Ocean Home 50: Our Top Coastal Architects of 2015 Ehrlich Architects




Honored with the 2015 National Firm Award by the American Institute of Architects, Ehrlich Architects is a versatile practice that has earned an international reputation for design excellence and an exemplary professional culture.

Founded in 1979 as a tiny residential studio, the Los Angeles-based firm is now a 40-member team that has mastered building types ranging in scale from private residences to courthouses, libraries, university centers, corporate and government facilities.

Ehrlich Architects has been recognized with more than 150 awards including nine national AIA awards, and the title of AIA California Council Firm of the Year in 2003.

Led by Partners Steven Ehrlich, FAIA; Takashi Yanai, AIA; Mathew Chaney, AIA; Patricia Rhee, AIA, and supported by three other principals and associates, Ehrlich Architects' design philosophy starts with a profound respect for a building's inhabitants.

This humanistic approach, referred to as Multicultural Modernism, has permeated the firm's culture since the beginning, informing every creation and every interaction.

The seeds of this philosophy were planted during founder Steven Ehrlich's six-year work/travel sojourn in Africa in the 1970s. Serving in the Peace Corps in Morocco, traversing the Sahara and later teaching architecture in Northern Nigeria, he studied vernacular "architecture without architects," formed by the constraints of site and climate and the inspiration of culture.

The ambition to create a healthy community culture spills over into the firm's physical space, a repurposed 1917 dance hall located in Culver City, Calif.

The entire staff sits in a single open-plan studio space and meetings and interactions regularly spill into the kitchen and onto the outside patio.

A fierce work ethic prevails, but one that supports employees to challenge norms, be creative, and help maintain a life-work balance. In the end, the multicultural and modern Ehrlich family is serious about the practice of architecture being fun.

A total of eight monographs have been published on the work of Ehrlich Architects.

For more information, www.s-ehrlich.com

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