April Newsletter

2024 Design Awards Call for Submissions



Submissions are Open for 2024 Clare Henry Day, FAIA

AIAIC Design Awards!

We are delighted to partner with AIA Inland California for this prestigious event, where we will honor the exceptional architectural accomplishments in our communities. Save the dates:

Submissions Open: March 15, 2024

Entries Due: May 31, 2024

Awards Program: July 10, 2024

2024 Design Awards Submittal Details and Registration Click Here
Academy for Emerging Professionals (AEP) 2024 Summit 

Andrea Robles

o2 Architecture

Rene Vidal

o2 Architecture

Highlights from the 2024 AEP Summit:

This year, our talented emerging professionals, Andrea Robles and Rene vidal of o2 Architecture, proudly represented the AIA California Desert Chapter at the AEP Summit in Sacramento, California. The Summit was held on March 16th at Lionakis Architects' Sacramento office.

AEP Summit – Summary By

Andrea Robles and Rene Vidal


The AEP Summit in Sacramento was attended by young professionals from different AIA California chapters, from San Francisco to San Diego to the California Desert. The Summit focused on Equity Diversity Inclusion and leadership development, engaging its participants in lectures by speakers including California Racial Equity Commissioner Traco Matthews, Michael Armstrong and Jon Baker, the CEO and President of NCARB respectively, as well as group discussions, one of which was led by State Architect Ida Clair, FAIA. Discussions centered around various topics, from the disparity in wages and leadership positions for minorities to different methods for providing greater accessibility to licensure for future candidates. As the larger group discussions concluded, attendants formed smaller break-out groups to discuss their personal experiences navigating the profession and how they are engaging emerging professionals in their own chapters across California. During this Summit, we had the opportunity to build community with our colleagues from around California, collaborating and sharing ideas on how to further the Emerging Professional program in our respective chapters. 

Hats off to Andi and Rene for making the most of this fantastic opportunity!

Your proactive approach and enthusiasm are truly inspiring.

A huge thank you to our Board for going the extra mile by including an additional stipend for this event, in addition to the AIACA funding. Your unwavering support towards the our young professionals is invaluable. Also a Big thanks to o2's Lance O'Donnell for support and encourage them to attend.

As we eagerly await the next Year AEP, we're excited at the prospect of another young professional benefiting from this enriching experience.


AIA CD ARE Study Group

Contact AIACD

AIA California Desert ARE Study Group!!

🌟 Join Our AIA California Desert ARE Study Group! 🌟

Are you an aspiring architect gearing up for the ARE exams? We're thrilled to announce the formation of our very own ARE Study Group right here in the California Desert chapter of AIA!

During our recent Office Crawl event, we witnessed the exciting birth of this initiative, with Julia Kim, Juan Zepeda from Interactive Design Group, and Jorge Garcia, stepping up as initial members. There's a palpable momentum building around the creation of this group, and we're eager to expand our ranks.

If you're an ARE candidate looking to join forces with like-minded individuals, we want to hear from you! We're seeking enthusiastic Young Professionals to join us in this local effort to encourage and support one another in achieving licensure.

We invite you to reach out with your opinions and suggestions on the format and frequency of meetings, whether virtual or in person.

As we embark on this journey together, let's brainstorm ideas for our next steps and initiatives. Whether you're keen on organizing mock exams, hosting guest speakers, or exploring study techniques, your input is invaluable.

Don't hesitate to get involved and share your ideas! Reach out to us if you'd like to be part of this exciting endeavor or if you have suggestions to contribute.

Let's empower each other on the path to licensure!


March 28, 2024


What an electrifying atmosphere we experienced on our Office Crawl at the offices of Ashley and Vance and Gregory Architects! The turnout exceeded all expectations, and it was an absolute delight to see everyone engaging in lively conversations with each other.

Again Thanks to Austin Davis and Geoff Gregory for graciously hosting such a memorable event. Your warmth and hospitality truly made the evening shine.

Events like this not only offer opportunities for networking and knowledge exchange but also inject a sense of refreshment and joy into our professional lives.

Let's continue to cherish these connections and moments of camaraderie as we navigate the exciting landscape of architecture together!

March 20, 2024



Reflecting on Our First 2024 Continuing Education Event!

A heartfelt thank you to all who joined us for our inaugural Continuing Education event of 2024, hosted in the beautiful Lanai Space of o2 Architecture.

Michael Yauk from Red Built. explained the profound impact our material choices have on our surroundings. It was a compelling exploration of how engineered wood can play a pivotal role in driving down embodied carbon, thereby significantly reducing the global warming potential associated with new construction projects.

