Build Lightly Studio is a design/build collaborative pairing architecture professionals with university students to design, construct, and deliver projects to community clients in various locations around the world.

Co-founded in 2010 by Miriam Gee and Jason Selley, Build Lightly is centered around projects that present a local design challenge that is both meaningful to the community and engaging to the design/build team involved. Build Lightly Studio participants wield pencils and hammers in the same day, and learn the effectiveness of working in a team, while using a consensus-based design approach. Participants not only gain knowledge and skills in design and construction, but they walk away with a sense of client responsibility and community stewardship — all while delivering beautiful, affordable, and useful structures that tread lightly on the land, to end-users who would not otherwise be able afford professional services.

Since the launch of its inaugural project through the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, archawai’i program in Spring 2011, Build Lightly Studio has collaborated on projects in Kalihi Valley, Kaka’ako, Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Asheville, NC and Seattle, WA.

About the Instructors

Miriam Gee, AIA, LEED AP BD+C // Architect + Designer
Miriam Gee is a licensed architect, aspiring builder, design/build instructor, and green building consultant. For Miriam, there is no greater satisfaction than building your design with your own two hands.

After spending more than six years of traditional employment with award-winning architecture firms in the Pacific Northwest and Hawai’i, Miriam has adapted her career to focus on education through design/build. A competent project architect with an interest in environmental design, she excels in collaboration, project management, and community engagement. To date, Miriam’s experience as an educator through Build Lightly Studio includes: Asheville Design Center, Yestermorrow Design/Build School, University of Washington Neighborhood Design/Build Studio, and the Univesrity of Hawai’i at Manoa, archawai’i program.


Luke W. Perry // Designer + Builder
Luke W. Perry has pursued his love of the built environment through a professional career in architecture that focuses on substandard housing and community engagement. His work spans from public advocacy for the homeless to designing shelters/transitional housing in Atlanta and building affordable housing in Washington, DC. As a UC Berkeley Branner Fellow, Luke researched low-cost housing options around the world. He currently works for Mathews Architecture in Asheville, NC.

Luke’s background in construction and design has allowed him to pursue numerous design/build projects around the United States and abroad. As a design educator, Luke started the AVL DesignBuild Studio with the Asheville Design Center in 2011, co-instructed Build Lightly Costa Rica in 2014, and has taught design, drawing, BIM, and construction with Appalachian State University and AB-Tech Community College.


Jason Selley Assoc. AIA // Principal and Owner, JSA Design Group

Considered to be one of Hawaii’s most innovative and sustainably driven designers, Jason Selley is co-founder of WORKSHOP-HI and currently serving as president of the U.S. Green Building Council Hawaii (USGBC) Chapter. Jason is driving design on two of Oahu’s first Living Building Challenge projects, as well as coordinating multiple net zero water/net positive energy master plans for developments in Kaneohoe and Makawao.

Jason most recently received a 2013 AIA Design Award for the Eulu Net Zero Energy Portable Classroom project. With 14 years of experience as a designer for two of Hawaii’s largest firms, assistant professor at the UH School of Architecture and most recently co-founding WORKSHOP-HI, Jason is focused on developing the unique collaborative think-tank partnerships for research & high-performance design, with the goal of bringing our islands to the forefront of high-design/net positive architecture.