Leif Estrada is an emerging award-winning artist and designer, who recently completed his Bachelor of Architecture degree in Architecture with High Distinction (equivalent to Summa Cum Laude) from the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. He is a Master in Design Studies Candidate with a concentration on Urbanism, Landscape, and Ecology at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design.
Born in a provincial town in the Philippines to a clan of artists, and growing up on the beautiful island of Maui, Leif attended CCA with the hopes of studying Fine Arts; however after a serendipitous event of signing up for an architecture elective class, he fell in love with the idea of space-making and being able to influence the people, who use and thrive in those designed spaces.
During his five years at CCA, Leif was not only actively involved in his design practicum (having studied design in abroad studios, including in Athens, Paris and Venice; collaborated with a local San Francisco design firm: Visible Research Office, and international landscape architecture firm: SWA Group), but was also heavily involved in extra curricular activities including his membership in the Cossutius Chapter of the Alpha Rho Chi fraternity (in which he was elected as Chapter Secretary and Chapter President, and appointed as Fundraising Chair and Pledge Educator). During his term as Chapter President, he developed a close professional network with the Bay Area Young Architects, which enabled the Chapter to host a school-wide Mixer and Networking event.
He was also a member of the the school’s AIAS chapter, participated in a group Honors Critique Program, and served as a mentor in CCA’s Architecture Mentorship Program. Not only was he active with the school curricular activities but was also a constant volunteer in the community including in the Habitat for Humanity, Equality California and at the SF Food Bank.
Most recently he has been selected as the sole American representative to join the Venice Architectural Association at the Universitá IUAV di Venezia on their 2nd Annual “Tall on the Water” international competition, for which his group’s skyscraper design was selected and was highly-commended, most notably by SOM. His group’s design; symTEC, will be exhibited at the prestigious Biennale di Venezia di Architettura.
His dedication to academics and school curricular programs have earned him awards, including:
American Institute of Architects Scholar- National and Maui Chapter; 2013
Universitá IUAV di Venezia’s Venice Architectural Association ”Tall on the Water” International Competition: Selected Project; 2012
American Institute of Architects-San Francisco Design Awards: Unbuilt Category, Citation Award for Peel 27; 2012
California College of the Arts Creative Achievement Award; 2007-2012
California College of the Arts Diversity Scholar; 2007-2012
California College of the Arts Scholar; 2007-2012
Carmen Christensen Endowed Scholar; 2008-2011
Jury Prize Nomination for Architecture Studio 2 Project; 2009
American Institute of Architects Scholar- Maui Chapter; 2008
CCA All College Honors; 2008
Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce Scholar; 2007
Just as he’s accomplished in his academic studies, so was he with his artistic talent, having exhibited on Maui, San Francisco, New York and in Venice’s prestigious la Biennale di Venezia di Architecttura. His self-portrait piece, entitled “Starving Artist,” was highly praised at the 2007 Celebrating the Artist in Us Exhibition at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, which was later used for the Center’s magazine cover. Competing in the state and national level; he received the Region-at-Large Award and Gold Key Award from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards in New York.
His awards in the finer arts include:
Lahaina Art Scociety Scholar; 2007
Art Maui Scholar; 2007
Scholastic Art and Writing Award (Region-at-Large and Gold Key) for Dots Me; 2007
Kaha Ki’i: Hawai’i Congressional Art (Third Place) for The Shaved Ice Man; 2006
82nd Maui County Fair: Art Competition (Best in Show) for Fragile; 2004
Na Mele O Maui (First Place) for Untitled work; 2003
*Links to external websites are hyperlinked.
GYA Architects, Wailuku, HI, US, Architect I / In-Training
Architecture For Humanity, Haiti, Volunteer Designer
SWA Group, Sausalito, CA, US, Intern
Visible Research Office, San Francisco, CA, US, Model-maker
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, US, Masters, MDesS
Master in Design Studies with a concentration on Urbanism, Landscape and Ecology
Università IUAV di Venezia, Venice, Italy, International Skyscraper Design Competition
Selected as a sole American candidate to compete in Universitá IUAV di Venezia's Venice Architectural Association's 2nd annual "Tall on the Water," for which we were selected and was highly-commended by SOM.
California College of the Arts, San Francisco, CA, US, BArch, Architecture
Bachelor of Architecture with High Distinction
Résidences Internationales aux Récollets, Paris, France, Urban Analysis and Design
"Biometric City," observing and analyzing ways to instigate within the local Parisian urban fabric through design exercises with the Résidences Internationales aux Récollets.
Princeton University, Athens, Greece, Hydra Cities
CCA Architecture Summer Abroad Studio
in discussion and collaboration with the University of Patras and Princeton University, creating proposals for the port of Piraeus, near Athens for a way to instigate current and future infrastructural systems