Wednesday, March 29 2017

Partner Spotlight: Lise Bornstein, AIA, Partner

Partner In-Charge, “24” – MGA Campus Master Plan

Q1 2017_Partner Spotlight Image3

As a kid playing amongst the row houses, parks and alleys of DC; as a young adult exploring the maze of courtyards in the old Jewish quarter in Berlin; or yesterday discovering a new walk street near my home in Venice, I have always approached the urban terrain with a sense of inquisitiveness, adventure and delight.

So, when in 2013 I stood with our client amidst a sea of surface parking, and together we imagined the possibilities of a community of apartments interwoven with an amphitheater accessible to the neighborhood, a village green for picnics and movies, an orchard with fruit from his childhood, and an arroyo of people wandering through a huge, yet intimate site, it felt not only right, but like coming full circle as a perfect marriage of site and city.

People find community in different places, and KFA’s current projects reflect a subtle shift in the ways that we live in LA. Incorporating design opportunities for a variety of levels of social interaction increases connectivity and promotes a sense of belonging and participation in a neighborhood.

With the passage of recent initiatives, the people of Los Angeles have committed to making our city denser, more connected, and more inclusive. We will make our streets, transit system, single site and campus scaled projects part of a vibrant interwoven public realm. Looking to the future, I expect it to be an exciting ride in exploring and contributing to this city.

Lise is committed to the advancement of people and the profession. She has spoken at Design for Dignity: Changing the Housing Equation by Design; at Powerful, the AIA|LA conference showcasing women leading the design profession; and at the USGBC-LA Municipal Green Building Conference.  She is a Board Member and the Scholarships/Fellowships Chair of the Association of Women in Architecture Foundation, and a Board Member of Step Up on Second.

Monday, March 27 2017

Meet the KFrosh Class of 2017

KFrosh PhotoOur office is bustling with new faces and we are excited about opportunities to collaborate as we grow. We interviewed our newest freshman class and asked each of them to give us a brief introduction:

Christopher Faulhammer
Born in Florida and raised in Ohio, Christopher has always had a passion for technology and finding ways of automating or streamlining the ways tasks are performed. With over 10 years of BIM knowledge and management, Christopher charges forward to find better ways to handle today’s demanding project information. In his free time (mostly after the kids go to bed), you will find him photographing architecture, coding a new application, or learning new software. Christopher is a member of NCARB and the AIA.

Chuck Barnes
Chuck began his relationship with KFA as a member of the architectural staff in 1994. He is responsible for technological and human information systems in the service of KFA’s mission. He is interested not so much in the new as in the effective and the delightful. He mentors homeless youth at p:ear in Portland, and enjoys singing and playing the banjo.

Corinne Leo
As she grew up outside of Philadelphia and went to school in Southwest Virginia, Corinne yearned to live in a city by the ocean. Her fascination with urban metropolitan areas and obsession with all things marine life compelled her to move to Santa Monica, and she has no plans to return back East. From the beachy haven of Santa Monica where she lives and works, to the mountains of Malibu where you can find her hiking on the weekends, and to the hustle and bustle of downtown LA where she explores the adaptive reuse projects KFA has completed in the past, she appreciates Los Angeles’ many distinct environments. New on the KFA team, Corinne is extremely excited to leave her mark on a city she has come to love in such a short period of time!

Daniel Lee
Daniel’s ideal built environment engages progressive architecture, technical detailing, society, community, and place in equal measure. His commitment to addressing issues of social inequality has led him to work in urban revitalization in Downtown Los Angeles with the former Community Redevelopment Agency, affordable housing development in the Bay Area in partnership with AmeriCorps, and international development as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Balkan Peninsula. Daniel can be found drinking as much wondrous coffee as he can and appreciating California’s bountiful food and landscapes.

Daniel Silver
Daniel brings over two decades of full-service accounting expertise to KFA and its clients. His position is vital to making sure that all project billing is timely processed and that the firm is fiscally sound. Daniel also brings focus and dedication to his work. His experience includes being the controller for mechanical and electrical engineering firms where he gained a thorough knowledge of construction accounting procedures. He also has worked with companies that provide services to Federal and local government agencies. What Daniel loves about KFA is that the people love their work. When he’s not looking for patterns in KFA’s financial statements, he can be found making floral patterns in his paintings.

Dara Haagens
Having recently joined the KFA team, Dara values sustainability, innovation and user centered design. For her, successful designs confer a feeling of authenticity, sensory impact, and the connection of the user to the greater social and ecological context. Dara has worked on the design and development of single and multi-family residential, commercial and retail building and renovation projects. She also brings a knowledge of interior design, lighting, and landscaping, and graphic design to her work. Dara seeks to make the communities that she lives in better places, and takes her involvement in projects and passion for design beyond the walls of the office. Previously, she has volunteered with the Center for the Advancement of Sustainable Living and the Junior League; she is always looking for a good cause to get behind.

