Located in downtown Raleigh’s burgeoning Glenwood South area, Olive Architecture was formed in 2009 by Principal architects, Andy Lawrence and Tom Murphy.  Our firm’s name was inspired by the olive tree which can live up to 1,000 years still bearing fruit with the trunk changing and thickening into a complex ever-changing form as it ages—embodying endurance, adaptability, and sustainability.

Each of our Principals bring over 35 years of diverse architecture and design experience—leading projects from initial design concept to occupancy and beyond.  Our extensive portfolio of national projects includes:

  • Hospitality—Commercial to Boutique Hotels
  • Restaurants and Bars
  • Mixed-use Commercial and Retail–and Interior Build-Outs
  • Kennels / Pet Spas/ Dog Daycare
  • Residences–Multi-family and Single
  • Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuse

Olive’s success is built on the commitment that the client will always have a principal involved in their project.  We do not want to be the firm that hands off projects to staff.  This is a service agreement between our clients and Olive Architecture.

Driving our collaboration with clients is the belief that it is better to be honest about capabilities and schedules—then work to exceed our clients’ expectations.  At Olive, we always approach a project like it is an investment of our own time, money and goals.

Strategic Advisor – How We Work

Our success is built on forging long term, strategic partnerships with our clients.  As their Strategic Advisor, we establish Olive Architecture as their life-long architect and advocate.  Whether it is a commercial business venture like the roll out of a restaurant chain—a boutique operation like a Pet Spa—or a LEED certified residence— each project offers distinct architectural design opportunities and challenges.

Our vision for a project begins with listening to the client’s need and expectations.  A critical element of our collaboration is to closely listen and visually assess information about the site, surroundings, and intended use.  We work closely with our clients to establish goals; gather pertinent facts; develop concepts; and define project needs. This strategic programming process shapes the vision for our architecture and design projects.  Communication is key to creating an architectural solution that optimally uses the site and enables the client to get the most out of a location and building design.

The client testimonials below serve as some of our best references demonstrating how we are invested in our client’s short- and long term planning—and ultimate success.

Do you have a new architectural design project?  Send your contact information and proposals to:  andy@olive-arch.com.  We welcome opportunities for collaboration.


Andy O. Lawrence, AIA
Managing Partner │Principal Architect

Andy Lawrence, Partner at Raleigh-based Olive Architecture, Spearheads Rollout of New Buffalo Brothers Restaurant and Bar in Garner, NC for Long Term Client and Owner—Matt Boyd

Andy Lawrence graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a BA in Architecture in 1978.  He began his professional career as an intern architect at Obrien & Atkins Associates in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  Following his apprenticeship, he studied architecture and urban design at the University of Copenhagen, School of Architecture and Design, Denmark.  Andy continued his studies at Texas A& M University earning a Master of Architecture degree in 1982.  Soon after, he joined the firm of Milton Small and Associates.  After a career in other architectural and engineering firms including Lawrence Architecture, Andy joined with Tom Murphy forming Olive Architecture in 2009.  Olive was chosen as the firm’s name as the olive tree can last for 1,000 years symbolizing endurance and sustainability.  During these early years, as architect and general contractor—the firm designed and built several commercial projects in North- and South Carolina like three Buffalo Brothers Restaurants in NC and the renovation of a Holiday Inn Express in SC.  The firm’s focus is now architectural design and strategic advisory to their long term clients in commercial, hotel and restaurant businesses.

With thirty-eight years of professional experience as an architect, general contractor, real estate investor and developer, Andy brings a considerable range of expertise to Olive Architecture. He has worked intensely on projects ranging from historic preservation to mixed-use commercial, custom residential, multi-family housing, hotel and restaurant—incorporating latest technologies in construction.  Andy’s involvement as principal-in-charge with commercial projects like the rollout of the Buffalo Brothers Restaurants exemplifies how he sets the criterion for Olive’s design and project management team to collaborate with clients as strategic advisors on planning, site selection and design to help them yield a business operation that works more efficiently and profitably.

Andy was first influenced by Dick Bell, ASLA, well-known landscape architect native to North Carolina.  Childhood visits with his mother to Bell’s Water Garden office and art gallery started his journey in design and architecture.  “There was something about the sense of place that he createdthe seamless and thoughtful blending of site and buildings enchanted me.  I knew I wanted to pursue something similar in my life.”  A core philosophy underlying Andy’s collaboration with clients is that “Each project represents a unique design opportunity and set of challenges.  Communication is key to creating a good design solution where the client and architect work together through thoughtful listening and cooperative efforts to define the problem.  Vision for a project is shaped by establishing goals, gathering the pertinent facts, developing concepts and defining the project needs.”  This is the programming process that shapes the vision for Olive Architecture’s projects.

