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Who We Are

It all started in a 200 s.f. office ...

Joseph Lee & Associates (JLA Architects) was established in 2007 by Joseph (Joe) Lee. Our first team members worked on folding tables and attended client meetings at a local Mexican restaurant.

Since those early years, our success has been rooted in providing our clients with an excellent experience strengthened by real-world design solutions. For every project, we bring a balance of expertise and creativity that shape our designs, while our knowledge of the built environment adds a layer of feasibility.

As a full-service firm, we’ve been able to evolve alongside our clients, building synergies and aligning our work with their vision and goals. We’ve come a long way from our humble beginnings in Madison, we opened our second office in the Historic Third Ward of Milwaukee in 2017. Then opened our third office in Denver, Colorado in the fall of 2021. Today, these three offices allow us to serve clients nationwide.

What keeps us going? Our culture.

Although miles may separate our offices, we fondly describe ourselves as one team separated by long hallways.

Our project teams are strategically balanced to bring both expertise and synergy to each client and each project. Teams are not siloed into studios; we thrive as a collective think tank where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Here at JLA, ‘meetings’ are collaborations, and we always check our egos at the door. At our table, knowledge is meant to be shared and all voices are heard, regardless of title. So, whether you’re a client, our newest employee, or a general contractor, we want to know what you think and how you think -– and if you have a good joke to share, we’re all ears for that, too.

All of this is summarized in The JLA Way which was extracted from years of employee & client testimonials. It serves as a reflection of how we work, who we are, and who we aspire to be.

Best Places to Work 2024 logo

Recognized by the Milwaukee Business Journal as one of the Best Places to Work (2024)

Small Company Category

We Choose Humility over Arrogance.
We are Accountable and Authentic.
We Listen to Understand.
We are Inspirationally Positive.
We Work Towards a Common Vision to Achieve Uncommon Results.
We Lead With Compassion.
We Respectfully Challenge the Status Quo.
We are Diverse by Nature and Inclusive by Choice.
We are Community Collaborators for the Common Good.

At JLA, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are not just words.

They are core principles that shape who we are, how we build our team, and how we maintain our culture where everyone feels a sense of belonging. We value diverse perspectives, life experiences, and opinions and we work toward a day when the world echoes the same.

Our ongoing evolution...

Today, our operational leadership team maintains the same core philosophies in which JLA began. Our evolution is guided by principles that build bridges instead of walls (figuratively speaking, of course) and we lead by example, not by title.

We’re proud to support our local and industry organizations that are leading the front to better our communities.