Christian Nielsen
Principal Architect

Christian earned a degree in architecture from Rhode Island School of Design and moved back to California to run Nielsen Architects in 2000. He officially took over the firm in 2007. 

Prior to working as an architect Christian gained experience in the trades, set design and art direction for the movie industry in New York City.

Christian currently serves on the City of Santa Cruz Planning Commission


Timerie Gordon                                      

Creative Director

Timerie brings a diverse set of skills to the firm including art, industrial design and environmental design. 

After receiving a degree in Industrial Design from Rhode Island School of Design, she worked in the visual departments of Barneys NY and Urban Outfitters as a display artist. 

Timerie is passionate about helping businesses make calculated design decisions to reach their business goals. Her combined creative sensibility and business acumen underline the success of our commercial projects.

Angelo Pancini - Jr. Designer

Angelo graduated from Ball State University in 2009 with a BA in Architecture, then attended Oxford Brookes University for his Masters in International Architectural Regeneration and Development in 2010. .He is currently working towards licensure as an architect His interests are wide and varied, but common throughout is a thread of adaptive reuse. Angelo is fascinated by repurposing; whether space, material, or infrastructure. He also harbors a not-so-secret desire to do Big Things in the field of development, both at home and abroad.  Angelo hates the color taupe but begrudgingly accepts that yes, it is in fact a fun word to say.

Ryan Downey














Michelle Naklowycz

After receiving a BA in Graphic Design at San Diego State,  Michelle returned to her home of San Francisco for a job in the fashion industry with Blue Marlin.  Wanting to spread her wing to explore her passion for surf and travel,  she found herself enjoying the tropical life in Costa Rica. Between time spent surfing and swinging in a hammock she worked as as concierge, event planner and manager of women's surf camp.  After 5 years enjoying the simple life she settled in beautiful Santa Cruz. She spent time working for Laili Restaurant as event planner and wine buyer. 

In 2014 Michelle found a place for her diverse skill set at Nielsen Studios where she uses her social, organization and computer skills combined with her enjoyment of art, design, great people and good wine. 

In her free time she enjoys yoga, surfing, the outdoors and enjoying time well spent with family and friends


Crystal Birns

Director of Strategy

Growing up in New York City Crystal got hooked on great spaces early in life. After obtaining a degree in Studio Art she moved to the Bay Area and spent the next decade honing her art and administration chops, painting murals, managing a nonprofit dance studio, developing a volunteer program at a Nature Center, and coordinating outdoor adventures for people with development disabilities.

As Arts Program Manager working for City of Santa Cruz Economic Development Crystal helped to grow the public art program and managed wayfinding, mural, facade improvement and other urban design and communications projects.

In her free time Crystal produces Santa Cruz PechaKucha nights, loves exploring, and carries a sketchpad everywhere she goes.







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