76 minutes | Dec 1, 2022
AWA LEGACY: MINI-STORIES– XX|LA EPISODE 037
I’m bringing you a set of mini-stories that were taped live at the AWA 100th Building Our Legacy event on September 10, 2022 at the HenryBuilt showroom in LA’s art district. This event not only celebrated AWA+D’s 100 year anniversary, but also focused on how we can preserve the legacies of women in architecture—especially our own legacies. As we know, too often women’s work was historically unrecognized, erased, and forgotten, and we lose so much by not being able to access this information. We can’t keep repeating this mistake!For example, Christina Morris from the National Trust for Historic Preservation gave a presentation on Where Women Made History, an effort to bring more recognition and respect to women’s achievements. One of the projects she highlighted was Azurest South, the home of Amaza Lee Meredith, significant as it was designed by a black queer woman architect for her and her partner Dr. Edna Meade Colson. I didn’t know about Amaza Lee Meredith, but I feel like we all should know more about her.The legacy event was coordinated with the International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA), which holds the official archive for AWA+D at Virginia Tech. The main takeaway from the event was how important it is to document our work, and we should all consider submitting work to the IAWA, not just when we’re at the end of our careers, but even along the way. On that note, we set up a recording booth at the event with a few prompts, hoping to capture short stories and mini-interviews from event attendees, and this recorded material is being released on this podcast, as well as being sent to the IAWA as part of the AWA legacy. The women featured in this recording are: Virginia Tanzmann, Sona Gevorkyan, Alicia Morales, Beatriz Navarro, Christina Monti, Christie Wang, Stefanie Cheng, Danielle De Young, Anne Zimmerman, Koje Shoraka, Michelle Weisman, Magdalena Glen-Schieneman, and podcast host Audrey Sato.
39 minutes | Nov 29, 2022
Interview with Barbara Elwood: AWA 100th Special Episode – XX|LA Episode 036
This special episode is released in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Association for Women in Architecture and Design. In today’s episode, I’m joined by Barbara Elwood, who served three terms as madame president of AWA+D (which was then named AWA-LA) in 1960, 1962, and 1996. Barbara enrolled in USC Architecture’s Industrial Design program in 1952, and by the end of her first semester, was the only woman in her class. It’s so fascinating to hear about Barbara’s experiences and also hear about the evolution of AWA through her recollections. Please support AWA+D by becoming a member, sponsoring the organization, or donating to our sister organization, the AWAF (Association for Women in Architecture Foundation).
65 minutes | Aug 2, 2021
Interview with Audrey Sato by Annie Chu – XX|LA Episode 035
Today’s episode is going to be a little bit of a different one, because the roles are reversed! Annie Chu of Chu+Gooding Architects, who is featured in Episode 31, graciously offered to interview me for this episode. I am an architect and president of Sato Architects, Inc., a podcast host, and past president of the Association for Women in Architecture + Design (AWA+D). I previously taught architecture at Cal Poly Pomona, my alma mater. I have a new role to add to my list, which is that I’m going to become a mother in a couple of months. I’ll have my hands full keeping a little human and small business alive, so this will be the last podcast episode, at least for now. We’ve had a pretty amazing run, and I am so very thankful for every person I’ve been able to meet through podcasting.
44 minutes | May 1, 2021
Interview with Karin Liljegren – XX|LA Episode 034
Karin Liljegren is founder and principal of Omgivning, an architecture and interior design firm whose practice is rooted in a love for the extraordinary urban fabric of downtown Los Angeles. Karin is an architect and interior designer, and founded Omgivning in 2009, just as the recession was threatening to halt downtown’s resurgence. To date, she and her staff have worked on almost 350 projects in Los Angeles, seeking to restore downtown’s purpose while helping to define its new identity. I’m constantly impressed by Karin’s go-getter attitude and entrepreneurial talents, which you’ll hear more about in this episode, as she talks about the way she purposefully designed her collaborative practice, and continues to evolve it beyond architecture, incorporating interiors, product design, and even real estate development into her operations.
