Our Philosophy

ABOUT US

MTA | Urban Design Architecture Interior Design.

We are a multidisciplinary Architectural practice featuring 25 years of award winning designs in Western Canada. What sets MTA apart is its rich legacy of Mountain Resorts and hospitality work. Our focus is MTA’s team culture and core values of client engagement, sustainable futures and design excellence. Our next Chapter is building on our past success. As MTA is evolving, our new passionate, enthusiastic leadership group is invigorating our design excellence and client engagement through all 4 studios – Living, Learning, Wellness and Workplace.

MTA works as one office from two locations: Calgary and Edmonton with strategic alliances across Canada and the Globe. We collaborate with some of the world’s best firms to service our clients with a common purpose of creating value by Design.

“We are curious; we connect ideas in meaningful ways; we are detail oriented; and we deliver distinctive and captivating projects that transform places through design. At every stage, we engage in dialogue with our clients while being ever mindful of business, economic and performance goals.”

PHILOSOPHY

Each project provides the opportunity to examine context, purpose, client driven business goals and operational efficiency. By sharing our enthusiasm and curiosity, we engage in conversations that understand and focus on what matters, balancing environmental sustainability, with social, cultural and fiscal responsibility. MTA thinks as Master Planners, Urban Designers, Architects and Interior Designers. This skill set allows us to easily move through all scales of influence - from the city to the community to the building.

Each project begins with our team of professionals whose expertise and skills are best suited to bring the clients vision to life. Our studio leads are knowledgeable experts who are passionate about their specific sectors and building types, and bring problem solving skills related to this typology.

EXPLORE OUR STUDIOS

Our People

Claudia Schaaf

Claudia Schaaf

Architect, AAA, SAA, NSAA, MRAIC, LEED AP, Principal

Claudia Schaaf
Claudia Schaaf

Architect, AAA, SAA, NSAA, MRAIC, LEED AP, Principal

Claudia, a managing partner has over 25 years of experience in the design and implementation of complex building assignments for a variety of clients ranging from local enterprises to globally-recognized corporations, the Energy sector and Health and Age care facilities. Claudia is passionate about Studio Management, Project Management, and Architectural Design. She creates positive, calm work cultures and high performance teams that manage all phases of projects. “I strive to be an expert within the workplace studio, leading and mentoring teams and delivering high performance projects internationally. She volunteers her time to the profession through the BEFA accreditation process, chairing many interviews a year. “With my ability to see the big picture, manage group dynamics and the ability to set priorities, I lead projects with multiple stakeholders through critical stages and focus on solutions, while creating a respectful environment”. Claudia loves the outdoors and if she is not gardening or landscaping you will find her traveling or on the mountain slopes downhill skiing and cross country skiing with her family.
Mike Woodland

Mike Woodland

Architect, AAA, NSAA, MRAIC, MAIBC, LEED AP, Principal

Mike Woodland
Mike Woodland

Architect, AAA, NSAA, MRAIC, MAIBC, LEED AP, Principal

Mike, a partner leading the Edmonton Studio, brings his boundless professional energy and enthusiasm to his role as Principal in MTa’s Edmonton Studio where he leads both project work and firm management. Building on his 16 years of professional practice in a diverse range of project types Michael willingly shares his industry knowledge and technical building skills through healthy dialogue with both clients and team members providing confident project guidance and direction. Mike applies his skill sets through all studios with a focus on Learning –Wellness studios delivering libraries, recreation centres and municipal infrastructure buildings for LRT and transportation. “I have always been curious; trying to figure how things work and why. This passion is what drives me to provide the best solutions to our clients and create inspired design through community place making. Away from work, Mike can be found pursuing his interests in woodworking, gardening and landscape design which allows Mike a chance to share his passion for design with family and friends. Mike applies his skill sets through all studios with a focus on Learning –Wellness studios delivering libraries, recreation centres and municipal infrastructure buildings for LRT and transportation.
Jeff Lyness