Michael's insights also inspired us to reconsider the ways in which we approach design and construction in the context of sustainability.

Events like these serve as invaluable opportunities for professional growth and knowledge exchange.

Once again, a sincere thank you to Michael Yauk and o2 for and to all of you for your active participation.

AIA California Desert

***Member Spotlight***

Geoff Gregory, AIA

Gregory Architects, Principal

AIACD: How did you get interested in architecture / engineering?

Geoff:In the early days, my dad gave me an opportunity to hand-render landscape concept plans at his Landscape Architecture firm. It may have been the intoxicating smell of the markers, but I have since felt a strong connection to environments for creatives. This, combined with a penchant for building Legos and pillow forts, led me down an adjacent design path of Architecture.


AIACD:What advice would you give to people who are interested in pursuing an architecture or engineering career?

Geoff:If architecture appeals to you, but mathematics is not your strong suit, do not abandon hope! While it is important to understand math basics, we are not expected to be math experts – this is why we have engineers!


AIACD: Is there anything about the desert environment that has influenced your work?

Geoff:I have always felt a sense of pride knowing that my desert hometown is a highly sought gem for architecture fans around the world. There is also a sense of responsibility to respect and protect of our dry, yet water-dependent ecosystem. Passive design strategies and efficiencies must be focal points of our work.


AIACD: What's a WOW project that you have seen or is on your bucket list to see one day?

Geoff: Kendrick Kellogg’s Doolittle House in the High Desert would be my local bucket list WOW. Otherwise, Gaudí’s La Sagrada Familia tops my WOW bucket list. Both projects, while vastly different scales, are feats of mind-melting design and engineering.

Gregory Architects

Austin Davis

Ashley & Vance, PE

AIACD:How did you get interested in architecture / engineering?

Austin: I played with Legos and K'nex nonstop growing up. Then in highschool, I slept through every math and physics class I ever took and still had the highest grade in the class. Finally, my physics teacher said I better go to college and be an engineer. I went to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for Civil Engineering and never looked back.

AIACD:What advice would you give to people who are interested in pursuing an architecture or engineering career?

Austin: Join groups like the AIA and talk to people. Engineers and Architects love showing their projects to new people. 

AIACD: Is there anything about the desert environment that has influenced your work?

Austin: Palm Springs is a very design / aesthetically oriented community in regards to Fashion, Design, and Architecture. Everything needs to work well and look good doing it. Engineers would be happy creating a box, but it takes a little push from the Architects to make something truly unique and special.


AIACD: What's a WOW project that you have seen or is on your bucket list to see one day?

Austin: I would love to see (and walk through) the UCSD Geisel Library.

Ashley & Vance Engineering
Kathy's Message

A note from our President, Kathy Friedle...


Greetings AIA CD members,


Is there anything better than Spring in our desert? The towns are bustling, the mountains are green and lush, and the flower blooms are poppin'! 

Try to get out there and enjoy it while you can because summer is coming!


I’m excited to share with you that we have completed the Board discussions and paperwork for our first College of the Desert School of Architecture Scholarship! In the Fall of 2024, we will provide tuition for one student – The “AIA CD Florence Hagstrom Architecture Scholarship” in honor our past Executive Director, Florence. Our focus on providing architecture scholarships is something that we want to continue and grow. Our fund-raising efforts during the year will go towards additional scholarships. Thank you for your continued support.


Along the lines of education, professional development, and networking, we will be having our first event with the College of the Desert Architecture Club in mid-April. We are fortunate to have Molly Glaab on our Board as a student representative. Later this month, we will be launching our first professional and student round table project review. With many of our professionals being COD graduates, we are looking forward to strengthening these connections. If you’d like to participate in our next round table and share a project for review, please let us know.


I would also like to send out a BIG congratulations and kudos to Jorge Garcia who successfully passed his final NCARB ARE licensing exam earlier this month! If you are in the process of licensure, you know that is no small feat. Jorge’s tenacity and dedication (in addition to volunteering for the Chapter Lead role) is truly inspirational. Jorge is dedicated to helping others get here too, so stay tuned for more on ARE prep.


Please don’t forget to submit your projects for the 2024 Design Awards. The portal to submit is NOW OPEN and closes May 31st. Let's get a good showing for the July 10th Gala Awards and celebrate our members.



Kathy Friedle, Assoc. AIA

President, AIA California Desert


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73733 Fred Waring Drive, Suite 203, Palm Desert, CA 92260 


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