Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Celebrating Sandy Reyna’s 35 Years of Service to HOK

Thanks to Leslie Johns for this guest post.

Sandy Reyna

Senior Engineering Design Professional Sandy Reyna is celebrating 35 years at HOK – and counting.

Members of the Houston office gathered this morning to celebrate with Sandy, who came to us in 1994 when HOK joined with CRSS, where she had worked since graduating from high school.

Sandy practices HVAC engineering and is in good company. The HVAC engineering design team in Houston has 125+ combined years of experience!

Congratulations Sandy, and THANK YOU for your continued excellence.

Close-Up on ARTIC: Documentary Film Crew Shoots HOK Team in Los Angeles

Thanks to Kelly Morrison in our Los Angeles office for this guest post.

ARTIC model

Living and working in the entertainment capital of the world means that HOKers here see lots of film crews around town and get used to celebrity sightings.

The Los Angeles office recently had a brush with the movie industry. A film crew from Avalanche 3D Entertainment spent an entire day shooting and interviewing HOK’s team for the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) project.

The documentary-style film will chronicle the design and construction of ARTIC, from beginning to end. There will be a special focus on the sustainable aspects of the project, which is …

Q+A: Jeff Kaeonil, HOK’s Asia Pacific Director of Design


Jeff Kaeonil, LEED AP BD+C, studied architecture at Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley, but his career path took him on brief stints in construction and urban design before he returned to his field of choice. “My passion was always architecture,” he says.

Jeff joined HOK in 2006 as director of design for our Asia Pacific practice. Here, he shares his thoughts on design, recent projects and life in Hong Kong.

How did you end up in Hong Kong?

JK: Some friends were living in Hong Kong at the time, and I was in San Francisco. One called me and said, “You should come to Hong Kong. …

Form Follows Fitness 5K

CaptureBetter late than never…

Every year the Dallas Center for Architecture puts on a Form Follows Fitness 5K race through the heart of downtown for anyone interested in waking up early on a Saturday morning to run with fellow nerds.  The run was designed to showcase the unique architecture we have in Dallas and was actually pleasant to run with the majority of the course being flat or downhill.

photo1 Here is our lovely group shot before the race…


photo… And then the team reps from all the firms …

Q+A: Hui Dang, Senior Project Manager for HOK in Beijing

Thanks to Gigi Jiang in HOK’s Beijing office for this guest post.

Hui Dang HOK in Beijing

Hui Dang, architect and senior project manager in HOK’s Beijing office, talks about her career at HOK and the experience for women in today’s changing Chinese workplace.

What motivates you in your work?
I really enjoy the work I’m doing now. No two days are the same. Through discussing options with the design team, communicating with clients or coordinating consultants, I have an opportunity to be involved in different stages and aspects of a project. I work with an exceptionally talented and passionate team, so I’m exposed to evolving challenges and creative solutions every day. The process …

HOK’s Alan Bright Elevated to AIA’s College of Fellows


Alan Bright, FAIA, design principal in HOK’s San Francisco office, has been elevated to the prestigious College of Fellows by the American Institute of Architects 2014 Jury of Fellows. According to the AIA, the Fellowship program “honors architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession.” Alan becomes one of only about 3,000 members of the 80,000 AIA members to receive this honor.

Since joining HOK in 1984, Alan has dedicated his career to transforming the design of justice facilities, aviation, healthcare, civic, commercial and science and technology facilities.

“Alan Bright is improving the practice of architecture …

HOK’s Ernest Cirangle Elevated to AIA’s College of Fellows

Thanks to Kelly Morrison in HOK’s Los Angeles office for contributing this guest post.

Ernest-Cirangle3Ernest Cirangle, FAIA, design director in HOK’s Los Angeles office, has been elevated to the prestigious College of Fellows by the American Institute of Architects 2014 Jury of Fellows. According to the AIA, the Fellowship program “honors architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession.” Ernest becomes one of only about 3,000 members of the 80,000 AIA members to receive this honor.

Since joining HOK in 1982, Ernest has dedicated his career to transforming the design of aviation, …

Q+A: Patrick MacLeamy, HOK’s Chairman and CEO

Thanks to Gigi Jiang and Daniel Wei in our Beijing office for leading this Q+A with HOK Chairman and CEO Patrick MacLeamy, FAIA, during his recent visit to Asia.

Patrick MacLeamy

What are your observations of the real estate market in Asia, especially the design profession in China? 

