BOARD
AIA|LA BOARD BIOS 2019
PHOTO: dges Residence. Belzberg Architects. Detail from photo by Benny Chan

President
Barbara Bouza, FAIA, IIDA, LEED AP, EDAC – Managing Director, Principal,
Gensler

Barbara is Co-Managing Director and Principal of Gensler’s Los Angeles office and a leader of the global Health & Wellness practice. Through her collaborative leadership role, she brings strategic design management to highly innovative clients such as Netflix, JPL/NASA, Amgen, Kaiser Permanente and the City of Hope. As a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, Barbara has been an influencer elevating human wellbeing through design excellence. She was featured on the internationally televised National Geographic Channel documentary, “Origins: The Journey of Humankind – Building the Future.” A proven advocate, Barbara has been a leader with the AIA LA POWERFUL: Women Leading Design series, active with Girl’s Inc, Dress for Success and the National Organization of Minority Architects.

In the community, Barbara was recognized by The Los Angeles Business Journal as the Executive of the Year: Women Making a Difference. This honor recognizes women who “lead by example,” successfully blend effective business vision with passionate commitment to positively “making a difference,” both in the world of business and in the communities they serve. She has also been named by Real Estate Forum magazine as a Woman of Influence: California. Barbara is on the Board of Directors of Imagine LA, a leading not-for-profit dedicated to mobilizing the community to end the cycle of family homelessness and poverty and is a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization.

Passionate about Gensler’s strong design culture, Barbara’s career has also been influenced through her work with Foster + Partners and Morphosis. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and studied in the Graduate Diploma Program at the Architectural Association in London. Barbara’s work has been published nationally and internationally.

Vice President/2020 President-Elect
Greg Verabian, AIA – HKS

Greg has more than 28 years of experience as a design leader. He is a principal and practice leader at HKS Architects in Los Angeles. His knowledge of building types ranges from commercial office and multi-family/mixed-use towers to corporate headquarters, laboratory and academic projects. Greg served as Chair of the Design Awards Committee for the AIA California Council and has sat on the boards of AIA/LA, USC Architectural Guild and Southern California Development Forum. He currently serves as the Treasurer of the board for AIA Los Angeles.

TREASURER
Mitra Memari, AIA – ZGF Architects LLP

As a Principal at ZGF Architects LLP, Mitra Memari leads projects with a collaborative approach, guiding multidisciplinary teams and diverse client / user groups from programming through construction while paying attention to the nuances of each design challenge to successfully deliver impactful projects. With over 25 years of professional experience in architecture, her work represents a mix of large-scale and technically complex projects, ranging from research laboratories, academic facilities, and healthcare buildings to high-performance commercial and mixed-use developments. Her portfolio includes projects for The University of Arizona, The University of Texas at Arlington, City of Hope, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and the University of Southern California, where she was responsible for the successful management of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, Eli and Edythe Broad CIRM Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research—a recipient of the American Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum & The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and the Laboratory of the Year High Honors from R&D Magazine.

Born in Iran, Mitra emigrated to the United States when she was a teenager. Her experiences adapting and learning in a new country fostered a strong passion for diversity, inclusion, and equity. Internally at ZGF, she is one of the founding members of the Diversity and Inclusion Advocacy Group, which focuses on improving the employee experience by promoting a culture of respect and support, and implementing firmwide changes to encourage all employees to reach their full potential. Mitra is also involved in the Southern California Chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (SoCal NOMA) as a volunteer and mentor in the Project Pipeline Architecture Summer Camp, which introduces architecture and the design profession to minority youth. Mitra’s contributions to the community started early in her career. Her first volunteer effort was for Habitat for Humanity, where she designed a home for an elderly individual who was being displaced due to neighborhood development. This made an impact on her as she became aware of the challenges with housing and gentrification, and has resulted in her continued support for mentorship and playing an active role in the community.

SECRETARY
Wade Killefer, FAIA- Founding Partner, Killefer Flammang Architects

Wade Killefer is a founding Partner of Killefer Flammang Architects (KFA), a practice dedicated to designing great places in Los Angeles. Wade was born in San Francisco and grew up in Washington, D.C., before receiving his B.A. in English from Stanford and his Master of Architecture degree from UCLA’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning.

