Q: Where are you from?
I was born in Hawaii but grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan. My family actually lived in San Francisco for two years before moving to the Midwest. Growing up, I never truly felt Midwestern. We’d do things like eat avocados and papayas and my mom shopped at the local co-op, all things I equated to San Francisco and Hawaii as a kid. I think feeling like I was from here was what drew me back.
Q: Where did you go to school?
I went to Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan for undergrad and studied theatre arts with a focus on set design. I almost minored in biology and French—I was one class short for both of them. After living in SF for a couple of years, I decided to go to California College of the Arts to get my Masters of Architecture. In my mind it seemed like a natural progression. I saw the connection as being about creating a vision, spatial relationships, and design at a human scale. I also liked that I would be able to engage with ideas of sustainability through architecture.
Q: Who is in your family?
My two parents and one brother who is six years younger than me. My brother, who I convinced to move to San Francisco after college, lives a few blocks from me which is awesome. My parents recently moved to Doha, Qatar from Michigan. My dad is in the midst of creating the college of Health and Life Sciences at Hamad Bin Khalifa University.
My partner Chris and I got married last September. He’s also an architect with a focus on school design. We met in architecture school but initially bonded over climbing.
Q: When did you first develop an interest in architecture?
I think I’ve always had an interest in architecture but it took me a while to think about it as a career. As a kid, I always loved traveling to the ‘big cities’ and oohing and ahhing at all the buildings. I can’t remember exactly when it started but I’ve always wanted to live in a warehouse. I think the idea first came to me when my family visited Cleveland and drive through the old industrial district. The old buildings had so much character and looked they had so much potential for new life!
Q: What kinds of projects do you most enjoy working on?
I really enjoy the small buildings. I like small houses where I can really focus on how the design concepts carry throughout each aspect of the design and then nailing the details.
Q: How long have you worked at FA?
Since 2010. I worked at one other firm for about 3 months, and then came to FA, so I would say I’ve essentially gained most of my professional skills here.
Q: What makes our office unique?
I think the openness, collaboration, and ability to create your own path, and focus on things that are exciting to you, is unique. Also to be able & expected to work on every part of a project.
Q: What’s your favorite part about coming to work?
The people. J I think it’s a really good group of people and your coworkers can definitely make or break the workplace.
Q: What’s your design process like?
Iteration. I like the testing of ideas. Coming up with a concept or idea and tracking it through all the different parts and scales of the project, then refining or revising that same concept so that it’s even stronger. It’s a cyclical process.
Q: What is something that you don’t like that everyone else seems to enjoy?
Pop culture references. It’s not that I have a dislike for pop culture, it’s just that I don’t really care to follow it at all. In terms of celebrities and memes and all that stuff that literally everyone else knows—I’m usually in the dark.
Q: What kind of music would you choose for the soundtrack of your life?
I would say my childhood is the Rolling Stones, middle school & high school consisted of a lot of 90s alt rock radio. Later in high school I became an emo / Indie kid which carried me through college. More recently I’ve been into the local garage rock scene like Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, and King Tuff. Of course as goes with all music, the scene is ever evolving and I’m excited to see what’s next. I guess that’s more of a history of the soundtrack to my life, but there you go.