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Small Firms 101: Seminar 3

September 14, 2018 @ 8:00 am - 12:00 pm PDT

$60 – $80

Small Firms 101: Seminar 3 -Refashioning Conventional Small Firms Working Relationships

Hosted By: Helms Design Center
Breakfast Hosted By: ADOTTA
Learning Units: 3.5

Traditional working relationships are changing.

Explore the successes of small firms practicing creatively in the 21st century; how do contracts, roles, responsibilities, and legal issues change for design-build, design-developer, and design-entitlement partnerships? What are some best practices for building joint-venture working relationships and contractual obligations? How can the AIA Trust provide support and resources for small firms to identify, prevent, and control risk as they diversify their practice?

Get answers from local experts in the third seminar of our Small Firms Series, who will delve into the challenges and benefits of combining design with construction, development, entitlement, production, and collaboration.


Photo Credit: Platform 1- Benny Chan Photography, Platform 2- Nico Marques, Zen Modern Home by Marcos Santa Ana, AIA, and Pico Live/Work Duplex by Ric. Abramson, FAIA

A series of hands-on professional development workshops that will serve as a forum to give insight and access to the tools and resources needed to organize and operate a successful architectural & design practice. Learn from speakers; ask questions specific to your practice during the Q&A and speak to peers encountering similar challenges. Each seminar will be four hours long; comprised of four presentations of 30-40 minutes with a 20-30 minute interactive Q&A. More information about past speakers in the links below.

Marcos Santa Ana, AIA, NCARB – Architect & General Contractor, Alloi Architecture + Construction

Marcos Santa Ana founded Alloi Architecture + Construction to synchronize the design and construction of profoundly understated modern architecture.  He incorporates a master-builder design approach by leveraging craftsmanship and detail to create harmony in the build world.  Inspired by minimalism, composition and simplicity, the company’s compelling signature can be seen throughout various residential and commercial projects across Los Angeles.

Studying architecture in Spain, Denmark and New York inspired Marcos to fuse cultural-diversity into Alloi’s DNA.  The company’s culture is built on collaboration with talented individuals of varying races, ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations.

Ric. Abramson, FAIA – Founder & Firm Principal, WORKPLAYS

The WORKPLAYS was founded by Ric. Abramson, FAIA in 2003 after his four-year tenure as a design partner in the Santa Monica firm of David Lawrence Gray Architects. A former Fulbright scholar in Italy and Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome, Mr. Abramson divides his time between his professional interests (including innovative infill subdivisions, multi-unit housing, custom residential work, mixed-use developments, commercial  and urban design projects), land use consulting services, personal academic research, and local community involvement throughout the Southland.

Ric. has served as a member of the architectural faculties at the USC School of Architecture (1998-2014) and SCIArc (1992-98). His professional service includes terms on the AIA|California Council, AIA|Los Angeles and Center for Architecture & Urban Design L.A. Board of Directors. Within his community, he has served as a Public Facilities Commissioner and chaired an affordable housing non-profit Board. At the national level, Ric. is currently representing the California region on the AIA’s Strategic Council in Washington DC as well as the AIA|SFx Small Firm Exchange.

Locally, his firm is currently consulting with L.A. County on developing a new compact house ordinance that focuses on affordable home ownership.  Ric. has continued to be been very active in small firm education and advocacy, innovative housing solutions and sustainable design policy. California Home & Design Magazine recognized his influence on design and the environment and named Workplays studio on their “10 to Watch List” as an energetic firm “poised to make its mark on California architecture”.

Douglas Teiger, AIA – Managing Partner, Abramson Teiger Architects

Douglas Teiger realizes people and teamwork are the foundation of a successful creative practice. His passion for understanding group dynamics through empowering the different strengths of each team member embodies a synergy that fosters creativity. As Managing Partner at Abramson Teiger Architects, his ability to effectively streamline the operations allows for more time to be spent on design and project research, resulting in the consistent high level of design associated with the firm.  Douglas continues to pursue his understanding of people and what has to occur to bring out the best in everyone.

Douglas began his career in NYC with the firm of Swanke Hayden Connell, where he worked on the Statue of Liberty Renovation. As a Project Designer with Arthur Erickson Architects, he was instrumental in designing the San Diego Convention Center, Brentwood Library and the renovation of the historic Stockton Street Hotel in San Francisco.

Douglas has always believed that architecture should raise your soul to a higher spiritual level.  He feels that his firm strives to achieve this in all their projects, whether it is a workplace, retail, institutional or residential project.

Douglas graduated with honors from Cornell University in 1982, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture.  He later obtained a Master’s in Spiritual Psychology from University of Santa Monica in 2009.  He is a registered Architect in the States of California, Wyoming, Georgia, and New York.  Douglas has served as an executive committee member of the United Jewish Federation Real Estate and Construction Cabinet. He has also served on the Santa Monica College Architectural CAD Technology Advisory Board and as lecture chair for the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Young Architects Forum. He was Chair on the Los Angeles AIA Awards Committee for eight years and has been a Director on the California Council of the AIA since 2018.  Douglas proudly served as President of the AIA Los Angeles Chapter for a year long term beginning in 2017.

Stephan Castellanos, FAIA – Principal & Partner, Derivi Castellanos Architects

Mr. Castellanos is principal and partner in Derivi Castellanos Architects, with a primary focus in public schools. He also served as the California State Architect for six years, appointed by Governor Gray Davis in 2000, providing policy and regulation services for California’s schools and community colleges.

He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and continues to be active in the AIA at all levels,
including serving as the AIA California Council President in 2005, the AIA National Secretary from 2000 to 2003,
and currently serving as the President of the California Architectural Foundation and the Chair-elect of the AIA

He currently serves on the boards of the San Joaquin Delta Community College District and the California Community College Trustees, with experience in providing leadership on local, state and national boards, committees and task forces. He understands the development and application of public policy and remains involved with policy makers at every level.

Mr. Castellanos received his Bachelor of Architecture from California State Polytechnic University.


September 14, 2018
8:00 am - 12:00 pm PDT
$60 – $80
Event Categories:
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AIA Los Angeles


Helms Design Center
8745 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
+ Google Map


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