TEAM

Darin Johnstone is an award-winning, Los Angeles-based architect and educator with 25 years of experience. His work has been published in Architectural Record, Azure, Domus, Dwell, Frame, Interior Design, Los Angeles Times, Surface, Architect’s Newspaper and many more. For the past 20 years, Darin has worked in education in support of the next generation of young architects. He’s received industry recognition including multiple AIA awards and grants for his teaching work at Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI_Arc). Darin offers a unique perspective at the nexus of practice and academia.

 

In 2004, he founded Darin Johnstone Architects (DJA). Just two years later, LA Architect named the firm one of the “10 to Watch” in Los Angeles and this year Archello named DJA one of the top 25 architecture firms in Los Angeles. DJA is known for work that spans genres, from architecture, urban planning and landscape design to interior design, furniture design and site-specific installation. In the past five years, DJA has designed and completed multiple award-winning renovation projects and comprehensive planning work for both ArtCenter College of Design campuses in Pasadena. In 2017 DJA completed a master plan for the SCI_Arc campus in the arts district of downtown Los Angeles. Recent projects include the ArtCenter Peter and Merle Mullin Gallery, the Bruce Heavin and Lynda Weinman Alumni Gallery, and the Ahmanson Auditorium. Current projects include the Mullin Transportation Design Center, and the Hyundai and Kia innovation lab.

 

Since 2002, Darin has been part of the SCI-Arc faculty. From 2010 to 2016 he created and directed Design Immersion Days (DID), SCI-Arc’s introduction to design program for high school students, which was widely recognized, winning multiple awards and grants. He also led a collaboration between SCI-Arc and Habitat for Humanity in 2015-16, resulting in the design and construction of the multi-award winning IVRV house.

 

Darin received his Bachelor of Architecture from California State Polytechnic University of Pomona and a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University.

 

 

Sandra Hutchings is a designer with cross-discipline expertise and over 20 years of experience. She has led academic and cultural institutions through campus expansions, touching all phases of the design and construction process with a focus on master planning, programming and design. She has effectively bridged her interest in contemporary architecture and art with her work alongside architects and institutions in Los Angeles and abroad. With formative experiences working with innovators in the fields of architecture, environmental sustainability, structural engineering and building technology, Sandra is adept at working with architectural teams and institutional leaders to accomplish a wide range of complex and specialized projects.

 

In 2013, Sandra began working with DJA. As lead designer and collaborator on the Peter and Merle Mullin Gallery, the Fine Arts + Illustration building, and Drawn Out / Light Mass installation, her contribution has been instrumental to the success of some of the firm’s most ambitious built work. Current projects include the Mullin Transportation Design Center, Ahmanson Auditorium, and the Academic Program Mapping project for Art Center College of Design.

 

 

Darin Johnstone

SANDRA HUTCHINGS

Principal

Studio Director

Matt Liese has 20 years of experience in all phases of project design and construction. He has focused the past 10 years honing his technical expertise and providing code compliance, constructability, and Quality Assurance / Quality Control project review. Matt serves as the technical lead while mentoring and training junior staff on a wide array of projects. Matt joined DJA in 2013 where has managed or contributed his expertise to every project in the DJA portfolio for the last 8 years. Matt has helped DJA to deliver the highest level of service possible on projects with extreme budget and time constraints.

 

Matt Liese will be the project manager and technical director for the schematic design effort. He will provide code compliance and QAQC review on all project deliverables. He will collaborate with the consultant on existing conditions / ADA compliance review.

 

 

 

 

MATT LIESE

Technical Director

Hao Howard Chen has more than 7 years of experience and brings a broad range of relevant skills to DJA. He’s a capable problem solver and a team leader. With a degree from the Master of Architecture program at SCI-Arc, he’s been involved with several of DJA’s current projects, including the Art Center College of Design. As a student at SCI-Arc, Howard was the lead designer and project captain for the award winning IVRV house designed and constructed in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity. He also holds an undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering from the University of British Columbia.

