(“Text as submitted by Architect”)
Founder & Principal Architect
Tenured Associate Professor, UT Austin School of Architecture
Director of Graduate Program in Sustainable Design
A native of Austin, Matt Fajkus holds a Master in Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, where he completed his thesis work with Pritzker Prize-winning architect Rafael Moneo. Before going independent in 2010 and establishing MF Architecture, Fajkus achieved significant experience in architectural practice. While working for the world-renowned firm Foster + Partners in London for several years, he worked on the design of numerous high-profile, international large-scale projects. Starting at firms in 1998, he also worked on numerous small-scale award-winning projects while with Max Levy Architects in Dallas, Brinkley Sargent Architects, and Julie Snow Architects in Minneapolis. In 2012, Fajkus was awarded two AIA National Emerging Professional Awards.
In addition to leading MF Architecture, Fajkus is a Tenured Associate Professor at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, where he teaches courses in design, technology, daylighting and integrated sustainability. In 2013 he was recognized with the University of Texas System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award – the highest teaching honor awarded by the entire school system. Additionally in 2013, Fajkus was presented with the Faculty Scholarship Award for Innovative Practice, and the ACSA/AIAS National New Faculty Teaching Award. He has co-authored a book titled Architectural Science and the Sun, published by Routledge Publishers.
Sarah Johnson Principal Architect
Sarah has been with MF Architecture since its inception in the Spring of 2011. Sarah grew up in West Texas and studied at Texas Tech University where she received degrees in Architecture and Civil Engineering. She joined Matt after completing her Master of Architecture at the University of Texas in 2010. Previously, she’s worked with Lawrence Group Architects in Austin where she gained experience with various project types and sizes ranging from the new UT College of Communications/KUT Studios to smaller City of Austin projects.
Sarah believes that architecture is most powerful when it directly and simply responds to the needs of the client and the site. Each project presents a unique opportunity to answer a new set of questions and requirements. For her, the exciting and fulfilling part of being a designer is in generating a concept that yields a broad, overall expression which also reveals that original thought in a variety of nuanced moments. Her role in both design and execution on the “Control/Shift House” and “Porous by Nature” projects are examples of this method and approach in design. The highly collaborative environment at MF Architecture greatly influences and fosters this philosophy in her work and continues to provide a fertile ground for testing ideas and methods of design.
The design work of Matt Fajkus Architecture is based on the belief that each project is unique, as it should be driven by the client, the site, and functional requirements, rather than a singular, preconceived aesthetic. The firm aims for clear and simple solutions to complex problems by blending expertise as well as experimentation. As a young and energetic collaborative, the firm is simultaneously an academic think tank, directly connected to theoretical and technological research at the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, while also practicing with a deep focus on realizing exceptional buildings.
MF Architecture possesses advanced knowledge in sustainable design principles, including energy-efficient strategies, passive daylighting, and intelligent material choices to promote healthy indoor air quality. The office believes that the current sustainability-driven era is the most all-encompassing movement since Modernism, as it reaches to all scales of design including lifestyle choices. Thus, the firm is driven by the optimism that we live in an ideal time to affect positive change locally and globally, all accomplished by intelligent design.
MF Architecture promotes a transparent design process including a direct collaboration with client and builder. Likewise, the firm fosters honesty and functionality in design itself, with a belief in balancing restraint and expression in broad design moves as well as material choices and composition. The firm enthusiastically takes on the unique challenges presented by each project to inspire highly creative, cost-effective solutions meant to enhance building performance and daily life as a whole.