Member Spotlight: Amy Alper


BiographyI graduated from UCLA’s School of Architecture and Urban Design and then went on to hone my skills working on a number of high profile projects including the Getty Center and the Carneros Inn as the Project Architect.  The team for the Carneros Inn was headed by William Rawn and Partners and was a recipient of an AIA Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design. While working on that project, I discovered my real passion for residential scale work and went on to work at Backen Gillam and Kroeger before establishing my own practice in Sonoma Ca. in 2005. The size and budgets of projects have grown since then and gained recognition. I was honored when asked to present my work at the AIA’s Custom Residential Architect Network’s Symposium 2016. The Sebastopol Hillside Residence (just completed) received an award for Unbuilt Work given out by the Redwood Empire Chapter of the AIA.Who have been your greatest influencers and why?The greatest influences came during the 10 years I spent studying and working in Los Angeles. The foundations of the approach to my work remain from my time working at Richard Meier and Partners and my time living in an apartment in Sachs Apartments by Rudolf Schindler - both masters at the interplay of plan, section and elevation.What are some of the insights of being a woman in your occupation?  Very simply, as a woman in architecture, I’ve found it best to define my success for myself.  In the years that followed my graduation from UCLA,  I defined success by the firms I worked for. That changed 12 years ago when I established my firm. My only regret is that I didn’t do so years earlier. Today I define my success not only by my work but by relationships; with clients and consultants,  with community engagement,  and of course with friends and family.What do you think/hope your occupation will look like in 10 years?I hope that the profession of Architecture will continue to strive for diversity among its practitioners. I hope that young women starting their careers won’t experience being the only woman in the room and won’t experience the assumption that her role is that of an interior designer. Most important, I hope that Architects expand their reach beyond the “building arts”. Contributions can be made wherever the need of vision and strategic planning intersect.