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:
Azi’s interest in architectural design began in high school where she used to draw designs in the margins of her notebooks. One could say that her interest in goes back even further to her childhood where she would build elaborate houses out of LEGOs. Azi believes that the architecture world is limitless and she is continuously fascinated by all the technological advances that push the fields of design beyond their boundaries. She is always learning and exploring new design methodologies. Azi continues to broaden her experience by having completed projects in multi-family / high-rise housing, mixed-use housing, commercial, retail, and hospitality.
Brian grew up in Southern California, lived in Arizona, Washington DC, New York and is now glad to be back in Los Angeles. He is enthusiastic, thoughtful and determined. Before joining KFA he spent three years working for a real estate developer specializing in affordable housing, and two years at an Architectural design firm in New York City before returning to get his Masters in Architecture at UCLA. He is passionate about architectural design, and cares about affordable housing and urban issues. He also loves food, cooking, any activities outside, hiking, biking, walking, playing the drums and will watch any documentary, generally the more boring the subject matter the better.
Born and raised in Guatemala of an autodidact cartographer and an elementary school teacher, Carlos was the first in his family to graduate from college. A graduate of SCI-Arc in the early years when the school was still located in Santa Monica, his work has centered on the commitment to social causes and the environment. He has worked for various non-profit organizations as a board member, staff, and consultant. Passionate about architecture and urban planning, his motto is ‘in order to build a building one must first build a relationship. This love often converges with his two other passions, politics and bicycling, in the development of new planning policies and guidelines. Carlos recently returned to KFA after a 25-year absence and brings decades of experience as a new member of the quality control group. When not at work or traveling, he can be found restoring vintage racing bicycles in his workshop.
Finian received his BA in Architecture from Newcastle University, England in July 2016 and has recently moved to Los Angeles from the UK to join the KFA team. Prior to joining KFA, Finian gained experience working in the International Development sector during his time at Article 25 where he helped develop concept design and tender documents for school and hospital projects in Niger, Burkina Faso, Myanmar and India. In addition, Finian has experience working on a range of residential projects from his time at Knox Bhavan Architects in London, England. Finian is particularly interested in the social aspects of design and places importance on working closely with clients to design buildings that are sensitive to both their social and physical environment. Outside of the office, the best place to find Finian is on the tennis court or relaxing on the beach.
Harold began practicing architecture since the age of five. As a kid, he could always be found stacking abandoned bricks in his family’s backyard in which he used to build castles and club houses. Harold is passionate about architecture, but also loves all things design-related.
A Filipino American immigrant and artist, Josh spent his formative years in Manila and Chicago. This was followed by a short stint in Minneapolis for grad school and work, wherein he worked on a variety of projects, such as a sports stadium, affordable multifamily housing, a grade school, and a cookie storefront. In 2017, he traded the face numbing polar vertex for the invigorating saltwater smell of the Pacific Ocean. He believes that architecture is a social investment and it is the architect’s duty to create spaces which are compassionate and cater to a human rhythm. Josh brings this devotion to community service to every project and he considers it a privilege to be able to influence the collective memory of Los Angeles. For him, life makes the most sense when he is working on affordable housing, which he believes is a basic human right. During the rare moments when Josh is not thinking about/doing architecture, he directs his energies towards wood-burning, painting, breaking (break dancing), collecting museum ticket stubs, and randomly smiling at his walkable neighborhood in Culver City.
Juan Villalta, AIA
Juan brings two decades of architecture experience to KFA following tenures at reputable architecture firms in Los Angeles. Prior to joining KFA, Juan managed and lead domestic and international mixed-use projects of varied scale and complexity. Having extensively traveled, Juan views the need to experience other cities, their architecture and building techniques as an invaluable tool to professional development and his own personal design methodology. His key interest includes building technology, building code and safety, project management, construction administration and contract documents.
Mané grew up in Los Angeles and received her Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from UC Berkeley. Upon returning to Los Angeles after college, Mané began her career in design-build, working on high-end custom residential projects throughout the city. Mané’s passion for architecture is inspired by her belief that the spaces we create have the power to create a positive impact on individuals, communities, and the planet. She supplements her education with classes at UCLA’s Extension Certificate program in Sustainability, learning about how design can mitigate the challenges we face in a changing world. In her free time, you can find Mané salsa dancing, hitting softballs at the batting cages, and solving crossword puzzles.
The variable dynamics between aesthetics and efficiency are what inspire Miguel to achieve the perfect balance each project entails. Miguel’s architectural journey began working on complex hospitals and then jumped to luxurious single family residential projects. Currently, he is engrossed in mixed-use buildings at KFA. Hailing from Michigan, where he received his architectural degrees at Andrews University, to becoming part of the urban colony that is Los Angeles, Miguel has always appreciated the broad diversity discovered in this great country and the various architectural vernaculars found between rural and urban regions. Passionate about the building and construction process, Miguel earned his General Contractor’s License to further strengthen his architectural craft. When he’s not pouring over drawings, regularly hiking with his wife in the Santa Monica Mountains has a special place in Miguel’s heart. He is also an avid gamer; whether the platform be console, PC, card, or board games, you can rest assured that he will be applying his “mad skillz” to them all.
A recent arrival to the KFA team, Rohan has immediately jumped into working on two major multi-family campuses: “24” MGA Campus and PATH Metro Villas. His experience spans all phases of architectural design, and he continues to learn and strives to become more of expert in each part of the process. While pursuing his undergraduate degree at CalPoly, he spent time in Copenhagen learning about the local architecture. As a Los Angeles native, he joins KFA’s vision of continuing to reshape and revitalize his home town. He envisions that someday abandoned and underutilized spaces such as malls will become new vibrant public city centers due to potential public-private partnerships. Rohan enjoys furniture and product design, as well as learning about digital fabrication. He is a history enthusiast with wide-ranging interests including Mongol culture and the American Civil War. He recently became a Mountain Collective member in hopes of skiing on slopes throughout the world.
Born and raised on the tropical Hainan Island in China, Yan attended Tongji University in Shanghai where she received a bachelor’s degree in urban planning. While learning about urban planning and city living, Yan became passionate about architecture, particularly the dynamic link between the building process and the urban environment. She worked as an intern urban designer to assist the planning and designing of large-scale commercial projects in China before traveling to the U.S. to study architecture for three years. While at UCLA, she developed an interest in data analysis and visualization for social media platforms, and getting involved in teaching other students to learn about data tools via a digital library program. After graduation, Yan began her journey at KFA and is excited to gain hands-on experience in multifamily and mixed-use housing projects.