Jeff Lyness

Architect, AAA, MRAIC, Principal

Jeff Lyness
Jeff Lyness

Architect, AAA, MRAIC, Principal

Jeff’s strong leadership and commitment to client service have been instrumental in the successful completion of numerous large scale and complex project types. This is furthered by a belief in the importance of context, comprised by the transference of the social, economic, environmental and cultural context of a project into a built form. Jeff brings experience in a variety of project typologies including, Hospitality, Office-Commercial, Retail and Mid-rise Multi-Family Residential projects. Turning challenges posed by budgetary and stakeholder constraints into opportunities for innovative solutions throughout the development and construction of a project along with honesty in material selection and rigor in their application are foundational aspects of his professional ideal.
Chau Tran

Chau Tran

Licensed Interior Designer, AAA, NCIDQ, Principal

Chau Tran
Chau Tran

Licensed Interior Designer, AAA, NCIDQ, Principal

Chau Tran leads MTA’s Interior Design Team with over 18 years’ experience in the industry. Chau’s approach to Interior Design combines her strengths of planning, design and project management. Chau uses observation and active listening as a tool to learn how people enjoy their surroundings – and is continually questioning, how do we make it better? Chau's passion for all things beautiful drives her to continually deliver awe inspiring designs to the most demanding commercial clients. Her vision and attention to detail has made her a prominent and respected figure in the Calgary interior design landscape. Chau is a key contributor to all of MTA’s studios Living, Learning, Wellness and Workplace. Chau’s experience includes hospitality, restaurants, corporate offices, learning environments, health care and senior’s housing projects. I've always been passionate about connectivity and the commercial/personal brand and how it inspires interior design. My purpose is to keep life simple, build a social network and help people get to where they want to be.” When not immersed in her passionate pursuits of Interior Design, Chau can be found pursuing bouts of “retail therapy”, enjoying Calgary’s hippest new restaurants or walking her chocolate lab, Saydie with her husband.
Diane Sawa

Diane Sawa

BAA, DID, Principal - Sr. Interior Designer

Diane Sawa
Diane Sawa

BAA, DID, Principal - Sr. Interior Designer

Diane will provide her years of experience and expertise as an Interior Design Principal to our interiors team. Diane has had a diverse career portfolio focusing on most sectors but originally focused on corporate, legal and financial workplace. She has been involved with large healthcare, supportive and senior living projects. As a “big picture” thinker, she is motivated by supporting projects that contribute in a meaningful way to socioeconomic issues and promote healthy living. Continued learning to enhance any lifestyle experience in any sector through design, is what excites and challenges her and our profession every day!
Bill Marshall

Bill Marshall

Architect, AAA, NSAA, MRAIC, Principal

Bill Marshall
Bill Marshall

Architect, AAA, NSAA, MRAIC, Principal

As originating partner of MTa, Bill has enthusiastically led the growth of the firm. He is a key contributor to MTa’s Living and Workplace Studios, establishing a highly respected expertise in civic, commercial, resort/ hospitality and seniors living design spanning 30 years. Bill brings this same contextual sensitivity to MTa’s award winning architecture and urban design in Calgary & Edmonton. MTa’s diversity of project types and collaborative approach and innovative partnerships reflects Bill’s passion for creating outstanding buildings and environments that enrich all aspects of people’s lives. “I am a strong supporter of Stakeholder engagements ensuring we’re all buying in, since Design is an inclusive process” A “Man in Motion”, Bill can easily disappear into the worlds of fly fishing, road biking, grooming his E-Type Jag, ski touring or pursuing a bucket list of family travel adventures.
Jay Boyce