Founded in 1975, KFA designed its first Los Angeles library in 1983, first school in 1985, first affordable housing project in 1988, and first mixed-use residential project in 1990. In the late 1990’s, Wade was a driving force in the development of LA’s Adaptive Reuse Ordinance, which sparked the resurgence of Downtown’s historic core. Under Wade’s leadership KFA designed the first three efforts under this ordinance in the Old Bank District, and have since rehabilitated over 40 historic buildings throughout the City.

In addition to the adaptive reuse work, KFA has completed dozens of new mixed-use, market-rate housing projects, hotels, creative office, and campus master plan projects. They have also designed over 4,000 units of affordable housing in 57 different buildings for 27 different affordable housing developers in Los Angeles County. Twelve of these projects, containing over 1,000 units, are on Skid Row. KFA has received numerous awards and recognition for its forward-thinking architecture, and in 2016 was honored with the prestigious AIA California Council Firm of the Year Award.

PAST PRESIDENT
Tania Van Herle, AIA, LEED AP BD+C –  Principal & Corporate Systems Leader HED’s Los Angeles Office

Throughout her career, Tania has always sought out opportunities to expand her knowledge, volunteer and serve as a mentor. In describing the beliefs that define who she is, she states “It’s really simple. Give back, make a difference in the communities where we work, collaborate, and innovate.” Tania is honored to be serving as the current President for the Los Angeles Chapter of the AIA and looks forward to advancing the Chapter’s mission.

As Corporate Systems Leader for Harley Ellis Devereaux’s Los Angeles Office, Tania is responsible for the operation of the firm’s key systems: Legal, Human Resources, Finance and Information Technology. With experience in the technical, management and business development areas of the practice, she is the Corporate Treasurer for the firm and has served on the Board since 2006.

With over 20 years of experience in architecture, Tania has overseen the firm’s Operations in the design and construction of K12 Education, Higher Education, Healthcare, Corporate & Commercial and Science & Technology projects.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Tania earned a Bachelor and Masters of Science in Civil Engineering, followed by a Masters of Architecture I, all earned at UCLA. Tania is the past chair of the Women in Architecture Committee of AIA-LA, a past graduate of the 2013 Southern California Leadership group, and is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles.

DIRECTOR
Alex Anamos, AIA – R&A Architecture + Design

Prior to serving on the AIA|LA Board of Directors and Urban Design Committee, Alex Anamos led the Chapter’s Design Awards Committee for 3 years as Co-Chair and Chair. During his tenure, Alex spearheaded the transition to online design awards submissions – dramatically increasing the pool of international Jurors whom the Chapter could tap to judge its high-level pool of entries.

Prior to joining R&A ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN as Studio Director and Senior Architect, Alex was the Managing Director at LORCAN O’HERLIHY ARCHITECTS [LOHA], and a Principal at KAA DESIGN. His interest in Urban Design began during architecture school, where he studied at institutions that emphasized urban scale projects and city-making. However, real world experience with downtown Los Angeles design challenges – especially in the Arts District – inspired Alex to join the Urban Design Committee more than four years ago.

Alex received a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture form U.C. Berkeley and a Masters of Architecture from UCLA.

DIRECTOR
Pooja Bhagat, AIA – poojabhagat architects+planners

Pooja is principal at pooja bhagat architects+ planners, founding co-chair of the WiA Committee and lead organizer for 2106 &17 Powerful Conference.

Born in Delhi, Pooja was inspired by Mughal & Colonial Architecture and Le Corbusier’s modernism, creating a design philosophy rooted in context, craft and environmental planning strategies. Pooja came to SCI-Arc for graduate studies in 2000 which nurtured fresh ideas and gave her a new perspective on tradition and globalization.

Pooja’s focus in shaping communities finds its voice in projects that provide both affordable and market rate housing. She has designed, detailed and managed multiple building types and coordinated master plans with complex client & consultant teams.

