Q: Where are you from?
I grew up between Fairfax in west Marin County and North Beach here in the city. I spent most of my time growing up in the woods, exploring creeks, mountain biking, and playing on rope swings we put up.
Q: Where did you go to school?
Berkeley for undergrad and MIT for Graduate work. I actually was in an engineering academy in high school where I learned to use CAD to design robots, gizmos and bridges. The CAD skill landed me an internship with a landscape architect doing cad plans and helping design a wetland revitalization plan. I ended up getting a BA in architecture and a minor in Landscape architecture when I was at Berkeley. I guess you could say I came to architecture from the outside. A systems based approach. Architecture to me is an object in the landscape and part are part of a larger ecosystem. MIT expanded on this working at the scale of the city to the scale of the electron. MIT was intense and amazing. It’s like I was in the future; an optimistic future.
Q: Tell me about your family?
My mom met my dad at a non-profit ad agency where she was the art director/graphic designer and my dad was the creative director. They both still work in the non-profit sector. My dad grew up in North Carolina, my mom in Southern California. I have an older brother who lives in Oakland with his wife, who’s a floral artist, and their six month old daughter Ellia. He works for a non-profit travel agency that takes kids from inner city neighborhoods and schools to the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Nicaragua. The program is called Global Glimpse. Most students return having gotten their first glimpse of a global identity and they go on to use that story in application essays for college. I love my family. I love being an uncle. They keep me in the Bay Area.
Q: When did you first develop an interest in architecture?
I came to architecture through landscape architecture and honestly I came to landscape architecture through skateboarding. This was the urban side. When I was young, I was looking for every opportunity; nooks, crannies, rails, gaps, ledges, ramps; every details of the environment to interact with. It taught me about transition and continuity; fluidity and freedom in space. This same choreography translates into my interiors and how the human body moves. I discovered Lawrence Halprin while skating the Justin Herman Plaza and his studies with dance were really inspiring. It really got me interested in landscapes and later the social and political aspects of public space. That, in conjunction with engineering projects in high school helped set me up to see how design works across all scales. Architecture seemed like a perfect place to view that range from, from the technical, social and environmental.
Q: What kinds of projects do you most enjoy working on?
Good projects are really dependent on the people and the way we communicate, the expectations of the clients and how comfortable we are in the unknown. In the end, what we are doing has never been done before. The better understanding of the forces shaping the project, the easier it is to listen and respond with what is appropriate and natural, elegant and effortless. The project itself can be anything from the design of a fork to a whole city block. I love experimental art projects as well that test perception and experience. These act as tests for larger architecture environments. Those can get really interesting. I also like making sculptures our or wood, steel, and concrete, exploring the unknown purely through intuition.
In this office I’ve worked on a range of projects, everything from offices, restaurants, and residential remodels and ground up homes. Each of them is different and I like that diversity. The office is about the process of creative production; the evolution of an idea. The restaurant is about performance, acting as a stage like a theater. The residential projects are my favorite because they will last and be loved. Love to me is the essential element of sustainability. That is what makes it last for generations.
Q: How long have you worked at FA?
I started June 15th of 2015. 3 years.
Q: What makes our office unique?
I think it’s the collaborative atmosphere, the ethics behind the type of work we do, the type of clients we get to work with, the dogs, and the positive and diverse perspectives. We truly value each other.
Q: What’s your favorite part about coming to work?
Q: If you had 24 hours to live, what would you do?
I already live everyday like it’s my last. LOL. Gather my loved ones, climb a mountain, meditate and prepare for the afterlife.
Q: Do you have a professional role model?
Alonzo King. Charles and Ray Eames. MLK.
Q: What’s your design process like?
It’s intuitive and rational simultaneously. I really like to set up frameworks that allow flexibility and the spontaneity of life to occur within. The initial design problem is defining the problem and the constraints. There is a system that governs the structural, infrastructural, and formal language of the architecture while the social space is organic, soft and flexible. I need to set up rules that give me freedom. It is a harmony of materials, space and time, structure, climate, air and light and the unexpected experience of discovery. Every story is different and it’s constantly evolving.
Q: What question would you not want to be asked in an interview?
If you had 24 hours to live, what would you do?