Jay Boyce

Architect, AAA, AIBC, MRAIC, Associate

Jay Boyce
Jay Boyce

Architect, AAA, AIBC, MRAIC, Associate

An architect with an interest in urbanism, Jay believes architecture should be inherently tied to enriching the human experience and contribute holistically to the urban fabric of our cities. His passion for design and place making is complemented by an active pursuit in how architecture can invigorate the city. He has served as Chair of the Advisory Design Panel for the City of North Vancouver and brings back to Calgary a wealth of knowledge and industry experience. “I believe the spaces and places we create should aspire to embody a uniquely engaging experience.” With over 17 years of design and technical experience, Jay has practiced in both small and large-scale practices across Western Canada. He leads collaboratively to ensure the successful delivery through all aspects of each project. This approach has led to the successful development of several innovative and award-winning projects in the commercial, institutional, mixed use, and industrial sectors. Outside of work, Jay can be found spending quality time with his young family while getting reacquainted with the transforming urban fabric of Calgary.
Alison Machlachlan

Alison Machlachlan

Architect, AAA, Associate

Alison Machlachlan
Alison Machlachlan

Architect, AAA, Associate

Alison is driven by the belief that the design of our environment is instrumental in shaping our everyday experiences, relationships and futures. She sees opportunity through a lens that stretches from micro to macro, with project experience ranging from master planning to detailed furniture and millwork design. Her 11+ years of experience in the design industry began in Interiors in the learning and workplace sectors of Australia, but eventually brought her home to Canada where she provides design leadership across multiple project typologies including Multi-Family Residential, Seniors Housing, Healthcare, Educational, Cultural and Hospitality. Alison leads our Collaborative Communities research team, actively promoting better living, learning and working environments while advocating for inclusiveness, to strengthen our holistic human experience. A reflective and investigative soul, Alison’s greatest strength lies in her ability to listen, ask pertinent questions and empathize with the needs of clients and user groups.
Asim Mazhar

Asim Mazhar

Architect, AAA, MRAIC, Associate

Asim Mazhar
Asim Mazhar

Architect, AAA, MRAIC, Associate

With 20 years of academic and professional journey in architecture, Asim comes with a unique combination of international experience in distinct built-environments. During his fifteen years of progressive career in Alberta, his project management skills and knowledge of architectural technologies have refined through extensive experience, which enables a comprehensive approach to all phases of the design process. Asim believes that the true success of a project lies in the attention to detail in the transformation of the design to reality, "the concerns on quality, cost, function and project delivery are dear to me in the architecture I practice”. Asim plays a significant role in our firm, coordinating, reviewing and detailing construction documents from the conceptual stage through contract document preparation, to total project completion. Ensuring smooth communication with our clients and consultants, Asim focuses on maintaining the integrity of the design and construction process. Asim volunteers and contributes towards supporting the BEFA and AAA demonstrating his high level of commitment and enthusiasm towards architecture and the profession.
Chris Sparrow

Chris Sparrow

Architect, AAA, MRAIC, Associate

Chris Sparrow
Chris Sparrow

Architect, AAA, MRAIC, Associate

As an Architect whose enthusiasm for creative solutions is matched by an exceptional proficiency in the methods and tools of the trade, Chris draws from 10+ years of unique project experience across residential, institutional, hospitality and housing markets. He is responsible for the overall design, delivery, and management of project work. Chris is skillful at anticipating and addressing project challenges, fostering communication, engaging clients, navigating local authorities, and coordinating the consultant team to achieve the best possible outcomes within a project’s prescribed parameters. His engagement with BOWDA and the Bow Valley have made him a knowledgeable project lead for our Bow Valley projects. “I see my role on every project as that of an enabler, I work hard to foster an inclusive, collaborative environment where all stakeholders and team members work together to develop the ideal solutions for our clients that also balance the needs of our communities, users, the public and current economy.
Dave Hircock

Dave Hircock

Dip. Arch. Tech, Associate – BIM Lead/Manager

Dave Hircock
Dave Hircock

Dip. Arch. Tech, Associate – BIM Lead/Manager

Dave has over 10 years of experience in the delivery of complex projects, including large scale commercial retail, high rise residential and office towers. A keen eye for detail and a passion for design and technology, facilitate Daves comprehensive knowledge of building systems and construction. As BIM Lead, Dave works to keep MTa at the forefront of the industry, utilizing the most current and innovative design and collaboration methodologies. Dave has a thirst for travel international travel, but most often can be found just west of Calgary pursuing his passion for cycling or skiing. “Understanding the needs of our clients and the challenges we will be faced with, is the key to a great design.”
Gordon Franklin

