Lenity Architecture Welcomes Three New Professionals

Lenity Architecture is excited to welcome three new professionals to our team–Steve Hockman, Sam Thomas and Brittany Phipps.

Steve Hockman is joining the team as Construction Administration Manager. Steve graduated with a BA and BS in Architecture from North Dakota State University and has 28 years of architecture and construction management experience. An 11 year resident of Central Oregon, Steve will be based out of Lenity Architecture’s Bend office and traveling as needed. He is an Oregon licensed and LEED Accredited Architect with senior-level management experience in higher education, medical, airport, electric utility, large commercial architecture projects and senior housing design.

Sam Thomas will be joining the Salem office of Lenity Architecture as Project Manager. Sam brings with him an extensive background in community development and land use planning. He achieved his MA in Geography from the University of Cincinnati where he studied geographic information systems and science.

Brittany Phipps will also be joining Lenity Architecture’s Salem office. Brittany was born and raised in the construction industry and is excited to carry on the family tradition as an architectural drafter at Lenity Architecture.

Lenity Architecture is driven entirely by relationships–those we have with each other as a team and with our clients as well as genuine caring for the people who enter the walls we help build. These ideals are the common thread among our staff and the qualities we look for in each new hire. Every member of the “Lenity Family” is in this business for more than a paycheck. They are passionate about their profession, who they are serving and why. When our staff team walks in the door each morning, they know that the projects they are working on impact people’s lives. They enjoy working here because the relationships we build as a team and the values that guide us are lasting, meaningful and important.

Lenity Architecture has built a team of professionals that excel at every stage of the planning, design and building process. With a growing team of architects, engineers, designers, draftspersons, land use and permit specialists, construction administrators and administrative support staff–we are able to meet the complex and ever-evolving needs of our clients. We are always interested in meeting qualified professionals that share our people-first company values and encourage interested candidates in checking our website regularly for current openings.

Reimagining the Project Team

The design and building industry conjures up mental images that can range from lofty corner offices with artfully placed bamboo to diesel trucks and hard hats. In our world, the images creating a divide between the design and building teams fall away and are replaced by a deeply rooted common thread–intense caring for our mutual clients.

In practical terms, this kind of caring means the architectural team works hand in hand with builders for a seamless, profitable and even fun experience for everyone. No egos–just complimentary professions working together to best meet the client’s needs.

1. Fewer surprises. We’ve found clients are rarely excited about surprises unless it’s how much money they’re saving (or cookies).

2. An inclusive approach to planning and design means seeing the project through a different set of lenses. Understanding the project from every angle saves the entire project team (including the client) time and money.

3. A team approach necessitates flexibility and humility. Approaching each project with a spirit of willingness yields strong relationships that continue long after the project’s completion. And that’s what it’s all about, right?

Brewed Awakenings Construction-2
Project team at the ECLIPTIC at Sunriver


It sounds like a science project, but unpleasant surprises result from the planning and design phase happening in a vacuum. From the early pre-planning stages to project completion–the best work results from transparency, open communication and a relationship-centered approach with the entire project team.

Our work begins by determining a project’s feasibility and providing a comprehensive cost analysis. Lenity Architecture’s in-house land use and zoning specialists determine up-front any potential system development charges and building permits. We put our pencils to work and help clients determine how a property or space will accommodate an existing program or a brilliant new idea.

By working together with the broker, contractor and developer through the early pre-planning stages, we’re demonstrating a vested interest in the project. Just like the client, we are taking on a measured element of risk at the beginning–but a shared commitment to the project yields returning clients and deep mutual trust and respect.

“Being involved early in the design process allows us to budget an idea. As a builder, there is nothing more rewarding than working side by side with the owner and architect to see a cocktail napkin sketch through to building completion. If there is a time to save money, it’s early in the design process before dollars are spent on documents. When everyone on the project team is committed to this process, we can typically make it work from a budget standpoint. We recently went through this process on a project and by working through the early pre-planning phase as a team, we were able to reduce project costs by 30% from initial budget to working budget/completed design.” -Gary North, R&H Construction


Putting the client’s needs first doesn’t always equate to a wall of design awards–but the glossiest of portfolios can’t build relationships.

From the early pre-planning phases, we work with the project team to evaluate how the project’s aesthetics impact the owner and tenant’s immediate and long-term costs. We consider usability, material lifetimes, and cost effective energy conservation measures. Exercising flexibility and humility with the contractor and developer doesn’t always mean compromise–it’s simply the ability to see the project through their eyes to arrive at the best results for the client.

