For 50 years now, VCBO Architecture has delivered iconic architecture with a focus on impeccable design, innovative thinking, and unparalleled client service. Today, we actively contribute to the built environment through the design of diverse projects across the country and around the globe.

History & Culture

Located in Salt Lake City and St. George Utah, our office buildings are symbols of our deep connection to our community, the Western United States, and creative thinking. Our Salt Lake City office building originally served as a stable of strong and reliable workhorses. Now, it houses an assembly of diverse talent, drawn from near and far to work together to influence and shape our communities for good.

The big yellow-gold lettering on our walls signifies our willingness to be bold, stand out, and make a statement. Our buildings back this claim with full force. But above all, our people— and commitment to people— make working with VCBO a standout experience. We strive to cultivate a culture where passion and curiosity can thrive.

Through physical structures, we evoke our passion for bridging timeless significance with progressive learning, classical thought with contemporary, and elegance with restraint, all while displaying our distinct ability to innovate and problem-solve.

Social Responsibility

VCBO cares deeply about social responsibility, and we are honored to partner with CHOICE Humanitarian to make a global difference. Whether it’s donations or expeditions, our team is dedicated to helping both local and international rural communities chart a path from poverty to peace and prosperity.

From celebrating Earth Day by beautifying local gardens, to participating in Boys & Girls Club events, you’ll frequently see VCBO out volunteering in the local community.

Commitment to Sustainability

VCBO is dedicated to best environmental practices. We bring a strong understanding of sustainable resources, guidelines, and rating systems to each project, as well as a wealth of experience in finding ecological solutions.

Beyond our dedication to driving down energy use, energy costs, and the associated environmental impacts, we also understand the long-term value of architecture. We know our buildings have the potential to dramatically influence the people who live in them, work in them, and experience them, as well as the communities they serve. Because of this, we sit down with each client to determine the right sustainable strategies for each individual project.

VCBO has recently signed the AIA 2030 Commitment, a collaborative effort pushing the building industry toward carbon neutrality through improvements in the design process, the integration of efficient and holistic systems, and ongoing monitoring and performance verification. By signing this commitment, we acknowledge our role in shaping the future of the built environment and seek to continuously strive for improvement while supporting environmental stewardship.

Leadership

Niels Valentiner, AIA

Principal

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Niels Valentiner is the Founder and "V" of VCBO Architecture. His guidance has developed VCBO into the dynamic firm it is today, recognized for its regional, national, and international impact. Niels has a history of designing projects for corporate office complexes, civic and state institutional buildings, universities, sports and arena facilities, medical facilities, and significant religious buildings in the United States and abroad in Central America, Europe, and Asia.

Niels' corporate social responsibility extends to the co-founding of CHOICE Humanitarian, as chairman and board member, providing village development leadership in rural areas of Guatemala, Bolivia, Mexico, Nepal, and Kenya.

Brent Tippets, AIA

Principal

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Brent is a seasoned architect whose designs have shaped the Intermountain West since 1984. He is a recognized thought leader in civic and judicial facility design and notable projects include the State of Utah Fourth District Courthouse, the Provo Community Recreation Center, and the Ken Garff Performance Zone at Rice Eccles Stadium.

Brent’s dynamic personality and thoughtful design approach enable him to guide complex projects to elegant solutions.

Jeanne Jackson, FAIA, LEED AP

Principal

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The first woman in Utah to be elevated to Fellowship in the AIA, Jeanne has been a pioneer in innovative education design since 1990. She is behind a host of award-winning facilities, garnering local, regional, and national recognition, including Farmington High School, a finalist for the prestigious James D. MacConnell Award.

She is highly passionate about creating spaces that offer a stimulating and exciting learning environment.

Derek Payne, AIA, LEED AP

Principal

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Derek has planned, programmed, and designed many of Utah’s most innovative and successful structures. These projects are designed to reflect the values, hopes, and aspirations of their users.

