Building a Better Future in Education
Mentoring aspiring architects to design schools in LA
The Design Director for the Los Angeles office, Anthony Wang, is a trusted resource for our education clients in Southern California—take a look at how he designs for the future of learning, advocates for more responsible design, and probes the possibilities of design as he continues to build our bench strength and portfolio in the region.
What has made you a better architect and designer?
My early mentors gave me a strong foundation to shape who I am. After earning degrees in architecture from the University of Southern California and the Graduate School of Columbia University, I worked for I.M. Pei Architects which proved to be my second grad school. I.M. Pei uses geometry as an expression of art using equilateral triangles as the basis for much of his design. From him, I learned to focus on the most minute design details.
I then worked for Sir Norman Foster in Hong Kong – which influenced my design even more. My work at the Hong Kong International Airport taught me to conceptualize the technical aspects early in the design stage. Norman Foster challenged me to sketch ideas by hand down to the mechanical, electrical, and interior shaft. I learned to approach design logically, organizing all components into zones so the client precisely understands each element of the design process.
How do you continue to evolve your learning?
I love learning — not only about design, but subjects like business, culture, and history — and I’ll be curious for the rest of my life. I didn’t like history in school, but now I love watching documentaries to better understand how history influences society today.
What are you most excited about in the industry?
My big passion is sustainability. In Hong Kong, my business partner and I ran a firm in the 90's working on projects primarily in France and Germany where sustainability is unsurpassed. Since the early days, we looked at design from an environmental point of view and knew passive energy and technology would have a profound effect on ecology.
When I returned to the U.S. in the late 90s, sustainability was just a buzzword for many. After practicing architecture internationally, I was surprised at how far the U.S. seemed to lag behind. We have come a long way since then.
What exciting projects are you currently working on?
Part of my charge at Corgan is to expand our Education practice in Los Angeles. We started small but rapidly gained traction, landing several big projects in the past year for PreK-14 and higher education.
Two exciting current assignments include a design-build project with Blach Construction for the 49th Street Elementary School for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), and the work we're doing with Hollyglen and Del Aire Elementary Schools at Wiseburn USD.
Additionally, our team is designing numerous other projects in the Los Angeles area including a design-build project for an Instructional Building at Crafton Hills College for the Bernardino Community College District (SBCCD) in collaboration with SGH Architects and Tilden-Coil Contractors, and multiple projects on four campuses across Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) including LA Harbor College Western Quad Bundle and the Life Sciences and Chemistry Swing Space for LA City College.
Our team has also been involved in the Burbank Airport project since day one. In addition to working on the design portion of the project, I am leading our team of approximately 20 aviation designers and am excited to be working with them to develop such an iconic project for the Burbank community.
What do you see for the future?
I am very engaged with research at the USC School of Architecture as a guest critic for their student design studio and participate in speaking engagements, panels, and design charettes to educate students about net-zero and climate change. I reach out to other young professionals through portfolio and resume workshops at UCLA and USC and participate in career fairs helping international students with communication, culture, and professional support. This cross-pollination exposes Corgan to academia and builds a presence within the university community.
What inspires you most?
Not only do I come to work every day to design buildings as I am happy with what I’ve accomplished in my career, but I’m most excited about sharing my perspectives and life experiences with aspiring architects and designers and teaching them about the business. Designing spaces is still cool, too!