Our 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:
Veronica Castro, AIA is a Puerto Rican architect who moved to L.A. after earning her Bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University. All of her favorite activities involve getting friends together to spend time outdoors – she spends most of her weekends either surfing, skiing, or exploring L.A.’s local hikes and bike paths. During the week, she likes to wind down after work by cooking any sort of interesting recipe she can get her hands on. After living in L.A., she has developed an appreciation for the make-up of the city and the idea of small, diverse neighborhoods forming a metropolis that has something to offer to everyone, regardless of where you come from.
Lee Cooper, AIA earned his BA from Auburn University, completing his thesis with The Rural Studio. After stints in Chicago and Austin, he spent the past several years in his hometown of Birmingham working on various healthcare and higher education projects before deciding to relocate to Los Angeles to learn more about multi-family. Both he and his wife are enjoying exploring their new environs and can most often be found peddling back from the beach with a breakfast burrito in their bike basket.
Jeff DeWitt was raised in the topographically diverse, beautiful state of Michigan. He attended the University of Michigan, where he received a BS in Architecture in April 2015. He moved to LA shortly after to join the fantastic team at KFA. Outside of work, he watches a lot of Netflix and peruses Facebook. On rare occasions, he also has been known to go biking, run in the mountains, play the piano, sing, act, eat, pray, read, sleep, ponder, visit movie studios, go to the Westin Bonaventure Hotel (his favorite building in LA) and to the movies.
Christina Hackett graduated with her BA in Architecture from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 2012. Having grown up in the scenic foothills near the Sequoia National Forrest, she moved to the Los Angeles shortly after graduation to pursue her passion of architecture and sustainable design. Outside of the office she enjoys night bike rides along the beach path, TRX classes and spending time with family.
Jeehyun Joo is a native of Seoul, South Korea where she attended Kookmin University to earn her B.Arch. degree. She moved to Los Angeles to attend the M.Arch degree program at the University of Southern California. After graduation, Jeehyun joined the KFA team to further her career as an architect. Personally she likes challenges—she is finally learning how to swim to get over her fear of water.
Elizabeth Kang received her Bachelor degree in Environmental Design from Texas A&M and went on to earn her M.Arch from Cornell University. Although originally from Texas, she lived in South Korea for awhile and then moved to Los Angeles in 2014 after graduating from Cornell. The complex nature of LA’s architecture is one of the reasons why she moved to LA. As an architect, the “chaos” in this case is not necessarily a negative thing but rather an exciting challenge. To her, the richness of the culture means endless possibilities. Elizabeth enjoys exploring nearby California locations while taking weekend trips with family and friends. She also enjoys photography, crafting, discovering new hole in the wall restaurants and especially going to markets in foreign cities.
Pedro Melis, AIA is a native from Caracas, Venezuela, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture. He moved to the US to pursue a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan and soon after graduation, he relocated to Chicago where he spent more than a decade practicing Architecture. Destiny (and weather) brought him to LA and he is excited to be part of the KFA family. Pedro is an amateur (but enthusiastic) filmmaker, an avid traveler, and he can cook one of the best mushroom risottos you will ever taste.
Li Shan graduated from the University of Southern California with an M.Arch degree. She has worked on multiple residential projects in California and Hawaii. Shan enjoys exploring new adventures and traveling has always been one of her passions. She loves to take challenges and believes the only way to understand a place is by being there. Shan has a strong desire to learn, and is now on her way to becoming an architect.
Raymond Vuong received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, where he gained an understanding of Building Information Modeling and the vital role it would have within the field of Architecture. His past work experience has enabled him to continue developing design execution from conception to construction observation, ranging from small to large-scale facilities. Raymond brings experience from a variety of projects that include residential, commercial, retail, automotive dealerships, tenant improvements, and high-rise buildings.
Adam Zhang was born into a family of architects and has dreamt of becoming an architect since childhood. He began his journey in architecture at the Shandong University of Architecture, and then attended the Bauhaus in Germany for further architectural studies. Adam moved to LA, a city of beautiful sunshine, beaches, and Hollywood movies, which greatly appealed to him. He graduated from UCLA’s M.Arch program where he was commended for his Hyperloop presentation. Soon after, he joined the KFA family to further pursue professional goals of becoming an architect and creating a better Los Angeles.GO TO ARTICLE
New Partner Jonathan Watts Joins Longtime KFA Principals John Arnold and Lise Bornstein
Santa Monica, CA — KFA (Killefer Flammang Architects), Los Angeles’ full-service, award-winning architecture firm, has announced three new partners. Joining founders Wade Killefer and Barbara Flammang as partners are John Arnold, AIA, Lise Bornstein, AIA and Jonathan Watts, AIA. Arnold and Bornstein are longtime KFA Principals while Watts is former Principal of Cuningham Group Architecture. The three expand the diverse legacy KFA established over the past 40 years in reshaping the Los Angeles cityscape.
