Design and Strategy Studio based in Menlo Park, CA
General Inquiries:

● Principles

/ Inclusive Design
The principle of CNA is to always approach a project by relating it to the human. That is to say, the project itself and its full spectrum of users, are treated with equal consideration. Particular attention is given to the five senses: aspects of light, volume, touch, acoustics, color and texture are used to create an environment that does not alienate others, rather, an inclusive and inspirational environment. We make spaces that support the effective usage and quality of all those who will use them now and in the future. Spaces that are reactive to our ever-changing needs. Smart, Flexible spaces that adapt as we must adapt throughout our memorable lives. Spaces designed for Humans.

/ Context and Urbanism
CNA has deep experience with the urban project, in cities of all sizes, in both new and old fabrics, across the globe. Each project is different, but it is always articulated around the same certainty: people must be provided a shelter where they can interact successfully and with purpose. It is within this shelter where more and more diversity of users meet with ever-changing needs of the collective. Space is not neutral, it is a way to amplify values of diversity and equity, a way of arranging activities in a harmonious whole, shared successes – working, walking, engaging, learning, playing...A holistic ecosystem.

/ The Wellbeing of the Human
Architecture and Space strategy have a core Human dimension. A new and different means of supporting Wellbeing by space is imposed by the challenges of our era. Even today, the life of the Human realizes multiple scenes, near or far, that they must adjust and respond to if they are to remain in balance. We endeavor to make environments with people to understand that the ultimate solution must improve physical experience, creative mind, happiness, health and general wellbeing of all. This is a concern for beautification that dives deep into our universal needs.

/ Activity Based Space
A return to a natural way of living in the space that supplies a diversity of space types and settings that are better adapted to our uniquely human qualities, our behaviors and our increasingly demanding less-but-better-oriented life. Activity-based space is a core principle of CNA. It is not simply a space usage and design strategy; it is a way of living. Only through a diversity of spaces can we release the full potential of our well-balanced selves and transform the space into an asset for a flexible and sustainable future.

/ Ecology and Biophilia
We can no longer develop, build, design without the awareness of the dangers that threaten our global ecosystem and without being thrifty with its resources. CNA, since inception, has inscribed and protected the living in its projects. Choice of materials, products, natural light and ventilation, water and energy management, biological continuities... the imperatives of ecology are assumed as much as possible in each project. Sometimes in a demonstrative way, to raise awareness, to bring natural elements into the space, to offer a pedagogy of ecological knowledge, sometimes in a more secret way to maintain or restore continuities of nature and biological life. Sometimes, but not least, in a provocative way, to invite us to re-imagine the needs and values of what’s built and the hidden ecological cost of it.
This principle makes it possible to enrich people’s lives and to imagine new aesthetics of the human-built space.

● Recent Projects

US Corporate Workplace Strategy Project, Confidential Client, Sunnyvale (USA) ● Stanford Redwood City Strategic Planning Project, Stanford University, Redwood City (USA) ● Stanford HUB, Stanford University, Newark CA (USA) ● R&DE Maintenance Headquarters, R&D Enterprises, Palo Alto CA (USA) ● Bonair Siding Campus, Stanford University, Palo Alto CA (USA) ● New LBRE Building Concept Design, Stanford University, Stanford CA (USA) ● Private Residence, Pemberton Meadows (CA) ● Barilla Pavilion Competition, Parma, (IT) ●  340 Bonair Siding Renovation, Stanford University, Stanford, CA (USA) ● Private Residence, Palo Alto, CA (USA) ● Private Residence, Paris (FR) ● New R&DE Building, Residential and Dinning Enterprises, Palo Alto CA (USA) ● Private Residence, Quintana Roo (MX) ● Museum of the Shoah, Invited Competition, Ferrara (IT) ● Embassy Park, Invited Competition, City of Waltham, Waltham MA (USA) ● CoArt Product Development, CoArt ● Art Barge Park, City of Boston, Boston MA (USA) ● Teakwood Ave Residence, Los Angeles, CA (USA) ● Gardens Metis, Systemic Garden, Quebec (CA) 

● Profile

/ About
We are a multidisciplinary group of architects, landscape designers, artists and consultants, focused on supporting our clients throughout the full design process from concept to close-out.

CNA provides full architectural design and project delivery services. We also provide strategic consulting, interior design, landscape design, master planning and urban design services.

In the past two years, directing projects in the Bay Area, CNA has successfully delivered three Flexible Workplace projects for Stanford University and is currently executing an Activity Based workplace Pilot for them.

/ Process
We focus on establishing strong, forward-thinking building strategies with clients.
Every project is unique, space solutions need to be crafted to fit. Through an iterative process of strategic brief initiates, scenario sessions and a visioning search, the best space can be determined.
Once the Project Strategy is in place, precise designs for spaces, sensitive to the elements of natural light, views and intuitive planning are executed and built. CNA leads the entire process from initial concept through construction of the built environment.

/ Flexible Space
CNA are experts in agile spaces, a relatively niche field, that over the last few years has become a point of interest for all space redesigns. Enhancing movement and aligning our built environment with our newfound freedom and our New Way of Living, the Place becomes responsible, innovative, creative, autonomous, and empathetic to the modern human.
Flexible Space is taking over the singularly owned space to support our flexible schedules, life sequence flows and collaborative needs. It's a design process that promotes spatial diversity, multiple locations, micro zoning - a space highly articulated to each dimension of physicality and behaviors. With our 15 years experience on the topic, we can tell you that no flexible space is preset!

● Team

/ Chester Nielsen, AIA, Principal and Founder

Chester studied architecture at Rice University in Houston and Paris.

He proceeded to work for renowned international architecture firms of Frank Gehry, Richard Meier and Martha Schwartz, he worked at Clive Wilkinson for five years, as a principal he demonstrated an integral ability to deliver multiple award-winning projects.

In 2017, following his individual path, he established his own firm in the Bay Area, seduced by the opportunity to challenge his personal approach with the endless problematics of the architecture of tomorrow.

Chester provides innovative ideas that help his clients succeed throughout the whole architectural design process. For this purpose, he engages clients in an iterative dialogue about project design goals and their creative solutions. He collaborates with the client and project team to realize the right contextual design answer: an architecture in situ for the others, with the others. He believes that it's from listening and the corresponding dialogue that the banalization of spaces will be avoided.

/ Collaborators

Alexandra Albinus, Caroline Delmas, Claire Cheng, Gregorio Carboni, Juan Carlos Perez, Karla Koos, Kazunomya Hongo, Louise Mathevon, Olivia Dumortier

/ Employment

Current Openings: Workplace Strategist (2 years minimum experience), Project Architect (5 years minimum experience)

We are glad that you would consider Chester Nielsen Architects, Inc. as a potential firm for your career, we thank you for that. All positions are Flex with the primary location in Menlo Park, CA

Please email letter of intent to:

CNA is an equal opportunity employer