We had the good fortune of connecting with Lara Hoad and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lara, Let’s talk about principles and values – what matters to you most?
When I started my practice Lara Hoad Architecture Design, it was important to me that every professional project and academic subject did the following: 1. Contributed to the community in a meaningful way, 2. Was conscious about its impact on the environment and 3, Was fun and inspiring for its users. In order to explore and evaluate this I created for myself a set of principles. Those principles are Purpose, Planet and Play and act as a series of filters for consideration during each stage of a project and class, from inception to execution.

What should our readers know about your business?
I have intentionally kept my practice small as I enjoy the personal relationships and is one of the things that sets me apart, that my clients get to work with me exclusively and have my undivided attention. I like to think that the fact that I teach and work on art and environmental sector projects, in addition to being an architect, means that I bring a conceptual and unique perspective when designing a building or interior that has context and is also appropriately grounded in meaning.

I’m fortunate in that I am generally excited about every project that I work on so I will just mention one from practice and one academia that I feel align particularly with the principals Purpose, Planet, Play,

Currently I have quite a lot of residential work, but in the past I have designed several exhibitions for the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time and the design of these exhibitions have been some of the most enjoyable parts of my career. I am honored to have recently been invited by the 18th Street Art Studios in Santa Monica to design an upcoming exhibition for them related to the Getty’s next PST initiative Art and Science which will showcase the lifelong work of Tom Van Sant. This is such an relevant opportunity for me as it folds in my passion for design and environmentalism. The exhibition will open in 2024.

In academia, Todd Erlandson and I are currently leading a 3 year project called Inside Out which is sponsored by the Angelo Donghia Foundation partnering students of the Interior Design department at Woodbury School of Architecture with small businesses in Los Angeles neighborhoods that have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Through careful observation and documentation students collaborate with the business owners to identify and understand what is unique and special about their business and interior space and conceptually pull them “Inside Out” to Covid-safe exterior spaces while preserving and celebrating their unique personality and characteristics. It is hoped that this project will inspire other small businesses and cities around the world to create authentic exterior experiences and encourage the communities that these businesses reside in to support them and recognize their importance in contributing to the unique character of the neighborhood. This will culminate in 2023 with a final exhibition, event and film screening.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Aah, there are so many fun thing to do in LA, where do I start?! Here is a sample itinerary if I had someone from out of town visiting for a weekend, which hopefully would provide a flavor of the city. Residing in Venice as I do, much of it would be westside, with a few exceptions.

Friday night would start with going to see some music at Sam First, the jazz club by LAX. The entertainment, ambience and interior design there are unparalleled and the cocktails are great too!

Saturday morning would consist of a walk down to Menotti’s to get coffee and pastries and take in the morning action on Venice Beach. We might take a moment to browse the vintage goods at outdoor market Artist and Fleas on Abbot Kinney, then drive up the PCH to visit the Eames House. which is always a special experience for my friends as so many of them are architects and designers. Back in Venice we would grab lunch to go from my favorite taco stand La Playita on Lincoln Blvd. I have been going there for years and the ceviche always hits the spot! Then we would do some shopping at the local stores. I prefer Lincoln Blvd to Abbot Kinney for shopping these days as that is where you will find the more interesting independent stores Merchant and the The General Store are two favorites and great for unusual interior/home objects and gifts, and I love Pour Vida for their amazing plant selection. Dinner and drinks would be on Rose Ave. Wallflower and Chulita are two restaurants I like to take people to.

Sunday would start with a trip to the Mar Vista Farmers Market to pick up breakfast, and then find a hike to see the city from above – I really like Stone View Nature Park in Culver City which has a great sculpture garden and visitor center where you can learn all about the native LA flora and fauna. Then we would drive downtown to one of my favorite galleries Hauser and Wirth, starting with lunch at the restaurant in the courtyard there, Manuela. On our way home we would visit the Museum of Jurassic Technology with all its curiosities. Then it would be back to Venice for a bike ride to see the sunset and dinner on the patio at the Venice Zinque on Lincoln Blvd, A jam-packed LA weekend!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe so much to architect Todd Erlandson who is a friend, mentor and collaborative partner, He and his wife Leigh Hoffman gave me my first job when I moved from London, which was a huge opportunity for me, and they also introduced me to Otis College of Art and Design and Woodbury School of Architecture where I continue to teach today. I grew so much professionally as a Design Director at Todd and Leigh’s firm March Studio and Todd’s guidance and knowledge prepared me to build my own practice. Todd and I continue to collaborate as co-teachers for the Donghia sponsored studio at Woodbury School of Architecture, and as board member and chair respectively for the non-profit organization Architecture For Communities Los Angeles (ACLA).

I also want to mention Rich Shelton, the director of Creative Action at at Otis College of Art and Design. The Creative Action department partners students with local and international community organizations to identify and solve real-world environmental problems and social issues. I have taught in the department for over 15 years and Rich and his team have generously supported the work I have done with the program, especially focused on design for plastic pollution prevention and for school children who are registered blind.

Website: https://www.lharchitecturedesign.com/

Instagram: @larahoad @larahoadarchitecturedesign

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lara-hoad-aia-a629847

Image Credits
Image Credits: Profile picture photo credit: Kate Berry Drawings by Lara Hoad Our Space interior photo credit: March Studio Hexagon elevation photo credit: Jane Henry

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