Honored with the AIA National Firm Award in 2015, Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects is a versatile practice that has earned an international reputation for design excellence and an exemplary professional culture. Founded in 1979, the Los Angeles and San Francisco-based firm is a 40 member team that has mastered building types ranging in scale from houses to courthouses, including libraries, university centers, corporate and government facilities. EYRC Architects has been recognized with more than 200 awards including twelve national AIA awards, and the title of AIA California Council Firm of the Year in 2003.

Led by Partners Steven Ehrlich, FAIA; Takashi Yanai, FAIA; Patricia Rhee, FAIA; Mathew Chaney, AIA, Ashley Richardson, AIA, Bryn Garrett, AIA; and supported by eleven Principals and Associates, EYRC Architects’ design philosophy starts with a profound respect for a building’s inhabitants. This humanistic approach, referred to as Multicultural Modernism, has permeated the firm’s culture since the beginning, informing every creation and every interaction.

The seeds of this philosophy were planted during founder Steven Ehrlich’s six-year work/travel sojourn in Africa in the 1970s. Serving in the Peace Corps in Morocco, traversing the Sahara and later teaching architecture in Northern Nigeria, he studied vernacular “architecture without architects,” formed by the constraints of site and climate and the inspiration of culture.

The ambition to create a healthy community culture spills over into the firm’s physical space, a repurposed 1917 dance hall located in Culver City, California. The entire staff sits in a single open-plan studio space and meetings and interactions regularly spill into the kitchen and onto the outside patio. A fierce work ethic prevails, but one that supports employees to challenge norms, be creative, and help maintain a live-work balance.

A total of ten monographs have been published on the work of Ehrlich Architects including the latest, “Ehrlich Yanai Outside-In: New California Modernism,” published in April, 2019.



We bring an intense passion to our work and endeavor to build upon a meaningful legacy.

Design Excellence

We believe in the power of good design to be transformative, regardless of a project’s type and scale: from house, to warehouse, to courthouse. Our body of work is authentic to its place, time and culture.

Design Approach

We believe in an open-minded, collaborative approach to design, beginning every project with curiosity while remaining informed by our decades of experience.


Our architecture is rooted in making. Through our process, we explore how materials, structure, systems and craft come together to create inspired environments


We aspire to make a positive impact on the lives of the people and the communities our buildings serve, building connections and bringing people together through engaging architecture.


We embrace and celebrate diversity in our organization. We commit to be thoughtful, honest, and open in our relationships with each other, our clients, collaborators, and peers.

social justice label


Steven Ehrlich
Steven Ehrlich FAIA RIBA

Steven Ehrlich, the firm's Founding Partner, learned early on the significance of how architecture responds to the culture and the environment - a self-proclaimed "architectural anthropologist". Upon graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Architecture, Ehrlich spent six years living and working in Africa, serving for two years with the Peace Corps as their first architect in Marrakech, Morocco. He later traveled across the Sahara and taught architecture at Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria. The lessons of indigenous building were instrumental in forming Ehrlich's approach to design and continue to influence the firm's work today.

In addition to the Firm Award, Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects counts eight national AIA design awards to its credit, and Steven Ehrlich is a recipient of the AIA California’s prestigious Maybeck Award and the 2015 AIA Los Angeles Gold Medal for outstanding lifelong achievement in architectural design. He has lectured and taught as a visiting professor both nationally and abroad; currently as a visiting professor at the University of Southern California.


Takashi Yanai is a Partner at Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects and has been Residential Studio Director since 2004. Takashi is also currently leading EYRC’s San Francisco Studio.

Prior to practice, Takashi was a design journalist and editor at GA Houses in Tokyo where his work and travels provided the seeds for his design philosophy. Today his work is rooted in its contemplative relationship to landscape and is a continuation of the California Modernist ethos infused with reinterpretations of traditional Japanese elements. In 2017 he was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in recognition of his residential work, which articulates how architecture can “connect man and nature through masterful siting and exceptional craft.” Takashi serves on the SFMOMA Photography Accessions as well as the Architecture+Design Accessions Committees and has also been appointed the Chair of the National AIA Committee on Design for 2021.

His professional activities, travels and personal inspirations are well-documented and widely followed (57,000 followers) on his Instagram account @t_yanai. Takashi has a degree in Literature with distinction from the University of California at Berkeley and a Masters in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.


