Debra Hakimi

Debra Hakimi

Beverly Hills, CA, US



My passion for art gave birth to my passion for architecture in my early high school years. By the end of high school, I was sure that architecture was the field that I was meant to pursue. I attended the University of Southern California's School of Architecture, which is a very well-known accredited five-year program.

Shortly after graduation, I began working at a boutique firm in Beverly Hills. In my time at this firm, I have worked on projects from the very beginning to the very end, which allowed me to gain exposure to all aspects involved in the realization of a project. I expanded my skill set by learning how to use programs such as Revit and Maxwell, while expanding my knowledge on building materials and components used in the construction process.

Architecture school has instilled in me a passion for learning. It has been said that those who see themselves as students are more open-minded and gain more knowledge on the whole than those who see themselves as experts. I will forever be a student seeking more knowledge because there will always be more to learn no matter how deep you get into a field. 

In my free time, I enjoy doing arts and crafts projects, going to museum exhibits, and exploring the life, culture, and architecture of Los Angeles and various other cities. 


Poon Design Inc., Beverly Hills, CA, US, Entry Level Architect

Designers are assigned projects to work on from the very beginning to the very end. Responsibilities include developing designs, doing material and precedent research, creating visualizations for and running client meetings, coordinating with consultants, creating complete drawing sets that are to be taken through permitting, participating in the bidding process, overseeing construction, and providing sketches to contractors when necessary.

Jun 2013 - current


University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, CA, US, BArch, Architecture

The first two and a half years consisted of very short and fast projects within each semester. Project types varied from commercial buildings such as a carwash and a car showroom to residential buildings such as low-density and medium-density housing.

The subsequent semesters were more focused with one project dedicated for each semester, which allowed us to go deeper into the development of our projects. Projects included a dance and music school with performance auditoriums, a mixed-use building on a recreational site by the L.A. River, and urban connectors such as the revitalization of an existing train station into a hot spot.

I spent one semester during my fourth year abroad in Italy and had the opportunity to travel to many other European cities. This was a true eye-opener for me since I had lived in Los Angeles all my life and had never been outside of the country. It made me realize that reading about architecture was not as profound and meaningful as experiencing the architecture for yourself. One example was the Therme Vals, designed by Peter Zumthor. We got to experience the building as a user and engaged all our senses.

My thesis project revolved around the idea of living big in small spaces and I focused on Los Angeles as a site. I proposed that we do away with setback regulations in order to build narrow homes between existing single-family homes to achieve greater densification. The task, then, became to design spaces that were transformable in order to maximize a very small amount of space. Different prototypes allowed for customization to meet the user's desires; some prototypes included a city car that plugged into the home. Overall, this design created a more sustainable way of living and thinking.

Sep 2008 - May 2013


Studio Culture Award, 1st Place

This award was in recognition to the student in our graduating class at USC that contributed positively to the studio culture.


Areas of Specialization