Blog %

There has been much discussion raised about "Why are women leaving Architecture? and more broadly, Why is the profession losing key talent?"  Both women and men practitioners are disillusioned by the myth of work/life balance: Women are grappling with "have it all" expectations of juggling family time with the demands of full-time work.  Men are struggling to support their families solely on an architect's salary and fall back on asking spouses to maintain their jobs. The lack of affordable childcare and high cost of living only magnifies the challenges.  How did we end up in this modern family dilemma? What can we do to improve the situation?

INSPIRE% [05]: Katy H. Faix, architect & consultant

Katy H. Faix, AIA
Associate Principal, Holmes Culley | Holmes Fire

Katy H. Faix, AIA   photo by Blake Marvin

Katy H. Faix, AIA
photo by Blake Marvin

1. Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
I engage clients who are interested in tailoring their engineering design specifically to meet their project requirements and enhance their construction. As part of Holmes Culley and Holmes Fire, we provide structural engineering and fire engineering services through performance based design with the goal of adding value to the client. My role is to identify new projects for our team and help connect architects and owners to each other and with our engineers.I also participate in the management of the firm as whole, taking on responsibility for the direction, growth and operations of our San Francisco and Los Angeles offices.

 

2. Why did you choose to study Architecture?
My study of architecture took a long meandering path; I initially decided to pursue an undergraduate liberal arts education for its well-rounded merits. Dartmouth had a few architectural history and introductory design programs that fueled further interest. I kept my studies focused on art, engineering and mathematics anticipating that if I were to go into graduate school these courses would serve me well.  It was while teaching that I decided to enroll in the summer Discovery program at GSD to verify my interest in pursuing a career in the built environment. I was soon enrolled in the M. Arch program at Columbia GSAPP.

3. What inspires you on a daily basis?
In the workforce, understanding people and problem solving. Much of the marketing and business development in AEC industry revolves around relationships and project knowledge. Because of my experience as an architect, I often contribute early on in the process. For instance, a client may have an existing building that they are interested in rehabilitating for new use. I am a good conduit between our engineers and the architect, asking early questions and posing possibilities for consideration.

4. What are two of your most influential projects and Why?
Early as an intern, I had the chance to work with LTL Architects on a design-construct a hotdog restaurant in New York’s Lower East Side. Our team of us not only designed and drew the plans for the restaurant, but we also served as the construction crew. We demolished the existing space and discovered a cast iron column at the storefront and were able to create accurate existing drawings. We ordered all of the materials (bamboo plywood, cold rolled steel, concrete boards) and constructed all of the components of the restaurant in the studio’s basement shop.
Currently, I am involved in a Holmes Group international firm-wide initiative. We are a number of years into the project, but it has been rewarding to work while keeping in mind the interests of our colleagues in New Zealand, Australia, and those of us here in the US. As a Group, we have many systems in place for collaboration and sharing of knowledge and resources, yet there are other areas which we can expand upon.

5. What is the greatest challenge/difficulty that you have had to overcome in your professional career?
Facing the mountain of student debt in the depths of the recession was difficult.  Only in time, was I able to acknowledge my investment without being overwhelmed.

6. What do you believe has been one of your greatest accomplishments to date? Why?
Building relationships with architects and contractors through existing projects and potential future projects. I am proud to work with exceptional Holmes colleagues who partner with great firms to deliver world class engineering services to clients.  It has been rewarding to pivot from being an architect to learning the business and management side of the business.  

7. If you could go back in time, what would you tell your 24 year-old self?
You may not know where your career will take you, but seek out people that you can learn from and engage with. The path will unfold along the way.

8. What is the best advice that you ever received and how does that apply today?

I was once told by a mentor not to fret over the past decisions and experiences one has made. In the end, they all will contribute to the person you become.

9. How do you see Architecture changing in the next 10 years? What would your role be in the future?
It seems to me that the AEC profession is finding ways to engage people more in their work while not consuming their lives. The delicate balance has historically often been lost, sometimes to the expense of losing our colleagues to other fields.

My role in Architecture is to continue to be engaged in the built environment. One aspect of what I hope to bring is more visibility to the longevity of buildings. Unfortunately, so many buildings are being constructed in an inexpensive and disposable fashion; for current use and with little regard to permanency. Resiliency of buildings, whether to withstand seismic events or be easily adaptable for changing needs over time, is important to consider as we design and construct our cities and towns.

