Introducing Alex Parker


AB design studio is pleased to share the story of Alex Parker, a senior project captain in our Santa Barbara studio.

Alex has nearly seven years invested with the firm, “It really feels like I'm part of a team here. AB provides me the opportunity to explore creative ideas as part of a collaborative design process. I think it’s crucial. It’s what makes me love working here.”

Though Alex is adept at design and production management, he is particularly talented and experienced with design visualization. At AB design studio, we count on Alex’s expertise with 3D design software systems, primarily ArchiCAD.

“We use the analogy of building a race car, getting things to run like a well-tuned machine,” he explains. “I deal with finding different efficiencies within the programs and workflows we use and how to make things run smoother: to hit the gas when we should move on something, or pump the brakes if necessary. I've just really enjoyed that.”


[Image credit: Artwork for Architect Magazine to convey the design process at AB design studio]

Midwest Roots

Alex was born in Burnsville, Minnesota, a Minneapolis suburb, but his family moved to rural Wisconsin when he was a toddler. “Every fall after the corn was harvested, my brother, dad and I would launch hobby rockets in the cornfield, watching for the parachute to deploy and then chasing the rocket as it parachuted back down,” he recalls. “My little brother and I would shoot hoops in the driveway until dark almost every night in the summertime.”

Alex + Jason Banner[Image credit: Alex and his younger brother, Jason - image provided by Alex Parker]

From a young age, Alex knew he wanted to be an architect. “I didn't have a lot of architect role models as a kid. I'm honestly surprised that that never changed,” he says. “But from a very young age, third or fourth grade, I was asking for architecture books for Christmas.”

In high school, Alex was a quiet, independent kid, playing saxophone in the school band, sketching, and designing paper airplanes far better-flying than yours or mine.

College and Early Career

After his 2008 graduation, Alex first studied business at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and after two years transferred to the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies.

WWA_1[Image credit: Historic Estate renovation, Montecito, CA - Wade Weissmann Architecture]

“I sought real-world experience and was eager to approach architecture from an apprenticeship perspective,” he explains. “I never interned during college, because driving forklift and running packaging machines at my stepdad's factory paid better than office internships that expected college kids to work for free. School taught me how to design, the professional world taught me how to execute.”

After college graduation in 2013, Alex went to work for Milwaukee firm Wade Weissmann Architecture, where he spent two years as a draftsman and architectural intern. The firm was then designing with two-dimensional AutoCAD, however, and Alex was eager to go 3D. “I wanted to embrace technology as a part of how a firm operates,” he says. "It seemed like a good time to jump on board and kind of get immersed in BIM.”

WWA_2[Image credit: Historic Estate Renovation, Montecito, CA - Wade Weissmann Architecture]

While at Wade Weissmann Architecture, Alex had been working on California-based projects, including Santa Barbara, which introduced him to the city. When a job opened at AB design studio, he embraced the chance to bolster his skillset, both with technology and in design.

Alex started at AB as a Designer 1 and along the way, he has become a vital member of the team, helping everyone to use BIM design software efficiently and confidently.

“Whether it's improving the template or just improving the way we get our work done, efficient design execution is a cornerstone of how we produce our work and facilitates team collaboration.”

Quarry House + Shoreline Res Banner-BLOG

[Image credit: Quarry House, Montecito, CA; Shoreline Residence, Santa Barbara, CA. Alex worked on the Shoreline Residence project from concept through construction - AB design studio, inc.]

Often In Motion

When he’s not at work, Alex likes to stay active, which he finds more relaxing than sitting at home in front of a TV. Often that means two-wheeled fun. A few years ago, Alex got his first motorcycle, and has enjoyed taking trips on the bike, like an excursion last year up Highway 1 to Big Sur and Carmel with a friend. “On the motorcycle, you're risk-assessing the whole time, but it's somehow relaxing and, and you kind of recharge a little bit from that,” he says. “It becomes an extension of yourself.” More recently, he’s purchased an e-bike, enabling long rides along the beach.

Just over two years ago, Alex embarked on a bigger adventure, purchasing a Sprinter van and building for himself a home on wheels. “But it’s more than that: it’s my home office, my kitchen, my music studio, even my garage for my folded-up e-bike.” Alex loves that he can change his environment whenever he wants.

AP Banner-BLOG

[Image credit: Hobby of motion. Triumph Street Twin, Summerland, CA; Camper van traveling through Sausalito, CA; Mobile creative studio, Sprinter Van build-out, Butterfly Beach, CA - Montecito, CA - images provided by Alex Parker]

“I can drive up in the mountains or down to the beach, and it just totally puts me in a different headspace. It benefits my creativity and concentration. Sometimes at night when studying or exploring design ideas, I need some sort of separation and movement to have my brain change gears. It makes the van a kind of mobile creativity workshop.”

California Love

Life in California continues to invigorate Alex. Every year he goes to the Lightning in a Bottle arts and music festival, and loves meeting other creative people. “These artists who just come up with the coolest stuff, you'll talk with them for an hour and it feels like you've been talking for five minutes, because they're just so into what they do. I truly love having those types of experiences with people.”


[Image credit: Lightning in a Bottle 2022 - image provided by Alex Parker]

Alex considers himself lucky. He often remembers a moment two years ago at a family gathering, when an uncle, while talking with Alex about his architecture career, said he couldn’t imagine having a career that he loved. “And I kind of said back to him, I can't imagine having a career that you don't love.” For Alex, working at AB design studio is more than a job or even a chance to create architecture. It’s a chance to be around passionate creative people like himself.



[Image credit: Renderings from a recent contemporary residential project in Toro Canyon, Santa Barbara - AB design studio, inc.]]

Alex is backed up by the support of our talented and experienced architecture, interior design and urban planning team of professionals. Our 30 person staff is well-equipped to tackle a multitude of signature design driven projects of all sizes and typology. Our team develops well-rounded and thoughtful solutions to today's greatest design challenges. We deliver by leveraging the talent of awesome people, like Alex, who deliver our proven process each day; we deliver using a simple formula - listen, strategize, create, and deliver. 



Selected Works


Selected Works


Selected Works