The Studio + The Expertise

  • Mark Nickita
    FAIA, CNU, APA, BSArch, BArch, MArch • President
    Mark Nickita, FAIA is a nationally recognized urbanist, architect, elected municipal leader, developer, educator, retail entrepreneur and the co-founder and President of Archive DS. He has distinct expertise in the development, enhancement and the regeneration of pedestrian-oriented, urban environments including downtowns, neighborhoods, developed corridors, mixed-use areas and underutilized districts, specifically in post-industrial cities. Architectural and urban design projects include adaptive-reuse, historic rehabilitation and new infill buildings in a variety of cities, projects that often require alternative design ideas for challenging existing buildings and sites with distressed market conditions.

    As an urbanist, Mark has extensive insight into the creation of pedestrian-oriented built environments and structures utilizing innovative solutions, commonly incorporated into all of his
    architectural and urban design projects. These include current smart growth policies, complete street planning and development of clear ordinance languages all with an enhanced emphasis on walkability.

    Mark is currently beginning his third term as a City Commissioner and is the former Mayor of Birmingham, Michigan, noted as one of the most walkable small cities in North America. He has worked in Birmingham as an appointed or elected civic leader for over 20 years, including terms
    as Planning Board Chairman and member. He has served on numerous boards and committees and is a Past President of the Detroit Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Mark has presented and lectured on urban issues and city building strategies for various organizations and
    municipalities, throughout North America. He has taught at the university level for over 25 years, having been on the faculty at Lawrence Technological University, Wayne State University and the
    University of Detroit-Mercy.

    Over the years, Mark has been awarded and recognized for his leadership in city building, architecture and urban design, specifically for his work to create better places for people. He was recently elevated to the national American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows, a distinction that only 3% of the over 90,000 AIA members hold. He was awarded with the AIA Detroit Gold Medal, two young architect awards, the Distinguished Alumni Award from his alma matter and numerous additional awards, recognitions and accolades.

    With the goal of increasing his extensive expertise in creating and enhancing places for people, Mark has resided and traveled to over 400 major cities throughout the world, in 30 countries on 4 continents. This Global Urban Study has been a critical contributor in creating his unique perspective in regards to city building and the development of a greater understanding of solutions in architecture, design and urban issues. Additionally, Mark is a developer and an entrepreneur with
    extensive knowledge of retail establishments. As a co-owner of multiple retail establishments and cafes in urban contexts, he is achieving his goal of enhancing and reestablishing people-oriented places in cities.

    Mark's passion and enthusiasm for urban, walkable districts has led to a career focused on the redevelopment and enhancement of post-industrial cities and other vibrant built environments. He uses his diverse skill set as a city builder to create places for people that are worth caring about.

  • Dorian Moore
    AIA, CNU, BSArch, MArch • Vice President
    Dorian Moore, AIA, Vice president of Archive DS, is an urban designer, architect, entrepreneur, educator and developer whose commitment to city building extends into civic leadership. He is a member of the Windsor, Ontario Planning Board and The Art Gallery of Windsor Board of Directors where he has provided leadership and guidance on municipal and cultural issues.

    Dorian has a strong commitment to redeveloping and enhancing existing urban areas, particularly where physical as well as economic challenges exist. He advocates for a strategic approach to revitalizing cities, based in precedent research and sustainable practices aimed at the long-term viability of neighborhoods, districts, corridors, and downtowns.

    Dorian’s expertise regarding the built environment has positioned him as a resource for the media and for researchers on urban issues. Dorian was featured in the PBS documentary Designing Healthy Cities and was consulted on the documentary Beyond the Motor City discussing the future of the Post-Industrial City. He was also featured on the public affairs television programs Spotlight on the News and Back to Back discussing architecture and urban design in Detroit. Dorian has lectured regionally on traditional urbanism applications in inner cities and has lectured at the University of Toronto to the Congress for the New Urbanism and at the University of Michigan and the University of Detroit-Mercy on the urban environment.

