James Donaldson, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

James Donaldson, AIA, LEED AP BD+C


James is a Principal with more than 17 years of professional experience in designing large scale projects.  His experience includes the architectural design of diverse building typologies including office buildings, cathedrals and large scale mixed-use developments.

James earned a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and a Master of Architecture Degree from Virginia Tech.  Prior to joining Johnson Fain, James was practicing in San Francisco with a focus on high-end residential and tenant improvements during the ‘dot-com’ boom.  James is a LEED Accredited Professional with specialty in Building Design and Construction (AP BD+C).

James’ knowledge of the building industry is complemented with his interest in green building technologies and advanced computer modeling.  James has co-taught architectural courses with Scott Johnson at both Berkeley and USC and has been a guest speaker at USC’s BIM symposium.  His commitment to green building technologies has led to speaking engagements and leadership positions with a number of organizations including The Passive House Institute where he is a Board Member.  He is involved in the US Green Building Council on the Abstract Review Committee for 2018 Municipal Green Building Conference & Expo and was a Co-Chair on the Greening Committee for the 2016 Greenbuild Conference.  In addition, James leads the Johnson Fain Sustainability and Resilience Lab within the firm.  


  • Master of Architecture, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, 1999
  • Bachelor of Architecture, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, North Carolina, 1996

Notable Projects