HAO HOWARD CHEN

Project Architect

Sean Davis is a designer with 8 years of diverse experience in the field of architecture.  This experience has included exposure to many kinds of programmatic and building typologies such as Hospitality, Mixed use developments, Retail, and Housing in the forms of adaptive re-use, and ground up projects.  He believes in a strong collaborative design process between all team members and client and has engaged projects from pre-design programming through construction administration.  Sean is a graduate of California Polytechnic University of San Luis Obispo.  In addition to design of projects, Sean has a strong interest in an evolving design process within the DJA studio. He is actively engaged in testing new technologies in and out of the office such as visualization methods, VR, AR, and digital fabrication.

SEAN DAVIS

Senior Project Designer

As a project designer at DJA, Dennis Lee has made vital contributions to multiple award-winning projects, most recently with ArtCenter College of Design. With 6 years of experience, Dennis brings integral and collaborative effort to the team through all phases of project- from schematic design all the way to construction management. His vast array of integrated design and strategic planning experience spans diverse genres and scales, from furniture design and interactive digital gallery to multi-family housing prototypes, tenant improvement projects, and campus master planning. Dennis’ dedication to design conception and execution is integral to the advancement of DJA’s practice. Dennis is a graduate of SCI-Arc, where he also acted as an exhibition coordinator and fabricator.

DENNIS S. LEE

Senior Project Designer

Long Pan is a designer with more than 4 years of experience working on architectural projects at various scales, from public museums to private residential buildings. Prior to joining the DJA team, Long had worked at architectural firms located in Los Angeles, Beijing and Guangzhou. Long is adept at working on projects at different stages from early modeling, rendering, and diagramming to final stages of construction documentation. Long holds a Master of Architecture from SCI-Arc and another master's degree in Computer Science from the Sun Yat-sen Unviersity.

LONG PAN

Intermediate Designer

Kaita is a recent graduate with a Master of Architecture from SCI-Arc and a B.A. in Architectural Studies from Boston University. At SCI-Arc, he gained an interest in architecture's connection to municipal and state bureaucracies and infrastructure; starting as a Teaching Assistant for history and theory, then a Community Land Trusts research assistant, and now currently as an Assistant Teacher for a first-year graduate studio. Before joining DJA, Kaita had a variety of experiences from exhibition and stage design to architecture, working in Boston, New York, and Yamagata, Japan.

KAITA SAITO

Junior Designer

Darin Johnstone

Principal

Darin Johnstone is an award-winning, Los Angeles-based architect and educator with 25 years of experience. His work has been published in Architectural Record, Azure, Domus, Dwell, Frame, Interior Design, Los Angeles Times, Surface, Architect’s Newspaper and many more. For the past 20 years, Darin has worked in education in support of the next generation of young architects. He’s received industry recognition including multiple AIA awards and grants for his teaching work at Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI_Arc). Darin offers a unique perspective at the nexus of practice and academia.

 

In 2004, he founded Darin Johnstone Architects (DJA). Just two years later, LA Architect named the firm one of the “10 to Watch” in Los Angeles and this year Archello named DJA one of the top 25 architecture firms in Los Angeles. DJA is known for work that spans genres, from architecture, urban planning and landscape design to interior design, furniture design and site-specific installation. In the past five years, DJA has designed and completed multiple award-winning renovation projects and comprehensive planning work for both ArtCenter College of Design campuses in Pasadena. In 2017 DJA completed a master plan for the SCI_Arc campus in the arts district of downtown Los Angeles. Recent projects include the ArtCenter Peter and Merle Mullin Gallery, the Bruce Heavin and Lynda Weinman Alumni Gallery, and the Ahmanson Auditorium. Current projects include the Mullin Transportation Design Center, and the Hyundai and Kia innovation lab.

 

Since 2002, Darin has been part of the SCI-Arc faculty. From 2010 to 2016 he created and directed Design Immersion Days (DID), SCI-Arc’s introduction to design program for high school students, which was widely recognized, winning multiple awards and grants. He also led a collaboration between SCI-Arc and Habitat for Humanity in 2015-16, resulting in the design and construction of the multi-award winning IVRV house.

 

Darin received his Bachelor of Architecture from California State Polytechnic University of Pomona and a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University.