David Takahashi
After growing up in Las Vegas, David returned to Los Angeles, his birthplace, to attend the USC School of Architecture. He is a recent graduate excited to hit the ground running. He joined the team already hard at work on the Anita May Rosenstein LGBT Center located in Hollywood, and is eager to see the project come to fruition. David is a LEED Green Associate and is actively studying for the ARE. He is passionate about reshaping Los Angeles’ architectural landscape. When not hard at work, David is reading the latest best seller, working on his Japanese skills, or hiking LA’s local trails.

Kevin Ford
Kevin takes a holistic approach to architecture, considering technical and sustainability issues in design while respecting a project’s surrounding context. He seeks opportunities to create a more equitable, functional and beautiful city. While at KFA, he has been working on multifamily and urban infill projects; his previous experience includes complex higher education and medical campus planning. He plants trees in and around LA as a volunteer for Tree People, and is a Friend of the Los Angeles River. He loves music and running (particularly in combination); you may see him in your neighborhood.

Ismar Enriguez, AIA
Ismar has been passionate about drawing since he was a toddler; his creative energies are currently channeled into creating the built environment. While in college, he obtained a diverse background, which prepared him for a career in architecture. Those experiences included working for a press company, a residential contractor, a civil engineer, and an interior architecture firm. He continues to reflect upon these experiences when approaching each project. As an advocate of sustainability, his decisions are guided by a sense of the future of our environment. His sense of community has led him to serve non-profit organizations, and he has been involved in several local AIA chapters. Ismar has visited over 20 national parks, as well as many national monuments and state parks. When not at KFA, you’ll find him hiking, camping, and backpacking with Mochi his loyal basset hound.

Jared Subler
Jared has worked on a variety of new construction and adaptive reuse projects, including office, retail, restaurant, and multi and single family residential. With a knowledge of commercial real estate valuation, he has a holistic understanding of KFA’s market rate housing projects and clients. On the weekends, he enjoys exploring L.A and playing guitar. If he’s not on a beach or mountain, you might find him at a local taco truck or brewery.

Lydia Chambers, AIA
Lydia sees problems as opportunities to answer the question, “What is the best product that we can deliver?” Before coming to KFA, Lydia worked in healthcare architecture; she completed projects for small medical clinic tenant improvements, mid-size clinic renovations, the development of a new 250,000 SF medical office building, and the St. Luke’s Replacement Hospital project in San Francisco. Her former architectural employers include Gruen Associates and Boulder Associates. She has an eclectic background: before graduate school in architecture she studied American Sign Language, working as an interpreter while completing a degree in biomedical photography, and then as a photographer for a retinal specialist, before exploring Alaska and driving ski buses in Colorado. Lydia is an active member of a fitness organization called November Project, and completed her first full Ironman last year. She is also a member of the AIA and The Living Building Futures Institute.

Megan Lynch
Megan loves being a part of the cross-pollination of minds that leads to a beautiful built form. As a designer, she participates in schematic design and planning, design development, and preparation of construction documents. She was drawn to KFA for its leadership in addressing the urgent need for affordable housing in Los Angeles. Megan finds that participating in this process is a rewarding way to combine a love of advocacy and a passion for design. Her inherent urge to be useful in society serves her in efforts towards licensure, in researching sustainable systems and materials, and in her personal life: outside of the office Megan advocates for urban agriculture, and has volunteered at Enrich LA, Food Forward, and other like-minded organizations.

Nicole Violani
A Brazilian native, Nicole Violani moved to Los Angeles in her late teens, the result of her father’s passion to be a pilot. Between her undergraduate and graduate degrees in architecture, she worked on high-end, multiple lot residential projects. Since joining the KFA family in early 2016, Nicole has played an important role in the WHCHC Rampart affordable housing project and collaborated on others like the 4000 Sunset Hotel in Silverlake and NEXT on Sixth project in Koreatown. Nicole’s passion for ocean swimming keeps her competing in open water races and triathlons year round; when she’s not at work, she’s in the Pacific Ocean with dolphins and other sea creatures.

Sara Mears
Originally from Council Bluffs, Iowa, Sara moved to California in 1994, and received a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Humboldt State University in 2004. After college, she spent two years volunteering full-time with AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America), and in June 2011, she received a certification in Holistic Nutrition from Bauman College. Sara is ambitious, outgoing, creative, and enjoys organizing and planning events with thorough detail. When not at KFA, you can find her taking classes in voice acting and improv; she periodically works as a voice actor for indie game developers and other projects. Drop the mic…

Tyler Stark
Passionate about art, music, furniture, architecture, and all things design, Tyler brings a creative perspective to KFA projects. Born and raised in an artistic environment in Northern California, Tyler’s natural design sense drew him to a career in architecture at the age of 18. After graduation, Tyler began designing fire stations, multi-family residential developments, and other planning projects in San Luis Obispo. He can be found drawing at a drafting table, on stage with a bass guitar, in the seat of a bike, and home at KFA.

