​Centerbrook Announces Staff Expansion

CENTERBROOK, Conn. – Centerbrook Architects & Planners has announced the addition of nine talented architects and staff. With an eye to the future, the firm continues to grow strategically, designing projects throughout the U.S. and Canada from its office in the village of Centerbrook, Connecticut.

Those joining the Centerbrook staff in recent months include:

Ken Cleveland, AIA heads the list of hires as he returns to Centerbrook following a previous run of 11 years with the firm. Cleveland rejoined Centerbrook at the associate level and is already contributing to the firm’s major Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History renewal in addition to a couple of prominent projects in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Cleveland resides in Cromwell, Connecticut.

Jill Cartagena, AIA, the firm’s latest hire, comes to Centerbrook as a senior architect following three-plus years as a drafter and designer at General Dynamics Electric Boat in New London, Connecticut. Cartagena graduated from University of Connecticut with a bachelor’s degree and earned a master’s in architecture from the University of New Mexico. She has previously practiced in six different states, including her home state of Connecticut.

Sarah Afragola joined Centerbrook’s architectural staff following a position with AECOM in Arlington, Virginia. This is Sarah’s fifth appointment in the industry since she earned a master’s degree in architecture from Syracuse University in 2011. Afragola is originally from nearby Madison, Connecticut.

Jiaying Bai graduated with a master’s degree in interior architecture from Rhode Island School of Design in 2018 and joined Centerbrook last fall. Originally from Nanjing, China, she earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Tongji University before coming to the U.S.

Ryan Hansen graduated Summa Cum Laude with Distinction from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in architecture in 2018 and came to Centerbrook in December. Hansen grew up in the Twin Cities suburb of Plymouth, Minnesota.

Sarah Johnson is also a recent graduate getting her first industry experience with Centerbrook. From Guilford, Connecticut, Johnson joined the Centerbrook architectural staff earlier this year after graduating in 2018 from Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.

James Regnier joined Centerbrook earlier this year. A native of Agawam, Massachusetts, Regnier earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture and design from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a master’s from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute School of Architecture. He completed an internship with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill during grad school and came to Centerbrook from the firm Architecture Environment Life.

Patricia Collazos Valdez brought 10 years of experience to Centerbrook when she joined the architectural staff. A native of Caracas, Venezuela, she was a licensed architect in her home country and worked on numerous hospitality, residential and retail projects prior to coming to the U.S. in 2016.

In addition to the architectural staff hires, Centerbrook welcomed Caitlin Fearon as the firm’s executive assistant. Fearon took over for Linda Couture, who retired last year after more than 30 years of service to the firm. Fearon earned a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Allegheny College and a master’s in administration from Canisius College. She worked previously at online retailer Zulily.

Named a “Top Workplace in the Greater Hartford Area” by the Hartford Courant in 2018, Centerbrook now has 60 employees, including just under 40 registered architects.