Derek’s projects have been nationally recognized for design excellence, and he is driven by creating unique, active, and rewarding people-places.

Vern Latham, AIA

Principal

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With more than 35 years of domestic and international experience in the profession, Vern enjoys working with clients to envision, design, and construct three-dimensional spaces that positively impact the built environment of our communities. His programming and design accomplishments include the beautiful Rome, Italy Temple.

He has presented at numerous local, national, and international events including a presentation on “Designing a High School for the Future."

Jeffery Pinegar, AIA

Principal

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As a young boy, Jeff would accompany his architect father to job sites, survey property with a transit and stick, and run blueprints. Specializing in healthcare, today Jeff excels at the intricacies associated with medical projects and communication and collaboration, both with the clients he serves and the team he leads.

This practical skill in communication allows him to direct complex and challenging projects and execute them accurately, efficiently, and with the highest level of quality.

David Cox, AIA

Principal

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David has developed a strong reputation as a tenacious advocate for his clients. Specializing in K-12 educational design, he is recognized as an industry expert in merging the functional necessities of the educator with cutting-edge concepts of future-proofed educational design.

He believes efficient function and striking design aesthetics aren’t meant to be warring interests but should strike a harmonious balance.

Celestia Carson, AIA, LEED AP

Principal

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Celestia deftly orchestrates the balance between technical disciplines and aesthetics throughout the planning, design, and construction processes of each project. A vocal advocate for under-represented groups in the profession of architecture, Celestia is the founder and president of the local non-profit Women In Architecture SLC.

Many projects she has been involved with have garnered national recognition and awards for design excellence.

Nathan Leavitt, AIA

Principal

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Nathan is passionate about civic design and believes that it can significantly increase the health and happiness of our communities. Focusing on civic architecture since 1998, his experience and attention to detail have become highly sought after by VCBO’s many repeat clients.

As a leader at VCBO, Nathan has always championed technological innovations within the firm and has been integral to numerous successful projects, recognized by both local and national design awards.

Alex Booth, AIA

Principal

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Alex is at the forefront of research and innovation in the design of future learning environments. He expertly provides design solutions that enhance flexibility for students, teachers, and administrators.

Alex sees flexible learning environments as a necessary component of education— from preschool to graduate school— and has researched, toured, and brought his expertise to schools and university buildings throughout the United States.

Melissa Wood

Chief Operating Officer

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Melissa is a vibrant Chief Operating Officer who profoundly impacts our culture and operations. The entire staff—office runners and principals alike—looks to her for guidance and support. Starting out as Director of Operations in 2011, Melissa has since cultivated an exceptional office environment by fostering incentives in support of teamwork and best practices.

With more than 27 years of operational experience in both the A / E and legal industries, Melissa is a member of the Executive Board and an active participant in making important decisions throughout the firm.

Whitney Ward, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Principal

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A community outreach specialist, Whitney embraces a holistic design approach that ensures functionality, flexibility, and durability are at the forefront of each project. She is an advocate for sustainable design and provides vast expertise in the planning, design, and documentation processes for innovative sustainable buildings.

In her spare time, Whitney teaches Site Design and Sustainable Development as an Adjunct Professor with the University of Utah City and Metropolitan Planning Department.

Phil Haderlie, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Principal

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Phil believes in creating incredible architecture by first creating incredible collaborative relationships with owners, contractors, and engineers. A licensed architect since 2006, Phil’s standout skills include project management, navigating tasks that require code analysis, project scheduling, programming, design, quality control, contract administration, specification writing, and team management.

He is committed to sustainable design and dynamic project management services.

Pablo Gotay, AIA

Principal

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Pablo puts special emphasis on collaboration, allowing him to integrate client input with his own ideas to create truly unique, client-specific designs. His holistic approach to developing 3-dimensional buildings includes balancing aesthetically attractive design with highly functional floor plans.

A licensed architect since 2006, his work experience spans educational facilities, office buildings, private residences, and beyond.

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