Ben Lepley is a licensed architect residing in rural Bisbee, Arizona. He graduated from the Southern California Institute of Architecture in 2007. His first job after graduating was in India for Bijoy Jain of Studio Mumbai Architects immersed in the rich sustainable design-build culture there. After this he went on to China working for Ma Yansong of MAD architects where he became project architect for a large high-rise project in Nanjing, a project that incorporated nature into the towers. The extreme differences of design strategies and industry between India and China was a matter of building diverse experience within the profession. In 2012, Beijing was going through a smog-caused public health crisis in which the U.S. Embassy had a standoff with the Chinese government. This experience radicalized Lepley’s approach as a designer in strategizing how to better ameliorate human’s impact on the earth.

Lepley moved to teach architecture at the University of Arizona for five years. Frustrated with the limited role as faculty and lack of impact as an architect designing one building at a time, he joined up with friend Jordan Kanter to envision how parametric and AI can be used in adaptive-reuse design. In 2015, Lepley decided to study covering and powering canals with PV using parametric design. In 2019, Tectonicus received an SBIR grant to develop and commercialize the idea. Tectonicus is now working with George Cairo Engineers on several canal-solar projects throughout the state which may likely become the first to be built in the Americas.