Natalye Appel + Associates Architects is a small, collaborative partnership with projects ranging from civic, institutional, commercial and art-related facilities to a large and varied body of residential architecture.

Since its inception in 1987, the firm has achieved significant national and international recognition for its primarily Texas-based work. In 2012, AIA Houston selected us Firm of the Year. We are committed to client-focused process and site-specific design excellence.

Natalye L. Appel, FAIA, LEED AP


Natalye Appel established the firm in 1987 following graduation from Rice University and the University of Pennsylvania. She has complimented her professional career with a commitment to education, teaching and lecturing at universities across Texas. Demonstrating a commitment to the environment and the community, she is a US Green Building Council LEED Accredited Professional, and serves on the board of the Hermann Park Conservancy. In 2000, in recognition of her accomplishments in the profession, Ms. Appel was elevated to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects.

Stephanie L. Millet, AIA


Stephanie Millet joined Natalye Appel + Associates Architects in 2005 and became a Partner in 2010. A graduate of Rice University and Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, Stephanie brings extensive experience in both residential and small-scale civic/insitutional design, both new construction and renovation.

Donna J. Kacmar, FAIA, LEED AP

Design Partner + Sustainable Design

Donna Kacmar, FAIA, a LEED Accredited Professional since 2003, is dedicated to developing well designed solutions that are straightforward, cost effective and environmentally responsible. In addition to architectural practice, she is a tenured professor and directs the Materials Research Collaborative at The University of Houston College of Architecture. Donna and Natalye have collaborated on award-winning projects since 1992.

Donna was elected into the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 2009, and received the American Institute of Architects 2004 Young Architects Award. These awards recognized her design work, her teaching, and her participation in many service organizations. Donna has served on the board of the Houston AIA, the Avenue CDC, the Rice Design Alliance, Architecture Center Houston Foundation, and now serves on the board of the Texas Society of Architects.

Lee S. Olvera

Design Partner + Art Director

Lee Olvera began his career at Natalye Appel and Associates, working on several award-winning projects from 1991 to 1997 and has recently rejoined the firm as Art Director and is also the Director of Communications for Academic Programs and Associate Professor of Practice at the University of Southern California.

From 2000 to 2009 Lee was Senior Design Associate at Frederick Fisher and Partners, Architects, participating in the design of a diverse range of projects from art-related spaces such as the Cotsen Textile Traces Collection, and the College Arts Complex at Oberlin College, to civic projects including the Annenberg Community Beach Club at Santa Monica State Beach. He is also the principal of OlveraWorks, a design and research practice interested in exploring a multi-disciplinary approach to design, pursuing projects that allow a process that challenges and reinterprets conventional boundaries between architecture, landscape architecture, art, and graphic design.