Pollen Architecture is an award-winning modern architecture firm in Austin, TX founded by principals with backgrounds in architecture, art, and construction. Our collaborative practice integrates skill sets from these interrelated fields to create projects that are inspiring, innovative, and beautifully-crafted. We specialize in residential, commercial, and institutional projects. Our work begins with listening to our clients and tailoring a plan to their priorities and their specific site.
Our design process incorporates digital tools, physical models, perspective studies and full-scale mockups in order to communicate with our clients, design the most effective volumetric response, and develop a high level of finish and detail.
Our projects have a strong connection between indoors and outdoors, and make the most of their physical settings. We carefully study solar orientation to design rooms with the best possible natural light to create spaces that are calm and promote wellness. When it comes to finishes, our projects use natural materials to give spaces ‘hand’ or texture and resonance. The careful attention of our architects to natural elements and building craft generates projects that are both durable and sustainable.
Elizabeth Alford founded Pollen Architecture in Austin, Texas in 2008 with Michael Young, and Dason Whitsett. Elizabeth’s work centers on creating engaging spaces that are carefully integrated into their surroundings, both natural settings and urban contexts. Elizabeth uses section, natural light and materiality to enrich the experience of a space. Prior to forming Pollen, Elizabeth ran her own firm, Elizabeth Alford Projects in Austin and New York, doing projects including studio renovations and farm buildings.
Michael Young was trained as an artist with the primary focus of his practice being on geometric abstraction and design. Central to his work is a dialectic relationship between natural materials and objects as relating to architecture. His interest in applying the principles of this previous work and craft to the built environment lead him to become one of the founding principals of Pollen. He conceptualizes use of materials in our projects, bringing a high level of inventiveness and craft to the process. He develops aesthetically tuned construction assemblies and details using a hands-on approach, often working with a material that he has developed specifically for a project. He brings a particular graphic sensibility to working out elevations.
John is a native Mississippian who brings a maker/doer attitude to his design work. Skilled in fabrication, as well as design, he has the ability to execute the details. John has worked with Pollen since 2009 and has been instrumental in projects including the Balcones House and St. Edward’s Chapel.
Ted Young is a New Jersey Native and licensed architect registered in the State of Texas and the State of New York. He has a wide experience in architecture, having worked on a variety of projects with a variety of architects. Since moving to Austin, Ted has developed his expertise in residential design, working with Mell Lawrence Architects and Paul Lamb Architects before joining the Pollen team.
Andrew is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, having earned both a B. Architecture and a B.S. Architectural Engineering. Being a double-major allowed him to combine his passion for design with his interests in building science and creative problem solving.
Claire Townley is an Associate Architect at Pollen Architecture & Design and a lecturer at the University of Texas School of Architecture. She is licensed to practice architecture in the State of Texas. A native of Nebraska, Claire studied art history and philosophy at Boston College before relocating to Austin to pursue studies in architecture. She graduated with her Masters of Architecture from the University of Texas in May 2019, earning the AIA’s Prestigious Henry Adams Medal.
Originally from Houston, Texas, Tori holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Texas Tech University. Following her time in West Texas, Tori returned to Houston to work in K-12 educational design and earned her Master of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin.