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Meet Patricia Rhee of Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects in Culver City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Patricia Rhee.

Patricia, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in Maryland, the daughter of Korean immigrants — my mother was a watercolor painter and my dad was an orthopedic surgeon. I think I became an architect because I loved making things in art class and I also had an inborn desire to cut things (like my dad)… this is probably why I loved making models. My life at EYRC Architects started when I moved out to LA from the east coast after getting my masters from Harvard. It was a great place to land as a young designer, where I could flourish and grow and develop into a serious architect, a mom and eventually firm partner.

Food, my forever passion, has always inspired me to get out and explore parts of LA I might otherwise never venture to. I came to understand the city by way of feeding my curious belly. Equity in architecture has also shaped the way I practice. My involvement (as a founding co-chair) with the AIA Women in Architecture Committee in LA, has opened me up to a world of so many amazing designers, mentors, leaders and organizers.

I’ve come to learn that architecture isn’t just about design, business or the joy of making buildings with a group of like-minded folks — it’s all those things but it’s also got so many facets where we can align our beliefs with what we practice and make for our communities.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As an architect, you need to have patience. Projects take years to complete and some go on hold, others never get built. The pursuits we lose are painful because of the long hours, blood, sweat and tears we put into them. However, when a project comes to life, when you can visit it and take your kids there and see the impact it can have on the community…it makes it all worth it.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects – what should we know?
Our office was founded in 1979 by Steven Ehrlich as a small studio doing custom homes. EYRC is now a 30+ team, with offices in LA and now San Francisco, that has mastered building types ranging from houses to courthouses, including libraries, university centers, corporate and government facilities. Our design philosophy starts with a deep respect for people and place and understanding context–whether it’s around the block in Culver City, in the Arizona desert, or along the Gulf coast of Abu Dhabi. This humanistic approach has permeated our firm’s culture since the beginning, and informs every creation and every interaction.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Feeling good about what you are doing is key. When I’m making a positive environment, spatially or culturally, and doing something good for my community, whether that’s the neighborhood, my architectural community, my employees or colleagues…that is the best feeling in the world.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Nico Marques, BioLINIA, Paul Turang, Bill Timmerman

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