63 minutes | Apr 1, 2021
Interview with Tracy Stone and Abbi Naylor – XX|LA Episode 33
Today's guests are Tracy Stone, principle of Tracy A Stone Architect, and designer Abbi Naylor. Tracy is the founder of The Elysian Valley Arts Collective, a 501c3 non-profit that manages the biennial Frogtown Artwalk, and supports a variety of programming to the youth and neighbors of Elysian Valley. Tracy received a BA from Cornell University and a Masters in Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin. She spent five years working for award-winning architects Ray and Finn Kappe before receiving her architectural license in 1989 and subsequently started her own firm, Tracy A. Stone Architect, in 1991. Tracy spent 10 years as a member of the Angelino Heights Historic Preservation Overlay Zone board, and she has taught at Woodbury University, Art Center College of Design, and USC. In addition, Tracy has served on the Pasadena Green Ribbon Committee and the Los Angeles Green Building Technical Advisory Committee- helping these cities to develop and implement Green Building Codes. She has designed a variety of projects including a number of small lot subdivisions, custom homes, an elderly board and care facility, a battered women’s center, television production offices, and several animal kennels. When not at work, Tracy can be found reliving her Hawaiian roots by hula dancing at the local luau or bouncing down rough desert roads on the way to a secluded campsite. Abbi Naylor has worked with Tracy since 2018, and nominated her for the podcast. Abbi is a mid-west transplant, artist, and designer with a BS in Interior Design from Indiana University. Before jumping into architecture, she worked doing freelance graphic design and illustrations. She loves small woodworking projects and designing furniture and hopes to pursue more of that in the future. Outside of design, Abbi loves oil painting, photography, and skateboarding.
59 minutes | Jan 31, 2021
Interview with Eera Babtiwale – XX|LA Episode 032
Eera Babtiwale is Vice President of Sustainability at HMC Architects, a mother of 3, a board member of Designing Futures Foundation, Chair of USGBC-Inland Empire, and an active member with USGBC-Los Angeles. Eera was nominated to be a guest on the show by her co-worker, Lance Hosey. Even though I had never met Eera, as I started researching in order to prepare for our interview, I realized that we had a lot of really awesome people in common! When asked about Eera, her co-workers talk about how she is “genuinely passionate”, “wonderful” and “a champion of sustainability”. After getting to know her, I agree wholeheartedly! In this episode, we’ll hear from Eera about what her position as Vice President of Sustainability means. Besides talking about sustainable design principles and the evolution of green building in our field, we also get to talk about her “why”- the motivating forces behind how and why she was able to cultivate a brand-new position for herself within her firm.
52 minutes | Dec 1, 2020
Interview with Annie Chu – XX|LA Episode 031
Annie Chu is an architect, interior designer, educator, and a founding principal of the award-winning firm Chu+Gooding Architects. Annie is an alumnus of Sci-Arc and Columbia, and trained for 11 years with Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects in New York and Frank Israel in Beverly Hills before starting her own practice in 1996. Chu+Gooding Architects works on projects of many scales, from design of objects to residential homes, to exhibition design, and world-class arts, cultural, and higher education projects. LA locals will be familiar with the Hollywood Bowl Concession stands, the Autry Resource Center addition and renovation, and USC’s Hoffman Hall interior renovation, just to name a few projects. One of the things I admire about Annie is her impact upon our profession, on top of her firm’s achievements. Annie champions Interior Architecture as a distinct and emerging discipline, and received the Leadership Award of Excellence from IIDA So Cal in 2014. She also received the Presidential Honoree Educator Award from AIA|LA in 2016 and has dedicated 30 years to teaching. She serves on the City of Los Angeles’ Cultural Affairs Commission, AIA Interior Architecture Advisory Group, Contract Magazine's editorial advisory board, and numerous design award juries, and has been Vice President on IIDA International Board of Directors and Board Director to AIA|LA. To find out more about Annie and Chu+Gooding Architects, visit cg-arch.com or follow them @chugooding on social media.
