When you were young, did you know you wanted to be an architect?
When I was three years old, my dad designed and remodeled our family home. There is a photograph of him sitting at a drafting table in the backyard with my twin sister and me. My twin and my dad are smiling at the camera but I am looking very intently at the plans and could care less about the camera. Ever since then, I’ve known I wanted to be an architect.
What building is a touchstone for you as an architect?
Although it’s not actually a building, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. has always been my touchstone in terms of how architecture and design can really move people. During college I spent a year “abroad” in D.C. and I would frequently go visit the Memorial. Not only was it breathtaking, but I was always struck by how even little kids seemed moved by the Memorial. The moment they started walking into it, they stopped running and playing and became very respectful and quiet. Their parents didn’t even have to tell them to behave, it was just the way the space made them feel and react.
How do you define great architecture?
It’s about how people respond to it and how it can affect their lives and their days for the better. So if it’s a school, how can the building help them to learn and to grow as people? If it’s a museum, how is it helping you connect to the pieces on display?
Ragazza on Divisadero. I love the atmosphere. It’s simple pizza and pasta but it’s delicious. And I love that the staff remembers my twin and me every time we’re there, even if we haven’t been in for months.
If you weren’t an architect, what would you be?
Probably a graphic designer. I love graphics, layouts, and paper products.