Design Competition - YES to ADU's!

We are excited to announce we are forming a team for a new design competition to help homeless! LA County Arts Commission is launching a design competition for ADU proposals and we are looking to build a small team of 3 - 4 people to participate in this competition with us. The deadline is January 5th and there is a final exhibition and awards event on March 5th.  First prize receives $12,000 and the two second prizes each receive $6,000. Please email us at if you are interested in participating! 

CLICK HERE for more information.


Avalon Carver Community Center - UPDATE

We have started our work on the Avalon Carver Community Center project and are in the middle of Phase One now! The OACLA team and our amazing volunteers will be working with the community to fully understand the many needs and opportunities of this extremely active and historic community center, while re-imagining what this space can be and how it can best serve the local community.  Check us out below at our first team site visit on the roof of Avalon Carver!

Avalon Carver Team.jpg

Avalon Carver Community Center project volunteers Dave Roselle, Dave Wachtel, Tyree Bailey, Sara Loy, Catherine Hernandez, Kirill Volchinskiy, Center Director Jay, Jonnathan Padilla, and Jim Sarratori


Justice Urban Tavern - 120 S Los Angeles St, Los Angeles, CA 90012 from 6pm-9pm

We are kicking off a series of bi-monthly happy hours (the third Thursday of every other month) that will spread across all of Los Angeles! Our inaugural happy hour will take place Thursday, June 15 at Justice Tavern in Downtown LA from 6pm-9pm. The goal of these happy hours is to give volunteers, nonprofits, and anyone interested in working with us an opportunity to come and discuss ideas, get to know us, and meet other like-minded humanitarians! Come meet our new Managing Director - Nathan Cooke! Justice Urban Tavern is easily accessible by Metro red, purple, and gold lines. RSVP on this facebook event or email us at

As a reminder - we have multiple calls out for new board and leadership positions as well as volunteer opportunites available on two new projects! Come learn more about them. Also check out our website for more info! Hope to see you there!

Call for Volunteers! Two NEW projects!

Interested in volunteering to improve physical places through participatory action?  Great, so are we.  Two new projects need volunteers now with Avalon Carver Community Center and Chrysalis.  Read more:

Avalon Carver Community Center:

Avalon Carver Community Center in South LA has approached OACLA to collaborate on improving their space so that they can reach more people in their community. Specifically, they are focused on improving the lives of children and families in South Central. They currently provide mobile STEM labs to 14 schools in the area, reaching over 2500 kids a week. They also have a number of after school programs at their center. 
Immediate needs are reworking their space to accommodate a Charter High School. Long term needs are looking at opportunities for middle school, low income housing, and food preparation. OACLA is looking to build out a team of volunteers who can start on initial research by (1) assessing Avalon Carvers existing space, (2) do community research, (3) research school needs and (4) do CAD prototyping for project proposals. We are excited to have people with skills in one or all of the above needs.


Chrysalis is a nonprofit organization in DTLA, that changes lives through jobs. They help low income and homeless individuals by providing them with resources for them to find employment. OACLA is working with Chrysalis on their Resource Closet for Clients to find clothes for job interviews. We already have one volunteer who has started research on the project, and are looking to grow a small team to collaborate on this opportunity. If you have interests and/or experience in user research/interviews, clothing retail space planning or management, and supporting people in job opportunities, then this is a project for you.

If interested in getting involved with either please contact us at!

New Board and Leadership positions! Apply now

OACLA is dedicated to transparency and inclusivity, ensuring an equitable opportunity for all candidates.  At the moment we are looking to add two more Directors to the Board as well as Project Managers!  See below descriptions.  If interested please send an email by June 23rd to with your CV & portfolio (if applicable).

  • Director of Projects - has two primary sets of responsibilities.  They must oversee current projects to ensure a quality of design and compliance with all applicable regulations and must also facilitate and encourage the responsible development of new projects
  • Director of Operations - assists Managing Director and rest of leadership team, oversees day-to-day operations, keeps up to date on status of projects, and helps with outreach and communication with volunteers and other chapters.
  • Project Managers - responsible for individual projects, client liaison, coordinating workflow with team of volunteers, outreach with community, seeking additional projects.

We seek to maximize design potential within the community and ourselves - to be mentors to young professionals and provide much needed skills and knowledge working in the community. Apply to join our team and make a difference!

OACLA Leadership Summit / Happy Hour - Goodbye to Anita!  Welcome Nathan as new Managing Director!

OACLA Leadership Summit / Happy Hour - Goodbye to Anita!  Welcome Nathan as new Managing Director!

3/2 Transportation Panel Discussion Update and Photos

Thursday's panel discussion offered a enlivened discussion into the current state of public transportation in Los Angeles and how the challenges of providing sustainable and equitable transportation are met with innovate solutions from both the public and private sectors.

We often view transportation as a singular topic that is occupies areas where the pavement and wheels, tracks and rails, concrete and shoes meet. To transition out of that mentality, we were lucky to have such wonderfully passionate individuals at our panel discussion to lead the dialogue on how to improve - or even completely replace - our traditional understanding of transportation.

highlighted topics of discussion

  • The necessity to develop the last mile of public transportation and specifically how a small distance between where transportation stops and the destination can derail fifty miles of highly efficient public transportation. Solutions varied from additional branches of sub-transportation, transit-oriented development that shortens the last mile, and design solutions that really invigorate that last mile with a purpose.
  • The need to teach or socially engineer the next generation of riders to democratize and own public transportation, whether that is the single-driver commuter or a child riding the school bus. Often times we marginalize less obvious user-groups, such as children, even though the long-term success of adopting public transportation begins there.
  • How Uber and Google are racing to develop self-driving cars in order to free up time for us to browse the web and for them profit from it. Perhaps the transportation revolution is not completely fixated to large-scale people movers built with public funds as the paradigm of 150 years of public transportation has suggested, but with smaller units of autonomous vehicles, returning billions of valuable hours wasted commuting, back to our lives..