Wu Ji
Wu Ji is a sincere, friendly, detail-oriented project designer. She understands the value of effectively managing time in delivering high quality and well-executed designs. Having recently joined the KFA family, Ji has enthusiastically fit into the firm’s culture. Most of her experience has been focused on designing residential components for mixed-use projects. She is currently working on the senior housing units for the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s new Anita May Rosenstein Campus.   Originally from Beijing, Wu Ji received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, and earned her Master of Architecture from USC. Since 2014, she has been an active participant in the USC Architectural Guild mentorship program.

Friday, March 24 2017

LGBT Center Ground Breaking Celebration – News Coverage

Tuesday, February 28 2017

Leadership: KFA Associates

2016 “Firm of the Year” Recognizes the Talent & Contributions of Licensed Architects Team

Q1 2017_Staff Promotions image_v3KFA has announced several promotions of its licensed architects. Founded in 1975 and based in Santa Monica, CA, the multiple-award-winning firm attracts innovative and talented design professionals, and nurtures their professional advancement.

A large percentage of KFA employees have been there 10 years or longer, retained by the many opportunities the firm affords to work with other creative, talented people and contribute to a large number of diverse projects. “Los Angeles Business Journal has ranked KFA as one of its “Best Places to Work” in recognition of KFA’s culture of life/work balance,” said KFA Partner Barbara Flammang, AIA. “Our associates are inspired further by KFA’s focus on social issues, such as affordable housing, mobility and transit” she added.

The AIA California Council honored KFA as “Firm of the Year” in 2016, singling out KFA’s commitment to wellness and culture building in addition to the firm’s architectural achievements.

The KFA architects promoted to senior associate positions are Allison Massett, AIA, Christine Cho, AIA, Jesse Ottinger, AIA, and Monica Rodriguez, AIA; and promoted to the position of associate are Jaime Olmos, AIA, Kristyn Cosgrove, AIA, Lars Johnasson, AIA, Laura Highcove, AIA, and Tarrah Beebe, AIA. The associates will soon put their new responsibilities to work on creating and overseeing several significant KFA projects in various stages of the design process in 2017.

Wednesday, February 22 2017

Uncommon and “24”: Interview with Principals Jason Larian and Ryan Hekmat

IMG_4210 copyKFA collaborated with developer Uncommon and MGA Entertainment to develop a master plan for “24,” the Valley’s first live-work-play community, on the under-utilized 24-acre site of a former Los Angeles Times printing facility in Chatsworth, CA. KFA sat down with Jason Larian and Ryan Hekmat, the co-managing directors of Uncommon, to discuss the concept and development of 24.

1. What is “uncommon” about your new company, Uncommon, which you co-founded?

Larian: Uncommon is passionate about a new, “uncommon” vision for creative living as a model for the future of Los Angeles. We are a new firm, but, as a next-generation company, we co-founders each have a long history of successful development projects in the Los Angeles region. The real estate industry isn’t just about property. We are inspired to build and create spaces for people to connect, live more harmoniously, work more productively, and improve their quality of life. It’s a bold way to focus on creating long-term value for all stakeholders.

Hekmat: We take pride in being a young, imaginative and energetic company with tremendous ambitions for developing the best possible spaces for future living, working, and enrichment, linked by public transportation to regional transit centers. Our business model allows us to discover hidden value, bypass middlemen, and reinvest the savings in high-tier amenities. We want to bring award-winning, functional design to formerly overlooked areas.

2. You recently broke ground on “24,” an innovative, mixed-use “project like no other.” Who will be the occupants and users of 24’s live-work-play campus when it is completed?

Hekmat: Our anchor tenant is MGA Entertainment, a consumer entertainment products company currently headquartered in Van Nuys. 24 will be home to MGA’s new corporate headquarters. The company is well known for manufacturing innovative lines of proprietary and licensed products, including toys and games, dolls, consumer electronics, home décor, stationery and sporting goods. MGA’s award-winning brands include Bratz® dolls, Little Tikes®, Lalaloopsy™, Project Mc2 ™, Num Noms™, Gel-a-Peel™, and Zapf Creation®.

Larian: MGA has been and continues to be closely involved in planning 24 as a unique environment that will embody MGA’s core values of wellness, community and whimsical fun. MGA, Uncommon and KFA are all tremendously excited about the vision of bringing new life to such a large, underutilized property in an underserved area of the San Fernando Valley. Other tenants will offer dining and retail options, and the site will also include creative office space and world-class amenities for the residents.