DIRECTOR
Clay Holden, AIA – LEED AP – Principal, Clay Holden Architects

For over 20 years, Clay Holden has been designing and producing award winning, progressive projects around the world for several well-known architects in Los Angeles and Chicago, including: Moore Ruble Yudell, Chu+Gooding, and Pugh+Scarpa. Clay has contributed design, technical expertise, and leadership on a variety of cultural, civic, campus, mixed-use, planning, transit, commercial, housing, residential, and exhibition design projects, including a number of international design competitions.

His interest in design and architecture evolved through his experiences with art and construction while growing up in the Midwest. Throughout his schooling he explored freedom of expression and innovative ways of designing. Clay also spent time learning specific construction trades. This combination has made him into a well-balanced designer who is always looking for creative ways to tackle design issues with an understanding of the fundamental basis of the profession.

Clay Holden received a Master of Architecture degree in 2000 from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in Los Angeles and Vico Morcote, Switzerland; and a Bachelor of Science of Design degree from Clemson University in 1995. He was awarded the SCI-Arc Vico Fellowship in 2002 to administer SCI-Arc’s European campus in Switzerland.

Clay is an active member of the American Institute of Architects, and has served as the Chairs of the AIA|LA Academic Outreach Committee and the 2×8 Exhibition Committee. In 2007 he was awarded with the inaugural AIA|LA Associate of the Year Award. Clay is also a frequent guest critic at several architecture and design schools in Southern California. Clay is a Licensed Architect in the State of California and a LEED® Accredited Professional.

DIRECTOR
Fabian Kremkus, AIA – CO Architects

Fabian Kremkus is a Design Principal with CO Architects in Los Angeles. Past Chair of the COTE AIA |LA. During his 23-year architectural career – 18 with CO Architects – he has worked nationally and internationally on academic facilities, secondary schools, and corporate headquarters, sports, and entertainment facilities. With CO Architects, he has designed major research, higher education, healthcare, museum, performing arts and justice facilities. Fabian holds both a Master of Architecture and Pre-diploma of Architecture from the University of Braunschweig, Germany, and is a California licensed architect. He is also one of Los Angeles’ most avid bicyclists.

DIRECTOR
Sarah Lorenzen, AIA – CalPoly Pomona; TOLO Architecture

Sarah maintains one foot in practice and one in academia. She is a partner at TOLO Architecture (previously Peter Tolkin Architecture), architecture professor and former chair at Cal Poly Pomona (2013-2017), and resident director of the Neutra VDL Studio and Residences.

Sarah spent her first eighteen years living in Mexico City. At 18 she left Mexico to attend college in the U.S. to pursue a BFA in Drawing at Smith College and at the Atlanta College of Art. After graduating art school, she broadened her interest to architecture, receiving an M.Arch I from Georgia Institute of Technology and later an M.Arch II in Metropolitan, Research & Design from Sci-Arc. During her early career, Sarah worked on the design of research and technology buildings at Lord, Arch and Sargent Architecture in Atlanta and at MBT Architecture (now Perkins + Will Architecture) in San Francisco. Sarah has taught urban design and architecture courses at Cal Poly Pomona (2005-present) and at Georgia Tech (in 2000). In 2011-12 Sarah spent a sabbatical at TU Delft in the Netherlands conducting research on the influences of technology on mapping and urban development. In 2015 Sarah was honored by AIA LA with educator of the year.

DIRECTOR
Jason E. Morris, AIA – Marx|Okubo Associates

Jason E. Morris, AIA, is an Architect at Marx|Okubo Associates. He has experience ranging from managing large-scale luxury retail projects for exclusive high-end brands to providing architectural consulting and owner’s representation services. Jason remains an active member of the AIA|LA chapter as well as other local organizations; and with his involvement in the SoCal NOMA chapter has taken special interest in increasing diversity in the profession and improved opportunities for minority-owned architecture firms. He was recently awarded by the AIA California Council the 2016 Associate Award. He was an invited speaker at the AIA|LA Encompass conference on equity and diversity, as well as featured a number of times on NPR radio stations for his work promoting diversity and inclusion in the profession.