If you'd like to have more fun and insightful discussions - often with free food and drinks - sign up here and we'll let you know how to stay on top of our events!


We'd like to take a moment to thank Gensler for generously providing an incredible space and Pfeiffer Partners for their generosity in providing the food and drinks.

the panelists AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

Moderator from LA Más, Helen Leung

Dylan Jones is a licensed architect with 20 years of experience in planning and design for both private and public sector clients. As a leader of Gensler’s Urban Design & Planning Group, he works at the intersection of private development and public infrastructure, believing mobility is a core building block of the 21st-century, sustainable city. Dylan played a leadership role in the development of LA Metro’s First Last Mile Strategic Plan.

Anita Wong is managing director of OACLA. She has worked with AECOM, Bjarke Ingles Group (BIG) in New York and is currently an design-MBA candidate with Cal-Arts. 

Nolan Borgman is a transportation planner and one of two Metro fellows selected to staff the recently formed Office of Extraordinary Innovation, the purpose of which is to improve mobility in Los Angeles County.

Danny Gamboa is the executive Director of Healthy Active Streets, is a passionate advocate for environmental justice, youth engagement, and community building. His dedication to alternative modes of transportation led him to establish Healthy Active Streets, a non-profit that empowers communities of color as active transportation advocates and organizers for mobility equity.

Rani Narula-Woods is Shared Use Mobility Center’s California Program Manager. She is responsible for advancing shared-use mobility integration with transit, piloting innovation in select low-income communities throughout the state, and building consensus around a five-year Shared Mobility Action Plan for Los Angeles County. Rani also provides support on the City of Los Angeles’ groundbreaking Electric Carsharing Pilot Program.

3/2 LA Transportation Discussion Panel at Gensler Downtown LA

Join us at Thursday evening, March 2nd at Gensler in Downtown LA as OACLA hosts a panel discussion about transportation in LA. We will discuss the current challenges with transportation, as well as discuss the innovative solutions already being deployed with our partner organizations on the panel.

Topics include: first mile / last mile, access for marginalized communities, shared mobility, transit education, public space and safety around metro stops, and bicycle advocacy. Through this discussion we hope to build constructive partnerships between disparate organizations that work towards a common goal. Design professionals from OACLA will also join in on the conversation and identify issues where we can achieve positive change.

Happy hour with snacks and drinks begins at 6:30pm, followed by the paneled discussion at 7:15pm. The moderator is Helen Leung from LA Más, and the panelists include:

·         Nolan Borgman from Metro’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation

·         Rani Narula-Woods from Shared Use Mobility Center

·         Danny Gamboa from Healthy Active Streets

·         Dylan Jones from Gensler Architects

           ·         Tamika Butler from Los Angeles Country Bike Coalition

Please consider taking public transportation, carpooling, or ride-share services to the event.  Gensler's office is easily accessible from the Red, Purple, Expo, Blue, and Silver lines.  If you must drive parking is expensive at the building but cheaper lots can be found HERE.  We look forward to seeing you there!

RSVP HERE and we hope to see you there!


2017 is Going to be Huge, But We Need Your Help

The leadership team at OACLA has been hard at work building the Open Architecture Collaborative organization this past year. We have been working tirelessly in Los Angeles to put together more public events, to partner with new local charities, and to build up a robust grass-root network of non-profits and volunteers in order to make Los Angeles a better city. As our work grows, so too does the network of qualified, ambitious, and devoted volunteers at Open Architecture Collaborative grows.

The infographic below delineates how much progress we've made in 2016, where Open Architecture Collaborative is heading in 2017, and exactly why we need your donations.

Please take a moment to help us out by donating in any amount

Although we at OACLA volunteer and devote an incredible amount of time and energy into building and maintaining these networks and developing talent, sometimes we just need financial support to accomplish other goals and take us to that next level. That is why we're is asking you to donate $1, $5, $10 or ANY amount to support Open Architecture Collaborative.

11/5 OACLA-Cardborigami Charity Event

Join us on Saturday, November 5th as OACLA has teamed with to throw a special charity event that highlights the power that innovative design can have on addressing homelessness!  There will be live DJs, art on display, raffle and auction items, drinks, food trucks, as well as vendors from LA's design scene.  Cardborigami mass produces temporary, portable shelters for disaster relief, and this program titled #youthployment2 is the second installment in which they hire homeless youth to construct the shelters while also providing education, a stable work environment, and tools for finding permanent work to lift themselves out of poverty.  

Please RSVP and buy tickets below!  100% of proceeds from this event will fund the #youthployment program.  If you are not local or cannot attend, you can still support the program by making a donation.  Adult beverages are included.

We would like to also send a special thanks to the following OACLA volunteers for helping to plan the event: thanks to Sara, Victoria, Shaina, Fandra, Mokgadi, Ritsu, Carin, and Danielle for all your hard work!  Also follow the event on the facebook page.