Patricia Rhee, FAIA has been a member of the firm since 2000 and was named a Partner in 2013. She has served as Project Architect / Designer for several of the firm's most notable and award-winning projects, including The Culver Steps, Ivy Station, the United Arab Emirates' Federal National Council Parliament Complex and GSA's John M. Roll Federal Courthouse. She received her Master's degree in Architecture from Harvard's Graduate School of Design where she was awarded the Thayer Prize and received her Bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, she recently completed USC's Ross Minority Program in Real Estate. She has served on design juries with the AIA Academy of Architecture for Justice, DBIA, University of Southern California and SCI-Arc.

Patricia was a founding Co-Chair of the AIA Los Angeles Women in Architecture committee. She has lectured internationally, at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Clemson University, the World Architecture Festival, at AIA Los Angeles’ POWERFUL Women in Design symposium and AIA Women’s Leadership Summit.

Mathew Chaney
Mathew Chaney AIA DBIA LEED AP

Mathew Chaney is a Partner at Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects, recipient of the prestigious 2015 AIA National Architecture Firm Award. Mathew has served as Principal-in-Charge for some of the firm’s largest and most complex projects, including the in progress $500m UC San Diego Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood and the recently completed Pendry Hotel + Residences in West Hollywood. Mathew is a recognized thought leader in alternative delivery methods throughout the A/E/C industry and lectures frequently on Design/Build and Integrated Project delivery across the country. Mathew shares leadership of the firm’s Commercial and Institutional studios with partner Patricia Rhee.

Prior to joining EYRC Architects in 2002, Mathew's resume includes 3 years at Walt Disney Imagineering as one of the lead creatives on the "Soarin' over California" Ride/Film at the Disney's California Adventure park in Anaheim, CA, and as a co-founder of an experimental digital design and fabrication collaborative "Telemachus Studio.” Mathew’s passion for incorporating the latest technology in project design and delivery ensures that EYRC Architects is on the cutting-edge of the profession.

Ashley Richardson AIA LEED AP

Ashley Richardson, AIA, LEED AP, a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, is a seasoned project manager on large, complex projects including the Pendry Hotel + Residences and the Theater District Living and Learning Neighborhood at UC San Diego. Her ability to manage large teams, while building strong client relationships, has made her an indispensable part of the leadership team and in 2021 she was elevated to Managing Principal, followed by promotion to Partner in 2023.

Ashley is involved in AIALA as a former Design Awards Committee Chair and as the 2022 Past Co-Chair of the Women in Architecture Committee.

Bryn Garrett AIA

Bryn Garrett is a facile designer and skilled leader who has been involved with a broad range of project types at EYRC since 2012. From custom single-family residential to creative office and hospitality, his unique perspective on a project’s context, scale and materiality makes him an invaluable team member.

More recently, Bryn has led EYRC’s firm-wide sustainability initiatives to bolster the wellness and net zero strategies used during the design process. Bryn was elevated to Partner in 2023 and has been heading EYRC’s San Francisco studio since its inception in 2017.


Mark Kim

Mark Kim, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, has been a member of the firm since 1998. With a Masters of Architecture from UCLA, Mark's deep experience in the documentation, delivery and management of some of the firm's largest and most complex institutional projects makes him a trusted technical lead throughout the studio, which includes the $536 million UC San Diego Ridge Walk North Living and Learning Neighborhood Design-Build project.

Whitney M. Wyatt , AIA DBIA LEED AP

Whitney Wyatt, AIA, DBIA, LEED AP, received her undergraduate degree at Princeton University, her Master’s degree at Harvard’s GSD, and has been with the firm since 1999. Whitney is the driving force behind some of the firms most recognized and sustainable projects and excels at finding sensitive and appropriate design solutions based on efficient massing, creative material selection and maximized site opportunities. Her passion for educational projects and ability to artfully blend exterior, interior and sustainable design provide her a strong platform for leadership within the office.

Travis Frankel , AIA
Associate Principal

Travis brings his 15+ years of experience and serves as a senior leader at EYRC Architects, guiding project teams in design and execution. His range of project experience includes transit and public mobility facilities from his time as Studio Leader at AECOM, as well as education and other civic projects. Travis has a passion for mentorship, fabrication, and making applying this to his daily practice. He is currently serving as the Project Architect on Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood, a $491 million design-build project at UC San Diego.


