Profile

Honored with the AIA National Firm Award in 2015, Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects (formerly Ehrlich 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 45 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 150 awards including nine 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; and supported by ten 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.

New California Modernism

CORE VALUES

Commitment

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.

Process

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

Community

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.

Diversity

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

PARTNERS

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.

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TAKASHI YANAI
TAKASHI YANAI FAIA

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.

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PATRICIA RHEE
PATRICIA RHEE FAIA DBIA LEED AP

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.

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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.

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PEOPLE

Mark Kim
Mark Kim , AIA LEED AP BD+C
Principal

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.

WHITNEY M. WYATT
Whitney M. Wyatt , AIA LEED AP DBIA
Principal

Whitney Wyatt, AIA, LEED AP, a graduate of Harvard's GSD, has been with the firm since 1999. Whitney is the driving force behind some of the firms most recognized and sustainable projects. 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.

SIGITA MORAN
SIGITA MORAN , Affiliate AIA|LA
Principal, Marketing Director

Sigita Moran, Affiliate AIALA, is a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Architecture program, and joined the firm in 2014 as the Marketing Director. Sigita leads the strategy and pursuit of new projects, and maintains the firm’s public presence in print, digital and social media. Her focus on building relationships and a strong portfolio for the firm is an essential component of EYRC’s stature in the industry. She became a Principal in 2018.

ASHLEY RICHARDSON
ASHLEY RICHARDSON , AIA LEED AP
Principal

Ashley Richardson, AIA, LEED AP, a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, has been a key member of EYRC's team as a seasoned project manager on large complex projects including the Pendry Hotel + Residences. Her ability to manage large teams to ensure seamless documentation and delivery, while building strong client relationships, has made her an indispensable part of the firm's leadership team. She was elevated to Principal in 2019. Ashley is the former AIALA Design Awards Committee Chair and is currently the Co-Chair of the Women in Architecture Committee. In addition to her internal firm management responsibilities, Ashley is currently EYRC’s senior project manager working closely with design build team members Kitchell, HKS and SWA on the $530 million Theater District Living and Learning Neighborhood at UC San Diego.

BRYN GARRETT
BRYN GARRETT , AIA LEED GA
Associate Principal

Since joining the firm in 2012, Bryn Garrett has been involved with a broad range of project types, from institutional, to high-end residential and hospitality, to commercial and creative office. Bryn excels at early phases of design, specifically with project conceptualization, documentation and presentations to clients. His unique perspective on project context, scale and materiality, which emphasizes the relationship of people to place, makes him an invaluable team member.

MEL DE LEON
MEL DE LEON , AIA LEED AP
Senior Associate

Mel de Leon is a seasoned project manager and a leader in EYRC Architects’ residential studio. Mel plays a critical role in the day to day development of projects, understanding of codes and regulations, and technical coordination of construction drawing sets. For over 15 years, she has participated in as well as led all aspects of planning, design and construction, and has been particularly successful in developing and executing design schemes involving complex site issues.

TRAVIS FRANKEL
Travis Frankel , AIA
Senior Associate

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 Theater District Living and Learning Neighborhood, a $530 million design-build project at UC San Diego with Kitchell, HKS and SWA.

GEORGE RACOMURA
GEORGE RACOMURA , AIA
ASSOCIATE

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.

JESSICA CHANG
JESSICA CHANG , AIA
ASSOCIATE

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.

Alex Jiang
Alex Jiang,  LEED AP BD+C
ANISA ABOUTALEBPOUR
ANISA ABOUTALEBPOUR,  RA, Fitwel Ambassador, LEED GA
ANN TANAKA
ANN TANAKA
ANN-CHRISTINE PINEIRO
ANN-CHRISTINE PINEIRO
ASHLEY CHANG
ASHLEY CHANG
CARSON DAVIS
CARSON DAVIS,  RA
CHAD-JAMIE RIGAUD
CHAD-JAMIE RIGAUD
EMMA TSOGTOO
EMMA TSOGTOO
EVAN KOESTER
EVAN KOESTER
GIBRAN VILLALOBOS
GIBRAN VILLALOBOS
GREGORY CREECH
GREGORY CREECH
JAKE WELDON
JAKE WELDON
JESSICA MOON
JESSICA MOON
JOE VARHOLICK
JOE VARHOLICK,  RA
JONATHAN MARTINEZ
JONATHAN MARTINEZ
MARIA CARDENAS
MARIA CARDENAS
MATTHEW ININNS
MATTHEW ININNS,  RA, CPHC
MELISSA CATALDO
MELISSA CATALDO,  RA
NADYA INAUEN
NADYA INAUEN,  RA, LEED AP
NICK MCMILLAN
NICK MCMILLAN
SAMUEL TANNENBAUM
SAMUEL TANNENBAUM,  LEED AP BD+C
SEAN HOUGHTON
SEAN HOUGHTON,  RA, NCARB
SHARON TUREK
SHARON TUREK
STEVE DODGE
STEVE DODGE,  LEED AP
TIFFANY MOK
TIFFANY MOK,  RA, LEED GA, NCARB
WILLIAM ZAHURAK
WILLIAM ZAHURAK
YUAN FENG
YUAN FENG

SERVICES

Architecture

Programming

Master Planning

Feasibility Studies

Interiors

Adaptive Re-Use

Renovation

Sustainable Design

SUSTAINABILITY

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.

Resilience

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

DESIGN JUSTICE

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.

OPERATIONS

OPERATIONS

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.

INTERNAL EDUCATION

INTERNAL EDUCATION + DISCOURSE

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

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

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.