10. We have heard that while the general public respects Architects, they have little knowledge about what we do. Do you have any thoughts about how we can bridge the gap?
For the past 2 years, I have sat on our town’s planning commission. Although, our decisions involve land use, building massing and site context, as a commissioner, we see a large spectrum of project designs from both architects and builders.
The benefit and care that specific contextual and thoughtful design is the resolution of a myriad of issues that an architect will work with the client to address. Architects have an on-going challenge of sharing their insights and understanding with the public to educate them on the benefits. Often this is an informal process of sharing expertise in conversation.
Working on the consulting side is no different. Much of our work is on-going education and sharing of engineering stories so that building owners, architects and developers understand the benefits of engineering and how it can improve the outcome of the project.

 

Meet the 2016 Equity by Design Hackathon Winners - "F.I.M."

Meet the 2016 Equity by Design Hackathon Winners!

A collaboration by Jayshree Shah, Jonathan Meadows, Rachel Williams and Ryan Orr

TEAM 4 - "F.I.M." Ryan Orr, Rachel Williams, Jayshree Shah and Jonathan Meadows

TEAM 4 - "F.I.M." Ryan Orr, Rachel Williams, Jayshree Shah and Jonathan Meadows

On May 18, 2016, four enthusiasts found themselves together at the Equity by Design Hackathon, an AIA Philadelphia pre-Convention workshop. All were strangers to each other, one was a returning hacker, and the other three were embracing the spirit of adventure. Fast forward to Happy Hour, and this team is being cheered by the crowds as the Winner of the Hackathon. Learn more about their experience, in their own words!


HACKATHON, PART 1: DEFINE THE PROBLEM

LEARNING FROM HACKATHON METHODOLOGY: GET CURIOUS

We had an interesting ice-breaker that indirectly informed some of our brainstorming. The "inside the egg or outside the egg" icebreaker made us think of things we had in common (i.e. skillsets) vs. what we did not (i.e. things that set us apart).

The afternoon kicked off with an icebreaker session in order to get to know the individuals sitting our table and start the dialog between us. An egg shape was drawn on a white board, and we wrote our commonalities inside the circle, and our individualities outside of it. We found it to be difficult, because we are all more alike than we originally thought. It was a great exercise to get us all talking and comfortable with each other.

 

The icebreaker completed, a group of panelists  Phil Bernstein, FAIA; Yasmine Mustafa; Robert Yuen; and Rosa Sheng, AIA;  moderated by Lilian Asperin Clyman , AIA -  presented ways in which they identified problems within their field and their strategies to solve them. We were then launched with the same task: in just a few hours, our team was to define a problem, craft a solution, a pitch it to a group of “venture capitalists” - our team of jurors (Franches Choun from McCarthy Building Company, Anthony Gold from ROAR for Good and Lilian Asperin Clyman from WRNS Studio).

Coming from different backgrounds, our team began by outlining challenges we have experienced within the architectural profession. We made a long list: Virtual reality; desire but inability to share skills/gain new skills; lack of forum for providing or receiving input across all projects; advancing our professional careers; and the all too common challenge that many of us are working on project roles that are uninteresting to us or not within our expertise. It was interesting how we all quickly gravitated toward similar topics.

 

HACKATHON, PART 2: CRAFT SOLUTIONS

It seemed we only held onto the directions lightly. When directed to decide what category our problem and solution would be in (architecture/architecture+tech/outside architecture), our consensus was that problems in one area are often solved by solutions in another.

The team felt that the ability to share skills (especially if you are new to a firm), provide feedback (at any level within the profession) and develop a method to assign project roles, would be essential to any architectural firm.

Once we began to refine our problem statement, we had a visceral reaction to it as a real problem within the industry. We translated these into questions to help us sync up and clarify the issues we were enthusiastic to hack together.

 

LEARNING FROM HACKATHON METHODOLOGY: ASK “WHAT’S NEXT?”

  • How often are firms able to leverage the right skill sets for a certain project?
  • How can you best share your passions (resume) and contribute your skills?
  • Have you ever felt you were not compatible with a particular role or project at work?

 

HACKATHON, PART 3: PROTOTYPE

We had all experienced a similar disappointment.  

“When seeking a new position within a firm, an aspiring employee will create a resume to document their skills, experiences, expertise, and interests. A lot of time on the part of the individual is spent to create this resume, and by the hiring staff to select the right applicant for the position. However, after the hire has been made, the resume is discarded and that information is often not disseminated, meaning that project managers, other principals, and the rest of the staff knows nothing about the new employee, and it is often intimidating to speak out for your own skills and interests in the new environment. This creates a profound disconnect between the hiring process and the integration of the employee into the workplace. “

-Jonathan Meadows

As our group began to list multiple issues regarding architecture, we looked to see if any of these issues could be combined and tackled by the same solution. So we outlined how we could get our arms around our “hack”.