A graduate of the University of Hawai’i at Manoa with a Doctor of Architecture, George’s background emphasizes culturally-relevant design. He has worked on a wide variety of project types: ranging from institutional to high-end residential and multi-family, as well as both commercial and creative office. A licensed architect, he excels at documentation and coordination. He is adept at managing complex projects and large teams, while not losing sight of the details. At EYRC, he has led several adaptive re-use and renovation projects for creative office work, including The Press Adaptive Re-use, Moose Toys Tenant Improvement and the Pasadena Commons.

Tiffany Mok

With 13+ years of experience in a broad range of place-making design projects, Tiffany Mok has a rich portfolio of mixed-use, commercial development and master planning. She believes the best spaces are designed with a diverse group of users, equity and comfort in mind, bringing this approach to various higher education and commercial office projects since joining EYRC in 2021. One of her most prominent projects includes the $536 million mixed-use UC San Diego Ridge Walk North Living and Learning Neighborhood, currently in design.


Jessica Chang, a graduate of the University of Southern California, has led projects in both the commercial and residential studios since joining EYRC in 2018. With her passion for design, Jessica brings an energetic perspective and critical eye to the firm. Prior to her tenure at EYRC, Jessica worked at Morphosis Architects for four years on internationally recognized projects ranging from hotels and train stations, to embassies and city-scale masterplans. Her dedication to the field extends beyond design projects as she leads the Digital Practice Committee and co-leads the Design Justice Committee at EYRC. Her determination to innovate and promote equity makes her a valuable and empathetic architect.


Melissa Cataldo brings a fresh, organic design perspective to every project type and scale. Her unique design sensibility stands out in her ability to create a strong overall concept and narrative for a project, while making sure this translates down even to the interiors and details. She spearheads the EYRC pinup series, encouraging studio-wide design discussion, and is passionate about knowledge sharing to advance the creative dialog and process within the office.

Joe Varholick
Joe Varholick , RA

Joe Varholick is an associate at EYRC Architects, and integral to the design and development for a range of projects including creative office, adaptive re-use, multifamily projects, and master plans. His ability to translate high-level design ideas into working solutions is a true asset. Joe uses a wide range of skills and tools to investigate design ideas. His quick, iterative design thinking is highly collaborative and engages clients in an authentic and open way.

Carson Davis
Carson Davis , AIA

Carson Davis joined EYRC’s San Francisco studio in 2019. With 10 years of experience and a background in both Industrial Design and Architecture, he has a keen interest in how detailing and craft play out in the design process. An avid sketcher, Carson blends traditional analogue design techniques with modern CAD, BIM and Parametric tools. In the residential studio, he has been an integral part of seeing projects through all phases of design, detailing, permitting and construction. 

Nadya Inauen , RA LEED AP

Since joining EYRC as an Architect in 2016, Nadya Inauen has worked on many of the firm’s most notable creative office, civic, multi-family and educational projects. In particular, she is deeply familiar with public and private university processes. Nadya has over 10 years of experience in architecture where she has honed her organizational and project management skills, helping lead projects all the way from schematic design through to construction. 

Derek Leavitt , AIA
Director of Housing

Derek Leavitt joined EYRC in 2023 as our Director of Housing. He is a seasoned architecture, construction, and real estate professional with a wealth of experience in the industry. A co-founder of Modative, an integrated design, development, and construction firm in Los Angeles, Derek was instrumental in the successful completion of over 60+ housing projects, showcasing his expertise in design, development, and construction - including modular practices. Derek holds a degree in Architecture from the University of Southern California with a minor in Business Administration and is both a licensed architect and general contractor in California. Additionally, Derek served as the President of the Building Industry Association LA/Ventura Chapter in 2019.

Evan Koester, Associate AIA
Director of Studio Operations

Since joining EYRC in 2016, Evan has played an integral role in overseeing the business operations of the practice. His multifaceted expertise contributes significantly to both the day-to-day functions and the long-term trajectory of the firm. Evan places considerable emphasis on the value of "soft skills" and advocates for a human-centric approach to employee management. He prioritizes the cultivation of a robust firm culture by ensuring that staff members feel supported, encouraged, and empowered to deliver their best work. His dedication to fostering a conducive work environment underscores his commitment to the success and well-being of the team at EYRC.


