Michael Zakian and Eugene Woo were introduced in 1999 by Pei Partnership Architects New York to join forces as its West Coast team for the UCLA Westwood Replacement Hospital (Ronald Reagan Medical Center). The success of this effort, as well as their common background, approach to design sensibilities, sparked the formation of Zakian Woo Architects in 2000. The founders’ goal was to make a contribution to the greater urban fabric according to their shared core values of honesty, truth, integrity and service.
Both Michael and Gene hold a Master in Architecture & Urban Design from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Their principles as planners are evident in all of the firm’s designs, from the urban-macro-context down to the descrete-micro-design details. This methodology is utilized in all of Zakian Woo Architects’ work regardless of scope or scale, which includes planning, architecture and interior design for healthcare, commercial, residential and hospitality clients.
Zakian Woo Architects also places tremendous importance on historical precedent, including an appreciation of the great architects of the 20th Century. The firm operates according to the modernist ideal of humanity first, and that people have a responsibility to create, improve and reshape their environment for the betterment of all. To that end, it considers site, massing and volume, composition, color and materials in order that its designs make a lasting contribution to their surroundings.
Finally, each individual at Zakian Woo Architects finds meaning in the profession through service, and considers it a privilege to provide leadership and technical insight to their clients. They derive joy in their work as designers, and are accountable to a fault. As a result, the firm is known for purposeful designs that function beyond expectations, are constructed according to budget and schedule, and display a trademark level of beauty, detail and finish.