Jason is a Licensed Architect in the state of California, and holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

DIRECTOR
Leslie Sydnor, AIA – Cumming Corporation

I am a Director at Cumming Corporation, working as a Planning Project Manager at LBUSD. Born and raised in New York City I have lived and worked in LA for 28 years. In 2013, after 20 years in architecture firms, having risen to the level of Associate Principal, I left to work on the Owner’s side. I have worked for small firms and large firms, in both the public and private sectors. I have a B.A. in architecture from Yale and M.Arch from UCLA. I believe mentorship and visibility are the keys to the diversification and future strength of the profession.

EX-OFFICIO
Carlo Caccavale, Hon. AIA|LA – Executive Director, AIA Los Angeles

Coupled with his knowledge of architecture and passion for policies that support excellence in the built environment, Carlo Caccavale brings 15 years of experience at the American Institute of Architects Los Angeles chapter to his position as its Executive Director.

Carlo has initiated a number of AIA|LA conferences that contribution to the profession and surrounding region. They include Encompass, the AIA|LA Conference to Actualize Diversity and Inclusion; Design for Dignity, the AIA|LA conference focused on homelessness and housing affordability; and Powerful, Women Leading Design. To facilitate greater recognition for design excellence and widen the spectrum of offices participating in design awards programs, Carlo launched the Restaurant Design Awards in 2005 and the Residential Architecture Awards in 2016. In 2017, he started the chapter’s Architectural Photography Awards to celebrate those who translate three dimensional design to the single plane while capturing its intent.

ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
Rachel Martinelli, Assoc. AIA – Price Architects

Rachel Martinelli, Assoc. AIA, is a recent graduate, holding a Master of Architecture Degree from the University of Southern California (2015) and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Ball State University (2013). Through her studies, she gained a great interest in how users with varying needs interact in architectural spaces and how design can enhance their experience. Rachel is passionate about accessibility, emerging technologies, and discussing issues relating to diversity and equity in the profession and the community.   She is currently working at Price Architects, Inc., where she is gaining a better understanding of the construction process and how she wants to make an impact on the profession.

EX-OFFICIO ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
Hector Puga, Assoc. AIA – USC Office of Real Estate & Asset Management

Hector Puga currently is a Project Manager at the University of Southern California in the Office of Real Estate and Asset Management. He graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a Bachelors of Architecture and most recently an MBA from Mount Saint Mary’s University. Previously, he has worked at Gensler, Marmol Radziner and the J Paul Getty Trust. The majority of his professional background has been in facilities management and construction. Hector is heavily involved with the AIA as the former Associate Director, South with AIA California and his local chapter. For the past few years, Hector has been part of the Emerging Professionals Task Force working, towards empowering recent graduates and those starting within the profession. His passion is to represent Latinos and emerging professionals within architecture and construction.

PUBLIC DIRECTOR
Christopher Hawthorne – Chief Design Officer, City of Los Angeles

Christopher Hawthorne is the Chief Design Officer for the city of Los Angeles, a position appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti. Prior to joining City Hall, Hawthorne was architecture critic for the Los Angeles Times from 2004 to early 2018. With Alanna Stang, he is the author of “The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture” (Princeton Architectural Press). His writing has also appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Slate, Architectural Record, Architecture, Harvard Design Magazine, Domus, Metropolis, New York, and many other publications. He is Professor of the Practice at Occidental College, where since 2015 he has directed the Third Los Angeles Project, a series of public conversations about architecture, urban planning, mobility, and demographic change in Southern California. Hawthorne has also taught at U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University and the Southern California Institute of Architecture. A frequent collaborator with KCET-TV, the PBS affiliate in Los Angeles, Hawthorne wrote and directed the hour-long documentary “That Far Corner: Frank Lloyd Wright in Los Angeles,” which had its broadcast debut in 2018, and received an L.A.-area Emmy Award for the 2016 KCET program “Third L.A. with Architecture Critic Christopher Hawthorne.” His other professional honors include a mid-career fellowship from the National Arts Journalism Program at Columbia University, the Bradford Williams Medal from the American Society of Landscape Architects and a Residency in Criticism at the American Academy in Rome. Hawthorne grew up in Berkeley and holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale College, where he studied political science and architectural history. He is married to Rachel Fine, executive director and CEO of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills; they have two daughters.