Christopher Carbajal
Jennifer Wong,  AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C
Michelle Pauly
Michelle Pauly




Master Planning

Feasibility Studies


Adaptive Re-Use


Sustainable Design


Action Plan 2020

EYRC believes in a humanistic approach to design, a process that harmonizes the wellness and resiliency of the human experience with the preservation and rehabilitation of our natural environment. We are inspired by the unique places where our work is built and are committed to a design practice that reduces negative environmental impacts while enhancing our site, community and the planet. This guiding principle is the lens through which we practice and promote sustainability.

EYRC believes

From project inception to completion, we address sustainability in four critical ways: by celebrating change and timelessness; facilitating a big impact with a light touch; focusing on experiences beyond visual, and instilling a unique, inextricable sustainable element in each project. These values are an extension of the same core values that have guided EYRC for the last forty years.

From project inception

EYRC advocates for a fundamental shift in the way one thinks about the lifespan and aging of a building. Adaptability has become a necessity in architecture as we respond to the increasing impacts of climate change. EYRC charts a ‘cradle to grave’ roadmap for projects that not only anticipates the potential risks to the building today, but also plans for future phases of the building’s life in the years to come.

EYRC advocates

Resilience can be manifested in many ways, so we take the opportunity early on to explore multiple strategies that address the issues of concern, while also echoing the project’s vision. From installing floating foundations on the shores of San Francisco Bay to the fire-resistant wood siding in agrarian Portola Valley, resilience can take on many forms which can also strengthen a project’s design ethos.


Our embrace of change mandates that a building’s materials are selected to blend in with their surrounding context and age beautifully. Using a palette of natural, honest and sustainably sourced materials, we design to require minimal maintenance and cap our impact on scarce resources. In many EYRC projects we make the most out of humble materials, and appreciate leaving these materials exposed and unfinished to witness them weathering naturally.

Our embrace


EYRC Architects

The Design Justice Committee is a self-organized group within EYRC Architects, interested in promoting racial, social, and cultural equity, both internally and externally. The group includes 15 members of staff and leadership and was formed in the Spring of 2020 amidst the civil rights reckoning following the murder of so many innocent Black Americans. Our committee feels that architecture’s explicit and complicit role in systemic racism must be acknowledged and changed through sustained action. We strive to be part of this by encouraging the unraveling of our unconscious biases as designers, expanding our positive impact on local communities, and actively encouraging a more equitable and diverse architectural profession. With these goals in mind we have outlined three areas within our practice where we see opportunities for change: operations and firm management, internal education and discourse, and community engagement.



To make substantive change in our community, we must start with our own office. Already under way, our first course of action was to measure the firm’s current practices using the JUST label. Applying for JUST helped create a benchmark to hold our internal operations accountable to and from which we can integrate equity, equality, and inclusion in all our business operations. While these were long held values by the firm, we felt it crucial to put these values into written policies. Creating a safe space for our staff is of paramount importance and such policies can support and empower staff to speak out against potential injustices.



Beyond creating internal change through policy, the committee also seeks to provide staff education and a forum for discussion about equity. The committee sends monthly digests with diversity, equity, and inclusion lecture events, informative articles, and inspiring precedents by BIPOC artists and designers. The committee then hosts lunchtime discussions around the content of these newsletters. We also have committed to further growth through design justice workshops conducted by third party specialists. Through past project evaluation, and conscious design processes, we intend to create architecture that is socially responsible, inclusive, and community serving.



Community Engagement has several facets to it. The first of which is listening to and incorporating any affected community into our design process for a project. The second of which is actively pursuing projects that serve the community while partnering with trusted organizations. The firm has a history of designing community centers and educational projects – continuing in this vein is a goal of the committee. The third is improving diversity and representation in the architecture field, and in our local community. This involves sparking interest in design from a young age, continuing to mentor young designers throughout their education, teaming with, hiring, and promoting underrepresented individuals.

Our hope is to have a holistic approach towards Design Justice and invest in a more equitable future. The sustained longevity of the committee is of utmost importance to the firm and we will continue to promote our values in all that we do.