ShubinDonaldson is a team of people with diverse backgrounds and experiences united around one thing–creating great design.
Having grown over the past 25 years to being a firm with a dedicated professional staff of over fifty talented people, and with offices in three Southern California locations, we understand that our success hinges on the highest level of professional responsibility to our clients.
Russell Shubin, AIA, founded ShubinDonaldson Architects in partnership with Robin Donaldson in 1991. He is passionate about transformative design and ambitiously questions assumptions about what it means to be relevant in each context in which the firm works. Today, ShubinDonaldson Architects has offices in Culver City, Santa Barbara, and Newport and includes a thriving luxury residential practice serving international clientele, as well as mixed-use, multifamily, commercial office & retail, hospitality, and institutional project. The firm’s work has been widely published including a book in 2010 by ORO editions, entitled Live + Work, featuring 23 projects spanning the years 1998 to 2009. Since the company was founded, SD has been recognized with dozens of AIA design awards.
Robin Donaldson, AIA, brings 30 years of experience in architecture, design, construction, project development and management to every project he is engaged in. He has been recognized with dozens of design awards for SD’s work on projects such as Ground Zero, Iwin, Fuel, Montecito Residence and many others. Born in Los Angeles, CA, Donaldson was educated at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art and Art History, with an emphasis in architectural history. He then received his Master of Architecture degree, graduating first in his class at Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-ARC). While a student at SCI-arc, Donaldson began working with Morphosis Architects, assuming project architect responsibilities on commercial, institutional, and residential projects, including the celebrated Crawford Residence. Following his years working with Morphosis, Donaldson founded ShubinDonaldson in 1991.
He was involved in teaching architectural design and guest lecturing at schools such as Arizona State University, Otis Parsons School of Design, SCI-arc, UCLA, and the University of California, Santa Barbara, Environmental Design Program. He was the 1998 president of the Santa Barbara Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Donaldson is the former Chair of the Santa Barbara County Board of Architectural Review.
A native Californian born in Newport Beach, Mark began his studies at Sorbonne University in Paris, France. After receiving his Bachelor of Architecture from Woodbury University in 1997, Mark’s professional design career was initiated under the tutelage of prolific Southern California architect Anthony J Lumsden. He began working at ShubinDonaldson Architects in 1999. Since then he has directed a multitude of ShubinDonaldson’s signature projects.
Beginning with the firm as a Lead Project Designer, he has moved up the ranks to Partner in 2017. He has focused his expertise on the commercial interiors and mixed-use buildings within the firm. Mark’s relentless attention to craft, detail, and design process has made him a lynchpin at the core of SD’s reputation for innovative design.
Jennifer Flinck describes herself as someone who has “always been good with numbers.” Born and raised in Santa Barbara, Jennifer attended California State University, Chico, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Physiology –another passion. One of her first positions was as an administrative assistant to the Controller at Design Solutions; she quickly learned the ropes and was promoted to Controller. She came to ShubinDonaldson in 2004 as Controller. In her spare time, she can be found snuggling and making squeaky noises to her cat.
Jay is driven by the creative aspects of the craft and practice of architecture. To Jay, architecture is a means of contributing to the built landscape and to the enduring continuum of design. A Los Angeles native, Jay worked for Kanner Architects for 13 years before joining SD in 2012. He’s a self-professed foodie, movie-nerd and avid cycler—biking the PCH every weekend in order to “reboot.”
Greg Griffin, a Southern California native, grew up riding bikes, motorcycles, skateboards, building, fixing, and customizing said wheeled items. He graduated with honors in 1998 from California State Polytechnic University with a Bachelor of Architecture, trying to get outside between studio projects, be it snowboarding, hiking, camping, or mountain biking. Having joined SD as a licensed architect in 2005, he brings with him a respect for the outdoors, and a passion for exploring how a building can connect people with a site. Whenever he can, he still heads outside; riding a 1964 Vespa from Alaska to New Orleans, or around Egypt…maybe the Pacific Crest Trail is next, on foot, not on wheels.
Brad Kelley believes in the human dimension of architecture and its simple yet profound importance in addressing global concerns while shaping the quality of our lives. From the corporeal response to form, color, material, and the experience of space to the socially impactive properties and other performative benefits possible through purposeful and thoughtful ideas, Brad values the unique and transformative ways that design affects our thoughts, relationships, and emotions.
Brad Kelley was born and raised in the Hawaiian Islands and from a very early age learned the importance and value of cultural diversity as well as the necessity of coexistence. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Washington State University and later received a Master’s degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University in New York City.