PM: Our Chinese clients demand high-quality design. We have to create projects that not only look great, but function exceptionally well. More and more people are living and working in Asian cities, which is exciting but challenging. People need connections to parks and green spaces, and air quality and traffic congestion issues go beyond architecture to planning. If you take a piece of land and develop …

How Reverse Engineering Nature Can Spur Design Innovation

(This post on biomimicry by Thomas Knittel, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, senior principal – design in HOK’s Los Angeles studio, first appeared in Fast Co.Exist.)

It’s not enough to copy nature. Today’s designers need a deeper understanding of environmental nuance, from the biome in.

The William Jefferson Clinton Children’s Center in Port-au-Prince is designed to replace an orphanage severely damaged in the 2010 earthquake. HOK’s Thomas Knittel took inspiration from the kapok tree, a native Caribbean species that stores water internally and sheds its leaves in times of drought. The William Jefferson Clinton Children’s Center (WJCCC) in Port-au-Prince is designed to replace an orphanage severely damaged in the 2010 earthquake.

Leap Sandcastle 30th Annual Competition

Sandcastle Competition

The HOK San Francisco office participated in the 2013 Leap Sandcastle competition on November 12, which saw thousands of participants. The competition was the 30th annual competition held to raise money for Leap Arts in Education, which “places professional teaching artists into Bay Area elementary and middle schools to enhance the classroom curriculum through creative projects” according to their website. Leap serves over 7,000 children in over 30 schools. The program raised nearly $250,000 this year.

The HOK San Francisco office was part of the team “Squid Squad” that sponsored Lawton Elementary School, and included URS and Hathaway Dinwiddie. The team put together a series of fundraisers, including an …

BBG-BBGM Joins HOK to Create Top Hospitality Design Firm

We are thrilled to welcome the hospitality experts of BBG-BBGM in New York and Shanghai to HOK. (Here’s the official announcement.) The addition of a premier hospitality design firm’s team to HOK’s already strong hospitality group will have amazing benefits for our clients and their guests across the world. Based on BD+C’s 2013 survey, our combined practice is now a top-five hospitality design firm.

Rosewood Abu Dhabi
Rosewood Abu Dhabi

Our new hospitality interiors group will be led by Julia Monk in Shanghai, Christina Hart in New York and Toronto’s Randa Tukan, who has helped guide the growth of HOK’s hospitality practice. BBG-BBGM …

Festival of the Trees 2013

Star of David in XMas Tree

Every year Miami’s design community joins forces to support design innovation and education through the Festival of the Trees event and auction. The 2013 Festival of the Trees Gala, held at the Coral Gables Museum, with over $100,000 in funds raised to offer scholarships and benefit Florida International University’s Interior Architecture Department. HOK Miami was part of this event. During the last quarter of 2013, HOK Miami staff and FIU Architecture students joined forces to design and build a Holiday Tree for Miami’s 2013 Festival of the Trees. This year theme was Design Connections and our sponsor was Johnsonite Flooring.

Having multiple designers involved in the process was needless to …

Create, Inspire, Connect, Care

This time of year HOK’s values are shared with the City of Houston through volunteering, donations, and community involvement.

HOK Movember 2013

As we completed the month of November…and “Movember” (dedicated to raise awareness to men’s health), many thanks to those who joined the worthy cause and sported mighty stylish “staches” or donated to the team.

We Care Event

Another year of We Care is complete and the snowman hot cocoa jars were cute and tasty! The event was full of children zooming around to create crafts and with a great turnout of volunteers and kids, all 96 of HOKs crafts were made within an hour….

Q+A: Larry Malcic, Director of Design in HOK’s London Office

Larry Malcic

After nearly a quarter-century leading design in HOK’s London office and 35 years as an architect, Larry Malcic is still learning. “I want to always be learning and growing,” he says. “That’s how you know you are alive.”

For Larry, each building is a monument. “It can be a monument to the architect’s ego if the client allows it to be,” he says. “But what it should be is a monument to the ambitions of the client, the community and the team. For architects, this is a tremendous responsibility and privilege.”

Take us through a typical day for the design director in HOK’s London office.

LM: This morning, I …

HOK’s Komal Kotwal Highlights Her Favorite Greenbuild Session

For the past three years, Komal Kotwal, HOK’s senior sustainable design specialist in Houston, has served on USGBC’s Program Working Group (PWG) to help vet proposals that are submitted for Greenbuild. She was in charge of shortlisting sessions under the international category and, from Kotwal_Komalthe many stimulating panel suggestions, one truly stood out from the rest: “Certifying Neighborhood Sustainability Around the Globe.” 

