Architecture | Planning | Preservation

Firm | About Us

An architecture studio with the expertise and passion to stimulate positive change within our communities.

Thomas Roberts Architects Thomas Roberts Architects

Thomas Roberts Architects was established in 2009 by Thomas Roberts, AIA as a small practice specializing in planning and design services for historic sites and buildings.

Since its inception, the firm has selected its projects and clients carefully and collaborated closely with the region’s foremost experts in the field. TRA continues to provide excellence in architecture, planning, and historic preservation; working on a growing number of diverse project types including theatres, churches, schools, office, residential, hospitality, retail, community, and civic buildings.

The firm synthesizes urban design, historic preservation, adaptive reuse, and economic development strategies for the redevelopment of stand-alone buildings and the revitalization of downtown districts. Many projects at TRA begin with an urban design plan and redevelopment strategy that pinpoints key buildings to drive the revitalization of commercial districts. TRA transforms communities’ liabilities into assets and creates future visions for those communities. Additionally, TRA is a pioneer in the community engagement process, educating the public on the importance of quality design and the critical need for investment in visionary and transformative public projects. TRA has leveraged over $150 million in investments for neglected communities and has made a significant impact on the quality of life in those communities.

As one of the state’s expert firms in preservation with knowledge of the federal historic tax credit program, TRA has worked to preserve dozens of nationally recognized historic structures and sites with a portfolio that includes some of the most significant historical preservation work across Michigan. These projects include the 136-year-old Tibbits Opera House Façade restoration and reconstruction that has led to awards from the local and state chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Michigan Historic Preservation Network, and the 2013 State of Michigan Governor’s Award for Preservation. TRA repeatedly demonstrates that restored local landmarks, once considered “white elephants,” can become anchors and an actively contributing resource to traditional downtowns. TRA has also shown that this small-town philosophy can apply to larger cities like Detroit where TRA has completed dozens of projects throughout the city. The firm has contributed in altering the “tear down” mentality that has plagued the city for years into a new paradigm of blending the old with the new.

TRA intentionally maintains a small practice in order to develop personal relationships with clients and provide the best possible solutions and advice. TRA leads clients to understand their current and future needs working in tandem to create a vision that includes the funding, phasing, and redevelopment strategy to turn that vision into a reality. The hallmarks of the firm are the direct involvement of its leadership in all projects, commitment to design, preservation excellence, and attention to detail.

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"I want to show people that it’s okay to take risks and do something different. It can be done! The process doesn’t need to be scary. We’re here to help lead you through it!”

— THOMAS ROBERTS, AIA, PRINCIPAL

Thomas Roberts Architects

Team

Thomas Roberts, AIA Thomas Roberts, AIA

Thomas Roberts, AIA

Principal, Founder, Raconteur

BArch University of Detroit Mercy

Thomas Roberts, AIA is regionally recognized for his expertise in architecture and historic preservation. Tom founded Thomas Roberts Architects in 2009. Tom specializes in historic rehabilitation, restoration, building assessment and survey, and adaptive re-use projects. He has successfully consulted on numerous National Register and National Historic Landmark properties throughout Michigan.

He enjoys his work and has lectured on historic preservation and design related issues. Tom is passionate about our culturally and architecturally significant historic properties and believes in the value of preserving our heritage while planning for future growth and development.

Tom loves to remind those around him that $#!+ happens and he has plenty of stories, which require no theatrics or embellishment, that reinforce his point. As the local narrator of anecdotes, he manages to tell tales that humorously entertain yet impart wisdom from a life well lived.

Read Full Bio
Wayne Dutton Wayne Dutton

Wayne Dutton

Associate, Sr. Project Manager, Fitness Instructor

MArch Lawrence Technological University

With over 20 years of experience in the architectural field, Wayne has fulfilled the titles of Senior Architectural Designer, Project Manager, and Properties Manager. His experience encompasses a wide range of project types including civic & municipal, healthcare, general business, mixed-use, religious, and residential. As an Associate and Sr. Project Manager at TRA, Wayne manages all project aspects from conceptual design through construction management.

This role includes developing the client’s program/vision, preparing feasibility studies, creating designs, conducting presentations, summarizing code requirements, coordinating & delegating tasks for staff & consultants, preparing construction documents, and managing the construction administration process.

When Wayne isn’t creating architecture, he is creating fitness. Whether in his home garage gym, with his boys and wife, or at 'the Fighting Fit' gym in Wyandotte one will likely find him sharing his passion for fitness with others. In his spare time Wayne is a fitness instructor and teaches several classes per week.