Born in Raleigh with native ties predating the Civil War, Andy cherishes historic sites and is passionate about their preservation.  He has been involved with historic preservation since the start of his career as a practicing architect and serving as Chairperson for the Greenville NC Historic Preservation Commission  and Raleigh NC Historic Development Commission encompassing sixteen years of civic service to preservation.  Andy was chair of the Uptown Redevelopment Committee in Greenville, North Carolina that resulted in reopening Main Street and successful zoning changes that encouraged mixed use development in the blighted downtown. Andy’s service to community also extends to his involvement with Triangle Family Services, a 79-year-old local non-profit organization that provides emergency housing and other services.  He has been active in Foreign Missions projects in Costa Rica participating in the construction and architectural advising of repairs and renovation of church facilities following an earthquake in the eastern part of the country.  He serves on the Wake Technical Community College, Architecture and Landscape Advisory Committee as guest architect advising students on projects and critiquing final presentations.  Andy’s involvement in these organizations is motivated by the desire to “help shape minds and share my experience as an architect. And, I have a particular interest in affordable housing issues and helping families in transition get back on their feet and not become homeless.  It’s giving back to my community.”

Passionate about visual arts, Andy anticipates every new exhibit at the NC Museum of Art and often frequents art galleries on First Fridays in Raleigh enjoying the works of local and regional artists.  Andy has made Raleigh his lifelong home where he raised two sons and a daughter—Andrew, Jordan and Anna Holland.

Andy is registered with the NC Board of Architecture, a Licensed General Contractor (Qualifier) in North Carolina,  and a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

To contact Andy Lawrence:

Email:  andy@olive-arch.com
Phone: 919.838.9934
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andy-olive-lawrence-aia-91b58721


F. Thomas Murphy, AIA, NCARB
Managing Partner │Principal Architect

Tom Murphy, Partner at Raleigh-based Olive Architecture, Led Design Effort for Proximity Hotel—the Nation’s First LEED Platinum Hotel and Restaurant in Greensboro, NC

Tom Murphy graduated from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo School of Environmental Design, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture in 1978, Magna Cum Laude.  In 1978, he began his professional career working with the firm, Richard K. Rhodes & Associates in Salinas, California until 1981.  Soon after, he and a staff architect from his former firm formed the partnership, Mein & Murphy Architect & Associates in Monterey, California.  In 1983, Tom received his architectural license in the state of California.  He remained with Mein & Murphy Architects until 1986 before moving to Charlotte, North Carolina to join an architect friend who graduated with him from the Munich American High School in Munich, Germany.  In November 1986, they founded Habitat Architectural Group in Charlotte practicing together until 1998.  In 1998, Tom moved to Raleigh bringing with him 4 members from his Charlotte firm forming Centrepoint Architecture which grew to a 30-person, 5-Architects firm.  In 2009, Tom Murphy joined with Andy Lawrence to form Olive Architecture.  Olive was chosen as the firm’s name because the Olive tree can last for 1,000 years embodying an enduring and sustainable quality.

As a practicing architect with 35+ years of design experience, Tom brings a variety of expertise to Olive Architecture.  He has worked on various projects ranging from extensive commercial to boutique-type hospitality, interior, multi-family housing and restaurant.  Tom’s involvement as lead Architect in the design of the Proximity Hotel/Printworks Bistro demonstrates his ability to take a design challenge and develop a solution that works both in form and function.  Tom summarizes the design of Proximity as, “The design embraces innovation as well as art and culture.  Consumers are hungry for that kind of singular experience.  Delivering requires vision and determination.”

Crucial to his collaboration with clients is Tom’s overriding philosophy that the real art of architecture is to come up with a project that fits its site, context and works to solve the client’s needs—and is a well done design.  “Clients are investing their money and taking risks—time and service are essential.  To not respond or create delays is the way to lose a client or project; no matter how good the design is.  This is the reason that Steve Job’s quote resonates for me.”

Tom and his wife Susan, both originally from California, have made Cary, NC their home.  Here they are raising their two children, Christopher and Samantha.  Central to the family is Kyle, their oldest son, who passed away on November 15, 1994 after being diagnosed with Hepatoblastoma, a rare form of liver cancer, at the age of three and a half.  This experience significantly impacted Susan’s doctoral focus on cancer research and Tom’s outlook on life, family and priorities.  The family enjoys the green, trees and openness of the Triangle area that is family friendly and safe while also offering everything a larger metropolitan area has.  The family also enjoys traveling to North Carolina’s mountains and coast.  Tom and his daughter are huge Hurricane fans. While their son Christopher is a Disney aficionado spurring frequent family trips to Disney World.

