Nicholas Koulbanis, AIA

Vice-President/President-Elect (2021)

Nick is a Principal and Director of the Higher Education Studio at SMMA. He joined the firm in 2017, bringing national experience with him in Higher Education, Life Science, Healthcare, and Commercial sectors. While with his previous firm, Nick led his previous firm’s Higher Education studio, designing and programming a number of projects across the country; he also worked on several projects for area institutions, including the design of The Center for Culinary Excellence for Johnson & Wales University, and the newly completed SouthStreet Landing and Rhode Island Nursing Education Center – a joint medical simulation project for Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island’s nursing programs in the old Narragansett Electric Power Station.

A LEED Accredited Professional since 2009, Paul is a champion for sustainable technologies and design. A project he’s most proud of is the Hope Hospice and Palliative Care of RI, which was the first LEED certified health care project in the state of Rhode Island, with its LEED Gold certification. Other major projects Paul has overseen include an 80,000 sf medical marijuana cultivation facility and two dispensaries for New England Treatment Access (NETA) located in Massachusetts, and the new customer Service Center for the Office of the RI Attorney General, which is pending LEED Gold certification.

Over the past 2 years, Nick has served on the Board and Executive Committee for AIA-RI as Secretary and worked to initiate the AIA-RI Committee on the Environment (COTE) Chapter. Nick was born in Westerly, Rhode Island where he maintains a residence and enjoys his time in South County with his 2 children.

“In the role of Vice President / President Elect I would provide AIA-RI with a continuum of the momentum established and assure a cohesive transition of the knowledge of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. Through this, we will continue our work to elevate and enhance the profession with a commitment to design excellence and quality of the built environment. It would also allow me the unique opportunity to engage and hear from practitioners from a number of firm sizes and understand ways that we can better advocate for them to make sure they have successful businesses. It would provide me the honor to engage with and represent the chapter’s architects and young professionals and engage with members of the community that share the same hopes and dreams for the profession and built environment.
By working alongside and learning from others I see this as a way to help carry the torch for the profession and make sure the next generation benefits from the experiences of the past so that the profession can keep progressing and continue to be a leader around discussions of Sustainability, Resiliency, Climate Change, and Equitable Practices.”