Highly anticipated TOD will enhance community living with its spacious plaza, transportation hub, boutique hotel, residences, offices, dining & retail amenities. KFA has announced that construction is about to begin on Ivy Station, a state-of-the-art transit-oriented development (TOD), that will surround the Culver City Station on Los Angeles’ Metro Expo Line. Located at the intersections of Venice, Washington and National Boulevards, Ivy Station, a development by Lowe Enterprises in partnership with AECOM Capital, will include a plaza for community gatherings and events, a boutique hotel, residential units, office space, and retail and restaurant amenities. “In its expansive scope and ambitious design, Ivy Station is unlike any other TOD district in the region. KFA regards it as a privilege to be involved in this extraordinary project,” said KFA Partner Jonathan Watts, AIA. “It’s exciting to support public transit in Los Angeles with a project that will bring enormous value to its surrounding neighborhood,” he added. Ivy Station is designed to offer a model for how to create livable, humane, thriving and vibrant communities along Los Angeles’ transit lines. KFA is a leader in TOD and is known for award-winning, innovative and influential urban design that has helped to define the architectural face of Los Angeles. KFA collaborated with landscape architects Melendrez on Ivy Station, which will incorporate a high-end boutique hotel with rooftop pool and several other exceptional features such as more than an acre of landscaped, public open space. The TOD will serve as a multi-mobile transit hub offering alternatives that include 21 bus lines and ample underground parking for visitors and Metro riders arriving by car, bike and skateboard, all adjacent to the Metro Expo Line’s Culver City Station. A five- to six-story residential building and a five-story office building designed by Ehrlich Architects to qualify for LEED Gold certification will all have ground-floor retail and restaurant space for lingering, shopping, and dining. A Great Lawn and Central Plaza will accommodate daytime and evening special events, such as concerts, movie nights, wine and cheese festivals, holiday craft fairs and seasonal activities. Named for the Culver City stop on the old Pacific Electric Air streetcar line, Ivy Station is the result of 16 years of planning to assemble the land and achieve the best solutions in all respects–financial, architectural, and aesthetic. “It requires a city like Culver City, with deep commitment, vision, and the motivation to devote resources from our redevelopment agency, to bring a landmark transit-oriented development like Ivy Station to fruition,” said Culver City Community Development Director Sol Blumenfeld. “This project meets every one of our objectives, and we believe it will be an asset, not only to the surrounding community, but also the surrounding Culver City business districts like the Hayden Tract,” he added. KFA’s Watts designed the master plan for Ivy Station as well as the hotel, residential, and transit plaza before he joined KFA. Although he has worked on larger developments, he considers Ivy Station to be “a once-in-a-lifetime project for an architect, in terms of the intense efforts devoted to its design and its hugely positive impact on the neighborhood,” he said. “I believe design is the real value architects bring to clients and communities.”GO TO ARTICLE
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Q&A WITH SOL BLUMENFELD, COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR, CITY OF CULVER CITYConstruction is about to begin on Ivy Station, a state-of-the-art transit-oriented development (TOD), brought to fruition by KFA, that will surround the Culver City Station on Los Angeles’ Metro Expo Line, located at the intersections of Venice, Washington and National Boulevards in Culver City. KFA Partner Jonathan Watts, AIA, who also serves as Chair of the Urban Land Institute’s Building Healthy Places Initiative, interviews Culver City’s Sol Blumenfeld to answer our questions about this unique project, developed by Lowe Enterprises in partnership with AECOM Capital, that has attracted interest nationwide. Q: Briefly, how would you describe Ivy Station? A: Ivy station is a model TOD designed to enhance the life of the surrounding community. Its several elements will include an open-air plaza and lawn for community gatherings and events, a boutique hotel, residential units, office space, and curated retail and restaurant space. Q: What was the origin of the Ivy Station development? A: More than 16 years ago, Culver City’s City Council had the vision to create a transit-oriented development district around the planned terminus of the Los Angeles Metro’s new Expo Line Phase at the Culver City station. Over time, the city assembled the land needed, and persevered with its vision through the recession, and beyond. Q: What distinguishes Ivy Station? A: Ivy Station is unlike any other TOD district in the region, not only because of its expansive scope and ambitious design, but also for its proximity to the raised station. No other TOD projects of its size have been built directly adjacent to the train station, woven in as part of the transportation hub instead of being separated by a road or other barrier. Q: What transit options will Ivy Station provide? A: Ivy Station will be a multi-modal transit hub offering the train station as well as alternatives that include 21 bus lines, ample underground parking for visitors and Metro riders arriving by car and bike, all right next to the Metro Expo Line’s Culver City Station. Q: What are the elements of Ivy Station? A: Ivy Station will incorporate a high-end boutique hotel with rooftop pool, a large, divisible ballroom, and an outdoor courtyard; a five- to six-story, residential building; and a five-story office building, designed by Ehrlich Architects to qualify for LEED Gold certification. Ground-floor retail and restaurant spaces will surround the edge of the great lawn and public plaza. The lawn and plaza will accommodate daytime and evening special events, such as concerts, movie nights, wine and cheese festivals, holiday craft fairs and seasonal activities. Q: What is the importance of Ivy Station for Culver City? A: It took years of painstaking effort to ensure that Ivy Station meets every one of Culver City’s objectives. In addition to facilitating transportation