About Us

Honolulu-based WhiteSpace Architects is dedicated to innovative and sustainable design that embraces the way that its clients live, work, learn and play. Long before “green building” became a national movement, WhiteSpace Architects was creating designs that work in harmony with the natural environment.

Founded as Philip White Architects in 1983, the firm has earned a reputation for creating spaces that enhance, inspire and enrich people’s lives while honoring the cultural fabric that embraces them.

The WhiteSpace ‘ohana is nimble, creative and responsive, but – most importantly – client-centered. The company prides itself on its ability to work intimately and collaboratively with diverse organizations and individuals to produce architecture suited to the style and demands of each project, whether commercial, institutional or residential.

Philip "Pip" White

Principal • AIA

Pip began his career in architecture nearly 40 years ago. Fueled by an innate aesthetic sense and environmental sensitivity coupled with his personal values of integrity and resourcefulness, he founded Philip White Architects in 1983. Now known as WhiteSpace Architects, the firm maintains the spirit of purpose and deep understanding of design he instilled in its foundation.

As a seventh generation kama’āina and keen traveler, Pip understands the design characteristics that make Hawaiian architecture unique and appropriate for an island lifestyle. His signature style follows no established cast, and Pip believes that each project should reflect the unique needs of client and location. He often notes that architects are often entrusted with helping people realize their dreams and is grateful for that privilege. 

Pip has developed a diverse portfolio of projects including custom homes, commercial centers, hotels, educational facilities, and public spaces on every major Hawaiian island. His leadership as president of WhiteSpace Architects inspires consistently excellent award-winning work, but he maintains that assembling a team with true depth and diversity of talent in every position to be his greatest achievement.

He is an active member of our community and a thoughtful mentor. Through his leadership roles on several nonprofit boards including the University of Hawai’i School of Architecture’s Asia Pacific Center for Architecture, the Hawai’i Architectural Foundation, and the American Institute of Architects, Honolulu Chapter (AIA Honolulu), he has helped shape the islands’ architectural community and many of its future leaders. 

If not at work, you can most likely find Pip walking the beach or out surfing. He also cherishes his time away from the office spent with his wife, three sons, grandson, and rambunctious Irish Setters.

Laura Ayers

Principal • AIA, LEED AP

Laura has over two decades of experience in the field of architecture in Hawai’i. Her exceptional design sense, tactful project management skills, and cheerful demeanor combine to benefit clients and drive colleagues in their pursuit of design excellence to exceed client expectations.

Laura received her B.S. in Architecture at Georgia Tech and her Master of Architecture from the University of Michigan. Her undergraduate curriculum included a year at the prestigious École d’Architecture La Villette in Paris, France. 

After joining Philip White Architects in 2001 and partnering with Pip on many of the company’s most notable and award-winning commercial and residential projects, Laura’s commitment and talent earned her a leadership role in the firm. She leads our diverse team through the rigors of a demanding profession with a friendly smile and sense of humor. She is respected for her technical acumen, collaborative work style, and community involvement. Through organic mentoring and leadership workshops, Laura shares her expertise with young architects, develops their professional leadership skills, and encourages them to become involved in their communities. 

When not in the office, she loves spending time with her husband and two children.

Elyse Takashige

Project Architect • AIA, LEED AP

Elyse is a motivated and technically skilled architect who consistently develops efficient, creative, and effective solutions to complex challenges. By focusing on comprehensive project management strategies, she undertakes every project with determination and a smile, striving to find ideal solutions for both the client and community.

Born and raised in Hawai’i and a proud alumna of McKinley High School, Elyse earned her Bachelor of Architecture from USC in 2012 and promptly returned home to O’ahu. She contributes to her community as a SEEQS: the School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability Governing Board member, AIA CANstruction Committee co-chair, and frequent mentor to the junior members of our firm. 

When not spending lazy days at home with her cat, Dot, Elyse is always looking for new things to learn and experience outside of work. She can usually be spotted in a dance class, a bowling alley, or attending local community theatre.