 

 

SANDRA HUTCHINGS

Studio Director

Sandra Hutchings is a designer with cross-discipline expertise and over 20 years of experience. She has led academic and cultural institutions through campus expansions, touching all phases of the design and construction process with a focus on master planning, programming and design. She has effectively bridged her interest in contemporary architecture and art with her work alongside architects and institutions in Los Angeles and abroad. With formative experiences working with innovators in the fields of architecture, environmental sustainability, structural engineering and building technology, Sandra is adept at working with architectural teams and institutional leaders to accomplish a wide range of complex and specialized projects.

 

In 2013, Sandra began working with DJA. As lead designer and collaborator on the Peter and Merle Mullin Gallery, the Fine Arts + Illustration building, and Drawn Out / Light Mass installation, her contribution has been instrumental to the success of some of the firm’s most ambitious built work. Current projects include the Mullin Transportation Design Center, Ahmanson Auditorium, and the Academic Program Mapping project for Art Center College of Design.

 

 

MATT LEISE

Technical Director

Matt Liese has 20 years of experience in all phases of project design and construction. He has focused the past 10 years honing his technical expertise and providing code compliance, constructability, and Quality Assurance / Quality Control project review. Matt serves as the technical lead while mentoring and training junior staff on a wide array of projects. Matt joined DJA in 2013 where has managed or contributed his expertise to every project in the DJA portfolio for the last 8 years. Matt has helped DJA to deliver the highest level of service possible on projects with extreme budget and time constraints.

 

Matt Liese will be the project manager and technical director for the schematic design effort. He will provide code compliance and QAQC review on all project deliverables. He will collaborate with the consultant on existing conditions / ADA compliance review.

 

 

 

 

HAO HOWARD CHEN

Project Manager

Hao Howard Chen has more than 7 years of experience and brings a broad range of relevant skills to DJA. He’s a capable problem solver and a team leader. With a degree from the Master of Architecture program at SCI-Arc, he’s been involved with several of DJA’s current projects, including the Art Center College of Design. As a student at SCI-Arc, Howard was the lead designer and project captain for the award winning IVRV house designed and constructed in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity. He also holds an undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering from the University of British Columbia.

Sean DAVIS

Senior Project Designer

Sean Davis is a designer with 8 years of diverse experience in the field of architecture.  This experience has included exposure to many kinds of programmatic and building typologies such as Hospitality, Mixed use developments, Retail, and Housing in the forms of adaptive re-use, and ground up projects.  He believes in a strong collaborative design process between all team members and client and has engaged projects from pre-design programming through construction administration.  Sean is a graduate of California Polytechnic University of San Luis Obispo.  In addition to design of projects, Sean has a strong interest in an evolving design process within the DJA studio. He is actively engaged in testing new technologies in and out of the office such as visualization methods, VR, AR, and digital fabrication.

DENNIS LEE

Senior Project Designer

As a project designer at DJA, Dennis Lee has made vital contributions to multiple award-winning projects, most recently with ArtCenter College of Design. With 6 years of experience, Dennis brings integral and collaborative effort to the team through all phases of project- from schematic design all the way to construction management. His vast array of integrated design and strategic planning experience spans diverse genres and scales, from furniture design and interactive digital gallery to multi-family housing prototypes, tenant improvement projects, and campus master planning. Dennis’ dedication to design conception and execution is integral to the advancement of DJA’s practice. Dennis is a graduate of SCI-Arc, where he also acted as an exhibition coordinator and fabricator.

LONG PAN

Intermediate Designer

Long Pan is a designer with more than 4 years of experience working on architectural projects at various scales, from public museums to private residential buildings. Prior to joining the DJA team, Long had worked at architectural firms located in Los Angeles, Beijing and Guangzhou. Long is adept at working on projects at different stages from early modeling, rendering, and diagramming to final stages of construction documentation. Long holds a Master of Architecture from SCI-Arc and another master's degree in Computer Science from the Sun Yat-sen Unviersity.

KAITA SAITO

Junior Designer

Kaita is a recent graduate with a Master of Architecture from SCI-Arc and a B.A. in Architectural Studies from Boston University. At SCI-Arc, he gained an interest in architecture's connection to municipal and state bureaucracies and infrastructure; starting as a Teaching Assistant for history and theory, then a Community Land Trusts research assistant, and now currently as an Assistant Teacher for a first-year graduate studio. Before joining DJA, Kaita had a variety of experiences from exhibition and stage design to architecture, working in Boston, New York, and Yamagata, Japan.