    Dorian has been a recipient of the AIA Detroit Young Architect’s Award and has been involved in a wide range of large-scaled urban design and architecture projects. Recently, he was Project Urban Design Manager for the 180 acre Michigan State Fairgrounds mixed-use redevelopment. Dorian
    was among a select group of architects and planners invited to Mississippi as part of the charrette planning team for 11 cities along the Gulf Coast that were ravaged by hurricane Katrina. He was a member of an international team of architects and urban designers invited to develop a vision for the underutilized “Port Lands” in Toronto, Canada. He was also a member of the Core Support Staff for the Mayor’s Detroit Land Use Master Plan Task Force in Detroit, Michigan, which developed the framework for the long-term evolution of the city.

    Dorian graduated from the University of Michigan and also studied at the Technical University of Vienna, Austria. Dorian has taught urban design and architecture at many local universities including the University of Windsor, University of Detroit-Mercy, Lawrence Technological University, and Wayne State University focusing on research that advances urban discourse.

    Dorian’s passion for city building has led him to spend many years traveling to and studying the urban character of more than 300 cities worldwide. Dorian uses this first-hand experience to aid in his mission of creating environments of great value and long-lasting appeal for people.

  • Kevin Borsay
    Cofounder Vice President
    Kevin Borsay, co-founder and Vice President of Archive DS, is an entrepreneur with extensive expertise in brand conceptualization and development. As a leader in creating enduring regional brands in the retail, food service and manufacturing sectors, he has successfully launched and leads numerous successful enterprises designed to bring economic and social vitality to underutilized buildings, neighborhoods and towns. Notably, Kevin understands and harnesses the power of using innovative brand concepts as a catalyst for positive transformation of the built environment.

    A proponent of re-introducing small-scale manufacturing in the city of Detroit, Kevin conceptualized and co-founded Workshop, a furniture manufacturer and retailer that designs, builds and sells modern furniture using lumber reclaimed from Detroit's vacant and abandoned building stock.

    Kevin is an engineering graduate from Lawrence Technological University and has studied at the University of Detroit Mercy. He has travelled to more than 300 cities, studying and learning first-hand, a wide range of conditions and applications that contribute to the overall health and vitality of a region.

  • Shawn Santo
    Shawn Santo, conceptual designer, retail expert and partner. Recognized by Crain’s Detroit Business as one of the region’s ‘Most Powerful People,’ Shawn was additionally named as part of Crain’s ‘Dream Team’ for civic leadership.

    Shawn pioneered the national local culture movement when she founded the original Pure Detroit retail store and culture brand. Pure Detroit is a brand that highlights the value and importance of authentic local culture and its powerful connection to the community.

    Shawn’s Pure Detroit concept inspired the tremendously successful advertising campaign - ‘Pure Michigan,’ one of North America’s most successful state branding initiatives.

    Additionally, Shawn has conceptualized and successfully launched more than ten retail, food and beverage enterprises along with numerous cultural events.

    The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation recruited Shawn to meet with executives of Detroit watchmaker, Shinola during its initial start up phase. She made recommendations that included emphasizing a ‘makers/manufacturing story,’ highlighting the ‘watchmaking process’ over a ’luxury concept,’ and pairing watches with Detroit’s emerging bicycle culture. Her site location suggestion, for the brand's first brick-&-mortar location on Canfield Street in Detroit's Midtown neighborhood, was also taken.

    Shawn studied art and urban planning at Wayne State University. She is a guest lecturer on entrepreneurship at Wayne State University School of Business. Shawn has an extensive background in art direction, publishing, cultural arts event production, product design and product development. Her interest lies in the reactivation of historic and distressed properties.

The Expertise

Archive DS are city builders, incorporating multi-disciplines that are required to created great places for people. Through years of working to enhance the built environment, the Archive DS principles have experienced numerous aspects of city building and recognize that creating great cities requires a multi-faceted approach. The principals have a distinctive city building “toolbox”, with expertise in architecture, the design of places, urban design and the details of planning.

