As we emerge from our 20th year, it has been so gratifying to look back over the last two decades in business and reflect on all of the amazing clients we have had the incredible good fortune to work with and the homes we have been able to create for these families during that time — truly “Places to Call Home.” These last two decades have also brought me together with a tremendous array of collaborators, both outside and within this firm. Interior decorators, landscape designers, contractors, consultants, and craftspeople have all challenged and inspired me and my team. Equally important, for the last 20 years I have spent my time each day working alongside the most extraordinary group of young architects, designers, and administrators within my office, all of whom have shared my passion for what we do and a deep dedication to creating environments that our clients will feel at home in. I have been enormously privileged to work with such an incredible team all these years, a team which has grown steadily in size and capabilities since the day we opened.
And now, with that team approaching nearly 40 individuals, it seems like the perfect moment to look ahead to the firm’s next chapter: to continue to build the leadership at the firm to work alongside me and current principals Mickey Benson and Lou Taylor, both now and in the years ahead. It is for this reason that I am thrilled to announce that Aimee and Kevin Buccellato, two of GPSA’s earliest staff members, along with their firm Buccellato Design, will be joining forces with GPSA to form Schafer Buccellato Architects launching in September of 2023. I couldn’t be more thrilled that two people who worked with me to form the foundation of GPSA’s work — and its culture — will be returning to help lead us in our next chapter.
At its core, our work has always been about creating places to call home and for us, this merging of talent with Aimee and Kevin Buccellato — and their team at Buccellato Design — is also a coming home of sorts. As GPSA’s first employee, Aimee left a role in a prestigious New York firm in the summer of 2002 to embark on a new adventure working side by side with me at what then had just been a sole-practitioner firm. Kevin joined the firm shortly thereafter, and their innate talents as architects were matched by their dynamic leadership as they helped to manage multiple projects and our nascent practice in those early days.
In 2008, the Buccellatos left GPSA to move to the Midwest, raise a family, and explore their passion for teaching. They each accepted individual appointments to the Faculty of the School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame that year, and so began their illustrious new careers in academia. Aimee received tenure at Notre Dame in 2017 and Kevin developed the School’s curriculum in Architecture and the Building Arts, establishing the Building Arts Concentration within the undergraduate program.
In addition to her tenured position as an Associate Professor of Architecture at Notre Dame, Aimee served as a Fellow and faculty advisor to University’s Fitzgerald Institute of Real Estate and was an Affiliated Faculty Member for the School’s Environmental Change Initiative, Global Adaptation Network, and Notre Dame Energy. She has also co-authored nearly 30 academic papers with faculty across six disciplines.
In addition to his teaching roles at Notre Dame, including most recently as an Assistant Professor of Practice and a Professional Specialist, Kevin has presented and published his joint academic research nationally, and served as Commissioner of the Historic Preservation Commission of South Bend and St. Joseph County for nearly a decade.
In 2011, as a companion to their mission as teachers, Aimee and Kevin established Buccellato Design, their own architecture and interior design firm, and together have designed residences and civic projects around the country in the years since. Their projects — which include Notre Dame’s Morrison Family Education and Outreach Pavilion and the Notre Dame Linked Experimental Ecosystem Facility — have received several design awards, including a Citation for New Construction from the American Institute of Architects in Indiana, the first Notre Dame-built project to receive such an award.
Not surprisingly, the Buccellatos are both graduates of the School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame and Aimee also holds a Masters degree from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. Kevin is a member of the American Institute of Architects and Aimee is a U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Accredited Professional in Building and Construction.
They are both members of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, where Aimee is a Fellow Emeritus. They each have a longstanding history of serving their own community in various roles as well: Aimee served on the board of the City of South Bend Venues, Parks, and Arts Commission for eight years, and Kevin served for six years on the Board of the Historic Preservation Commission of South Bend and St. Joseph County.
Most importantly, in addition to these many professional accolades and their extensive architectural experience, Aimee and Kevin, and everyone at Buccellato Design, share the same values that have always been at the core of GPSA: we are all dedicated to taking the best of traditional architecture and creating elegant, welcoming, timeless spaces so that our clients can enjoy and celebrate the relationships and moments that make their lives meaningful.
Every single day over the past twenty years, I have been excited about what comes next — what new project takes us to a new place geographically or asks us to solve a new problem we have never tackled before. But this is a completely new kind of excitement, as we look forward to the next twenty years — and beyond — as Schafer Buccellato Architects and the work we will create.
Together, as partners and principals, Aimee, Kevin, Lou Taylor, and I — along with other partners in the years to come — will guide the firm into the future as we continue to collaborate with the amazing clients who believe in us, challenge us, inspire us, and trust us; the extraordinary decorators, landscape designers, contractors, and consultants who are instrumental in advising us and helping us shape and articulate our vision into something tangible; and the incredible group of people in our office who give the work we do the true excellence that it has. Please join me in welcoming Aimee and Kevin and their team into our family.
— Gil Schafer,February 2023