Brad has collaborated with the internationally recognized office of Steven Holl Architects in New York City as well as with the Atelier of Pritzker Prize winning architect Alvaro Siza in Porto, Portugal and later with the Studio of John Ronan Architects in Chicago before relocating to Los Angeles where he has been a part of the ShubinDonaldson team since 2005.
With a broad range of experience in distinctive project types ranging from cultural, religious, residential, and commercial work to larger urban developments both in the United States and throughout the world, Brad’s perspective has underlined a critical interest in the meaning, applicability, and particularity of each architectural design for each client and site. Brad’s project involvement at ShubinDonaldson ranges from conceptual and pre-design through construction administration on national projects and abroad.
Brad is an avid surfer, hand-shaping custom equipment for use in travels around the world. He is fluent in English and Portuguese.
Ilya Kozin brings 14 years of experience in architecture, design, construction, and management. Studying architecture at Woodbury University, Ilya received his Bachelor of Architecture. degree in 1998. During the last 14 years, Ilya has been involved in a multitude of complex projects, ranging from repositioning of existing industrial building to large-scale, ground up mixed-use developments.
Born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden to a family of builders and craftsmen, Nilsson’s aptitude for design was shaped in early years. In the first part of his professional career, he interned and worked as a building engineer for prestigious firms that evolved into what is now Sweden’s most successful architecture firm, Wingårdhs. Nilsson went to Los Angeles and SCI-arc in the mid-nineties, and graduated in 2001. While at SCI-arc he won an international student competition. The first prize was to have his design realized in built form, and an opportunity to return to Scandinavia and intern for the executive architect—internationally acclaimed architecture firm 3XN.
After graduation Nilsson, worked for Pugh + Scarpa (currently Brooks + Scarpa), where he was introduced to working in an environment where design and craft had the highest attention. In 2004, Nilsson started working for the respected firm, DMJM (later AECOM), where he had the opportunity to design large corporate commercial projects in Los Angeles and internationally. He rose through the ranks and was appointed studio director at AECOM. In 2015, Fredrik joined ShubinDonaldson as a studio director. His expertise leading the design for commercial projects contributes to the robust design process at ShubinDonaldson. Nilsson’s attention to craft and detail furthers ShubinDonaldson’s reputation for design innovation.
A Principal at ShubinDonaldson, Sieglinde Pukke brings 25 years of experience in architecture, design, construction, and management to the company. She holds several prestigious awards for her work on Ocean Institute in Dana Point, the Headquarters for Quiksilver in Huntington Beach, and 3388 Via Lido in Newport Beach. Born in Munich, Germany, Sieglinde studied architecture at the Georg Simon Ohm Polytechikum in Nuremberg, Germany where she received her Master’s degree in 1990. Dr. Seegy, who was a Professor at the Georg Simon Ohm Polytechikum brought her into his firm while she was working on her thesis. After she graduated, she worked in Germany for 7 years before relocating to California in 1997. She has been working with Shubin Donaldson since 2007, and was promoted Principal in 2013.
With nearly two decades of professional architectural experience, Christine provides firm-wide leadership, management expertise, mentoring and inspiration to everyone at SD. She is accountable for the work product and processes within the residential studio of the Los Angeles office, including the well-being of the LA residential team. To Christine, architecture is “a big puzzle that is fascinating to put together.” Christine Reins has a nomadic history. Born in Michigan, her family moved to Kentucky, then Ohio and then to Sutton Coldfield, England before finally retuning to Michigan. In her spare time, she enjoys playing cello and rowing, as well as coaching rowing with the Los Angeles Rowing Club.
Edward Anastas studied at the University of Southern California School of Architecture, where he graduated in 1997. He received his Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University’s GSAPP in 1998. Edward joined ShubinDonaldson in 2014, and brings extensive experience from pre-design through CD design and documentation, including site design and master-planning. Project experience spans a variety of different sectors, including residential, hospitality, institutional, healthcare, commercial, retail and mixed-use projects. In his spare time, he enjoys biking and playing basketball.
In his spare time he enjoys biking and playing basketball.
Emily Balas was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and initially became interested in architecture after growing up in a city with such a complex urban fabric. She received her Bachelor of Architecture in 2010 from the University of Michigan and immediately had wanderlust to explore. Moving to Beijing shortly after, she worked as an architectural designer at an art museum. Returning state-side in 2012, Emily began graduate school at the University of Southern California where she ultimately graduated from in 2014 with a Masters in Architecture. She then went on to work at Perkins Eastman where she worked on Marin County General Hospital for three years. She passed her AREs and CSE in a year and became a licensed architect in 2016.