Archive DS has a clear and definitive expertise in the multiple disciplines required to enhance and build successful urban environments. These varied and integrated disciplines are what is required to create excellent places to live, work and play.

The Archive DS team is distinctive and are notable experts in city building

  • Architects
    Archive DS architectural projects are specifically focused toward enhancing pedestrian-oriented urban environments including downtowns, neighborhoods, developed corridors, mixed-use areas and underutilized districts of post-industrial cities. Projects types include adaptive-reuse, historic rehabilitation and new infill buildings in a variety of cities as well as educational facilities, loft housing, office and retail projects, typically on challenging urban sites that require unique design solutions.
  • Urban Designers
    Archive DS has distinct urban design expertise with the development, enhancement and the regeneration of existing, pedestrian-oriented urban environments including downtowns, neighborhoods and developed corridors. Projects include large-scale redevelopment master plans, mixed-use corridor strategies, non- motorized and transit infrastructure planning, including the large scale Non-Motorized Plan and the Regional Complete Streets plans and major urban Corridor Bus Rapid Transit Analysis and design.
  • Civic Leaders
    Archive DS principals Mark Nickita, FAIA and Dorian Moore, AIA, have served as municipal leaders for nearly two decades, having been appointed to various municipal and regional boards and committees. Mark was elected and served as a City Commissioner, Mayor Pro-Tem and as Mayor. These leadership positions have informed them of the specifics of city building from ordinance creation and development implementation to the fiscal issues that are key components of driving a municipality toward success.
  • Urban Retailers
    Archive DS Team has distinct expertise in placemaking and urban retail development. Beginning in 1998, the principals have initiated, conceptualized and implemented urban retail stores and cafes in one of the most challenging urban environments in North America, Downtown Detroit. Currently, the Archive DS principals own 11 retail establishments, all in urban walkable areas. As urban designers, their understanding of retailing and entrepreneurship in cities is unparalleled and is a significant asset when assisting a municipality or developer in a redevelopment initiative.

    Urban Retail Places include:
    Pure Detroit, Fisher Building - Downtown Detroit
    Pure Detroit, Guardian Building - Downtown Detroit
    Pure Detroit, GM Global headquarters at Renaissance Center - Downtown Detroit
    Pure Detroit, Strathmore Building - Downtown Detroit
    Pure Detroit, Aquarium Building - Belle Isle, Detroit
    Vera Jane, Fisher Building - Downtown Detroit
    WORKSHOP, Fisher Building - Downtown Detroit
    Stella Good Coffee, Fisher Building - Downtown Detroit
    Enjoy Michigan - Downtown Traverse City, Michigan
    Enjoy Michigan - Downtown Northport, Michigan
    • Porcupine - Downtown Northport, Michigan

  • Developers
    Having extensive experience in urban and walkable development of districts, neighborhoods and downtown areas, the Archive DS partners have worked as project developers. Their expertise in building projects include initializing building projects, conceptualizing properties, creating design and capacity strategies, establishing financial approaches and implementation as project team leaders.
  • Educators
    The partners of Archive DS have taught at the university level for over 25 years, having been on the faculty at Lawrence Technological University, Wayne State University, University of Windsor and the University of Detroit-Mercy.
  • Lecturers
    Archive DS Partners Mark Nickita, FAIA and Dorian Moore, AIA have presented and lectured on urban issues and city building strategies for various organizations and municipalities, throughout North America.
  • Consultants
    Archive DS often work as part of a larger design and development team, bringing their distinct expertise, regarding urban issues and city building strategies, to various organizations and municipalities, throughout North America.
  • Global Urban Researchers
    Archive DS has extensive expertise in creating and enhancing places for people, he has resided and traveled to over 400 major cities throughout the world, in nearly 30 countries on four continents, all with the goal of gaining a greater understanding of architecture, design and urban issues.

