Who we are
Our studio adopted the term Troika for its symbol of teamwork — something we feel to be essential in the design and construction of architecture. The building profession brings together a remarkably varied group of individuals. When this diverse group works in concert with one another the possibilities are infinite and the project benefits are exceptional. Our studio strives to involve the client, engineers and contractors as active and contributing members of the project’s development and eventual success.
Since its inception, studioTROIKA’s focus has been providing our clients with the best design service possible. From the overall concept to the last detail, we approach each project, regardless of size, with a tremendous amount of energy, creativity and professionalism. studioTROIKA distinguishes itself by building thoughtful relationships with each client in order to create designs which reflect their personal and project goals.
studioTROIKA is both thankful and proud of the partnerships that we have developed over the past years with residential clients and commercial business owners and look forward to new relationships in the future
studioTROIKA takes a different approach to design. We listen first. While the studio is made up of talented and innovative architects and designers, we approach design with the mindset that we need to first clearly understand our client's objectives, and only then apply our experience, talent, and expertise to the project.
Our projects start with a conversation about branding. It is critical to understand at the outset of a project what makes a client unique, and to define that individuality as clearly as possible prior to applying any preconceived notions about design to the environment that will be created.
We approach each project as a unique challenge that has an ideal solution. Design at it's core is about applying talent and knowledge to a given problem with defined criteria, and producing an outcome that embodies intelligence, simplicity, and beauty.
By creating a BIM model of the project, we are able to show any exterior or interior view of the project with the selected materials and lighting, as well as the effect of natural lighting at different times of the year. By fully understanding the design, our client's become part of the the design process and are able to make better decisions.
Every project has one. Using BIM technology, we create detailed 3D models at the preliminary phase of the project that define specific information on wall types, windows and doors, ceilings, lighting, casework, and materials, which allow construction managers to provide more comprehensive and accurate budgets. With better information, clients can make informed decisions early on.
In every project, there is a moment where a design element combines space, light, and materials in such a way that captures everything we just spoke about. These are the best parts of the project, for ourselves and our clients.n
Meet The Principals
Slide To Meet The Principals
Robert Elfer is a Canadian born architect and is licensed in both the United States and Canada. Prior to studying architecture, he received a bachelor’s degree in business and computer science at Concordia University in 1987, graduating with Distinction. He went on to receive his Bachelor’s of Architecture degree from McGill University in 1992, having been awarded the Faculty Scholar, J.W. McConnel prize.
Robert has practiced architecture since 1992. Upon graduation, he worked in Paris for 3 years, most notably with Francis Soler and Rem Koolhaas. In conjunction with work experience in Indonesia and China, and international lectures and exhibitions, he has developed an invaluable International perspective on design, culture, and business practices.
In 1995, he moved to Boston, and spent 10 years working as a Project Architect / Project Manager at Kallmann McKinnell and Wood, Carlson Associates, CBT Architects, and Moshe Safdie and Associates. In this period, he worked on a wide variety of project types, including federal courthouses, labs, data centers, museums, concert halls, a variety of commercial interior projects, and a 30-storey mixed use development in Boston.
Robert is a founding partner in oceanUS Design, which merged firms with Michael Samra of studioTROIKA in 2008. Robert is also a Co-Director of the trans-national design collaborative oceanD, a joint effort of oceanUK [London] and oceanUS [Boston + New York]. oceanD is a dynamic network of designers collaborating in practice, research and education. oceanD’s work includes multi-disciplinary projects in urban design, infrastructure, landscapes, interiors, furniture, objects, graphics, public art installations, digital-space and electronic collaborative structures. The work of oceanD has been published extensively in international design books and journals and has exhibited in galleries such as the Venice Biennale, Italy, the Victoria and Albert, London, Artists Space, NYC, FRAC, France, Latent Utopias, Graz, Austria.
Michael Samra received his Bachelor of Arts in Selected Studies from Syracuse University in 1992. He majored in the History of Architecture and Art and minored in Studio Art with an emphasis on sculpture. Upon graduation, Michael was accepted to participate in Atelier Italia, an archeological mapping of Hadrian’s Villa, in Tivoli, Italy. Using a combination of modern equipment and traditional surveying techniques, buildings were measured and drawn to the accuracy of one millimeter. Upon completion of this program, he returned to Florence and worked for a local architect, enabling him to expand his professional skills while maintaining his Italian language skills.