“A lot of development internationally is at a much larger scale (i.e. neighborhood scale vs. building scale). At this scale, it is particularly important that the design solution responds to the specific context and needs of the region. This session addressed this critical issue of the …

A Season for Family, Sharing, and Being Thankful

potluck 1

Fun was had by all at the HOK Oktoberfest Family Picnic.  Games of tug of war, water balloon toss, a stein holding contest, and the ultimate tricycle obstacle course took place.  Luckily there were seasonal craft brews, a great food truck, and a tropical snow cone vender to keep us fueled up for the competitions!


The fun and creativity continued at the Houston CANstruction build-off. HOK’s team donated over $2000 to the event which funds the Houston Food Bank AND we got to build a formula 1 race car out of canned goods!  The awards ceremony takes place on November 23rd , so keep your …

Mara Baum Named a LEED Fellow

Mara Baum_lowres

Mara Baum, HOK’s Healthcare Sustainable Design Leader, has been elevated to the LEED Fellow class of 2013 by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

According to the USGBC, the LEED Fellow program ”designates the most exceptional professionals in the green building industry.” Mara becomes one of only 128 Fellows – a very small percentage of the approximately 180,000 LEED professionals across the globe. The LEED Fellow is a relatively new honor; this year’s cohort represents only the third class of Fellows. Applicants must demonstrate a minimum of a 10-year history of “exceptionality” across four of five dimensions of green building: technical proficiency, leadership, education and mentoring, commitment and service, and …

HOK’s Chris Brown Scopes Out an Island Paradise in the Seychelles

Thanks to Chris Brown, RIBA, LEED AP, architecture practice leader in our Dubai office, for this guest post.


Earlier this year I was lucky enough to visit a unique site belonging to our client in the Seychelles, a 115-island country scattered across the Indian Ocean. We were there to consider development on an island owned by our client.

1_ChrisBrownThe Seychelles is a large archipelago of granite and coral islands about 2,000 miles south of Dubai and 1,000 miles east of mainland Africa. The economy is largely dependent on tourism and relies on the beauty and protection of its natural environment.

Our destination was …

Build it Forward

Team HOK with their student team leader Cassandra Team HOK with their student team leader Cassandra

On Saturday November 2nd, HOK Houston along with other members of the Houston design, engineering and construction community, participated in the second annual ACE Mentor Program Build it Forward event. The event was designed to raise scholarship funds for the Houston chapter of the ACE Mentor Program while giving students and their mentors an opportunity to give back to their community.

This year teams constructed convertible picnic tables that function as benches or a full size picnic table when converted. The teams built approximately 15 composite picnic tables that will be donated to local charitable organizations.

Q+A: Danny Wong, HOK’s Hong Kong Director of Operations

Thanks to Daniel Wei in our Beijing office for providing this Q+A with Hong Kong Director of Operations Danny Wong, RIBA.

Danny Wong

What is the outlook for architecture and design in China?

DW: Over the past two decades, I have witnessed great changes resulting from rapid developments across China. The cityscapes and landscape of many cities and regions have been transformed. This provided the opportunities of a lifetime for architects and design professionals. I believe urbanization and urban development will continue in China, and will continue to provide wonderful opportunities. The market will be stronger than ever.

China is a vast country with a huge population. Currently, the most developed …

Celebrating James Klaiber’s 40 Years of Service to HOK


This month the Houston office honored James Klaiber for his great accomplishment of 40 years with HOK, YES ANOTHER engineer to join “40 year club!”

James practices electrical engineering and has good company in the MEP department… many of which are here for the long haul, like 20 and 30 years, plus!

Congratulations James and THANK YOU for your continued excellence.

HOK Houston Supports Fun + Fundraiser

HOK represented their bowling skills amidst whacky bowling rules and silly scorecard names to contend with. With bowlers named “Citrix nightmare, BIMMY Hog, and Navisworks,” it was truly an architectural themed fundraiser that challenged us to bowl like zombies, on one foot, and with our eyes closed!

The 5th annual bowling fundraiser raised funds for the Texas Architects Committee (TAC) which promotes the interest of architects in Texas and raises funds to make campaign contributions to those seeking election or re-election to political office.

Big THANKS to our very own Janis Brackett for arranging our participation in this fun event!

Q+A: Betsy Nurse, Director of Interior Design in HOK’s Atlanta Office

Betsy Nurse, Assoc. IIDA, is HOK’s director of interior design in Atlanta and an experienced project manager. Her other focus is business development, a role she has honed by cultivating relationships across the real estate community for the past 17 years. She is the face of HOK in Atlanta corporate real estate.

What do you love about design?

