 SF home to draw in the expansive view

Jan 2001 - Jan 2007

Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects, New York, NY , Project Architect

Work with Charles Gwathmey in design, applying both rigorous adherence and apparent opposition to a formal concept | Work independently and supervise and train staff in all project phases to attain exceptional results built to zero-tolerance

▪ Steven Spielberg Compound East Hampton, NY
New guest house, guest house-garage, horse stable, and landscape as addition to an existing, idyllic family retreat, approached with formal manipulation of an underlying grid with rigorous attention to details

▪ Hostos Community College East Academic Complex Bronx, NY
DD, CD and CA of a new-construction 240,000 SF multi-use academic and cultural center, including assemblies to meet the technical demands of two theaters, gymnasium, swimming pool, cafeteria, computer classrooms, and laboratories

▪ The Graduate Center of the City University of NY New York, NY
Program development and plan layout of doctoral departments and research centers for interior renovation and retrofit of the former B Altman building

Jan 1990 - Aug 1996

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), New York, NY, Technical Project Architect

Work with and learn from senior staff and in-house experts, including specification writers, hardware specialist, millwork detailer, and finish materials team, regarding technical requirements of various construction materials and systems, code interpretation, and the role and responsibilities of a professional architect necessary to master the language, format and content of well-coordinated construction documents to clearly convey intent that will produce premium standard completed projects

▪ The Bank of Nova Scotia One Liberty Plaza New York, NY
Executive offices and trading floor of 161,700 SF regional headquarters for ScotiaBank and Scotia McLeod

▪ Transitional Housing for the Homeless New York, NY
Four buildings in four boroughs to provide short-term housing and social services to homeless individuals

Jan 1988 - Jan 1990


Yale University, New Haven, CT, MArch, Architecture

Jan 2016 - Jan 2016
Jan 2016 - Jan 2016

Areas of Specialization