This year marks the return of the AIA 2x8 exhibition. I am honored to have been a part of the committee to design and re-launch such an influential and vital platform showcasing the next generation of designers and architects.
As the retail landscape is transformed by consumer choice and market forces, lifestyle centers have emerged as a popular alternative to the traditional shopping mall — they are community-oriented, pedestrian-friendly destinations offering both retail and entertainment amenities.
After listening to several sessions at the recent ICSC Western Conference, I jotted down a few key take-ways.
That brick-and-mortar retail, the kind of stores that have been principal players on the retail stage for decades, have been struggling is not new news. While the recent spate retail bankruptcies and store closings make the headlines, the true state of affairs is far more complex and optimistic. A research report from the IHL Group shows that big chains are opening more stores than they are closing, small retailers continue to open shops and sales are up more than $120 billion over last year. Nonetheless, smart retailers and developers recognize that business as usual no longer works and are exploring new formats, different locations, and innovative uses for out-of-date properties— all with an eye on customer experience.
When a new campus student center and bookstore complex was still on the wish list for East Los Angeles College (ELAC), the Los Angeles Community College District recognized the need for thorough evaluation of the needs and wants of many groups who would be using what was envisioned to be a multi-use complex at the heart of the Monterey Park campus. The District engaged STIR Architecture to develop a full program and design criteria for the building.
"You want to be an architect? Oh, like Ted Mosby." That was a common response I received throughout my college career whenever I shared that I was studying architecture.
No, not like Ted Mosby.
“I was a LEGO child!” This may be the biggest cliché answer from any aspiring architect to the constantly asked question of what inspired them to pursue a career in architecture. While this love for LEGOs was something that I did have since about the age of three, I have never attributed it as the inspiration behind my curiosity in the field. Two decades later though, I would find out how the idea of Legos connected back in a very unique way.
A new series of group learning sessions at STIR Architecture began this summer with the first of a two-part presentation by partner Gary Dempster, FAIA: The Owner/Architect Relationship and the Architect’s place in a project's organizational structure.
Being part of STIR has given me many opportunities to grow. On a daily basis, I get to use new skills that I have learned as part of my contribution to projects. Teamwork, efficiency, and clarity are key to working on group projects and I have come to appreciate my team’s willingness to entrust everyone with the freedom to test ideas. Everyone gets a chance to design and demonstrate their creativity.
I’m not great at taking tests. And it seems like the more time passes after you’re done with school, the harder it is to get back in the study mode. I have a million excuses why I didn’t take my tests as soon as I was able; basically life got in the way. But if I could give my younger self advice I would say don’t wait! Start now, get it done, the testing only gets harder and you are cheating yourself of better opportunities.
I was fortunate to attend this year’s ICSC RECon 2017 convention. Attending the convention, which boasted over 37,000 attendees, 1200 exhibitors, inspiring key speakers, informative sessions, and the potential to make the deal, has been a goal of mine.
At STIR Architecture (formerly Altoon Partners) we practice architecture as a team sport. Right-sized, agile and strategic in our goals and our design, we understand that every member of the firm has a contribution to make. That’s why everyone — from the partners to the newest intern — is fully engaged with our projects, clients and one another.
The annual Women’s Conference at USC was an opportunity to hear from accomplished women in various fields. Speakers included alumni who have managed to excel and thrive to astonishing degrees.
Over 200 women and men gathered at Skylight Studios in Century City, CA to listen and talk about gender equality in the architecture profession at the Powerful Symposium given by the AIA|LA on February 27, 2015.
Sponsored by Shopping Center Business magazine, supported by the AIA Retail and Entertainment Knowledge Community and held at LA Live, the recent Entertainment Evolution Experience Conference brought together a broad mix of players that are shaping the next generation of retail/entertainment destinations.
As part of the International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) Professional Certification Program, I presented a session entitled “Design Principles.” I think of it as “How to Design Great Buildings 101”.