Our Designers and Architects
We believe different perspectives make for better design solutions. Our talented creative team of designers and architects are the backbone of Neighboring Concepts. Their ideas shape the direction of our company, and ensure a unique approach for each of our projects.
Neighboring Concepts was founded in Charlotte in 1996 by three Third Ward neighbors, Michael O’Brien, AIA, Chris Ogunrinde and Darrel Williams, FAIA. Through the quality of architectural design and responsible real estate development, the founding focus for their firm was to elevate the community planning efforts for the neighbor-led revitalization of Charlotte’s disinvested and disempowered urban neighborhoods.
In 2004, Luis Tochiki, AIA, joined the firm as a partner for several years as the firm transitioned from early initiatives focused on neighborhood housing development to more complex projects combining institutional and public sector planning with commercial/mixed-use development, transportation, and park and recreation, and community facility projects. As former partners left to found their own ventures, Darrel led the firm as a sole owner from 2013 until 2022, with leadership and management assistance from Daniel McNamee, AIA, and Luke Volkmar, AIA. Luke managed the firm’s transit design projects while Daniel led the firm’s housing studio. After leading these sectors for well over a decade, Luke and Dan became partners during the Spring of 2022.
As the firm continued to grow into other markets over the past few years, Frank Little, AIA, joined the team to pursue more healthcare and K-12 educational projects. Cathy Morrison joined the firm with special business development, marketing and healthcare experience. Cathy comes with proven national leadership and recognition in various organizations such as AIA, NC Board of Architecture and NCARB, among others.
Both Cathy and Frank are connected to Darrel through their former employer Mayor Harvey Gantt, FAIA. During the summer and fall of 2022, both have joined Daniel and Luke as partners and future leaders of the firm, ensuring that the legacy of leadership established through their foundational professional experiences at Gantt Huberman Architects continues living on.
Darrel stated that he is very excited to leave the firm with these four previous employees, all with exceptional talents, diverse skills and backgrounds. Each of them believes in and support the firm’s culture and mission, “Transforming Communities Through Architecture”. Creating beautiful sustainable buildings while understanding, it’s all about the people and the community.