    Below is a selection from the 400 cities in 29 countries that Archive DS has traveled to, studied, and documented:

    Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima, Kyoto

    Shanghai, Beijng, Xian, Canton, Hong Kong, Shenzen, Macau

    Bangkok, Thonburi

    Paris, Reims, Amiens, Leon, Chartres,Troyes, Blois, Dijon

    London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, York, Bath, Bristol, Oxford, Windsor, Derry, Belfast, Gibraltar

    Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, Haarlem, Antwerp, Delft, Rotterdam

    Brussels, Brugges, Ghent

    Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich, Hamburg, Bremen, Lubeck, Heidelburg, Berlin, Dresden, Nurnburg, Cologne, Bonn

    Salzburg, Vienna, Innsbruck

    Prague, Bratislava


    Krakow, Wieliczka, Oswiecim, Warsaw

    Athens, Crete, Rhodes, Santorini, Mykenos

    Istanbul, Kusadasi, Troy


    Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Genoa, Siena, Vicenza, Palermo, Catania, Syracuse, Pompeii, Naples, Pisa, Bologna

    Zurich, Lucerne

    Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Cork



    Madrid, Barcelona, Segovia, Avila, Tarragona, Toledo, Seville, Cordoba,

    Copenhagen, Helsingor, Roskilde

    Helsingborg, Stockholm

    Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver

    Boston, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Alexandria, New York City, Providence, New Haven, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Louisville, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Portland(OR), Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tuscon, Juneau, Miami, St. Petersburg, Tampa, Orlando, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Atlantic City, Portland (ME), Annapolis, Savanah, Charleston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Palo Alto, San Jose, and Nashville.

The Awards + Recognitions

American Institute of Architects (AIA) National
Elevation to the College of Fellows (Mark Nickita, FAIA)

Building Design Honor Awards
Young Architect of the Year (Mark Nickita, FAIA)

Building Design Honor Awards
Urban Design Honor Awards
Gold Medal (Mark Nickita, FAIA)
Young Architect of the Year (Mark Nickita, FAIA)
Young Architect of the Year (Dorian Moore, AIA)

Lawrence Technological University
Distinguished Alumni Award (Mark Nickita, FAIA) 

Oakland County, Michigan
Outstanding Urban Design 

Architectural Record
Next Generation of New Urbanists

Crain's Detroit Business
40 Under 40, Mark Nickita, FAIA

Hour Magazine
Detroit's Next

The Media

Archive D.S. has been published in many books, newspapers, and periodicals, including the AIA Guide to Detroit Architecture. Archive D.S. was selected as one of the Next Generation of New Urbanist architects in Architectural Record Magazine.

Strategies for Successful Infill Development, Northeast Institute Press.
Yokohama International Port Terminal International Design Competition,
City of Yokohama.
Toronto Waterfront Design Initiative, City of Toronto
Shuter Street Design Initiative, City of Toronto

Radio/ Television/Film
Metromode Media Television. Downtown Birmingham and Neighborhoods
Back to Back - PBS News Show. Detroit: History, Decay, Opportunities
Eye On Oakland - Bloomfield Television. Development Trends
WDIV News Report. Loft Housing
560AM Sunnyside Radio . Detroit Revitalization
WNIC - Radio News Show. Detroit’s Columbia Street Plan .
WJR - Detroit’s Columbia Street Plan
WDET - Detroit Events. AIA Conference on Design
Spotlight on the News - Radio News Show. Interview
Film Documentary. Listening to the City
Film Documentary by Richard Jackson. Designing Healthy Communities

Print Media

  • Architectural Record
  • Architecture
  • Ann Arbor News
  • Dwell
  • Detroit CBDA Newsletter
  • Metropolis
  • Oakland Press
  • Observer and Eccentric
  • Toronto Star
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Washington Post
  • Crain's Detroit Business
  • Detroit Free Press
  • Detroit News
  • Hour Detroit
  • Detroit Monitor
  • MetroTimes
  • New Urban News Newsletter
  • New York Times Review Magazine
  • Globe and Mail
  • Storypole magazine