3. Can you describe the most important features of 24?

Larian: The 24 acres located at 20000 Prairie Street in Chatsworth will include the 255,000-square-foot existing building; four new apartment buildings totaling 660 units; 14,000 square feet of retail/dining; a transit plaza; and extensive, community-oriented green space. The landscaping will include a dog park, community gardens, two pool plazas and a sports park. There will be a walking trail weaving through the entire perimeter, serving as promenade and an exercise path. The landscape’s canopy trees, native shrubs and drought-tolerant grasses connect the campus to the surrounding natural landscape.

Hekmat: 24 creates an integrated design vision of live/work/play, starting at the campus macro level with a composed series of diverse spaces throughout the site for gathering, fun and wellness including walking trails, an amphitheater, a village green with movie area and orchard, roof decks for yoga, outdoor dining, an open retail plaza, and a pool deck encircled by a dining room, outdoor cooking space, club house, theater lounge and gym.

Wednesday, February 22 2017

Uncommon’s “24” is Underway

Late last year saw the groundbreaking for “24,” a 24-acre, mixed-use campus project in Chatsworth, CA. It was master-planned and designed by KFA to occupy the site of a former Los Angeles Times printing plant, shuttered since 1983. The developer, Uncommon, represents the next generation of two distinguished families of the Southern California commercial real estate industry.

Q1 2017_Main story image_HRUncommon chose KFA in part because of the firm’s renown for influential ground-up new construction and adaptive reuse projects that bring obsolete sites back to life. Partner Lise Bornstein, AIA, headed the KFA design team.

The guest of honor at the groundbreaking ceremony was Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch Englander, who presented official proclamations from the City recognizing 24, Uncommon, and anchor tenant MGA Entertainment. MGA, which will move its corporate headquarters to 24, is a maker of consumer entertainment products.

Uncommon Principals Jason Larian and Ryan Hekmat told attendees about their vision of a live/work/play campus concept, the first of its kind in Southern California. We focus on people, not just construction,” said Hekmat. Added Larian, “The project will virtually transform the under-served neighborhood of Chatsworth into an interactive hub of work and recreation for residents, tenants and the community.” The developers acknowledged the support of important civic groups represented at the groundbreaking, including the Chatsworth Neighborhood Council, the San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the Valley Industry and Commerce Association.

“24 creates an integrated design vision of live/work/play starting at the campus macro level with a composed series of diverse spaces throughout the site for gathering, fun and wellness, including walking trails, an amphitheater, village green with movie area and orchard,” said Bornstein. “This concept moves into each of the individual buildings, and can be found in the multiple spaces including roof decks for yoga and outdoor dining, an open retail plaza, and a pool deck, connected by landscaped pedestrian paths and designed to reflect the character of the Chatsworth locale.”

Guests at the groundbreaking were treated to a virtual reality tour that allowed them to experience 24 as they wandered through renderings of the campus and its countless amenities for residents, employees, and the surrounding community, including a concert venue, poolside dining room and outdoor cooking space, a club house, movie theater, lounge and gym. The campus will serve as a template for Uncommon to build similar projects across the country, and reflects one of the core values of the company: “Begin with a vision, not a spreadsheet. “

Wednesday, November 16 2016

KFA Crawl 2016

Over two dozen KFAers took the streets of downtown LA on a balmy Friday night in November to enjoy the fruits of their labor with a carefully curated crawl of the bars and restaurants located in KFA-designed adaptive reuse projects. The group spent the evening savoring drinks and food, while experiencing the new vibrancy of downtown.

Monday, November 07 2016

MGA Campus : 24 : Uncommon Groundbreaking

Thursday, September 22 2016

5 KFA Teams Competed & Finished the 2016 Nautica Malibu Triathlon

5 KFA Teams competed and finished the 2016 Nautica Malibu Triathlon.
Awesome job!!

Team D’Yer Mak’Er – Margot Jamison, Ryan K, Jason
Team Killefer Flamingos – Dulce De La Paz, Adam Zhang, Veronica Castro
Team Jake From State Farm – Karen Filippe, Jeff DeWitt, Andrea Urmanita
Team TriTriAgain – Michelle Bolld, John W, Dganit Shtorch
Team Better Late Than Never – Nicole Violani, John Arnold, Raymond Vuong 

Tuesday, September 20 2016


As part of KFA’s green building culture, our firm participated in #ParkingDay2016 as a way to promote green public spaces, educate about sustainable practices, and continue being a good neighbor within the Santa Monica community.

Come join us again next year!
#StopBySayHI #ParkingDay2017 #KFAParkingDay #KFA #KilleferFlammangArchitects #SantaMonica #ArchitectureforLosAngeles