Emily is an avid adventurer and has visited Japan, Singapore, & the Maldives just to name a few. With plans for much more travel to come. She is an avid gardener with a serious green thumb, cultivating over 30 different plants. With an affinity toward the structure of plant anatomy, Emily draws much of her design inspiration from the organic world around us.
Joining ShubinDonaldson in early 2017, Emily brings expertise in construction administration on large scale projects.
An Architect at ShubinDonaldson, Matthew Beausoleil brings 15 years of experience in a wide range of project types including single and multi-family residential, hospitality, commercial, theme park, and institutional projects. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from Woodbury University where he graduated with honors. Matt also was born and raised in Santa Barbara and loves to spend his free time downhill mountain biking in the local mountains, and competitively racing outrigger canoes in the ocean with a local club. He sees parallels between racing outrigger and architecture as a profession. “Achievements are made in both sport and architecture when careful preparation meet unforeseen opportunities. Creativity, commitment to goals, and integrity often create delightful and often unexpected results in both areas.”
When he’s not at work refining projects by modelling in 3D and drawing details, Alex Belson plays Dodgeball. A SCI-arc alum, he’s been a member of the Eagle Rock Yacht Club for four years, participating on both the Northside and Westside Leagues as well as numerous charity tournaments. He’s proud to have won a couple league championships while raising funds for local charities. He says, “We don’t take the whole win/lose thing too serious, but the play is surprisingly competitive.”
Growing up in the family furniture business, Ivan Blanco got an early start in the world of design. This background influenced Ivan, not only thinking about the built environment as a constructed entity, but also in terms of fabrication and manufacturing. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Southern California in 2002. Ivan has over 14 years of professional design experience focused on interiors for the commercial, hospitality and retail markets. He has designed spaces and products from multinational corporate headquarters to furniture and architectural products for major national hospitality and retail brands. His experience and specialty brings knowledge of industrial design, design engineering, fabrication, manufacturing, 3D modeling, visualization and sourcing to SD.
Jenny Cabal brings to Shubin Donaldson more than 17 years of multifamily & mixed used experience from small to large scale projects. She handles & oversees multiple projects from concept to commencement of construction. Provides the instrumental coordination and QA/QC of deliverables with the many consultants and relevant jurisdictions required for multifamily housing and mixed used projects. She is directly responsible for executing contracts, project schedules & budgets, and direct communication for the successful delivery of projects to clients. Her extensive experience ranges from high-rise to low-rise condominiums, apartments, mixed used, veterans housing, affordable/HUD housing, and senior housing projects. During her tenure at TSM, she gained extensive experience working on complex projects obtaining modifications through code research and implementation. Prior to working on multifamily housing, she was critically involved in design and construction of commercial buildings, office renovations, regional shopping centers, and movie theaters.
Geo Chevez grew up in North Hollywood in the neighborhood which is now the NoHo Arts District. After being inspired by an architectural exhibition during his studies at UCSB, he transferred to Woodbury University to pursue an education in architecture. During his academic career, he studied abroad in Rome, Barcelona and Berlin; he also participated in an exchange program with students from the University of Buenos Aires. During his 4th year, his team was awarded 1st place in the USGBC Emerging Talent Design Competition for a mixed-use project comprised of shipping containers in downtown Long Beach. After receiving his Bachelor of Architecture in 2012, he joined ShubinDonaldson. Geo works on diverse project typologies including tenant improvement, adaptive reuse, master planning, multi-family developments, graphic design, and architectural competitions. His passion for architecture centers on the pursuit of shaping the everyday environment that we inhabit; by how history, our present-day realities, as well as our aspirations for the future all inform architecture. In addition to architecture, Geo loves playing sports.
Eric Chin is a graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. After receiving a B.Arch from the institute’s School of Architecture and gaining experience in Seoul, New York, and Boston, he moved back to his home of Southern California. Eric works on both commercial and residential projects, readily engaging in their conceptual genesis to their construction documentation. He is constantly curious about architecture’s wider role in social and cultural expression, along with the new conditions they produce. He also applies this inquiry into his interest and involvement in other creative fields of music, clothing, and cinema.