52 minutes | Nov 1, 2020
Interview with Lise Bornstein – XX|LA Episode 030
After a pandemic-induced break, it's a pleasure to kick off new episodes of the podcast with guest Lise Bornstein, architect and partner at KFA Architecture. I feel like this interview is long-overdue, because Lise is someone who I have a ton of respect for, and feel lucky to call a mentor and a friend. Lise graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture and received her Masters of Architecture from Sci-Arc. Lise joined KFA in 2001, and was elevated to the role of partner in 2016. Lise gives back to her community in many ways, she is on the board of Step up on Second and just became president of AWAF, the Association for Women in Architecture Foundation. AWAF kickstarted this podcast through their Professional Development Fellowship, not only through funding, but also by offering a network of supporters. You can support fellowship projects for mid-career professionals, and scholarships for highly deserving young women through a tax deductible donation to AWAF or participate in their fundraising auction the first two weeks in December. Please visit awaplusd.org/foundation to learn more.
62 minutes | Apr 11, 2020
Interview with Helena Arahuete – XX|LA Episode 029
Helena Arahuete started working for John Lautner in 1971 and rose to the role of Chief Architect in his office. She continues today as Principal of Lautner Associates, most recently completing the restoration of the Bob and Dolores Hope House in Palm Springs. This is a very unique two-part episode featuring conversations with Helena Arahuete. I first met Helena at Palm Springs Modernism Week in February. Part 1 is an edited recording of interviews she did with eighth graders Abrianna Pingleton, Shelomith Hoy, Tyler Bloomer, Santiago Garza, and Julia Fidel from Ms. Patton’s class at the St. Theresa Catholic School. Part 2 is my follow up with Helena after we returned home to Los Angeles.
45 minutes | Mar 2, 2020
Interview with Kishani De Silva – XX|LA Episode 028
Kishani DeSilva has worked in the architecture and design industries for over twenty years in the project and major program management arena. Prior to her current appointment in local government, she worked as a management consultant following her time as a project manager at Foster + Partners in London. Her current work as an Executive Advisor with the executive office of the Los Angeles County Development Authority focuses on homelessness and the affordable housing shortfall in Los Angeles. Additionally, as adjunct faculty at Woodbury University, she taught a graduate level practice class focusing on a management, leadership and entrepreneurship segment. Kishani's work relating to housing innovation, sustainability and the business of design have been published in Next City, 2019; Metropolis, 2016 and DesignIntelligence, 2012. She has a MSc in Major Program Management from the University of Oxford, England, an executive leadership certification from Cornell and a BArch from Woodbury University. She is also a Board member of Ten Thousand Villages Pasadena—an entity working for social and economic justice for marginalized populations in the developing world. Kishani is former President and Board member of the Association for Women in Architecture + Design, and leads the 50:50 x 2020 Initiative for gender equity. Interested in finding out more about 50:50 x 2020 Initiative? Two upcoming events: 50:50 x 2020 Celebration on Friday, March 27, 2020 AIA '20 Convention Session: "50:50 x 2020: 10 LA Firms Commit to Gender Equity" on Thursday, May 14, 2020
46 minutes | Nov 20, 2019
Interview with Christina Monti – XX|LA Episode 027
Christina Monti, owner of CDM Consulting, started her career in landscape architecture after graduating from Texas A&M University. A self-proclaimed non-designer (I don't quite buy that she "stinks" at design), Christina became an expert in marketing and business development. In this episode, we discuss the skills needed for being good at business development. Spoiler alert--they are skills, and can be worked on and learned! Christina and I got to know each other through the Association for Women in Architecture + Design (AWA+D), where she served on the board as Communications Director, and then President. She currently serves on the board of the Association for Women in Architecture Foundation (AWAF), AWA+D's sister organization that provides scholarships and fellowships to female students and practitioners. Christina and I also discuss what it's like to volunteer on a board, and she offers great advice. Connect with Christina via Linked In Or you have two opportunities to meet Christina (and me) in person: AWA+D and AIA|LA WiA Holiday Mixer on Dec. 5 AWAF Holiday Party and Fundraiser on Dec. 7
39 minutes | Oct 6, 2019
