Jul 25, 2013

Introducing the New Partners + Principals of PFS Studio

Founding Partners, Chris Phillips, Marta Farevaag and Greg Smallenberg are pleased to introduce our new Partners: Kelty McKinnon and Jeffrey Staates, and our new Principals: Ross Dixon and Jennifer Nagai.


Jeffrey brings over twenty years of professional experience designing and detailing spaces for a broad range of urban design and open space projects. His background in architecture, urban design and landscape architecture ensure his designs are well integrated at multiple scales: with landscape systems, urban architecture, and the regional context. His multidisciplinary background makes him particularly adept at complex, interdisciplinary collaboration.

Jeffrey has worked on projects throughout North America, Asia, and the Middle East. As the Design Director of our PFS Asia office in Shanghai from 2003 to 2006 he managed assignments across Mainland China, and continues to design projects in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Changsha, Haikou, and Ningbo. Recently he has focused on the design and delivery of Lansdowne Park on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, an assignment won by PFS Studio through an international design competition.

Jeffrey received his degree in Architecture from the University of Arizona, and lectures on landscape and urban design issues at numerous conferences.



Kelty McKinnon CSLA BCSLA
Kelty brings her experience in landscape, art, architecture, and ecology to all of her projects at PFS Studio. Specializing in projects dealing with the public realm, she is committed to the creation of unique, innovative public space that is both culturally and ecologically rich. Kelty has played a key role in PFS’s success in design competitions, including the international Toronto Harbourfront Competition, the Gardiner Expressway Innovative Ideas Competition in Toronto, and the Lansdowne Park Competition in Ottawa. She is now Managing Partner at PFS Studio.

Kelty holds a Master’s of Landscape Architecture from the University of Minnesota, a Bachelor’s of Environmental Studies from the University of Manitoba, and also studied public art at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Kelty has taught design studios at the University of British Columbia focusing on the production of landscapes that engage environmental and cultural ecologies. She was the editor and a contributing essayist for Grounded: The Work of Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg and writes on diverse topics associated with landscape for several books and journals. Her artistic and landscape architectural work has been shown in London, Vienna, New York, Berlin, Vancouver, and Walla Walla. Kelty has sat on numerous public art, and historic district advisory committees and sat on the Board of Directors for the Vancouver Centre for Contemporary Asian Art.



Ross has been a part of the core PFS team since the early 90’s and has contributed to numerous built projects within Vancouver, British Columbia, and throughout North America. Ross’s focus for the past fifteen years has been in the areas of contract administration, cost control, and site services for most of PFS Studio’s high profile projects. He has a strong understanding of contracts, and works closely with clients, consultants and contractors to produce designs that are effectively implemented and maintained in their urban contexts.

Ross heads the construction documentation and administration team within the studio, which oversees the review and administration of contract documents, and establishes best practices for quality control. He holds a degree in landscape architecture from UBC, as well as a degree in Urban Planning Technology from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton.



Jennifer has developed a diverse portfolio of complex, highly urban, public open space projects throughout Canada. Over the fifteen years that she has been in practice, she has been committed to high standards of execution in all aspects of design and project delivery. Jennifer has strong expertise in interdisciplinary design from her early years of training in both architecture and landscape architecture and her work experience in multi-disciplinary firms. Much of her work focuses on collaboration with artists and the articulation of rich conceptual ideas through precise, expressive detailing. Art and landscape have been seamlessly intertwined in Jennifer’s most notable projects at PFS Studio. These projects include the Canadian Veterans’ Memorial, Canoe Landing Park, and Sherbourne Common in Toronto.

Jennifer is a LEED Accredited Professional and focuses on the integration of natural systems within the urban context to develop innovative sustainable project solutions. She was the project lead on Sherbourne Common along Toronto’s developing waterfront, which has won several awards for both design excellence and innovative best practices in sustainability.

Jennifer has a degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Toronto, and practiced in Toronto for several years before joining PFS in 2004.