Carrie Clay’s passion for design started at a young age. Spending summers helping her parents remodel her childhood home, she was always given the opportunity to create and help with new ideas. Following this passion, Carrie attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture and a minor in Sustainable Environments in 2016 and a Masters of Business Administration in 2017. While in school, Carrie studied abroad at Studio Ticino in Switzerland, followed by a stint living in Copenhagen and designing custom villas in Sweden. While in Sweden, she developed a passion for Scandinavian design and sustainable urban design, tying back to her roots of growing up in Solvang, California. This experience gave her the opportunity to explore the role culture plays on architecture and design. Carrie is interested in old places that can be revitalized by new design and is determined to create architecture that expresses the thoughts and emotions of its inhabitants. Outside of the office she enjoys traveling to new places, cooking interesting things, water coloring and spending time with her family. Carrie joined SD in 2017.
“We tend to recognize the architectural language of our own culture, we would all agree that the recognizable difference is both visible and one of feel. The difference, then, lies not only in what we see but also in what we do not see.”
– Michael Andersen and Jeanne Schelde, Architecture and Identity
Born and raised in Valencia, Venezuela, Gabriela Colmenares moved to the United States in 2002 in pursuit of art, architecture and design-related activities. To her, architecture makes a conscious effort to explore and integrate different fields, opening doors of knowledge beyond buildings. She is influenced by the way nature, people, culture and emotions shape design. When she’s not working you can find her exploring the city and taking photographs. “Curiosity is my motivation to learn. It also encourages me to trespass abandoned barns just to photograph them.”
Elisabeta Curea was born in the Socialist Republic of Romania where she lived out the last years of the Ceausescu regime. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of Washington and a Master of Architecture from the University of Oregon.
A native of Long Beach, California, Anthony currently attends West Los Angeles College in Culver City, California, where he is pursuing his degree in Aircraft Engineering. At ShubinDonaldson, Anthony keeps the LA office organized, and the day-to-day machine well-oiled and humming. In his downtime he enjoys hiking, reading and watching documentaries. “Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough” ~ Og Mandino
As an Orange County native, Adrienne Danet was inspired by the Newport Neutra dental office and at age 10 knew that Architecture was her calling. Graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in Architecture, she returned back to Orange County to practice in a broad range of roles, including: design architect, project architect, programming specialist, and interiors architect. Adrienne works with a strong commitment to the design integrity of a project, from its initial conception to the final execution and realization. When not practicing architecture, she enjoys the lifetime commitment of experimenting with her Eichler home in Orange, a.k.a. more architecture. When really not practicing architecture she enjoys camping and hiking activities with her family, running for health, and not running around to the seemingly endless kid sporting events (when she can help it).
Joining ShubinDonaldson in the summer of 2017, Adrienne brings over 20 years’ experience as an architect in various project types including commercial office, retail, residential, higher / lower education, and justice.
Christiane Dussa brings over 20 years of architectural experience to ShubinDonaldson. She joined ShubinDonaldson in September of 2014 and has been project manager for the Boston Consulting Group’s Headquarters project. Prior to joining ShubinDonaldson, Christiane worked for AECOM, where she successfully managed a variety of complex projects including a number of ground up theme park rides for Universal Studios Hollywood; projects including both King Kong and the recently opened Fast and Furious ride.
Growing up in the hot, sun-scorched, open spaces of the southwest desert, Mike had many interests. Hailing from Tempe it was almost a given that he attend Arizona State University. While in college—after a year’s diversion as a music major (he’s played piano since he was seven)—a random, if not fateful, walk through the College of Architecture completely changed his life’s trajectory. After nearly ten years in higher education he received a Masters in Architecture from Arizona State University and a Masters in Urban Design from Columbia University. Feeling too educated for his own good, he decided to put all that theory and training into practice and joined ShubinDonaldson, where he’ll be working on both commercial and residential design. To Mike, “Architecture isn’t the skin or form of a building. It’s the kinesthetic response of the body, and the heightened engagement of the mind to a space. A good piece of architecture should vibrate through your entire being and expand your mind.”
Eric Foster earned his Masters of Architecture degree at Drury University where he spent his time studying everything from art and architecture to sculpture and fashion design. During his time at university, he collaborated on art installations, designed builds, and community development projects. Through his studies, Eric has found a fascination with how people perceive, understand, and interact with interior space. Much of Eric’s passion for interior space derives from his world travels from which he’s developed an understanding of design aesthetics and a belief that architecture can ascend beyond a purely visual experience. He finds that by using textures and materials to create a multi-sensory experience, architectural space can engage its users on a basic human level. Outside of the office he enjoys hiking with his dog, climbing, and exploring new areas, cultures, and types of design. Eric joined SD in 2017.