Gordon Franklin

Dip. Arch, Tech. Associate - Director of Edmonton Operations

Gordon Franklin
Gordon Franklin

Dip. Arch, Tech. Associate - Director of Edmonton Operations

Gordon’s career spans over 30 years and has allowed Gordon to bring a wealth of building expertise to virtually all facets of MTA’s architectural process. As one of Edmonton Studios first employees, Gordon has worked tirelessly for his Clients with his eye clearly on the ultimate objective of client and user satisfaction. Gordon’s choice to pursue an architectural career was strongly influenced by “how things work” and his interest in music and collaborative teaming environments. Professionally Gordon has focused on creating memorable buildings and spaces that bring out the best in people through innovative, efficient and sustainable architectural principles. “I am driven by a desire to achieve absolute Client satisfaction at all stages of the project delivery process. I love seeing the smile on the faces of the team and our clients for a job well done”. In his spare time Gordon brings his competitive instincts to the court where he plays Volleyball at the “Masters” level in international competitions around the world.
Ilona Ciunkiewicz

Ilona Ciunkiewicz

B.Comm, Associate - Technical Lead/Manager

Ilona Ciunkiewicz
Ilona Ciunkiewicz

B.Comm, Associate - Technical Lead/Manager

In the past 21 years, Ilona has been actively involved in the design of many unique projects. Her portfolio includes residential, commercial, senior housing and civic projects across the province. Attention to detail is of the utmost importance to Ilona. Every project, regardless of scale, receives meticulous attention with respect to cost effectiveness, energy efficiency, and a technical and detailed resolution. The result is a package that is not only complete and comprehensive, but an attractive professional product based on the client’s visions and ideas. Perhaps her greatest strength is her ability to mediate the individual needs of all parties involved on a project, harnessing the power of a collaborative group effort, enhancing the projects outcome. “My methods, philosophy and principles are based on traditional pedagogy, yet my practice is entirely unique. By interweaving my individuality with others, I am able to foster a collaborative teamwork that is committed to the firm’s vision and client’s goals. I am on a perpetual learning curve drawing from the ingenuity and knowledge of others and ever enhancing my skills through experience”. Very passionate about gardening, Ilona and her partner are always looking for new ways to design, improve and add to their permaculture edible garden. You can often spot them walking Miko their majestic Russian Wolfhound around the neighbourhood.
Kevin Kretschmer

Kevin Kretschmer

B. Env.Des., Associate – IS Manager

Kevin Kretschmer
Kevin Kretschmer

B. Env.Des., Associate – IS Manager

As one of the first employees of MTa, Kevin has actively shaped and supported the growth and development of the firm from the beginning. With more than 22 years of experience in the Architecture industry MTa staff rely on and trust his knowledge of design based and practice relevant Building Information Modeling (BIM) support, and Information Systems (IS). Kevin’s valuable skill sets is achieved by identifying and solving process gaps, training users, and troubleshooting application and hardware issues, keeping the teams in both Calgary and Edmonton studios working efficiently. His expertise in BIM/CAD, graphics, and productivity software, provides an industry specific, in-depth level of application support to the firm.  As Information Systems Manager and Administrator of all servers; networking, software, and hardware, Kevin utilizes his knowledge of project and change management to ensure the security, safety, and integrity of the firm’s Information Systems and data. Specifically, his skillset and support in the past few years on solidifying PM processes initiated by the new Principals has been significant. “Efficient use of technology is essential for an architectural firm and enables innovative design. As a BIM pioneer, I am passionate about adding value to the design process by leading the implementation and utilization of technology in the MTa team.” When Kevin isn’t working, he enjoys spending time outdoors with his family golfing, biking, and skiing.