 

LEARNING FROM HACKATHON METHODOLOGY: ASK WHAT’S NEXT?

Just as architects are really good at developing a BIM model and using analysis tools to study a project and find the best problem-solving solutions, we need to look within our own firms / practices to manage our talent better and more efficiently. Another way of looking at it is digitally modeling a firm environment (people, resources, etc) and using the data in a smart way to serve the firm's needs. i.e. FIM: Firm Information Management.

WHO ARE WE SERVING?

First an evaluation and method of implementation within different firms would be necessary to properly develop to tool for each organizations use.  The tool, from an employee perspective, focuses on self-development and enrichment, while the employer driven design evolves into a management system.

LEARNING FROM HACKATHON METHODOLOGY: RAPID PROTOTYPING

The ultimate solution, F.I.M. (Firm Information Management), would create an individual profile for each employee to put forth those skills that make us unique to the places we work, but all towards the common goal of putting forth our best efforts in the office as a whole.

 

WHAT ARE THE ATTRIBUTES OF THE FRAMEWORK?

The management system provides an outlook of the firm - similar to architectural BIM models. The system is modular and allows for flexibility in its operation. An employee has an avenue through to provide a contribution, even when not assigned to a specific project, which can help in both exercising existing skills and also in developing or broadcasting an interest in new skills.

 

WHO ARE THE KEY PLAYERS?

Each employee within the firm creates a user profile to record their unique skills, project experience, and interests through keywords. This user profile can also harvest data from project work and ratings on comments to keep skills and experience up to date.

Each project manager creates a project profile to record their projects’ unique problems or skills required. Open questions can also be highlighted to seek input from the entire firm.

 

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The algorithm can then provide project managers with team members who are a good fit for their project, with a high percentage of skills matching. The algorithm can also notify employees when there are projects seeking their skills, or open questions that may interest them.

WHAT ARE OUR GOALS?

Better design * Happier clients * Happier employees * Equitable voices for all within the company * Professional development * Team optimization * Skill-sharing * Confidence builder * Molding your role * Crowdsource wisdom - efficient knowledge transfer * etc.

HOW WILL WE KNOW IT THIS IS WORKING?

We can measure reductions in the under-utilization of staff and allow for management to take advantage of developing or placing the right skillsets on certain tasks or projects. We will find effective ways to match people with projects in the office through a platform internal to a company. And, we will leverage knowledge and experience by sharing information and solutions in a transparent method.

 

HACKATHON, PART 4: PITCH

We considered the stated evaluation criteria: relevance to Equity by Design, User Experience, Impact, and Pitch.

F.I.M Team Pitch to Jurors

F.I.M Team Pitch to Jurors

The first teams to present set the bar for quality of the pitch and inspired us to aim high. All of the teams had great ideas and were tough competition. As the fourth of five teams, we got up to present. Jayshree did a magnificent job of setting the tone for the presentation and providing an energy and enthusiasm that we were all able to feed off and carry through the proposal. The story of our solution went well. We survived! Actually, we did better than survive. It came out great! Much better than we had ever planned.

 

LEARNING FROM HACKATHON METHODOLOGY: TAKE PEOPLE ON A JOURNEY

We want to speak about equity gained for all individuals within a firm, whether new to the firm or a partner. These are just a few of the outcomes that would bring joy to our day-to-day experience: Experiencing an collaborative culture * Sharing skillsets without fear of being overshadowed * Voicing your knowledge and experience across all projects within a firm * Providing input even on a small scale for potentially large impact * Requesting to learn a skill * Requesting to work on certain project/project type because it is meaningful * Enhancing your career path * Contributing to the on-boarding or re-integration process * etc.

 

Envisioning F.I.M. further - it will go beyond architecture.

HACKATHON, PART 5: DIGEST

We were surprised to win, to say the least. (Ha absolutely!) And once we sat back down, we all had a look of astonishment that it went as well as it did.

What did we learn from this?

Risk - Looking for those low risk situations and just going for it. Seeing what change can become of it.

Pitch - Learning to use the story and structure to connect with an audience, even introverts can learn to pitch.

Prototype - The value of trying something as a tool to communicate the intent as well as to work out bugs.

Teamwork - Using complementary skills to develop better solutions than any of us alone could make.