“A meaningful architectural experience is not simply a series of retinal images. The ‘elements’ of architecture are not visual units or gestalt: they are encounters, confrontations that interact with memory.” – Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin
Lauren Fulton’s story begins in Dana Point, California where she resided until 4th Grade until her family moved to Carmel, California. She completed her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Southern California in 2007. She also studied Italian History, Architectural History, and design at the Politecnico di Milano. She brings nine years of professional architectural and design experience gained in Los Angeles, California. She joined SD in 2014 and believes, “quality architecture is the opportunity to evoke specific emotional and physical responses through the creation of private and/or public spaces.” Her project experience spans programming and schematic design phases through construction administration for residential clients. She has extensive coordination experience with clients, consultants, owner representatives, construction managers, and contractors and is well versed in city planning issues, building and safety plan check, CBC and IBC. She completed CIDP in California and is currently completing ARE. Lauren is conversational in Italian and Spanish.
Born and raised in Nashville, TN, architecture was the natural next step in a journey that had primarily been focused on painting and the visual arts. Anne completed the B. Arch/M. Arch program at Tulane University, after studying architecture at the Glasgow School of Art and completing her thesis during a semester abroad at Cornell University. Her career began in a small boutique design firm in Chicago that approached its projects comprehensively; completing the architecture, interiors, and even furniture design of its spaces, both commercial and residential. A move to Atlanta introduced her to more solution oriented design at Kronberg Wall Architects, where messy urban redevelopment projects were the focus, and a commitment to strengthening the fabric of the city was the priority. LA is where she sharpened her design skills, focusing exclusively on high end, meticulously detailed, residential projects in Los Angeles and Malibu. After 3 years as a project manager with a local LA firm, she took a year’s sabbatical to get creatively reinvigorated; spending time in the French Mediterranean, exploring photography, making songs for film and TV, and doing contract work as a designer and project manager with an LA builder. Anne comes to Shubin Donaldson in 2017 to continue an artful journey of place-making.
Walter Grey’s love of design was more of a natural progression than a singular “eureka” moment. He had studied to be a sculptor, receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture from California College of the Arts in Oakland, California in 1996. Shortly after he went to work for a Digital Special effects firm but his interest in construction and building slowly cut a path towards architecture. He received his Master of Architecture from the University of Washington, Seattle in 2004 and had his own design build firm for 10 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. He then worked for AE3 in San Francisco before moving to Santa Barbara ‘for a change in scenery’. He brings with him his skill set as a licensed general contractor along with proficiency in design, construction administration, project management, design build, residential construction and Type 1 Type 1B office structures. He joined ShubinDonaldson in 2015. When he’s not at work, Walter enjoys swimming and biking.
With over 30 years of experience, Ruth Hasell has worked on a wide variety of project types and scales. Her project experience spans programming and schematic design phases through construction administration for both residential, commercial and institutional clients. She has extensive coordination experience with clients, consultants, owner representatives, construction managers, and contractors. She understands that good design is collaborative effort, and that the whole team—client, architect, consultants and contractor—play a vital role. Ruth is well-versed in resolving city planning issues, building and safety plan check, CBC and IBC. She incorporates sustainability as a parameter of good design. She is passionate about architecture and brings that intensity to every project in which she works, the quest for design excellence being both her motivation and goal.
Born in Columbia, Missouri, Tom Johnson grew up in the Bay area of Los Altos, California. Though he excelled in math, he decided not to become an aerospace engineer as he began his studies in university. His foray into architecture came as a result of his interest in shaping the built environment. “As an architect you have a chance to create spaces that are truly moving and uplifting. I wanted to be a part of making those spaces.” When he’s not contemplating architecture, Tom enjoys watching English Premier League Football.
It took Matthew a few years of searching to discover his passion for architecture, though he recalls drawing floor plans of his “dream house” as early as the fourth grade. Regarding the value of architecture, Matthew explains, “I had a distinct moment, not a spatial experience in the sense of built form, but rather a realization of how impactful created space can be.” It led him to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he received a Bachelor of Architecture. When he’s not working he enjoys surfing, snowboarding and spending time with his wife and their two young boys.
Matthew Joined ShubinDonaldson in early 2015 and strives to create impact with his work on a personal level for the end user/client.