to our entire region, it will provide a vibrant center for people to meet, shop, dine and socialize. Ivy Station will raise property values in its neighborhood and be a tremendous asset to the surrounding community, as well as support neighboring Culver City business districts like the Hayden Tract. Q: How does a project like Ivy Station build community? A: Ivy Station is an example of a “traditionally located community” or TLC, representing a new wave in today’s transit-oriented development that emphasizes the quality, or feeling, of community that develops around transportation options. Designing this kind of TOD means creating the kind of places people want to be. TLC/TOD encourages walking, and that results in human interactions that enhance life for everyone. When people have improved access to their job locations and don’t need to rely on driving, it improves the quality of their own health as well as the health of the environment. These are the values of more old-fashioned, traditional communities, villages and towns that generally offer transportation, services and amenities at a walkable human scale. Culver City is an ideal location for a TLC, as a small city with a recently revitalized urban core that preserves the character of the city’s residential neighborhoods. Q: Can you tell us a little more about the design process for Ivy Station? A: Ivy Station was a rare opportunity to demonstrate that urban infill is essential to smart growth. There are the limitless possibilities inherent in such a large, multifaceted, project that revitalizes a formerly dilapidated Culver City industrial zone. We wanted the design for Ivy Station to focus on the careful crafting of the space between the buildings that will serve as lively paseos, or walk streets, with a strong sense of playfulness. In addition to the placement of buildings, we wanted to incorporate exciting forms that give Ivy Station a strong sense of place. Q: How does Ivy Station look to the future of Los Angeles? A: Today, we’re witnessing sweeping generational changes and their impact. Millennials are economically conservative and sensitive to environmental concerns, and their values are influencing public transit and transit-oriented development. They are used to alternative styles of living and the “sharing economy,” including transportation. Unlike earlier generations, they are not as interested in owning cars. This demographic and the generation after it will embrace walkable, urban, transit-oriented developments. Think of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “Great Streets” initiative, which describes streets that “activate public spaces, provide economic revitalization, increase public safety, enhance local culture, and support great neighborhoods. By reimagining our streets, we can create places for Angelenos to come together, whether they travel by car, transit, bike or on foot.”
KFA employees frequently use public transportation, bike, walk, and carpool to and from our Santa Monica office, which is conveniently located one block from the 17th St. stop on the Metro Expo Line. We provide our commuters with a daily cash reward and reimburse Metro fares. Since the start of our program, sustainable transportation use is trending upward within the firm. Nearly a third of our commutes in the first quarter of 2017 were via train, bus, bicycle, walking, or carpooling. To further promote eco-friendly commuting, KFA’s parking lot has dedicated carpool stalls that allow for easy, convenient parking. We also provide secure, indoor bike parking and have a fleet of company bicycles for business or personal use. Due to our office’s adjacency to Santa Monica’s extensive network of bike lanes, our company bicycles are frequently being peddled around the city.GO TO ARTICLE
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Partner In-Charge, Ivy StationMy passion for Architecture stems from growing up as the son of an architect in northern England. I would work in my father’s office making blue line prints, refilling ink pens, doing site surveys in the driving rain and visiting job-sites with my father. I loved then, and I still love now, the people, the process and the influence of design and construction on the community. There is art and science, as well as a lot of dreaming, arguing and communication, that goes into every project. At each step of the way, I love the cumulative nature of the process, the working of a collaborative team towards a common goal and the satisfaction of happy clients. Design is the single greatest value we, as architects, bring to our clients and our communities. It must have both leadership and collaboration, can be messy and fun, but it must respond to critical questions of location, climate and the client’s program. I believe we all, architects and non-architects alike, know great design when we see it. That is the magic of working on design and in a business that values design. I design by hand, using pens, pencils and watercolors, not only because I have deliberately stayed away from computers, but also because I believe it is the best way to arrive at a solution with flow, integrity, good proportions and the right feel for the site. Of course, there are lots of architects who produce brilliant work on computers, but I enjoy the speed, the fun and the artistry of hand drawing—and I think some of our clients enjoy it also. I have been very lucky over the past four years to work on Ivy Station, in Culver City, which is one of those projects that you just hope comes along once or twice in your career. At my previous firm, Tom Wulf at Lowe Enterprises invited me to form a team and enter a competition for the 5.5-acre site at the Culver City light rail station. This was a chance to design a real TOD adjacent to a busy stop in a City that is motivated to approve and back a great design. We won with a master plan that emphasized the pedestrian over the vehicle and created a large, public park right next to the station. When I came to KFA the project came with me thanks to the strength of the KFA team. We are now completing construction documents and nearing the start of a 3-year construction period which will produce one of the great TOD projects in California, knit Culver City together and create a place for community to flourish. One thing you learn very quickly as a partner, you are nothing without a talented team of smart people around you.