Special Thanks to our EQxD Hackathon 2016 Sponsors!



 


 

 

EQxD U Workshop 4: Architecture And... Debunking "Traditional Architecture Practice"

Interview by Susan Kolber

On Thursday Equity by Design is hosting it’s final workshop of the year EQxD U Workshop 4: Architecture And at AIA SF 6-8:30. Register Now!  

Our panelists EB Min (EM), Laura Crescimano (LC), Peter Wilson (PW) , and Robert Yuen (RY) are all creating innovative practices and businesses within the realm of Architecture. Before our workshop, EQxD gathers the panelists for a group discussion to learn about each other's work. Our panel this Thursday will have limited time, so this provides a more in depth perspective on the panelists’ journeys within architecture. Check out our interview with Robert Yuen from last week here. Their conversation revealed, more than anything, that a “traditional architecture practice,” is a misnomer and  that practicing architecture can be uniquely shaped to your passions and interests.

 

Can you tell us more about your path to architecture? Why did you choose to study Architecture?

EM: My undergraduate degrees were in art history and studio art. I went to Architecture Grad School not knowing what else I ought to do. I have a similar background to a lot of people who go into Architecture--I was really into art and science. After grad school I thought I wasn’t going to be an architect. Then I went to work for Topher Delaney and Andrea Cochran who are landscape architects, and at the time they had a design build firm together. I worked at a few other firms before them, and it was so terrible I could not imagine doing that work the rest of my life. They were the reason I stayed in the practice at all. I think it was such an eye opener on how you could practice. They taught me that I could really take all the things I was interested in art, materials, and art history and combine it with design.

LC: I was always engaged in the built environment, and I was training in Architecture, but it wasn’t presupposed to me to go down the traditional path. I pursued a masters in Architecture. My basis for architecture was believing that the role of an architect was to see multiple perspectives and synthesize across disciplines. I did research and had a fellowship to study protest spaces around the world. Then I moved to San Francisco and started working at Gensler. I did not understand how it would all come together, but the underpinning [of my focus] was the urban, the public realm, the ideas around civic and political nature of what brings us together, but with a deep interest in what that means in space. I worked at Gensler and tested out a lot--I got to experience working on urban design, architecture, market strategy and more.

 

What are some tools you took away from working at design firms that you applied to your practice?

PW: If you can try and work for a good quality company there you’ll pick up skills and see how people operate.

EM: For me what I got from working with Topher and Andrea, I worked for them for three years, was not how to run a business, but about how to talk about design with clients and get what you want. That is something you never learn in school, and that I would have never learned if I had not been in their office. I learned early on the way to get projects to become the projects you want. They also had a level of fearlessness about doing things. Topher would say we are going to create this, and I want you to call around and figure out how we’re going to build it. This was pre internet, so I would go through the yellow pages and ask people, “can you help build a giant dinosaur topiary.” At that office, there was a lot of, “I want to do this, let’s make some calls, and figure out if it can be done.” It was never a no we can’t do that.

Laura Crescimano's  SITELAB Urban Studio  developed the programming, architectural framework, and public realm for the 5M project on a 4 acre parcel in San Francisco. 

Laura Crescimano's SITELAB Urban Studio developed the programming, architectural framework, and public realm for the 5M project on a 4 acre parcel in San Francisco. 

LC: I learned that being business minded doesn’t have to be counter to being quality design minded. I believed that even in school when I felt like we were being taught we were not supposed to speak of money.  Proactivity is always good no matter what. Learn from all the parts even if you are not in love with it. I learned about good practices around billing. For example, end your billing cycle early, so clients receive the bill on the first of the month. Firms like Gensler have a lot of resources so you can get involved. Even outside of your project, if there is a pro bono project you want to be on, there are ways you can get involved. It is the way to succeed internally and learn if you want to go external.

How important is your network now that you have your own firm?

LC: It is important to have a network that is not doing the same thing you’re doing. I do not do residential architecture, but I have a few friends who I think are great designers who I always refer residential clients to.  I also have friends who have small businesses that have nothing to do with design, and we learn about management  from each other.

 

Why did you start your own practice?

EM: I always knew I wanted my own practice someday. I could not imagine working for somebody else past a certain point because I just wanted to do my thing! I think inherently you just know who you are. But it is weird, because my father at some point said to me, “I’m very surprised you have your own business. I never thought you would like business stuff.” It is not like I love business stuff, but it goes hand in hand if you want to do your own thing.