A Los Angeles native, Erin Lani earned her Bachelor of Architecture at SCI-arc. After graduation, Erin worked for a Venice-based design-build firm that specialized in remodels, additions, and landscapes; spaces where the boundaries between indoor and outdoor blur. She moved on to work for a large corporate architecture firm in downtown Los Angeles where she gained solid experience working on university student centers, professional offices, and high-rise residential towers coordinating interior, architecture and landscape design. She is an advocate for integrated design and documentation to achieve the best results. Seeking experience in refined detailing and an opportunity to work at the residential scale, she was inspired to join the ShubinDonaldson team, where, “design is modern, delightful, and thoughtful.” When she’s not working she enjoys hiking in the mountains with friends and family and contemplating the future of architecture and built environment. “I see the task of architecture as the defense of the authenticity of human experience” ~ Juhani Pallasmaa
Rafael Lopez is from Oxnard, California and discovered his passion for architecture while in high school. He recalls seeing Maison a Bordeaux by OMA, and loving the simplicity of it—his passion for design was ignited. He received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from California Polytechnic University in Pomona, CA in 2006. Influenced by the work of Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhas, and Luis Barragan, Rafael worked for Gehry Partners, LLP as a Junior Architect for seven years before coming to ShubinDonaldson in 2014. To Rafael, great design is, “when an architect’s sketch ideas and visions are executed without forfeiting the design due to building constraints.”
Stuart Lord received a B.S. in Economics from Emory University and his Master of Architecture degree from SCI-arc. He’s been with SD since 2013 and brings with him expertise in all phases of design and construction, from concept through completion. An avid explorer, Stuart enjoys getting lost in State and National Parks, playing tennis and basketball, and “thinking” he can surf.
A childhood spent bouncing around San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Vancouver combined with summer trips abroad showed Spencer the beauty of wanderlust and the built form. After earning a Bachelor’s of Architecture from the University of Arizona, he spent three years in Hong Kong engaging in a series of published, residential, retail, high-rise and hospitality projects. He returned to California to first join a design-build group engaging in residential, hospitality, and tenant improvement projects; then a well-respected residential firm where he executed meticulously detailed homes throughout Los Angeles’ premier neighborhoods. Spencer comes to ShubinDonaldson in 2016 to further explore of the dynamics of both the residential and commercial sectors. His love for food, art, and culture runs deep; when he’s not busy designing, he can often be found exploring the city’s latest and greatest.
Natsuki Matsumoto grew up in the Bay Area in the small town of Sebastopol, California. At a young age, he enjoyed both drawing and math so the decision to study architecture seemed inevitable. In 2008, he received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining ShubinDonaldson, he worked on 20,000 SF and up, elite, high-end residential homes. During a summer in Osaka, Japan he worked on competitions at the Endo Shuhei Architect Institute. Natsuki, who joined the SD team in 2015, brings with him a passion for residential architecture, and helping clients, “realize a home from what was a mere concept.” Whether it’s design development, model making or construction documentation, Natsuki believes in being detail-oriented because, he says, “It leads to thoughtful architecture that has the power to evoke emotions.” In his spare time he enjoys playing ice-hockey and tennis, as well as playing the guitar.
Roodbeh “Roody” Mirzaei appreciates “clean” design and space planning. She has an eye for color combined with a strong ability to develop design concepts. At SD she specifies and develops design construction details. Trained as both an Interior Designer and Architectural Designer, Roody has been with the company since 2014. She received her Bachelor of Interior Design at University of Dubai (AUD), and worked for two years as an interior designer before moving to the United States to pursue her Master of Architecture degree at SCI-arc. When she’s not working you can find her shopping for the latest fashions, or preparing international haute cuisine such as Baghali polo with lamb shank and entertaining friends and family.
Juan Carlos has always been inspired by how materials and structural elements come together to create the spaces in which we live and work. He approaches all projects, small or large, with a focus on positive team work and efficient use of resources.
His family emigrated to the United States in 1977 from a small town in Mexico, and he credits their hard work and dedication for making it possible for him to continue his education after high school. He attended Cal Poly Pomona and received his Bachelor of Architecture in 1992 and a Master’s degree in Liberal Studies, with an emphasis in Latin American Literature, from New York University in 1998. Between his studies Juan Carlos worked as a draftsman for KNA Structural Engineering—and values this experience for shaping his appreciation for details.
He enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, attending films and going to museum openings especially those that focus on modern art—and the works of John Schlesinger, Jacques Audiard, Cy Twombly and Jean Michelle Basquiat.
