Olivia Asuncion

Olivia Asuncion

Sacramento, CA, US



A native of a small town in the Philippines, Olivia moved to the suburbs of Elk Grove, California at the age of 11 to fulfill her dreams of changing architecture. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture at U.C. Berkeley and worked at Equity Community Builders (ECB), a real estate development firm committed to revitalizing Bay Area communities through urban in-fill projects that exemplify innovative, environmentally-responsible and socially-equitable design using creative financing solutions. She recently received her Master’s degree in Architecture at the University of Oregon, focusing her studies in social and universal design.

She believes that environmental design can have a positive effect on the human condition and that it is our responsibility as designers to ensure that our projects promote social equity and universal design.

Aside from design, Olivia is also passionate about improving architecture through research. She strongly believes that our design decisions have the potential to create physical symbols that tear down social barriers and inequalities. One of the projects she has worked on is her own research entitled “Accessible evacuation: improving fire safety and building evacuation for people with disabilities,” where she assesses the efficacy and accessibility of existing evacuation protocols and building safety codes and theorizes solutions for more inclusive and safe building designs. Her research has been presented in various symposia, including the University of Oregon Department of Architecture’s Annual Student Research Symposium, and the Environmental Design Research Association EDRA46LosAngeles Conference, where she won First Place for the Student Best Design Award for her presentation. She is also currently managing the Large Classroom Comparison Research project, working with students to find correlations between teacherstudent interactions and the physical qualities of large lecture halls.

In her free time, Olivia enjoys going to concerts, watching Broadway musicals, cooking, singing, designing t-shirts, and spending time with her adorable nephews and nieces.



University of Oregon Department of Architecture Research Practicum, Eugene, OR, US, Research Manager

- works on the Large Capacity Classroom Comparison Research Project, studying how classroom geometry and quality
affects teacher and student behavior through observation of lecture halls on campus
- managed up to 18 student researchers who collected data through human behavior observations and mapping
- created surveys for students who utilize the case study lecture halls using the Qualtrics online software
- organizes and quantifies collected data into legible spreadsheets and other visual representations
- coordinates meetings and correspondence with faculty advisors and other involved professionals

Jan 2015 - Aug 2015

Equity Community Builders, San Francisco, CA, US, Project Assistant

- supported project and construction managers at a real estate development firm
- responsible for the research necessary for project due diligence and feasibility studies
- created RFPs and RFQs for project consultants and contractors
- reviewed contractor payment applications, change orders, and loan draw request documentation
- collaborated with various project stakeholders, including owners, architects, contractors, city planning officials, vendors and other project consultants
- assisted in the property management of two buildings after their construction
- managed and performed administrative duties in the Berkeley office
- projects worked on include: David Brower Center, Ed Roberts Campus, PG&E-YMCA Teen Center, Simpson Center for Girls, The Strand Theater

Jun 2010 - Sep 2013


University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, US, MArch, Architecture

Sep 2013 - Jun 2015

University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, US, Architecture

Aug 2006 - May 2010


Student Best Design Award, 1st Place

The EDRA Student Design Awards are distinguished by their recognition of environmental designs that respond to human factors in the conception of the full range of environmental scales through the infusion of research findings and users’ inputs on the needs of human’s in the built world. The Student Design Awards criteria are underpinned by EDRA’s mission of advancing and disseminating behavior and design research toward improving understanding of the relationships between people and their environments and seek to recognize student projects that demonstrate excellence in the design of humane environments.


Areas of Specialization