Sci-Arc Spin Room with Ning Lui, Kristy Balliet, and Barbara Bestor–XX|LA Episode 026
This episode is a live recording from Sci-Arc graduate thesis Spin Room, with student (now graduate) Yi Ning Lui, her advisor Kristy Balliet of BairBalliet, and distinguished alumnus Barbara Bestor of Bestor Architecture. In this episode we talk about the experience of the thesis project from the student and the advisor/practitioner perspective. You can watch the video recording from this conversation through Sci-Arc’s vimeo channel at https://livestream.com/accounts/21300942/events/8798849
76 minutes | Sep 22, 2019
FINANCIAL PLANNING ROUND TABLE WITH RENEE COHEN – XX|LA EPISODE 025
This episode features financial planner Renee Cohen, and guests Harper Halprin of AAHA Studio and Luciana Tagliaferri of Tagliaferri Architects, in a candid discussion about financial planning for small business owners and architects. We discuss topics like the entrepreneur mindset, business and personal finances, outsourcing, forecasting, growth, diversification, retirement and financial freedom, insurance and protection, and the importance of having a board of advisers. I think it’s super important for us to think about the financial aspects of how we set ourselves up for success both personally and in business. If you heard my interview on the Midnight Charette podcast, I really believe that we need to value our time and expertise and pay our interns, and the only way we’ll be able to do that as business owners is to get comfortable talking about money and figuring it out. Contact Renee at email@example.com or visit her website at www.reneecohen.nm.comIf you enjoyed this episode, you can also listen to our small business roundtable (Episode 004) with Harper and Luciana
51 minutes | Jul 28, 2019
Interview with Emmanuelle Bourlier – XX|LA Episode 024
Emmanuelle Bourlier is the co-founder and CEO of Panelite, as well as a mother and skater. Emmanuelle co-founded Panelite while in grad school at Columbia University 21 years ago. From its inception, Panelite was so innovative that it was used in a project by Moneo Brock that landed on the cover of the Spanish edition of Interior Design magazine. From there, Panelite was quickly sought after by elite firms like Diller Scofidio+Renfro and OMA. In this episode, Emmanuelle and I talk about her journey with Panelite, and she shares a lot of wisdom about entrepreneurship and life in general. In particular, I think Emmanuelle's approach to skating has a lot of parallels to running a business. It's inspiring to see such a brave, curious, and passionate woman as a CEO. If you're interested in finding out more about female skating in Los Angeles, Emmanuelle and her son are taking lessons from legendary skater Pat Ngoho, and she mentions a few resources: Grlswirl in Venice, Girl is Not a 4 Letter Word, founded by pro skater Cindy Whitehead, and The Cove Grls, which hosts bi-monthly girls’ skate sessions. For more information about Panelite and Emmanuelle, visit www.panelite.us or follow on social media: Instagram: @panelite_innovates, @emmanuelle_bourlier FB: @Panelite LinkedIn: Panelite and Emmanuelle Bourlier
25 minutes | Jun 29, 2019
Interview with Elena Manferdini – XX|LA Episode 023
This episode features Elena Manferdini, the recipient of the ICON award at the 2019 LA Design Festival. This interview was recorded at the event at Row DTLA. Elena is the Graduate Chair at Sci-Arc and principal of Atelier Manferdini. Elena’s striking exuberance, charisma, and rigor is completely evident in her work, which ranges in scale from product design, to graphic facades and entire buildings. Her process often incorporates cutting edge technology as an integral part of the design, and she even includes augmented reality features in the work. Having grown up in Italy and received a degree in engineering before studying architecture at UCLA, Elena combines her skills and sensibilities as an artist, architect, and engineer to produce stunning, award-winning works. I really enjoyed speaking with Elena, and admire her even more after our wonderfully candid and intellectual conversation.
44 minutes | Jun 1, 2019
Interview with Helena Jubany – XX|LA Episode 022
Helena Jubany, FAIA has a real knack for developing leaders, as well as a sharp business acumen. Helena’s 30 year career specializing in education and public sector architecture included 17 years of building her own practice, prior to mergers with NAC Architecture and Osborne. Loyal listeners will remember my interview with Leslie Sydnor in Episode 15, where Leslie spoke incredibly highly of Helena as her mentor. In fact, I was so struck by what Leslie had to say about Helena, that I felt there was no better way to honor their special relationship than to hear Leslie interview Helena directly.
