There is no definitive date when our office really started. We had been doing a variety of small scale projects on the side while we kept our day jobs. But nothing that would explore or test our design ideas to any satisfaction or establish tactics and strategies that would coalesce into a practice. We were building a foundation for something, but we did not know exactly what that would be. Then there were no jobs at all from 2008 - 2011; day, night or on the side. In contrast to some of our colleagues, we avoided teaching and hypothetical work [aka competitions] and leaned into development. Starting with our own property which happened to be improved with a triplex and a detached garage [Orange Grove]. We experimented with alternating occupancies while juggling phased improvement and stretching impossible budgets to yield livability and sustainability. Eventually, we sold it and rolled what we gained (financial and experience) into another project and so on [bluplex and pomegranate]. Through ownership, design and construction of projects we discovered a narrow beam of possibilities inherent to every project that are ripe for design exploitation. Of course, we are not rich or have access to limitless capital to continue independently as our own clients. But we were fortunate to cross paths with other developers who saw the value of our approach. By virtue of these priorities, our projects have been focused on urban infill housing projects. Typically, these are lots in both suburban and semi-urban communities of Los Angeles, which has long been under the cloud of a relentlessly escalating housing crisis. In these scenarios, we are able to leverage our interrogation of project parameters [ie. Entitlements, zoning, pro forma, etc.] to determine and execute innovative design proposals. It is a constant discovery of gradually more clever tactics and strategies to overcome a wide spectrum of hurdles in order to create dwellings that defiantly not fit in anyone's cookie cutter. We view development restrictions like planning policy, prevailing codes, community outreach, sustainability and return on investment as fertile ground for cultivating innovation as oppose to a cramp to our style. We embrace the challenge to find improbable synchronization of contrasting agenda competing for the soul of our projects.
Licensed Architect California
Master of Architecture, UCLA
Bachelor of Arts, Cal Poly Pomona
Licensed Engineer California
Bachelor of Science, UC Irvine
Shao Chiung Chan
2019 AiA California Design Award - Bluplex