Did you know the word “lenity” literally means the quality of being mild or gentle towards others? At Lenity Architecture, we strive to live up to our name and have found that a spirit of willingness, enthusiasm and respect are powerful drivers of long-term success. Decades of experience have taught us that regardless of the project size or complexity, there is great reward in seeing it through as a team.

Honoring Seniors the Lenity Way

As we enjoy the endless sugar cookies, sparkling lights and priceless time with family–our hearts are also with the seniors living in the buildings we design this holiday season.

There is no equivalent to being surrounded by family in the comfort of our own home. There are no rivals to the nostalgia of signature family dishes passed down from generations of grandmothers–enjoyed once around the holiday table, and then again as a midnight snack (aka the additional “sliver” of pumpkin pie that we all know is really a hearty slice!). It’s hard to imagine a day where our family customs may be exchanged, at least in part, for the reassurance of safety and prompt access to medical care. Yet, that is the case for thousands of seniors whose celebration of the holidays has evolved in tandem with their transition into retirement living and senior care communities.

Our hope is that seniors are able to stay independent and in the comfort of their own home as long as possible–whether it’s at the address where they’ve raised a family or that of a retirement community which supports their current lifestyle and needs.

Rio Grande

As seniors’ needs begin to shift towards a higher level of care, our buildings are designed to support them every step of the way. And while they may not be the same walls their children’s heights are scrawled on, they are walls thoughtfully designed to provide a comfortable extension of home. They are walls that represent so much more than the materials they are comprised of. To seniors and their families, the senior living communities we design represent peace of mind, quality of life, friendship and laughter.

“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”

Sarah Dessen, Author

The word “Lenity” means the quality of being mild or gentle towards others. We strive to live up to our name by creating spaces where seniors feel loved, supported and safe. We create spaces where the transition to community life is gentle and changes to seniors’ independence are as mild as possible. Honoring seniors in the best way we know how–through the gifts of our team–is the Lenity Way.

As the Lenity Architecture team closes out this year and begins a new one, we’re grateful for the people who give our work special meaning and significance. We are thankful for our amazing clients, the building managers and staff whose caring knows no bounds, and the remarkable individuals who live within the walls we help build.

Thank you, and happy holidays from the Lenity Architecture family.

Lenity Staff 2014_SM

Colonial Gardens Retirement Community

Colonial Gardens Retirement Community

This 139,321 Sq. Ft. Colonial Gardens retirement community features 155 suites plus 9 individual cottages. Its grand, 6,129 Sq. Ft. dining room is designed to comfortably accommodate the large campus while maintaining a close-knit sense of community. The dining area flows naturally into an open and comfortable sitting area with two stone fireplaces drawing people into relaxed conversation.

Beverly Dining Room

Beverly Living Room

The building is designed to bring seniors together while allowing plenty of breathing room for an independent lifestyle. The activity room brings the freshness of the outdoors in with its high ceilings and windows that look out to a garden courtyard and water feature. The building also features a spacious theater, private dining room, library and several common living areas.

Beverly Theater

Beverly Private Dining


Beverly Studio

Beverly Exterior 5

Beverly Exterior 4
Photography ©Cheryl McIntosh

The photographer shared of her experience of shooting the property.

“While the building and campus itself is quite large in terms of square footage, a sense of intimacy and warmth radiated from corner to corner of the property. One of my favorite memories from the shoot was watching the residents welcome each other by name as they each entered the large dining room–each new resident forming part of the growing welcome committee. It was like watching an episode of cheers but on a much larger scale! I’ve seen how light and open spaces foster people’s sense of well-being, energy and creativity; The Colonial Gardens retirement community is a beautiful example of how design and thoughtful planning come together to enhance senior’s quality of life.”
– Cheryl McIntosh

The Stories Inside the Walls We Help Build

By Brent Stuntzner, Associate Construction Manager at Lenity Architecture

This time of the year I find myself reflecting on my life and especially on the relationships I’ve developed over the years. I have been fortunate to have lived in many places, to have had many unusual and rewarding experiences and to have met so many good people. Above all else, I’ve learned that every person has a unique story to tell and that those stories deserve to be shared with others.