Christopher Petzak hails from Grand Rapids, Michigan where he had early exposure to design through the local office furniture industry. He received his Master of Architecture degree from the University of Detroit Mercy, and studied Architecture and Urban Design at the Warsaw University of Technology in Poland. He joined SD as an architectural designer in 2015 after working for AECOM Los Angeles, and several firms in Detroit. In high school, Christopher was a member of the U.S. National Team in competitive trampoline. He traveled extensively while competing in two world championships, as well as many other national and international competitions. These travels were what initially sparked Christopher’s interest in architecture and urbanism.
Born in Australia, Isobel completed her studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. Isobel has been in Los Angeles at Shubin Donaldson since 2015 and her expertise ranges from residential apartment design to masterplanning and urban design. Isobel is inspired by multi-family apartment building design, seeing a great opportunity to create something innovative and forward-thinking. She’s worked in concrete construction and brickwork, on multi-residential apartment buildings up to 14 stories tall.
A Southern California native, Colin Rickard was first introduced to design at a young age where prior to college, he studied Industrial Design at the Art Center in Pasadena. His formal design career began when he attended San Jose State University, where he graduated with a B.S. Degree in Creative Advertising. Before joining SD, he worked in the creative digital marketing sector for a variety of notable start-up tech companies in the San Francisco region. Colin joined ShubinDonaldson in Mid-2017, bringing to the company a wealth of expertise in the digital landscape and discerning eye for design.
Nicklaus Schwaller’s love of design started when he took his first studio course, learned the fundamentals of design and realized that architecture was a medium where he could express himself in a way that would make a notable difference in people’s lives. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, which included a year of off-campus study at the LA Metro Urban Design Studio, in Los Angeles. He also studied for six months abroad at Studio Ticino in Switzerland. He’s been with SD since 2015, and his expertise encompasses conceptual and schematic design, design development, 3d modeling/visualization, and digital fabrication. Nicklaus believes, “Great design should be rigorous in concept and realization, clear in its intentions, and highly attuned to the human experience with space; producing new types of experiences that shape the way in which we live.” When he’s not at work he enjoys golfing, photography, and music production.
Designer Jacob Semler brings with him several years of experience from Richard Meier & Partners. He has worked on a diverse set of projects ranging from custom residential work, institutional campuses, master planning, and more. Outside of work he enjoys designing and building custom furniture, backcountry snowboarding, playing soccer and hiking with his wife and their dog, Drake.
This Burbank, California native has a passion for photography and film. She attended West Los Angeles College taking fine arts courses; and currently freelances as a research assistant at Loyola Marymount University. Her focus is split between her photography and her non-profit organization she co-founded, Juvenilia Books Collective. JBC’s mission is to use mindfulness and creativity with a focus on childhood and nostalgia through arts and education, and plans to use their proceeds to help homeless youth specifically within the LGBTQ community.
One of her favorite quotes is by John Lennon: “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
Daina Swagerty was raised in historic Lexington, Massachusetts. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina and her Master of Architecture degree from Syracuse University in 2012, where she received the Alpha Rho Chi medal and Dean’s Thesis Citation. She continues her involvement in academic and professional pursuits as a guest critic, juror, and collaborator in international competitions. Her work has been featured in New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles. Daina first fell in love with design when she borrowed a book from her parents at age 14, and mistook its focus on minimalist interior design as contemporary architecture. She says, “I had no idea what I was observing, but the book’s images were eye-opening. I felt liberated from the traditional, as if a locked door I didn’t know existed was finally revealed and opened.” Her research regards theory on architectural representation, photography, and reality. She joined SD in 2014 and brings expertise in contemporary residential design, wood and steel construction, multi-family housing programming, renovations and program conversions.
A Boston native, Zack Teixeira came to California in 2008 for graduate studies at SCI-arc. Prior to that, Zack attended Pratt for his undergraduate work. He then spent nine years in New York City before moving to Los Angeles to attend SCI-arc, where he received his M. Arch I. He spent time in the Hamptons between 2011-2014 before returning to Los Angeles. Zack believes that architecture is “a challenge.” He enjoys dinners out, gardening and being outdoors as much as possible.