Read Full Bio
Nichole McNamara, AIA Nichole McNamara, AIA

Nichole McNamara, AIA

Sr. Project Architect, Super Mom

MArch University of Detroit Mercy

As a Sr. Project Architect, Nichole brings imagination and reliability, intellect and incisiveness to the Tom Roberts team. As a self-admitted perfectionist, she has the capacity for improving upon anything that takes her interest, including your projects. Her intuitive abilities and willingness to work create professional relationships characterized by stability and good communications.

Nichole possesses a wealth of experience to share and regardless of size, budget, or schedule, she remains detailed oriented, adaptive, and driven to give the best solution to any project.

Outside of work, she can be found supporting her two daughters in both classroom and extracurricular activities. Her goal is to raise strong but empathetic, independent but collaborative future leaders. She also hopes to pass on some of her creative passion, in whatever form that may take for them.

Read Full Bio
Scott Majewski Scott Majewski

Scott Majewski

Designer, Photographer

BScience University of Maryland

As a key TRA member, Scott develops the construction documents and specs that translate conceptual designs into physical reality. His range of project experience consists of preparing construction documents, as-built documentation, developing master plan and feasibility studies, and submissions for historic tax credits and designation. Scott has a background studying environmental science and sustainable design at The University of Detroit Mercy, The University of Maryland, and The University of Texas.

His views of architectural and environmental constructs are similar: as assemblages of interacting systems, and he is especially interested in how details and nuances of individual parts impact, and allow for, the integration of these systems into complete, functioning, and hopefully beautiful wholes.

In addition to his work at TRA, he is an active photographer, who sees photography as an adventure, so enjoys the process as much as the product, and understands that it isn’t so much about capturing people, places (and light), as much as it is about learning to see.

Read Full Bio
Estrellita Perez Estrellita Perez

Estrellita Perez

Designer, Baker

MArch University of Detroit Mercy

As a valued team member at TRA, Leeta holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Detroit Mercy where she was the recipient of the AIA Henry Adams Gold Medal. Her passion for architecture, design, and making were fostered in school and abroad throughout Poland and Europe. She feels a profound importance to work and serve in the same community in which she resides. Excited by the hands-on approach and involvement in every step of truly unique and one of a kind projects, Leeta is eager to contribute her design and technical skills to aid in the successful completion of any project.

Her passion for hands-on approach and making fuels her free time as a home baker. You can find Leeta in her small kitchen feeding her sourdough starter, experimenting with ingredients, and taking days to perfect the perfect loaf. She has an entrepreneurial spirit and one day hopes to start a business selling the various baked goods and items she makes.

Read Full Bio
Zach Rathwell Zach Rathwell

Zach Rathwell

Designer, Hockey Enthusiast

MArch University of Detroit Mercy

Zach, an Alumni from The University of Detroit Mercy where he holds a Master of Architecture, is a passionate and aspiring architect with an interest in detailing the built environment. His desire to participate in every step of the design process drives him to work with small and intimate teams where he can make a meaningful impact at the neighborhood scale, and contribute to the established local vernacular, with a modern touch.

He sees every new project as an opportunity to meet and learn from people and expand his understanding of how designers can influence the built environment.

Zach has been a hockey player since the age of five and makes time to incorporate this sport into his weekly routine by either making friends at drop-in or participating in hockey leagues. Equally important to Zach, is his Great Dane puppy named Ekko, whom he often takes to the dog park for some much-needed exercise.

Read Full Bio
Rachel Pisano Rachel Pisano

Rachel Pisano

Designer, Community Activist

MArch University of Detroit Mercy

As a recent graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy, Rachel is a developing designer with a strong desire to pursue preservation and community building. She is committed to a thorough, hands-on design process and believes you can only do something well if you have done it yourself. This philosophy informs her growing passion for woodworking and you can often find her in a garage somewhere imagining new objects to create.

Her experiences as a student leader have taught her that communication and dedication to people are integral to success. She was the recipient of the Alpha Rho Chi Bronze medal for leadership, service, and merit at UDM, and strives to continuously incorporate these vales into every task she pursues.

Rachel will take a yearlong leave of absence to work for a host company as a Challenge Detroit Fellow. This is a leadership and professional development program through which she will contribute intellectually and through hands-on service, making incremental impact in the community to gain new insights about the city of Detroit and its residents.