PUBLIC DIRECTOR
Dafna Kaplan, Affiliate AIA|LA – Vice President of Marketing, MATT CONSTRUCTION

Dafna is responsible for overseeing the strategy, direction and execution of MATT Construction’s marketing and PR initiatives. She brings over 20 years of experience in strategic branding and marketing, half within the A/E/C industry and half in the consumer products industry for design-focused companies. Prior to her tenure with MATT Construction, Dafna directed marketing and PR activities for a well-known modern architect. She is on the Management Committee for ULI Los Angeles, has co-chaired ULI’s Urban Marketplace event, and serves on the boards of the Western Museums Association and the AIA | Los Angeles. Earlier in her career Dafna sat on boards for the LA Stage Alliance and the Consumer Electronics Association.

Dafna also has extensive experience collaborating with the entertainment community in Los Angeles. During her time in the consumer products industry, Dafna forged strategic branding alliances and produced joint events and/or promotions with Red Bull USA, Universal Music, Warner Brothers Music, EMI, Interscope, Island Def Jam, Sony, Izze, Corzo, Herradura, Pearl Vodka, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, and the X-Games. As a private consultant, she spearheaded numerous PR campaigns, including a global launch of the Johnny Carson Archive in its current digital form.

Dafna has served as a freelance journalist and author. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from the University of Oregon, and an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Business.

AIA CC REPRESENTATIVE
Carissa Oyedele, AIA, LEED BD+C – Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners

Carissa received a Bachelor of Architecture degree with a minor in Construction Management from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Her education provided a solid foundation for solving creative design solutions to various project types, including those with complex programs, schedules, and delivery methods. With project experience ranging from masterplans to competitions, mixed-use, campus, and civic work, Carissa’s breadth of experience extends into local, national, and international communities. Carissa is an active member the AIA, serves as Director of the AIA/LA Board from 2016-2018, is an IDP Coordinator, and an NCARB Licensing Advisor.

AIA CC REPRESENTATIVE
Darrell S. “Rocky” Rockefeller, AIA – Senior Partner, Rockefeller Kempel Architects

Rocky Rockefeller, AIA, has been practicing architecture for 38 years, building a base of knowledge and expertise that spans the creative demands of the design process to the technical and managerial requisites for construction and business. Prior to establishing Rockefeller Kempel Architects, Mr. Rockefeller was Managing Partner at Rockefeller / Hricak, an award winning design firm in Los Angeles from 1981 to 2002. Rocky has a varied repertoire ranging from sophisticated and refined residential estates to the complex and challenging engineering requirements of a critical service telecommunications facility. He has coordinated and managed teams of consultants and design professionals using his forward thinking and highly touted “cradle to grave” project management approach that provides for seeing projects from conception through construction and beyond. One of the firm’s major areas of focus has always been the design of residential estates.

Upon graduation from Lakewood High School, in 1971, Rocky began an apprenticeship for the Case Study firm, Killingsworth, Brady & Associates, first as an office boy and soon thereafter as a draftsman. He assisted on custom residential, hospitality and mixed-used projects, all while attending Long Beach City College at night. He received an Associate of Science degree in Construction Technology from LBCC in 1974. Shortly thereafter, with the strong support and assistance by his mentor, Ed Killingsworth, FAIA, Rocky was accepted to Cal Poly’s School of Architecture in San Luis Obispo, where he eventually received a Bachelor of Science in 1979.

Rocky is also a well-respected member of the architectural and academic community. For nearly 30 years he has taught at UCLA and at Cal Poly Pomona’s Interior Architecture Masters Degree Programs. A registered architect in California since 1984, and is an active member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architecture where he currently serves on the Board of Directors as the AIA|LA Representative for AIA California Council. His dedication to the community is firmly in place as he has served on several Los Angeles City Commissions and is currently a Board appointed Member of the LA StreetCar, Inc. Rocky is CEO and President of Rockefeller Kempel Architects, headquartered in the Smoky Hollow neighborhood of El Segundo, California. He resides in Hermosa Beach with his wife, Amy, of 29 years. They enjoy scuba diving, travel, sailing and hiking in the high sierras.