Meet Our Team

Z Architects consists of a team of people that truly love Alaska—they are a team that wants their work to reflect that passion.


Principal Architect

Marco Zaccaro has been a resident of Girdwood, Alaska for most of his life and a respected member of the design and construction industry in Alaska for over 30 years.

Marco graduated on the chancellor’s honor list with bachelor’s degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1989 and then completed a masters program in architecture at the University of Oregon 1997. Marco was employed by RIM Architects, in Anchorage, for six years before starting his own firm, Z Architects, in Girdwood in 2003. He has since designed numerous residential and commercial projects throughout Alaska emphasizing integration of structure, aesthetics and environment. Projects include an award winning upscale wilderness lodge in Kenai Fjords National Park and a timber frame Methodist Church built primarily with volunteer labor.

Marco shares the Alaskan passion for outdoor activities and enjoys backcountry skiing, hiking, biking and kayaking. He values spending time with his three children Dessa, Brenner, and Leland, and looks forward to opportunities to travel with them. His more recent travels include trips to Jordan and Syria, a trip to Nepal with his mother and sister, a trip to Chile with his daughter, and another family trip to Spain.

Marco Zaccaro represents a wealth of knowledge about the specific history, land use, and design concerns in the Alaskan landscape. His experiences and perspectives developed over a long period of time make him an invaluable asset to current and future developments in Southcentral Alaska. Marco works hard to meet the goals and vision of each client he serves and support the communities where he works. He is committed to the long term success of sustainable development and Architecture within his own community and Alaska in general.


Interior Designer

Originally from Michigan, Jen traveled to Alaska from Lake Tahoe CA. She has called Girdwood home ever since. Jen’s main passions are her family, food, and interior design. Jen has an uncanny ability to connect with clients and provide designs that truly speak to their sensibilities.


3D Expert

Ellen grew up in Juneau. She spent two years in the Peace Corps in Tuvalu and was appointed to the position of Public Works Department Architect. She spent her formative architectural years in San Francisco and retains an architecture license in California. Ellen is our resident ADA, Code, and Modeling expert. Her models are so accurate that we can give them to our contractors to build off of!



Chris Chiei’s design career spans over three decades with more than 25 years dedicated to building within Alaska He brings a comprehensive understanding of northern design principals to each and every project. He is an outstanding detailer and often carries his award-winning designs from concept to final delivery with great attention to each and every phase.

Chris has a great understanding of building codes and a proven track record of working with code officials to attain permits and resolve unique code challenges.

Chris also has more than 10 years of experience with rural Alaskan school projects where he developed skills for organizing and managing complex design schedules to best leverage seasonal and barging logistics for projects built at the far corners of the State.

He is known as a team leader and design mentor within the design community.


Architect in Training

Nothing natural obscures, is intangible, nor occurs in the mind of man. Nothing that is unharmonious is holy.

Connor Scher is a life-long Anchoragite, and proud EAHS Thunderbird, having left only for his Masters of Architecture from Portland State University and Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Design from Montana State University. Completely committed to the project at hand, Connor strives for empowering designs responsive to the needs of diverse users and the environment, as well as contextual to the historic and physical sites.

Before joining Z Architects, Connor worked for the Municipality of Anchorage Planning Department on the Historic Preservation Plan, 2040 Land Use Plan, and several amendments to local zoning code. Besides architectural design and writing, he has interests ranging from music to cider making. He believes in a balance between life and work and is most at home in the mountains or on a ski trail.



In 1960 my husband and I moved to Alaska and homesteaded at Dot Lake, in the interior, where we built a log cabin.  This was the beginning of my long experience with the construction industry. We enjoyed the Northern Lights, wolves howling most every night, and the interesting and hardy people we met. However, in the mid 1960’s we decided to move south to Anchorage and build a weekend cabin in Girdwood.

While living in Anchorage I worked for a company called Universal Services.  They had the sub-contract with RCA for the White Alice sites in Alaska.  It was my job to interview and obtain information about applicants for their security clearances.

After permanently moving to Girdwood in the late 1960’s and building our home there, I went to work for Alyeska Resort as head bookkeeper.  This eventually turned into the Business Office and Accounting Manager as well as part of the Administrative Team.  During that time, my husband and I started Alyeska Chalet Builders and built many homes in the Girdwood Valley as well as in Anchorage.

When my two youngest girls were in college in the Pacific Northwest, I moved to Issaquah, Wa, where I bought a gift shop.  I did all hiring, training, buying as well as payroll, payroll taxes, etc.

After I sold the shop in 1992, I worked for a business called Macro Com in Redmond, Wa.  It was a tele-communications cable company and I was a Contract Administrator.

In returning to Alaska in 1998 I started work for the Alyeska Ski Club as Race Administrator and Office Manager. When Marco established Z Architects I became the bookkeeper.

I have loved living in Alaska and raising my children here.  Now five of my grandchildren are being raised here as well.