My business partner is Jeff Day… We have this practice in Omaha and here in San Francisco, and we did something that is a little unusual. I got my first project on my own when I was 27 which is nuts now as I look back on it. But it’s part of that “just say yes and you will figure it out.”

LC: For me, my founding story for Site Lab was doing the hard work and being at the right place at the right time. I was ready to move after realizing a large company was not the right fit for me, and I also think it is harder for women to succeed in larger corporate structures. I was lucky enough to be introduced to my partner Evan Rose. He was 15 years my senior, so he had already done so much. We were a complementary fit, and we believed in the same things. He was in New York and needed someone on the ground who could do the leg work. He had more experience and credibility with clients, so we made a great fit in terms of what we could offer each other. We were very lucky we started our business with a paying client. We grew incrementally and out from that project.  I never would have thought I was ready if I was just asked, “are you ready to do this right now?”

Now I am a sole proprietor, because Evan passed away this summer. I am navigating what that looks like, but it’s amazing because I feel like I got a second Masters degree. I acquired all this training on the job when I received this opportunity. Take the risk, take advantage of the opportunity and make the most of it and then figure it out when it comes time to the next phase.

Min | Day' s "The Chartboost Parklet" furniture allows for flexible and playful work space opportunities for this fast growing tech company. 

Min | Day's "The Chartboost Parklet" furniture allows for flexible and playful work space opportunities for this fast growing tech company. 

Min | Day does a variety of projects types, why have you have taken a more varied approach? Why did you want to go into furniture design?

EM: I think at some point you have to imagine the situation you want to be in, the people you want to be with, and not just the work you want to do. I think it helps lead you to the thing you want to do. I think of it very akin to when people ask me, “What kind of Architecture do you do?” And I want to say, “We do awesome Architecture!”  But people want to know if you do schools, houses and you’re like, “I’ll do anything--it just actually matters if I like the clients, the program, and the team involved. That matters much more than the type of project.”

I got very interested in doing furniture because I found something striking while I was listening to a lecture about modular fabrication and prefab as those topics were getting “big.”  This was a while ago. And all these Architects got so bent out of shape. Their concerns felt insecure. The reaction made me think about the discussion between product and process. Architects deliver a process and services. Min | Day is really interested in furniture because it is a product, and at the same time the furniture has a way of interacting with people. Furniture still addresses a lot of the design issues we were quite interested in. It comes from a totally different direction. And Frankly, I am person who gets really bored. So I like to take on many different challenges.
 

Wilson Associates  is a Developer, Design, Build family run firm. This is an apartment building they developed in Oakland, CA. 

Wilson Associates is a Developer, Design, Build family run firm. This is an apartment building they developed in Oakland, CA. 

What are the benefits of a design build practice?

PW: As a designer, contractor you don’t have to do all the drawings and you capture 50% of the profit. Architects gave up being the contractor. Frank Lloyd Wright sent out Schindler to LA to build those houses. By being the contractor you’re in control. For the one thing the client can’t play you off against the contractor. You can also change and adjust as you go along.

EM: That’s an interesting model because not everyone is suited for that design build model. I’m not suited for that model. If you understand you can capture the whole process and you can deliver that--that’s great.

What do you want the legacy of your practice to be?

PW: It is a difficult thing right now. I have data on the oldest architecture firms, because in my experience the architects I admire when they die their firms disappear. I believe our next generation will be different from what we have done. I hope the firm continues to the next generation. But on the other hand if it does not work that’s okay too.


This week at AIASF, don't miss our last EQxD "U" Workshop of the year!

EQxD "U" Workshop 4 ! Architecture AND...Exploring Meaning & Influence by way of Multidisciplinary Practice.

Thursday, October 22, 2015 from 6pm - 8:30pm @AIASF 130 Sutter St, San Francisco

We will explore alternate models of practice that expand the avenues of influence for architects. Less than 50% of all respondents to the 2014 Equity in Architecture Survey stated that they were satisfied with their current job situation. A large number responded that they were interested in alternative career paths. Rather than leave architecture behind completely - and have the profession lose ever more talent to other fields - how we can cultivate expansive multidisciplinary practices that are innovative, exploratory, and meaningful? 

The workshop will feature four professionals who have taken their work beyond the traditional boundaries of the field. After a review of key survey findings on the topic we will hear from the panelists about their paths, entrepreneurial thinking, and lessons learned in a question and answer session. This will be followed by design thinking exercises to guide us in thinking freely and widely about our career futures and the new kinds of practices we can create. Gain the courage and knowledge to turn your interests and ideas into a new work reality at our workshop!

