Q: When did you first become interested in architecture?
The field of architecture always seemed like the perfect balance between artistic expression and logical reasoning. An early interest in physical sciences and my participation in evening art school drove me to consider it as a profession. The challenge of conceptual thinking is what kept me in pursuit.
Q: What is your favorite part of the design process? What kind of projects do you gravitate towards?
I gravitate towards modern single-family residential projects with unique clients, who have an appreciation for design and love to be involved in the process. I really enjoy collaborative design. It’s also fascinating to discover how other people like to live!
Q: What challenges do you face as a female architect in a male dominated industry?
It’s hard to find female mentors and role-models, especially those that have a healthy work-life balance, and that have the time for you!
Initially it was a challenge to connect and network with a predominantly older male-dominated industry. I feel that it has taken me longer to build relationships with consultants and clients – but overall, I think that I have been lucky enough to have met people along the way that took the time to listen, helped guide me, and made sure my voice was heard.
Q: Who is your favorite female architect?
I admire the work of Paz Gutierrez. She is at the forefront of sustainable architectural research. She is currently working on designing a biowall out of lichens that can remove carbon dioxide and toxins out of air. How cool is that?
Q: What is the most interesting project you’re working on right now?
All of my projects are interesting and unique in their own ways! But one particularly exciting one is a home in the Santa Lucia Preserve that we called Stone Villa. As the name suggests, it’s a modern interpretation of a Tuscan stone villa, set in the Californian landscape. What is unique about the design is that it recreates the experience of walking through a street in a hilltop village in Tuscany, where all circulation happens outdoors. Each major space is contained in a separate stone volume that is placed along a major axis that serves as the access route – or street. The tower signals the main gathering space and provides views down into the valley below.
But projects aside, I am very excited to have been working on the office-wide design vision process guide that we have been developing with a small team. Essentially, it’s a worksheet that guides one through gathering relevant information, synthesizing it, and ideating on concepts. It’s brought excitement to all my projects and inspired more collaboration amongst team members.
Q: What project are you most proud of?
Last week I attended a housewarming for the first project that I ever worked on from inception to completion. It’s magical to see a house that you worked on for the span of multiple years turn into a home. It’s also a wonderful way to understand how much you have learned and grown through the whole process.
Q: How does your personal identity shape your design practice?
I feel that my multicultural upbringing has made me very open-minded and curious. It has also cultivated an insatiable appetite for novelty, growth, and personal development. Growing up in three different countries, speaking multiple languages daily and switching schools every other year leaves its mark. This journey has brought a sense of exploration to my work, and a love for challenges.
Q: What advice would you give aspiring female architects?
Surround yourself with people who uplift you and inspire confidence in your skills! And always be open to learning.