A native to Santa Barbara, Alex Towpasz was drawn to architecture at a young age through his innate love for drawing and natural desire to build. At Woodbury University, where he graduated with a degree in Architecture in 2012, his natural inclination and interest in design flourished. He was able to experiment in specific aspects of design that he loved and incorporate those elements into his growing understanding of architecture. After his matriculation, he spent the summer of 2010 studying in Barcelona and Berlin, then later traveling in 2011 to the Universidad Alfonso Diez el Sabio Madrid, Spain to further his studies. He joined ShubinDonaldson in 2012. To Alex, great architecture is, “emotional, instinctive, responsive and inventive.” When not at work, Alex can be found playing hockey, riding motorcycles, and listening to 80’s metal music.
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Ha-Vi Tran studied at the University of Cincinnati and received her Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Architecture from there. She started at SD in 2014 after searching for a firm with a strong design sensibility and a blend of exterior and interior projects. She enjoys climbing ––trees, mountains, and rocks ––because it “brings new perspectives and different ways of solving puzzles.” For Ha-Vi, “architecture is all about the attention to details and the way a space makes you feel.”
Born and raised in Culver City, California, Karla attended the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, California to pursue her passion for cooking where she earned a Culinary Arts Associate degree in Patisserie and Baking. At ShubinDonalson, Karla takes care of all the general office needs and makes sure that the LA office runs smoothly. When she’s not working or whipping up treats for the office, she enjoys cake decorating. A quote she lives by, “ There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self” – Ernest Hemmingway
Originally licensed as an architect in Argentina, Luciana brings over 15 years of architectural experience to ShubinDonaldson. Prior to joining SD, She worked with a variety of architectural firms on complex mixed-use projects, such as Gehry Partners and more recently from Los Angeles based Gensler, as a Project Architect on Century Plaza Hotel, Broadcom Campus, and Metropolis High Rise. Luciana brings an expertise within Core and Shell projects, and joined ShubinDonaldson in early 2017.
Born and raised in Taizhou, China, a city 200 miles south of Shanghai, Ping Wang came to the United States in 2010 to further her education. She loved living in California so much that she wanted to stay. After graduating from California Lutheran University with an MBA in Finance and University of the West with an MBA in Accounting, Ping joined ShubinDonaldson. Her skill set includes financial and trend analyses, strategic planning, cash-flow analysis, budget forecasting, and cost projections. She’s bilingual in English and Chinese. When not at work Ping enjoys travelling, reading and listening to country and jazz music.
Devyn Watt hails from the Bakersfield, California area. She moved to Santa Barbara to attend Santa Barbara City College where she is currently completing her general education courses with a focus on Early Childhood Education, and joined SD in 2015. When she’s not at work, you will find her engaged with her family and friends, cooking, hiking, and spending lots of time outdoors. “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” Lao Tzu
Always searching for ways a space, object, or idea could be improved, Linda Yang was drawn to design at an early age. She discovered her passion for architecture while at Wellesley College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, with a major in Architecture and a minor in Women’s Studies. After working three years for an architecture firm in NYC, she relocated to Los Angeles and earned an M.Arch I from Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). She joined SD in 2013 and brings relevant experience in residential, commercial TI, hospitality, and restaurant design projects. To Linda, the most compelling designs are those that are catalyzed by a simple yet powerful concept outside of architecture. Whether it’s art, nature, music, fashion, she is fascinated by the how disparate cultural and natural influences can enrich architecture.
Before coming to Southern California, Zhimin Zhang worked as an architectural designer for D-Form-A (DFA) in New York City. While at DFA, Zhimin worked on a variety of commercial projects, including Design Within Reach retail studios nationwide in the US and the McCall Winery in New York. Holding two Architecture degrees, Zhimin graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from South China University of Technology in 2014, and received her Master of Science degree in Architecture and Urban Design in 2015. The education that Zhimin has been able to achieve has not only given her a way to think about design in different scales and perspectives, but also to embed her thinking in various cultural and social contexts. In her spare time she likes to explore new things – She’s a leather making apprentice, amateur barista, and bartender. Zhimin joined ShubinDonaldson in the summer of 2017.
ShubinDonaldson is actively recruiting the best talent in various architectural disciplines including design, project management, and client relations.MORE
JOB DESCRIPTION: ShubinDonaldson in Culver City is seeking a motivated Designer/Architect with 3-5 years of experience in publication-quality commercial and residential projects as an addition to our team.MORE
JOB DESCRIPTION: Busy, creative design firm seeking B.Arch or M.Arch graduate with 10+ years of experience for Santa Ana office, preferably in contemporary commercial interiors, shell and core, mixed use, and multifamily.MORE