In May 2017, AIA|LA held its inaugural, daylong Encompass conference that focused on problems and solutions concerning diversity, inclusion, and equity within the profession of architecture. KFA celebrates AIA|LA’s effort in creating the proper forum for continuing the vitally important conversation about diversity and inclusion. AIA Statement on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, 2017 The American Institute of Architects, as part of the global community, champions a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion within the profession of architecture to create a better environment for all. Achieving this vision has a direct impact on the relevance of our profession and the world’s prosperity, health, and future. Among the speakers was Andrea Urmanita, AIA, a rising star at KFA and a board member of the Association of Women for Architecture + Design (AWA+D). Invited to share her personal journey as a woman and as a first-generation American, she discussed how her cross-cultural upbringing formed conflicting expectations about career success and how taking ownership of her career was key towards gaining confidence and becoming a licensed architect. Much work remains to be done to increase diversity, inclusion, and equity within the profession, in order to attract future generations of architects and to mentor and retain emerging talent with diverse backgrounds. The Encompass conference was a valuable chance for AIA|LA members to speak candidly and identify real action items to achieve as a chapter. Andrea focused on the need to capture and retain the pool of young talent that the architecture profession risks losing: those who don’t get the validation that they’ve earned, those who don’t have a clear picture of the career ahead, and those who don’t make it to positions of leadership. Among the key issues she raised:GO TO ARTICLE
- Aspiring architects must take ownership of their own career development, and tirelessly seek out work environments and opportunities to gain a better understanding of the profession.
- Architecture firms need to recognize the untapped talent and leadership potential within their staff. It’s in their best interest to encourage staff to integrate personal interests into office culture, provide opportunities for mentorship, and cultivate their young professionals towards leadership and career growth.
- Members of the profession, at any level, can become engaged both in and out of the office. Participate actively in professional organizations such as AIA|LA and AWA+D to advance and support fellow colleagues at different career stages.
- Every future architect can create her or his own path, regardless of gender or race, and not allow the habits and expectations of past generations to hinder their success.
This is my personal love story with Los Angeles expressed through projects that I’ve worked on at KFA. I am a native Angelino and was born in Boyle Heights. My teenage and college years were spent working in my parents’ Mexican fast food restaurant. So, when Barbara and Wade asked me to work on the design of Café Gratitude in Venice as my first solo KFA project, I was over the moon excited. It was a small restaurant tenant improvement project at 512 Rose, a then newly constructed mixed-use housing development designed by KFA. For me, working on Café Gratitude was like “playing restauranteur.” It was a lot of fun! When this restaurant comes up in conversations with friends I say, “That’s my project! My latest completed KFA project, Hollenbeck Terrace, was quite a jump in size and responsibility for me professionally. The former Linda Vista Community Hospital across from Hollenbeck Park is one of the most iconic historical landmarks in Boyle Heights. The days of it being old and dilapidated are in the past, and it is now home to 120 low-income seniors. A couple years ago at a fundraising event at Hollenbeck, one of the guest speakers was a future tenant. She shared her story of being homeless and living out her car for several years. I happened to run into her later that day on the 2ndfloor, where she was about to get a peak of her new home. I will never forget her reaction walking into her apartment for the first time. She couldn’t believe it. She was so filled with emotion that she couldn’t speak, and was excited to be able to call Hollenbeck Terrace home. That was the single most humbling and inspiring moment I’ve ever experienced in my life as an Angelino, as a woman, and as an architect. As I have grown into a more well-rounded architect and project manager, the projects I’ve worked on have also grown in terms of size and magnitude. The current chapter of my L.A. love story focuses on the future Ivy Station in Culver City adjacent to the LA Metro Expo Line Station. TOD projects like Ivy Station and other large campus design projects at KFA are paramount and necessary to the development of Los Angeles and its surrounding communities. My favorite Ivy Station design element is the 1.5-acre public park, which will become a great meeting space for public events and daily outdoor activities for residents and neighbors. Throughout my years at KFA, I have been nurtured and mentored to become a better person on top of being a good architect. From learning by example, I am paying it forward by volunteering as a mentor to inner city elementary and junior high school students. I hope these kids are inspired to create their own journey, to dream big, to never give up, and to go after whatever will make their lives full. My love for LA has grown thanks to being a part of the KFA family.GO TO ARTICLE
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. Uncommon 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. “GO TO ARTICLE
KFA 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.GO TO ARTICLE
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Partner In-Charge, “24” – MGA Campus Master PlanAs 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.
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: 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.GO TO ARTICLE
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2016 “Firm of the Year” Recognizes the Talent & Contributions of Licensed Architects TeamKFA 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
For the KFA Crawl/ Over two dozen KFAers took the streets of downtown LA on a 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.GO TO ARTICLE