“Coming off KFA’s 40th anniversary, we are excited to announce leadership for the next decade and beyond,” said Founder Wade Killefer. “Our new partners are innovators in many different architectural disciplines. They are poised to create more places that help make Los Angeles one of the world’s great cities.”
KFA has brought to fruition innumerable landmarks and important projects in the realms of educational and public buildings, multi-family housing, affordable housing (designing approximately 3,500 affordable units in Southern California), adaptive reuse (including some of Los Angeles’ greatest historical buildings), hospitality and many others.
KFA is well-known for adaptive-reuse designs that have reshaped the city, including the Old Bank District, Eastern Columbia building, Ace Hotel, Broadway Hollywood, Taft Building, Title Guarantee building, The Chapman, Rowan Building, Roosevelt Lofts, Pegasus, Pacific Electric lofts, 1010 Wilshire, and Grand Lofts. At the same time, 75% of KFA’s work is new construction, including the fast-moving worlds of hospitality, residential, transit-oriented development and creative office. Killefer believes this multi-layered legacy is in good hands.
“Barbara and I have tremendous confidence in our new generation of leadership,” he said. “This team is immersed in placemaking that draws from the city’s great past while projecting a future that it needs and desires. KFA will continue to have a lasting imprint on Los Angeles.”
Watts has been practicing architecture and land-use planning for 30 years in Los Angeles. His passion for great design and livable communities has led to work in many different cities and on many different building types, including mixed-use urban infill, multi-family housing, hotel, office, retail and entertainment.
“Design is the real value architects bring to clients and communities,” said Watts. “It is essential to creating beautiful, sustainable environments as well as high-functioning, profitable projects for the clients that commission them. That has been the firm’s calling card and I am excited to continue strengthening the KFA design process, especially for new buildings.”
Among Watts’ work is the complex and transformational Ivy Station. This highly-anticipated Culver City development adjacent to the Metro Expo Line will be an energetic center for residents and visitors, with 500,000 square feet of state-of-the-art office, apartments, a hotel, stores and restaurants within a landmark environment.
Bornstein has been with KFA since 2001 and sees her Partner role as a continuation of the firm’s redefining Los Angeles density.
“We are active community participants, creating elegant, original and sustainable urban infill,” she said. “And our clients are visionary in their own ways: They see the potential in typology of unit types and how the city’s demographics are shifting. They, and everyone on our team, exhibit passion and camaraderie that shows in the work we do.”
Bornstein applies this approach to KFA’s well-known affordable housing as well as a broad range of market-rate residential designs. Equally significant is her large-scale masterplan work, such as KFA’s collaboration with MGA Entertainment to transform an underutilized 24-acre site of the former L.A. Times Chatsworth printing facility into a vibrant campus. The existing 255,000-square-foot building will become creative office and production space, with the surrounding concrete and asphalt giving way to 660 housing units and retail.
With KFA since 1999, Arnold looks toward developing a new generation to carry on its design prowess and creative culture.
“Wade has often said we’re good listeners, and it’s true,” said Arnold. “We listen to what clients, the community and cities want, distilling that input with our wide experience to create projects that succeed on many levels. It’s a very positive ethic that filters all the way down to our friendly working environment and personal approach.”
Among Arnold’s current marquee projects are two high-profile but very different hospitality developments for Sydell Group: NoMad and Freehand, both in Downtown Los Angeles. For NoMad L.A. KFA is restoring a 12-story structure into a magnificent, 250-room luxury hotel with a grand lobby, retail space, a bar, restaurant, library, and rooftop event space and swimming pool. Freehand is a cutting-edge hostel/hotel brand that caters to group, international, and youth travelers.
Arnold also directs residential trends. The Micropolitan at Chandler will be a seven-story, 82-apartment, transit-oriented building at one end of a North Hollywood city park: “Our solution to this difficult site was to imagine a vertically accented mini-highrise, like a stylish Central Park apartment building, rather than a more-expected California courtyard building. This approach has been quite successful. We are applying equally innovative approaches to the new Seabluff condominiums in the heart of Playa Vista, creating unique, downtown loft-style spaces in that Westside urban setting.”
KFA by the Numbers
Over its first 40 years, KFA has designed over $4 billion of Los Angeles developments (project value, not billings, calculated in 2016 dollars):
- 151 housing projects
- 15,205 residential units
- 3,436 affordable housing units
- 904 units on Skid Row
- 4,416 adaptive reuse units
- 1,282 hotel rooms (built and soon to come)
- 30+ adaptive reuse projects
- 18 schools
- 12 recreation projects
- 11 libraries
- 4 fire stations
- 11 project buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places
- 70 current projects – 56 are new-construction projects
- 7,426 units currently in the pipeline (residential and hotel; new and adaptive reuse)
- Over 7,500,000 square feet of current projects (new and adaptive reuse)