Meet inventive LA practice TOLO Architecture: Your Next Employer? | News | Archinect

2022-07-23 00:02:18 By : Ms. selling VEVOR

Following last week’s visit to Toronto’s Yabu Pushelberg, we are moving our Meet Your Next Employer series to Los Angeles where we find TOLO Architecture.

Founded in 1998 by Peter Tolkin, the firm was renamed TOLO in 2018 after Sarah Lorenzen joined as a principal. Throughout its history, the practice has won acclaim for its inventive approach to projects across a diverse portfolio. Archinect has previously included the firm’s work in several of our architectural roundups, including facades, bathroom designs, interiors, and houses.

Previously on Archinect: Next Up Arroyo Seco Weekend - Sarah Lorenzen & Peter Tokin

The firm is now seeking to expand by advertising over on Archinect Jobs for an Intermediate Designer. For candidates interested in applying for the role, and anybody interested in learning more about life as an architect, we spoke with Peter and Sarah for a behind-the-scenes look at TOLO Architecture.

Meet Your Next Employer is one of a number of ongoing weekly series showcasing the opportunities available on our industry-leading job board. Our Job Highlights series looks at intriguing and topical employment opportunities currently available on Archinect Jobs, while our weekly roundups curate job opportunities by location, career level, and job description.

How old is your firm?

Peter first established the office in 1998, when it was called Peter Tolkin Architecture. Sarah joined the office in 2016, and in 2018 we renamed the office TOLO Architecture: a tongue-in-cheek moniker that incorporates both our names.

How big is your team?

There are seven of us at the moment. Our ideal size is to be 8-10 people. We have a big space that can comfortably accommodate 14-16 people, so space isn’t an issue for us.

Is your team currently working remotely, in-person, or hybrid?

We are happily back at the office. The highly collaborative nature of the office really benefits from all of us being together. We also enjoy access to our large shop with table-saw and other woodworking equipment, as well as model making tools and equipment including a 3d printer and laser cutter. We are an office that still makes physical models and we also use the shop to prototype furniture and other smaller-scale projects.

Describe the neighborhood your firm is located in.

We are located at the intersection of Little Tokyo, Arts District, Skid Row and the Industrial District. For those that know the area we’re about a block south of Inner-City Arts, a block west of The Row, and a couple blocks north of The ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles). It’s an eclectic and complex neighborhood, with many problems and disparities, but it’s a place we are interested in engaging with and contributing to.

Open office or enclosed workspaces? 

Open office. It’s a large enough space that we can spread apart or roller skate!

Do you have any office pets?

We share our space with a painter. Her standard poodle Gilda is a frequent visitor. There are also several alley cats that take sun baths in our parking lot.

Does the team listen to music at work? Headphone or speakers? What's a typical artist you might hear in the TOLO office?

Our music tastes are pretty eclectic, ranging from Avant-garde, to hip-hop, to jazz, to electronica, to blue-grass, to Alternative rock. To avoid a battle-of-the-bands, we use headphones.

Does your team eat lunch together? 

The TOLO crew often has lunch together on Fridays. New places to eat in the area are popping up every week. Some look promising.

If your firm was given $1M to donate to one charity, which one would that be?

We asked everyone in the office for their input on this question, answers ranged from supporting immigration rights, to planned parenthood, to feeding hungry children, to assistance for the homeless; especially relevant given our location at the edge of Skid Row.

Tell us about a recent project you've finished.

We recently completed an adaptive reuse project of an early 1940's saw-tooth roof warehouse that was converted into offices, painting and drawing rooms, a conference space, and a gallery for the artist Charles Gaines. We are also working on several other projects with Charles Gaines, including a renovation to his home and several large arts installations.

What position(s) are you currently hiring for?

We are looking for an intermediate designer, someone with 3-5 years of experience.

What project will this new hire likely work on?

At the moment, we are primarily working on arts-related projects (galleries and collaborating with artists) and on custom residential projects. The new hire will work on one to two of these projects alongside others in the office, including Peter and Sarah.

We believe that at its most fundamental architecture has two primary concerns: the material (what it looks and feels like) and the social (the activities it encourages). We are looking for our new hires to help us find interesting and original ways to address both concerns.  

In three words, how would you describe your next Intermediate Designer?

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