After returning to the United States, Michael worked at Gwathmey Siegel and Associates Architects in Manhattan prior to entering Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) in 1994. As a student, and later, T.A. for Kimo Griggs, he learned the importance of construction and how it informs the design process. While at the GSD, Michael was awarded the Synder Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Design and Technology for designing a cast glass window frame system. He received his Masters Degree in 1999 and was awarded the James Templeton Kelly Prize (honoring the best thesis) for his exploration of glass in architecture. The project, entitled Spatial Transparency, blurred the boundary between window and wall. The investigation culminated in the construction of a full scale model that incorporated over 1,200 pounds of glass.
During his studies, Michael began working for TriPyramid Structures, a stainless steel component design and fabrication company. Michael specialized in bridging the gap between the architects’ aesthetic and the engineers’ requirements as he collaborated on the development of customized fittings for buildings such as the Experience Music Project in Seattle and the Regional Performing Arts Center in Philadelphia.
Michael began practicing as an architectural designer in 1998 as m.samra design and worked on a number of small residential projects. As his client list began to grow, he started to take on increasingly diverse projects ranging from residential renovations and commercial development to ecclesiastical masterplans. m.samra design grew into studioTROIKA in 2001. In 2008, studioTROIKA merged firms with Rob Elfer of oceanUS. Now, studioTROIKA operates as a full service practice with the resources to provide a wide range of architectural, interior, and graphic design services.
As a Partner of the firm, Jonathan works to uphold studioTROIKA’s high level of client satisfaction and design excellence. Throughout his 25 years of practice, he has been involved with corporate, academic, life-style and private residential clients throughout New England. Jonathan has led teams through the planning, design and construction phases on projects ranging in scale and complexity.
University of Pennsylvania, Master of Architecture
University of Massachusetts, Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture
US Green Building Council, LEED Accredited Professional
Licensed Architect in MA, ME, NH, CT, NY
Van Alen Travelling Fellowship
E. Lewis Dales Prize in Design
Charles Dubose Scholarship
ILAUD Program – Venice, Italy
Boston Architectural College - Thesis Advisor
Northeastern University – Guest Design Critic
Wentworth Institute of Technology – Guest Design Critic
Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston Affordable Housing Design Competition – Student Mentor
Meet The Team
Slide To Meet The Team
Chad Wulleman received his Master of Architecture degree from Wentworth Institute of Technology in 2009. In addition, he holds several years of education in Civil Engineering and Art along with several years of on-site construction experience giving him a well-rounded approach in the areas of design and construction.
After several internships during his time at Wentworth he would spend several years in the construction field before accepting a position at the high end residential firm of Russell Riccardi Architects in New York City. After spending a year in New York City he would return to Boston to expand his professional experience across a wide spectrum of building typologies before joining studioTROIKA.
Philip Sima is a Registered Architect and Certified Passive House Consultant with an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies from McGill University and a Master of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining studio TROIKA, Phil worked as a designer internationally, holding positions in Copenhagen, Berlin and Montreal.
Kirsten Soderlund is an Architectural Designer who joined studio TROIKA in February of 2015. She received her Master of Architecture degree from Boston Architectural College where she received several awards including the Fredrick Norris Traveling Award, Practice Award and Thesis Commendation. She also received a Bachelor of Environmental Design from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Prior to her work in architecture Kirsten spent years working as a lighting designer and in Virtual Design and Construction. Kirsten is currently teaching Thesis for Master of Architecture students at Boston Architectural College.
Linda Ly received her Master's of Architecture at Northeastern University in 2015, where she collaborated with her thesis studio and local professionals to design a master plan for Beacon Yards in Boston, MA. She received her Bachelor's of Science in Architecture at Northeastern as well and had the opportunity to spend a semester in Berlin learning about the city's architectural past and present.
Before joining studioTROIKA as an Architectural Designer, she interned at YouthBuild Designery helping high school students implement design into their community and at BH+A gaining experience working on several commercial and residential projects.
