Swift Lee Office, Inc. (SLO) was founded in Los Angeles in 2000. SLO’s founding partners, Gloria Lee and Nathan Swift, met while at Harvard and established SLO in an artist’s complex in downtown L.A. SLO was launched as a multi-disciplinary design laboratory combining an architectural design studio, a hands-on prototyping workshop and a gallery showcasing the work of local LA artists. SLO researched and developed an experimental line of steel fitment (part furniture, part equipment) for which they received a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, an AIA/LA design award, and for which Ms. Lee received an Oberdick Teaching and Research Fellowship at the University of Michigan School of Architecture. The Stud Series exhibited SLO’s interest in seriality, flexibility and the re-use/mis-use of unadorned off-the-shelf materials. These ideas continue to drive the firm’s work at all scales, and are translated into building form on the design of the NZE High Performance School Prototype.
SLO has grown to a full service architectural firm with an extensive portfolio of innovative built projects throughout the L.A. area. Our services include pre-design, feasibility, site selection, and community outreach services for the charter K-12 education market, through design, permitting, and construction administration. Other clients include Los Angeles Unified School District, Orange County Parks, Metropolitan Water District as well as numerous commercial and residential clients. SLO retains its founding spirit of inventiveness and its interest in the cross-disciplinary practice of architecture. The members of SLO think of themselves as design evangelists preaching the value of ingenious problem solving with a will to experiment, innovate and collaborate. In the face of ever-increasing building costs, regulatory complexity, and ecological imperatives, SLO wholeheartedly embraces R. Buckminster Fuller’s maxim of “doing the most with the least”, which forms the central tenent of their design philosophy, and which they view as prerequisite to economical and sustainable design. Through it all SLO tries to keep their sense of humor, with a mantra that chants The world is changing swiftlee, go slo. In part a light-hearted play on words, it’s also a meditation on the possibility that in the face of rapid and hectic change, slowness may be a good option. SLO’s work has been widely recognized through publications, awards, and exhibits.