Who’s new at Shelter

You may have noticed that over the last year we’ve added a few new faces to our team. It’s been an exciting time of growth expanding the Shelter roster. We’re happy to officially introduce these new crew members!


Jakob Mahla

Architectural Associate

Having signed on as an Architectural Associate with Shelter in July 2023, Jakob adds expertise to our team through his thoughtful approach to empathetic, environmentally conscious design. Jakob’s passion for architecture is rooted in his desire to create functional, beautiful spaces that benefit people, animals, and the environment. Born to a family of farmers, he has a deep personal connection to nature and ecology which have shaped his design philosophy.

Jakob earned his Master’s of Architecture and Master’s of Science in Metropolitan Design from the University of Minnesota in 2022. He continues to teach at the U of M’s College of Design. Outside of work and teaching, Jakob plays cribbage daily with his fiancée and recently co-authored a book. He also participated in the 2024 Art Shanties this year, designing the “Reduce Reuse Re-Xylophone” shanty, an inhabitable instrument constructed from re-used & recycled materials. We’re thrilled to have welcomed Jakob to our team!

Jakob playing his daily round of cribbage.
Jakob with his “Reduce Reuse Re-Xylophone” art shanty and design team.
Jakob and his fiancée Marley (recently engaged!).


Keely Ashton

Architectural Intern

After starting as an Architectural Intern at Shelter in the summer of 2023, Keely is now pursuing her Master’s of Architecture degree at the University of Minnesota while working part-time at the studio whenever she can steal a few moments away from her studies. Keely’s lifelong passion for architecture started as a little girl when she would spend hours drawing up house and hotel floor plans, imagining how people live in and enjoy spaces. Keely’s interest in architecture and design has only continued to grow and evolve since then. Her study abroad experience in Copenhagen and exposure to project work at Shelter have sparked Keely’s interest in topics including urban design, walkable city planning, universal design, adaptive reuse, and sustainable living which she plans to continue exploring both in graduate school and at Shelter.

With a love for learning and flexing both the analytical and creative sides of her brain, Keely adds a valuable blend of creativity and practicality to our studio. Outside of work and school, Keely enjoys dancing, traveling, photography, and all things Gopher sports. We’re excited to have her on board!

Keely performing with the studio she danced at for 12 years.
A sketch from Keely’s portfolio. Today she continues to draw for fun and as part of her graduate school coursework.
Keely and her family cheering on the U of M football team. Ski U Mah!


Kat Van Hulle

Marketing Coordinator

Kat started her role as Marketing Coordinator at Shelter in April 2023. Stepping into a newly created role on the team, Kat leads the planning and execution of a wide range of marketing tactics. Kat’s interest in design was sparked when she and her Mom tag teamed interior updates to her childhood home. She was excited to combine her background in business with her love for design.

Originally from Milwaukee, WI, Kat moved to Minneapolis to attend the University of Minnesota where she graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing in 2021. She loved the Twin Cities so much that she decided to make it her full-time home. Outside of the studio, Kat finds time to play volleyball, run, hike, peruse the local farmer’s markets, read, and travel whenever possible. Welcome Kat!

Kat at the Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Paris, France.
A photo from Kat’s travels in Southern France at the Marché Aux Fleurs (Flower Market).
Kat hiking with friends.


Want to join our team? Contact us.


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