Jordan Bradley joined our team in May of 2016 after receiving a Master's degree from Northeastern University in Sustainable Urban Environments. Prior to this, Jordan achieved a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Miami in 2012. Between his studies, Jordan worked for a year in Boston for Beacon Architectural Associates and DLA Architecture, and a year in Belize for Vivid Architecture. These multi-cultural experiences, along with a 6 month co-op at HDR Architecture in Boston has given Jordan a wide range of exposure working on Residential, Healthcare, Hospitality and Technology design.
Shannon Sickler received her Master or Architecture degree from Norwich University in 2014. She also received her undergraduate degree from Norwich with a minor in Construction Management. While at Norwich, she participated in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon and traveled to Vienna, Austria to study sustainability in the built environment.
After graduation, Shannon worked as a commercial real estate designer at Cummings Properties, as well as a designer and project manager at Incite Architecture, a small, residential firm.
In September of 2016, Shannon joined the Studio Troika team, shortly after completing the licensure process and receiving her Registration. Shannon’s current work exposes her to a wide variety of scales and design techniques with projects across New England.
Eleftheria Konstantinidis joined our team in November of 2016 after having a co-op experience with us. She received her Bachelor of Science degree of Interior Design from Wentworth Institute of Technology in 2016.
Between her studies she also gained experience on another co-op with SGA (Spagnolo Gisness & Associates). There, she assisted designers in all aspects of the design process which has exposed her to a wide variety of commercial projects.
On a collaboration level she was given the opportunity to run the IIDA Fashion Show in 2015 for Wentworth with a team of 11 students. It was the first time Wentworth won Best School Entry Award in which later on in the year, she was awarded the Presidents Award of Interior Design.
studioTROIKA is a Building Information Modeling (BIM) based architecture firm that uses Revit as its software platform. We have been employing this technology for 5 years with great success on a wide range of project types and sizes.
One of the most significant advantages to using BIM is our ability to communicate our ideas with our clients 3-dimensionally. Additionally, design time can be cut down considerably in all phases of the process as plans, elevations, and details are always in constant coordination.
BIM allows us to visualize and schedule many components of construction such as 3D millwork, ceilings, structure, etc. leading to far fewer questions and coordination issues during construction.
In addition to working entirely in 3D we have skilled renderers on staff to help our clients truly see what the space will look like prior to construction. At any point during the design process, we can provide our client with a rendered view of their choice. These images include the accurate representation of materials and lighting allowing the client to make informed decisions before final selections are made and any materials are purchased.
Our experience with Building Information Modeling has allowed us to exploit the capabilities of the software enabling our clients to benefit from this next generation of visualization software.
At studioTROIKA we push to adhere to the principle of PEOPLE-PLANET-PROSPERITY. When these aspects are in balance with one another we all benefit. They also apply at any scale.
Places that we design that are healthy, sustainable, and work well for the needs of the people reduce the burdens that building places on the planet while being a place that those that inhabit do so with greater joy leads to greater prosperity. While there are certifications for green buildings, such as LEED, we design to meet that ecological balance regardless of points.
In keeping with the theme of THREE, we align our practice along this path:
studioTROIKA's office serves as our own test bed for results. Clients and contractors can come by and see sustainability in practice and where we are hoping to bring it further. Day-lit, recycling (waste & product imbedded), operable windows, access to public transit, and so on. Moving forward we will be participating in both AIA's 2030 Commitment as well as Architecture 2030 - providing a template for carbon neutrality strategies that will stand to inform greatly our design approach and stronghold as a knowledge resource.
As we repeatedly state, the building profession brings together a remarkably varied group of individuals. When this diverse group works in concert with one another the possibilities are infinite and the project benefits are exceptional - this includes a building that is designed and operates at the most sustainable result. An energy-efficient, healthy, and beautiful design. Adding layers such as LEED and Living Building criteria takes an even greater level of integration.
We are ever learning and ever teaching. We are proactive in transparent self-assessment and researching the latest aspects of sustainable design and sharing what we learn to our employees, colleagues, and even our clients on methods of improving the building's performance while lessening its impact.