BN: It a wonderful thing to be able to learn about all kinds of new businesses as a design consultant. Discovering our clients’ business strategies and organizational goals is one of my favorite parts of the job, but there is nothing like being part of a team that delivers …

HOK’s Femi Oresanya joins London mayor in opening new facilities at Streatham-Croydon Rugby Football Club

On September 5,  Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, opened the new facility at Streatham-Croydon Rugby Footall Club (SCRFC). The event was marked by a special rugby training session with the children.  Click here for the local news coverage.

HOK in London’s very own Femi Oresanya, rugby coach for the Juniors, led the mayor in a ‘training’ session!

Femi got involved in this campaign as a father (his two youngest sons train here), a passionate rugby player, (he is an ex rugby player for the Harlequins in the pre-professional days) a school governor and a general sports enthusiast. He is part of the SCRFC committee involved in campaigning for this …

Q+A: William Paluch, Design Director for HOK in China

After practicing for 20 years as an architect in California and Hawaii, William Paluch, AIA, was ready for a fresh challenge. Based in HOK’s Shanghai office, Bill now faces several new challenges each day as design director for HOK in China.

What is your vision for HOK in China?

WP: My vision is to deliver extraordinary work to our clients and communities. This may seem like a general approach but we focus on the long-term contributions our work can bring to the built environment. We want to understand the needs of clients as well as of the communities in which our projects are being built.

Designing projects in China …

HOK Softball Team Debuts in Houston

HOK is one of 23 teams competing in the architectural and engineering coed softball league this year. With the recent growth of the office, the team is a fun way to meet outside the office environment and enjoy a hot dog and cold beverage at the same time. As one could imagine, the rivalry runs deep in the profession and it’s evident with teams we play against showing fierce competition. The HOK team plays double-headers every Monday evening and I’m happy to report the team’s first victory was almost a blow-out with a score of 12 to 1!

Keep up the wins and team spirit HOK!

Q+A: Paul Woolford, Director of Design in HOK’s San Francisco Studio

After stops in New York, London, Washington, DC, and Atlanta, Paul Woolford, AIA, IIDA, LEED BD+C, is back in San Francisco for the third time, and this time he has found a home.

Paul arrived in HOK’s San Francisco office in 1997. He spent two years mentoring under then-HOK president Bill Valentine before heading east to direct design in the firm’s new Atlanta office. In 2006, he returned to the West Coast to lead the San Francisco studio.

Paul lives in the Twin Peaks neighborhood, on the city’s tallest hill, in a Bauhaus-influenced early modernist house he shares with his partner, Rick Freeman, and their dog, Georgia.

“How …

Celebrating Ed Abboud’s 40 Years of Service to HOK


This month we honored Ed Abboud with a lunch event to show our support of his great accomplishment of 40 years with HOK, YES 40!  Along with his HOK family, Ed’s wife, children and grandchildren were able to join the celebration and coincidently it was also 40 years ago that day his daughter was born! He shared stories about his journey through which he has observed the advances of technology and the sustainability of construction with the less experienced staff, which includes all but a handful of us!

Congratulations Ed, and THANK YOU for your continued excellence.

In his own words, he express his thanks below.

“Your thoughts, e-mails, words, cards, hugs and gifts have truly touched me …

Right Brain with Left Brain Personalities — or Vice Versa?

Guest Post By Angela Zwink, HOK Visual Communications, Houston

As the Knowledge Manager of HOK Visual Communications, I was really curious to know where we fall as a group. Are we collectively right-brain or left-brain dominant? I quickly ran through the personality attributes that define the left brainers and right brainers and this is what I found, starting with the left brain:

Words and Language — Check. I have to say we are pretty good in languages as almost half of our team is bilingual. In Houston, additionally, we all are slowly learning a new word everyday in Espanol from our very friendly office custodian.

Logic and Critical Thinking — Check. We have located and programmed a …

Raising the (eco-friendly) bar

Deborah Fuller, IIDA,  LEED AP BD+C, ID+C and Mara Baum, AIA, LEED AP BD+C of HOK are part of the Health Product Declaration (HPD) Collaborative team, which promotes manufacturer disclosure of the chemical makeup of building products through the HPD standard format.  Ultimately, this will allow designers to better understand and make decisions about the adverse health effects of the chemicals in products that compromise employee health such as PVC in several building materials, fire retardants in insulations and upholstered products, formaldehyde in composite wood and millwork, and phthalates in cleaning products to name a few. To accomplish these goals, Deborah and Mara are dedicating time outside of the office to perform research because they feel so passionately about …