Principal Russ Tyson has been a member of the Whitten team since 2007. Russ has always enjoyed the spontaneity of sketching and design, and as an architect, enjoys using his skillset and experience to help clients realize their dreams for a home. As early as childhood, Russ had a deep appreciation for the outdoors, fueled by his artist mother and father whom he used to help on home improvement projects. It was these early unplanned, spontaneous construction projects that gave him an appreciation for having a well-conceived plan before beginning to build.
At Andrews University School of Architecture, Art & Design, where architecture as a "real and lasting" value is emphasized, Russ learned that a well-conceived home is greatly influenced by its site and surrounding context and that using lasting, natural materials and classic forms and shapes creates architecture that is timeless. His studies also informed his belief in careful stewardship of the environment.
After college, Russ served as a lead project designer for a 50-person architecture firm in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he designed large-scale commercial, institutional, and healthcare projects. In 2006, he and his family moved to his wife’s home state of Maine, and he began working for Whitten Architects where he has been practicing residential design for more than a decade. Licensed in Maine and Michigan, Russ is also a member of the American Institute of Architects and on the board of the Portland Society for Architecture.
Russ believes that good architecture begins with good listening. He enjoys the process of starting with a blank piece of paper and getting to know his clients, imagining and designing for them and their families as they grow in a home. He finds joy in creating homes that are a reflection of his clients, rather than a reflection of any singular style. As a result, his designs range from traditional New England cottages to contemporary coastal retreats. His approach to site-specific design takes the unique characteristics of the land into consideration, resulting in what he describes as “specific homes for specific people on specific sites.”
When he’s not drawing or designing, Russ enjoys hiking, canoeing, sailing, and reading, and is actively involved in his Christian church. He lives in Brunswick with his wife and their two children, Paige and Rhett. They enjoy spending time together outdoors at Baxter State Park, Acadia National Park, and Webb Lake.