Douglas Burnham is an architect and entrepreneur, designing buildings, environments and strategic solutions for individuals and communities. A practicing architect for over 25 years, he founded Envelope in 2002 to create a collaborative setting for the production of meaningful works of architecture, design and public space. Douglas’s pioneering work applying interim activations as a means of community engagement has earned him widespread recognition. He is a past chair of the SFMOMA Architecture + Design Forum, and currently serves on the Headlands Center for the Arts Audience Engagement Committee.
Nathan John expands Envelope's leadership in key areas, including the development of flexible systems for architecture, iterative approaches to placemaking, innovative strategies for community engagement, and interactive public artworks. Blending the methods of the hacker/maker movement and his background in policy research, community organizing, and custom fabrication, he believes exemplary architecture is inextricably linked to an investment in exemplary community process.
Architect Lex Phelan studied and practiced abroad before joining Envelope. Here she has focused on projects involving sensitive cultural contexts and natural habitats, such as Radhaus, a restaurant within the historic Fort Mason Center, and a vision plan for the Headlands Center for the Arts. Her global perspective informs her interest in a sensory approach to architecture, recognizing the potential of the built environment to enhance physiological and emotional well-being among occupants.
An architect and researcher, Sarah Hirschman's broad expertise covers the resolution of complex technical designs and lecturing on the role of patterning and illusion in architecture, the subject of her research as LeFevre Emerging Practitioner Fellow at The Ohio State University. At Envelope she applies her talents to advance a range of work, including North’s technology-rich showroom system, compact mixed-use development in San Francisco, and the upcoming season at 2214, the firm's curatorial initiative.
Melissa builds Envelope's programmatic capacity through designing thoughtful, connective experiences for community members to engage with. Her work stretches from process implementation to community strategy to event production, all of which are built around her care for and connection to others.
Cassiopea earned her Bachelors of Architecture at California College of the Arts, focusing her education on urban and community design while working in conjunction with various nonprofit agencies both at home and abroad. At CCA, she received several awards, including the Jury Honorable Mention and AIA Emerging Leader Scholarship. She finds inspiration in the role the built environment plays in social justice and reform.
An experienced craftsman, custom furniture fabricator and design consultant, Julian aims to find design solutions where the worlds of craft, material and function align. He serves as Envelope's go to fabricator, creator, and corgi herder.
Natthakanya (Namtan or Tan) was born and raised in Thailand, where she received her Bachelor of Architecture from King Mongkut's Institute of Technology, Ladkrabang. Through her travels and living abroad, Namtan has built an interest in the relationship between people’s activities, local culture and the built environment. She earned her Master of Advanced Architectural Design: Urban Works degree from CCA.
Event + Programming Producer
While studying Environmental Economics and Policy at UC Berkeley, Obie began booking and producing free concerts for the student body. He brings his experience in live music production, as well as a stint in coffee roasting, to Envelope's programming team, where he drives our year-round offering of free cultural programming at PROXY and NOW Hunters Point.
The child of a metal sculptor, Ben took an early interest in the techniques of artistic form and material expression, but his path to architecture took a few turns. After completing an interdisciplinary degree in Environmental Studies from Oberlin College, Ben returned to his native Philadelphia and built skills in construction, initially through a year of service with Habitat for Humanity. Equally concerned with the social and technical aspects of architecture, he earned a Master of Architecture from California College of the Arts after moving to San Francisco.
Tali grew up on an artists’ commune in rural Sonoma County, but escaped to attend UC Berkeley, earning a degree in economics followed by a Masters in Education from Mills College. There she became a passionate teacher and teacher educator. She went on to run the business end of a metal fabrication shop where she learned about design and construction. She joined Envelope in 2015, where she helps to manage the firm’s complex finances.