Show featuring Los Angeles’ leading women in architecture and discussing relevant issues in the profession
AWA LEGACY: MINI-STORIES– XX|LA EPISODE 037
1:16:03I’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.
Interview with Barbara Elwood: AWA 100th Special Episode – XX|LA Episode 036
39:24This 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).
Interview with Audrey Sato by Annie Chu – XX|LA Episode 035
1:05:04Today’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.
Interview with Karin Liljegren – XX|LA Episode 034
44:03Karin 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.
Interview with Tracy Stone and Abbi Naylor – XX|LA Episode 33
1:03:19Today'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.
Interview with Eera Babtiwale – XX|LA Episode 032
59:25Eera 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.
Interview with Annie Chu – XX|LA Episode 031
52:06Annie 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.
Interview with Lise Bornstein – XX|LA Episode 030
51:34After 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.
Interview with Helena Arahuete – XX|LA Episode 029
1:01:53Helena 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.
Interview with Kishani De Silva – XX|LA Episode 028
45:05Kishani 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