My childhood was spent in a small town in Iowa. In the early years my father was an art professor at a local private college and my mother worked as manager/fundraiser for the Southeast Iowa Symphony Orchestra. Later, my father took a job at the local state-run mental health institute (MHI) as the Patient Activities Director and some of my earliest childhood memories include accompanying my dad to work – a place that was both terrifying and fascinating to a young boy. The mother of my childhood friend, Brian, also worked at the MHI and sometimes the two of us would be there–playing basketball in the gymnasium, snacking at the cafeteria, making things in the crafts room or just wandering the halls of the facility looking for things to keep us occupied. For those who have seen One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, one can imagine what the institution was like. There were rooms caged-off from the corridors with patients in pajamas and bathrobes trying to pass the time. Instead of Nurse Ratched, however, the wards were manned by people like my father and Brian’s mother–people that genuinely cared for the health, well-being and recovery of the patients therein. And instead of the criminally insane, the MHI was the home for hundreds of adults that suffered from various mental and emotional disabilities, including the intellectually disabled, dementia and substance dependency.

I remember one patient in particular, though I no longer remember his name.  He was probably in his 20s at the time, was missing his front teeth, and was intellectually disabled. My friend Brian and I would seek him out anytime we were together at the hospital because the young man was so kind and friendly. Sometimes we would find him in the cafeteria, and Brian and I would join him. I don’t recall what we would talk about but I do recall being very fond of this young man who was so delighted by the simple things in life. I never heard his life story but it undoubtedly would have included his time at the MHI–a place that afforded him both safety and security.

A patient’s life must have been terribly lonely even with the ongoing activities, parties, and trips my father would organize for his wards. Many patients appreciated when Brian and I would visit and would invite us to play checkers or pull up a chair to chat. I don’t remember the games or conversations anymore but I do recall the faces. They were the faces of unique individuals–each a with a fascinating story to tell.

At home, my family and I lived a simple life. Unlike so many of my childhood friends who had relatives all over town, my extended family was far away. Next door, however, lived the Spooners–an elderly couple who took a liking to me. I spent countless hours at their house eating popcorn and watching reruns of The Lawrence Welk Show on a black and white TV. With my own grandparents hundreds of miles away, Ethel and Lloyd Spooner were like my surrogate grandparents and would entertain me with imaginative games, golfing, stories and plenty of watermelon.

Young Brent with Mr. Spooner

Young Brent with Mr. Spooner

After Lloyd passed, Ethel remained in her home for several years before moving to a nursing home–a bland and sterile place. This new place had none of the hominess of the corner brick house she shared with Lloyd for so many years. My family would visit her from time to time and on one occasion she shared with me a synopsis of her life. Ethel was not native to Iowa, but had come to Iowa with her parents in a wagon from some easterly place. Ethel grew up on a farm and was introduced to an urban existence upon marrying Lloyd. Between her birth and death, Ethel Spooner lived through the beginnings of the automobile, the airplane and space travel and felt fortunate to have experienced an era of such rich discovery.

As a college student, I relocated to Portland, Oregon where my maternal grandparents lived. By this time, they had moved to Willamette View Manor–a multi-story retirement home overlooking the Willamette River that had facilities for independent apartment living, assisted living, and memory care. I would often come visit for Sunday brunch in the Manor’s dining room. It was a far cry from the nursing homes that I had experienced in my childhood–which was a great relief! My grandparents, Polly and Ivan Wurster, were social butterflies and loved to invite other residents to join us for brunch. Polly was a very bright person who enjoyed stimulating conversation and Ivan was a preeminent storyteller. Together, with a cadre of their interesting friends, our table was always abuzz with meaningful conversation and captivating stories. Polly and Ivan were rich in friends and companionship in those later years and Willamette View Manor helped provide for them the place and opportunity.

Brent with Mr. and Mrs. Worsters

Brent with his grandparents, Ivan and Polly Wurster

So, here I am now, getting near to my 2-year anniversary with Lenity Architecture and I feel fortunate. I’m fortunate because my employers remind me of my own family–people who care about the welfare of those we serve. I feel fortunate because my coworkers and I are able to play a part in offering dignified places for people to live out their later years. And I feel fortunate because I get to share in the stories of others. The facilities designed by Lenity Architecture are taking the place of the mental health facilities and nursing homes of the past. The locked cages are gone and the sterile environments are replaced by spaces designed to be comfortable and familiar–truly an extension of home. By now I have visited many Lenity Architecture projects in different stages of completion including a few facilities which have begun to accept residents. I have even overheard a few memorable stories. It makes me happy to see residents living in buildings that afford them the dignity they deserve and I look forward to hearing many more of their stories in the years to come.





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