Read Full Bio
Enrique Ledesma Enrique Ledesma

Enrique Ledesma

Designer, Filmmaker

MArch University of Detroit Mercy

Enrique is a passionate designer whom often finds his interests in architecture and cinema to produce excellent and thoughtful design. On the path to architectural licensure, he is continuously seeking to improve his professional skills and participate in modern architectural discourse. Rigorously implementing effective communication / design techniques, Enrique strives to ensure his work shares the values and ideas of the clients and / or staff he works with.

Beyond the office, Enrique seeks to reveal memories and ignite imagination through the production of film. He believes every person to be creative and film to be one of many ways to communicate and illuminate our creative selves.

Read Full Bio
Abbie Roberts Abbie Roberts

Abbie Roberts

Administrative & Design Assistant

Multitasking Extraordinaire

As a recent graduate of Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte, Abbie is continuing her education at Henry Ford College. She is pursuing her interest in the family business by taking classes in the Architecture / Construction Technology and Drafting / CAD programs. Abbie is concurrently working at TRA to gain professional experience as well. Her responsibilities include office administration, field work, and hand-built documentation among other things. Her willingness to take on any task required make her an asset to the team.

With her precious remaining free time, Abbie can be found taking her pet tortoise Leo on short walks through the neighborhood or spending time with her boyfriend Dylan at his family's business, a local bar and grille.

Read Full Bio

An Open Invitation

If you have passion with a purpose and thrive when challenged - let's get to work...together.

Connect with Us
Thomas Roberts, AIA

Thomas Roberts, AIA

Principal, Founder, Raconteur

BArch University of Detroit Mercy

Thomas Roberts, AIA is regionally recognized for his expertise in architecture and historic preservation. Tom founded Thomas Roberts Architects in 2009. Tom specializes in historic rehabilitation, restoration, building assessment and survey, and adaptive re-use projects. He has successfully consulted on numerous National Register and National Historic Landmark properties throughout Michigan.

He enjoys his work and has lectured on historic preservation and design related issues. Tom is passionate about our culturally and architecturally significant historic properties and believes in the value of preserving our heritage while planning for future growth and development.

Tom loves to remind those around him that $#!+ happens and he has plenty of stories, which require no theatrics or embellishment, that reinforce his point. As the local narrator of anecdotes, he manages to tell tales that humorously entertain yet impart wisdom from a life well lived.

Wayne Dutton

Wayne Dutton

Associate, Sr. Project Manager, Fitness Instructor

MArch Lawrence Technological University

With over 20 years of experience in the architectural field, Wayne has fulfilled the titles of Senior Architectural Designer, Project Manager, and Properties Manager. His experience encompasses a wide range of project types including civic & municipal, healthcare, general business, mixed-use, religious, and residential. As an Associate and Sr. Project Manager at TRA, Wayne manages all project aspects from conceptual design through construction management.

This role includes developing the client’s program/vision, preparing feasibility studies, creating designs, conducting presentations, summarizing code requirements, coordinating & delegating tasks for staff & consultants, preparing construction documents, and managing the construction administration process.

When Wayne isn’t creating architecture, he is creating fitness. Whether in his home garage gym, with his boys and wife, or at 'the Fighting Fit' gym in Wyandotte one will likely find him sharing his passion for fitness with others. In his spare time Wayne is a fitness instructor and teaches several classes per week.

Nichole McNamara, AIA

Nichole McNamara, AIA

Sr. Project Architect, Super Mom

MArch University of Detroit Mercy

As a Sr. Project Architect, Nichole brings imagination and reliability, intellect and incisiveness to the Tom Roberts team. As a self-admitted perfectionist, she has the capacity for improving upon anything that takes her interest, including your projects. Her intuitive abilities and willingness to work create professional relationships characterized by stability and good communications.

Nichole possesses a wealth of experience to share and regardless of size, budget, or schedule, she remains detailed oriented, adaptive, and driven to give the best solution to any project.

Outside of work, she can be found supporting her two daughters in both classroom and extracurricular activities. Her goal is to raise strong but empathetic, independent but collaborative future leaders. She also hopes to pass on some of her creative passion, in whatever form that may take for them.

Scott Majewski

Scott Majewski

Designer, Photographer

BScience University of Maryland

As a key TRA member, Scott develops the construction documents and specs that translate conceptual designs into physical reality. His range of project experience consists of preparing construction documents, as-built documentation, developing master plan and feasibility studies, and submissions for historic tax credits and designation. Scott has a background studying environmental science and sustainable design at The University of Detroit Mercy, The University of Maryland, and The University of Texas.

