Urban Field Studio

AIAEB newsletter Firm Profile Questions — Urban Field Studio

1. How did the firm get its start?

The firm was founded by Jane Lin and Heidi Sokolowsky in 2014 as the recession made a turn. Frank Fuller joined as a partner to the firm in 2015. All three of us worked together previously at Field Paoli Architects for many years on urban design projects, but had moved on to other things before being reunited as Urban Field Studio.

2. How did your firm get its name? The work we do as urban designers has us looking at cities, towns, and open spaces. We wanted to allude to the fact that it’s all an experiment, which is why we set up our field studio. And the thing we wanted to observe in the field? Urbanity!

3. Where are you located? In the Mission District in San Francisco, and also at satellite offices in Rockridge and Piedmont in the East Bay.

4. What is the firm personality? Fresh and fearless!

5. What’s the firm’s focus? Urban design, development strategy, and conceptual architectural design. We are passionate about designing active and memorable places that people will use, treasure, and remember.

6. What’s the most unusual project your firm has done? The most unusual pairing of projects for one client has been working on the Oakland Coliseum site and the Uptown Signage Program. They were both at the opposite ends of scale. However, one got built and the other slipped by.

7. When was the firm established? We were established in 2014.

8. What’s your favorite local building? The flatiron Cathedral Building!

9. What is the makeup of your firm and do you have other disciplines? We have degrees in both architecture and planning. The projects we work on range from specific sites on main streets in neighborhoods to special districts than can span a metropolitan area. We collaborate with planners, economists, landscape architects, transportation planners, civil engineers, developers, and artists to provide conceptual architecture and to test the physical potential of sites.

10. Do you have any office pets? The office has three parrots and a cat. Jolie, Jerry, Paris, and Sugarloaf Cat make their appearances from time to time during conference calls.

11. Which method of marketing has been the most successful for the firm? Personal involvement with special projects. What may feel like extra often seems to lead to the next project.

12. How would you describe your firm’s culture? Ad hoc! We make it work. We experiment. We are out to figure out how we can make the most of what’s next.

13. What’s your firm’s favorite lunch spot? Grand Lake Kitchens, Oliveto downstairs, or the Stable at 18th and Folsom (in San Francisco) – there are so many good places to eat!

14. What type of client has been the best to work with? We love clients with a collaborative growth mindset.

15. What does the future hold for the firm? Seems like there’s a demand for tough urban problems.

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