Laurel Swan

Project Architect • AIA, LEED AP, D.Arch

Laurel brings a designer’s passion and a get-it-done drive to her work, constantly striving for the best architecture that also meets clients’ budget and schedule. She is based in Waimea and leads our new Big Island branch. 

Laurel grew up in Connecticut and after graduating from Haverford College, she first arrived on the Big Island in 2005. After spending four years gaining invaluable experience in the construction industry, she went on to pursue her doctorate degree in architecture from UH Mānoa. She joined WhiteSpace in 2013 and after briefly departing for New York in 2016, she has rejoined us and now oversees residential, educational, and commercial projects across Hawai‘i County. 

While her husband and three kids keep her busy with their weekend adventures, you can often find her out in her garden, baking, or perhaps even paragliding!

Ana Ruiz

Project Architect • AIA, D.Arch

Ana’s strong design sense, resourcefulness, and work ethic are the core of her process and approach to projects. She views every project as a puzzle and enjoys working directly with clients to collaboratively develop the best design solution for their needs. Her versatility enables her to make significant design contributions and effectively manage intricate projects, from luxury homes to commercial tenant improvements to educational facilities.

Born and raised on both sides of the Texas/México border, Ana earned her B.S. in Architecture from Texas Tech University in 2012, studied in the Masters program at the University of New Mexico, and was later drawn to Hawai’i to earn a Doctorate in Architecture at UH Mānoa. She has been a member of the WhiteSpace team since 2015, and has a passion for vernacular and bioclimatic architectural design that embraces and responds to the local environment and its effects on human perception.

Outside of work Ana enjoys globetrotting, learning about different cultures, and exploring Oahu’s mountains and beaches with her husband. Their home is also shared with a myriad of animals including her axolotls, chameleon, and fish.

Rebecca "Becky" Ziebelman

Designer • Assoc. AIA

Becky brings a dedication to quality and sensible design aesthetic to her work, and she enjoys most the opportunity for collaboration and learning that every project brings. Her design focus is on developing clear solutions that respond to the client’s needs while remaining responsible to the community and context.

After growing up in Illinois, Becky left the Midwest to earn her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design from CU Boulder. After working in project management and retail construction, she went on to pursue her Master of Architecture degree from the University of Texas. She has since moved to Kailua and joined the WhiteSpace team in 2021 where she works on multiple residential and educational projects.

On the weekends you can find her out exploring the island’s hiking trails with her husband and dog, lounging on the beach, or working on a home project.

Ivy Tejada

Designer

Ivy’s enthusiasm for new challenges and steep learning curves means she tackles each new project with creative ideas and fresh energy.

Raised in Lahaina, Maui, Ivy is a proud graduate of Lahainaluna High School. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design from UH Manoa in 2017 and is set to receive her Doctorate of Architecture in December 2021. She joined the WhiteSpace team in May 2021, and is working on a variety of residential and educational projects.

Outside of work, you can find her trying new recipes, reading, watching documentaries, and capturing scenes and people with her film camera.

Felice Geoghegan

Office Manager

Felice joined WhiteSpace Architects as office manager, overseeing all administrative and operational functions, she also provides general support to our six architects and designers.

Originally from Sydney, Australia, Felice has lived in Honolulu for some two decades with her husband and four daughters. Outside of the office, she is an accomplished baker who shares her experiences with cookies, breads, cakes and other sweet & savory treats online. If you are intrigued by Espresso Banana quick bread with Espresso Streusel or Kladdkaka-sticky chocolate cake, be sure to visit her popular blog “All That’s Left are the Crumbs!”.

Kahea & Hina

Office Pups

Kahea & Hina are WhiteSpace’s father-daughter Irish red & white setter duo. They are in charge of office morale and ensuring sure no food goes to waste. If they aren’t barking to greet you at the front door, they’re napping under the conference table or someone’s desk.

Caution, they express their love with drool.