The Catalyst & The Creative

Published in Albuquerque the Magazine

Albuquerque, NM – October, 2017 -Principals Michelle Franks and Elena Marguerite Agustin work behind the scenes of Studio Southwest Architects to promote a strong firm culture, incorporate the best design standards, and develop business and firm awareness in the community.

Recently named a 2017 Women of Influence by Albuquerque Business First, Franks has been a driving force of Studio SW for over 20 years. Her commitment to the success of the firm and its employees is rooted in her dedication to local organizations like Animal Humane NM, for whom she volunteers, as well as the Sandoval Economic Alliance and CREW NM, on whose Boards of Directors she sits. “Be enthusiastic, bold and kind while being involved in the community.  In doing so, you gain a broadened understanding of the area at large, and a better vantage to see how one action can catalyze a multitude of positive reactions.”

As a passionate New Mexico architect, Agustin brings the unique culture of the region to her design projects while pushing the boundaries of technology and sustainability practices. Her involvement in NAIOP NM, and the NM Chapter of the International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBSPA) brings knowledge of industry trends to her leadership role in the office. At a recent speaking engagement for NAIOP’s Rio Rancho Round Table, Elena delivered a thought-provoking presentation on alternative ways to incorporate community gathering spaces and farm-to-table concepts into architectural design. “As architects we design buildings not just as objects but as spaces that people inhabit, places that affect our way of being and affect how we choose to live in this world,” says Agustin.

After 33 years, Studio SW continues to support regional architectural and planning initiatives. Whether it’s through large local developments or designing adaptive-reuse projects, like Hotel Parq Central, their team is invested in the big picture, and this dynamic duo helps balance the scales of expectation and creativity in and out of the office.