38 minutes | Mar 30, 2019
Interview with Rachel Allen – XX|LA Episode 021
What I admire about Rachel Allen is the pragmatic, intelligent, and unapologetically hard-working ethos that she brings to her work. As founding principal of RADAR (Rachel Allen Development Architecture Research Inc.), her success relies upon her ability to understand the viewpoints of people she's working with in order to communicate effectively and harness the strengths of her team. The pay off of RADAR's hard work is evident in their growing project list, such as their role as Design Architect on the competition-winning team for the Pershing Square Renew project. Additionally, RADAR has been building up a multi-family housing project portfolio, and in this interview, Rachel tells me more about how she was able to go from working on a 6 unit project, to a project with over 200 units. In addition to talking about her practice, Rachel and I touch upon her experiences growing up in and establishing babysitting and parenting cooperatives, as well as her experiences as a Rome Prize recipient and former Gehry Partners employee.
42 minutes | Mar 4, 2019
Interview with Mina Chow – XX|LA Episode 020
In episode 20, we're putting the "LA" in XX|LA by speaking with an architect who is also a film maker! Mina Chow is an architect and professor at the USC School of Architecture. She is also the director, producer, and star of the documentary "Face of a Nation: What Happened to the World's Fair?" The film is about Mina's journey as an idealistic architect and daughter of immigrants, as she discovers why America abandoned World's Fairs. Michael Sorkin calls it an "urgently dispiriting but ultimately tender and optimistic film". This is a description I agree with wholeheartedly. To learn more, visit www.faceofanationmovie.com or see the film for yourself! On March 20, Women in Architecture committee is hosting a screening at the Helms Bakery Design Center. https://www.aialosangeles.org/event/wia-worlds-fair-film-screening/
31 minutes | Feb 11, 2019
Interview with Rennie Tang and Sara Wookey – XX|LA Episode 019
I'm fascinated by architects who work in interdisciplinary and collaborative ways, and my latest guests bridge architecture and dance in a fascinating way! In this episode, I speak with Rennie Tang and Sara Wookey, the artists and creators behind Punt.Point. Punt.Point was commissioned by the Van Abbe Museum in 2013 and acquired for their permanent collection in 2018. Rennie and Sara are practitioners who come from architecture and dance backgrounds respectively, with training and interest in each others' disciplines. They met in Los Angeles and started collaborating locally, on projects at venues like the Hammer Museum and Grand Park. Rennie Tang is a designer and educator based in Los Angeles. As associate professor of landscape architecture at California Polytechnic State University Pomona, her teaching methods emphasize one-to-one scale spatial construction, topographic manipulation and material exploration. She is recipient of the 2017 Excellence in Design Studio Teaching Award from the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA). Her collaborative work with choreographers, artists and occupational therapists supports her research focus on human mobility in urban landscapes. Sara Wookey is an American dance artist based in London. She creates choreographic works within local, national and international venues including theaters, museums and outdoor spaces. As part of her practice, she is a public speaker and writer known for her stewardship of dance as a recognized and valuable art form, particularly, in museum settings. The founding director of Wookey Works, a production company offering services to cultural organizations, academic institutions and civic agencies, Sara is interested in the social potential of dance across sectors and in our contemporary moment. She is a certified transmitter of Yvonne Rainer's repertoire and is a Tate Learning Research Associate. Images are provided courtesy of Wookey Works and Rennie Tang, and are copyright protected.
48 minutes | Dec 28, 2018
Interview with Irma Ramirez – XX|LA Episode 018
Irma Ramirez is a professor in the architecture department and director of the China Study Abroad program at Cal Poly Pomona. Her accolades include the NCARB Grand Prize, National Lynton Citation for Distinguished Engaged Scholarship for the Habitat 21 Sustainable Settlements Project in Tijuana with Corazon, and awards from the American Planning Association and American Institute of Certified Planners and Environmental Design Research Association for work in the China program. She also recently brought a group of Cal Poly Pomona students into Augustus Hawkins High School to teach ninth graders about architecture and urban planning. What I admire most about Irma is that she really pushes herself and her students to grow through uncomfortable new experiences and interdisciplinary thinking.