10/22/15 Architecture AND… Workshop Agenda
Networking & Refreshments 6pm - 6:15pm
Introductions/Welcome 6:15 - 6:25pm
Panel Discussion 6:25 - 7:15pm
Break/Transition 7:15 - 7:20pm
Design Thinking Exercises 7:20 - 8:10pm
Conclusions 8:10 - 8:30pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EQxD U Workshop 4: Architecture AND... Meet the Panelists!

by Julia Mandell

We are excited to bring you the 4th and final EQxD “U” Workshop of 2015:
Architecture AND...Exploring Meaning & Influence by way of Multidisciplinary Practice
October 22, 2015 @AIASF 130 Sutter St, San Francisco 6pm - 8:30pm, register here

With Architecture AND… we will explore alternate models of practice that expand the avenues of influence for architects. More than 50% of all respondents to the 2014 Equity in Architecture Survey stated that they were dissatisfied with their current job situation. A large number responded that they were interested in alternative career paths. Rather than leave architecture behind completely - and have the profession lose ever more talent to other fields - how we can cultivate expansive multidisciplinary practices that are innovative, exploratory, and meaningful? 

The workshop will feature four professionals who have taken their work beyond the traditional boundaries of the field. After a review of key survey findings on the topic we will hear from the panelists about their paths, entrepreneurial thinking, and lessons learned in a question and answer session. This will be followed by design thinking exercises to guide us in thinking freely and widely about our career futures and the new kinds of practices we can create. Gain the courage and knowledge to turn your interests and ideas into a new work reality at our workshop!

10/22/15 Architecture AND… Workshop Agenda
Networking & Refreshments 6pm - 6:15pm
Introductions/Welcome 6:15 - 6:25pm
Panel Discussion 6:25 - 7:15pm
Break/Transition 7:15 - 7:20pm
Design Thinking Exercises 7:20 - 8:10pm
Conclusions 8:10 - 8:30pm

MEET THE PANELISTS!

EBMIN

EB Min
Partner, Min | Day

EB is the San Francisco-based principal of Min | Day.  A graduate of Brown University, EB received her March from U.C. Berkeley.  E.B.’s early experience in the landscape architecture design-build office of Topher Delaney and Andrea Cochran instilled an interest in the integration of landscape and building. She has taught at U.C. Berkeley and currently teaches at California College of the Arts. E.B. has served on the boards of both the AIASF and the AIACC. During her tenure on the AIASF board, EB helped in the formation of the Missing 32% Project. Recently she has been involved in expanding her practice into furniture design with the formation of MOD furniture, a design off-shoot of Min | Day.  

Robert Yuen
Founder and CEO, Section Cut, RYRD

Robert Yuen is the co-founder and CEO of Section Cut and founder of RYRD (Robert Yuen Research + Design). Trained as an architect, Robert’s design practice has developed over 6 years into a dual focus on architectural services and web-based entrepreneurship. Robert earned his March from the University of Michigan, as well as an MS in Architecture specialized in the use of digital technologies with industrial multi-axis robotics. Robert is currently focused on Section Cut, a web-based community committed to empowering designers and demystifying design culture to the larger public. SC is a crowd-sourced, curated collection of design resources and objects with an educational agenda.

Peter Wilson
Partner, Wilson Associates, Markethall Foods

Peter Wilson is a founding principal of Wilson Associates, a development/design/build practice practice in Oakland. Peter received his MArch from U.C. Berkeley and established a solo design practice in New York, NY, where he was named one of the Architectural League’s first Emerging Voices and taught at Pratt Institute before establishing Wilson Associates in the Bay Area with partners Tony and Sara Wilson. Peter is an architect, a developer, and a small business owner who, along with his siblings, has developed a panoply of small businesses to create a sustainable urban design vision in North Oakland.

Laura Crescimano
Partner, SITELAB Urban Studio

Laura Crescimano is Principal and cofounder of SITELAB urban studio, a San Francisco-based strategic design firm focused on using research & visualization to create great places through big plans and small interventions. SITELAB’s work operates at the intersection of analysis and inspiration. Laura’s projects range from the Kendall Square Public Realm Plan for Cambridge, MA to Pier 70, a 28-acre acre mixed-use development on San Francisco’s waterfront. She has written and lectured on temporary urbanism, design entrepreneurism and public space. She currently teaches on Design and Activism at UC Berkeley. Laura earned her Masters of Architecture from Harvard.