Tom is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA); certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration (NCARB); first in North America to be certified LEED Platinum U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2008.

Tom’s work on the Proximity Hotel/Printworks Bistro has been recognized for numerous awards including the Precast Concrete Institute (PCI) Sustainable Design Award 2007, the Construction Professionals Network (CPN) 2007 Star Award, Interiors+Sources Magazine #2 LEED Project of the Year Award 2009, and named by Travel + Leisure Magazine in 2009 as  one of the “World’s Best” City Hotels – Top 50 in USA.

Tom’s early work has been recognized with numerous awards.  These include:  for the Dilworth Court – the City Beautification Award from Mayor Myrick, Charlotte, NC in 1988; the Parade of Homes, Lake Side Tours – ‘The Regatta’ for Best of- Show and Architectural Design, Charlotte, NC in 1992; the NC AIA Merit Award for the Coty Control Center, Sanford, NC in 2003; the Progressive Designs, City of Wilmington – Saving Spaces 2009 Design Excellence Award, Professional Recognition and First Place Student Entry.

To contact Tom Murphy:

Email:  tom@olive-arch.com
Phone:  919.838.9934, Ext. 203
LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/f-thomas-murphy-95467151


Matt Austin
Senior Designer

Matt Austin, Senior Designer at Raleigh-based Olive Architecture, Designs Repurposed Industrial “Look” for New Buffalo Brothers Restaurants Opening in the Triangle Area

Matt earned a Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture from NC State University in 2006.  After graduating, Matt worked for a small local firm for six months before joining Tom Murphy at Centrepoint Architecture.  He remained at Centrepoint for two years.  Matt joined Olive Architecture shortly after the founding of the firm in 2009.

Working in the field for almost 10 years, Matt’s role at Olive Architecture is to collaborate with architects, clients, and engineers to produce realistic design solutions.  He refers to a ‘realistic’ design solution as a “functional response to the client’s needs and desires that fits within an achievable budget.”  Matt’s work at Olive Architecture has concentrated on hospitality projects like hotels and restaurants, although he also has been involved in some multi-family and student housing projects as well as single-family residences.  Some recent projects include Buffalo Brothers in Garner; the Planned Parenthood renovation in Raleigh; and many Hampton Inn renovations throughout the region.

Matt considers his collaboration on the Buffalo Brothers restaurant in Garner as a hallmark project where, “We had to meet the aesthetic requirements of the shopping center it was built in.  I feel that we spent a lot of time working with the owner to provide a space that helps to define his brand—we wanted to achieve a re-purposed industrial look, like an old factory turned restaurant you might find in Buffalo, New York.  We created a brick building with a large open interior with exposed lintels, joists and beams, and a mezzanine overlooking the interior bar.   The outcome we achieved is a functional space that also contributes to the efficiency of the business.”

As the youngest member at Olive Architecture, Matt brings a “millennial” perspective to the team.  He approaches projects with the philosophy to encourage design solutions that are unique and in alignment with what can be achieved today, not solely relying on what has been done over and over again—while still remaining open to take inspiration from things done in the past.

Matt’s interest in architecture developed at an early age.  He enjoyed watching the construction of the various homes his parents built while growing up. “I’ve enjoyed drawing spaces and building models since being a kid.” What Matt enjoys most about architectural design is the simple creation of space.  “There is something special about seeing ideas transferred from my head to paper and then to reality.”  He brings this appreciation to his collaboration with the Olive Architecture team, clients and engineers—from initial discussions on project scope, site planning, schematic design through construction—making sure everyone is on the same page and the client gets what he or she expects.

Matt is a native of Raleigh, seeing the city’s growth as a contributing factor for why he and his wife, Kristin, choose to remain in the Triangle area along with their two dogs, Bonham and Lily.  He is a self-taught drummer, having played in multiple local bands over the past eight years.  Matt enjoys biking on the Greenway and Umstead Park trails.  Some local favorite haunts are Big Boss, Circa 1888, Person Street Bar, the Pour House, Kings and 2112 Percussion.

To contact Matt Austin:
Email:  matt@olive-arch.com
Phone: 919.838.9934 x205
LinkedIn: www.linked.com/in/matt-austin-6555045

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