His views of architectural and environmental constructs are similar: as assemblages of interacting systems, and he is especially interested in how details and nuances of individual parts impact, and allow for, the integration of these systems into complete, functioning, and hopefully beautiful wholes.

In addition to his work at TRA, he is an active photographer, who sees photography as an adventure, so enjoys the process as much as the product, and understands that it isn’t so much about capturing people, places (and light), as much as it is about learning to see.

Estrellita Perez

Estrellita Perez

Designer, Baker

MArch University of Detroit Mercy

As a valued team member at TRA, Leeta holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Detroit Mercy where she was the recipient of the AIA Henry Adams Gold Medal. Her passion for architecture, design, and making were fostered in school and abroad throughout Poland and Europe. She feels a profound importance to work and serve in the same community in which she resides. Excited by the hands-on approach and involvement in every step of truly unique and one of a kind projects, Leeta is eager to contribute her design and technical skills to aid in the successful completion of any project.

Her passion for hands-on approach and making fuels her free time as a home baker. You can find Leeta in her small kitchen feeding her sourdough starter, experimenting with ingredients, and taking days to perfect the perfect loaf. She has an entrepreneurial spirit and one day hopes to start a business selling the various baked goods and items she makes.

Zach Rathwell

Zach Rathwell

Designer, Hockey Enthusiast

MArch University of Detroit Mercy

Zach, an Alumni from The University of Detroit Mercy where he holds a Master of Architecture, is a passionate and aspiring architect with an interest in detailing the built environment. His desire to participate in every step of the design process drives him to work with small and intimate teams where he can make a meaningful impact at the neighborhood scale, and contribute to the established local vernacular, with a modern touch.

He sees every new project as an opportunity to meet and learn from people and expand his understanding of how designers can influence the built environment.

Zach has been a hockey player since the age of five and makes time to incorporate this sport into his weekly routine by either making friends at drop-in or participating in hockey leagues. Equally important to Zach, is his Great Dane puppy named Ekko, whom he often takes to the dog park for some much-needed exercise.

Rachel Pisano

Rachel Pisano

Designer, Community Activist

MArch University of Detroit Mercy

As a recent graduate of the University of Detroit Mercy, Rachel is a developing designer with a strong desire to pursue preservation and community building. She is committed to a thorough, hands-on design process and believes you can only do something well if you have done it yourself. This philosophy informs her growing passion for woodworking and you can often find her in a garage somewhere imagining new objects to create.

Her experiences as a student leader have taught her that communication and dedication to people are integral to success. She was the recipient of the Alpha Rho Chi Bronze medal for leadership, service, and merit at UDM, and strives to continuously incorporate these vales into every task she pursues.

Rachel will take a yearlong leave of absence to work for a host company as a Challenge Detroit Fellow. This is a leadership and professional development program through which she will contribute intellectually and through hands-on service, making incremental impact in the community to gain new insights about the city of Detroit and its residents.

Enrique Ledesma

Enrique Ledesma

Designer, Filmmaker

MArch University of Detroit Mercy

Enrique is a passionate designer whom often finds his interests in architecture and cinema to produce excellent and thoughtful design. On the path to architectural licensure, he is continuously seeking to improve his professional skills and participate in modern architectural discourse. Rigorously implementing effective communication / design techniques, Enrique strives to ensure his work shares the values and ideas of the clients and / or staff he works with.

Beyond the office, Enrique seeks to reveal memories and ignite imagination through the production of film. He believes every person to be creative and film to be one of many ways to communicate and illuminate our creative selves.

Abbie Roberts

Abbie Roberts

Administrative & Design Assistant

Multitasking Extraordinaire

As a recent graduate of Roosevelt High School in Wyandotte, Abbie is continuing her education at Henry Ford College. She is pursuing her interest in the family business by taking classes in the Architecture / Construction Technology and Drafting / CAD programs. Abbie is concurrently working at TRA to gain professional experience as well. Her responsibilities include office administration, field work, and hand-built documentation among other things. Her willingness to take on any task required make her an asset to the team.

With her precious remaining free time, Abbie can be found taking her pet tortoise Leo on short walks through the neighborhood or spending time with her boyfriend Dylan at his family's business, a local bar and grille.