WRNS Studio Founding Partner Sam Nunes Elevated to AIA College of Fellows in 2022

WRNS Studio Founding Partner Sam Nunes Elevated to AIA College of Fellows in 2022

WRNS Studio is proud to announce that Founding Partner, Sam Nunes, has been elevated to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows. The College of Fellows honors members who have made significant contributions to the profession of architecture and society on a national level.

Sam Nunes developed and implemented a non-hierarchical, sociocratic governance structure for WRNS Studio that empowers and synthesizes diverse interests toward common purpose. Sociocratic governance is atypical within architecture as it emphasizes and empowers a plurality of perspectives and voices rather than a singular creative vision. This creative management model attracts self-determined employees at all levels of experience who are encouraged and expected to use their voices, explore their interests, and assume personal responsibility for the success of the studio.

One of Sam’s key early accomplishments was the development of a growth and transition plan that has allowed for WRNS Studio’s partners to remain hands-on with their projects and to create smooth leadership transitions as the firm grows. Founding partners have retired and talented staff have grown into the next generation of firm leadership. As a result of this decentralized authority and the transition plan, WRNS Studio has experienced an average year-over-year growth of 26% since its founding. While only seventeen years old, WRNS Studio has twice been named top firm in the U.S. by Architect magazine and was recognized as a Fast Company 2020 Most Innovative design firm.

In addition, Sam led the WRNS Studio team that delivered on and documented their commitment to diversity, equity, safety, worker and local benefit which garnered their first International Living Futures Institute – Just Label certification in 2017, as well as two subsequent successful recertifications. This “nutrition label” for socially just and equitable organizations allows organizations to disclose—and in doing so, deliver upon—their commitments to diversity, equity, safety, worker and local benefit.

Sam extends his collaborative “lead-around-the-table” approach outside the studio where he is known to create an environment in which traditional boundaries between owner, architect, engineer, builder, and trade specialists are blurred intentionally. This process creates a culture of trust and calculated risk-taking to push the envelope on what’s possible in the design and construction industry. Award-winning projects include the Tahoe Transit Center, Microsoft’s Silicon Valley Campus, and Adobe’s Utah Campus.

Sam demonstrates an extraordinary combination of expertise and empathy and he cares deeply about advancing the practice of architecture. His work inspires others to follow the same path. He is licensed in multiple states and earned his BArch degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.