Mark S. Gribbons, AIA, RID


As a student of urban design, I was fascinated by how cities change to reflect the activities of the people who live in them. I watched closely how the neighborhoods around Los Angeles, where I grew up, evolved in unpredictable ways. This shaped how I thought about design—it is not only about creating memorable spaces, but also about allowing for future adaptation. It is about leaving room for the unknown and the unexpected—and being open to the “ambiguous x factor.”

After I began practicing architecture, I recall a client, who commissioned our team to design a new headquarters, quote the book, How Buildings Learn. He reminded us that the most useful buildings can be remade by their occupants. So, workplace design needs to learn from the occupants and respond to the ever-evolving culture of their company.

Ultimately, design at any scale is about people. The most vital spaces are shaped around people—and their current and future needs. They should be spaces that bring people together and inspire them to exchange ideas and collaborate. As an architect, I aim to create flexible spaces and adaptable environments. To me, great design allows for contradiction and embraces ambiguity. So, I design in a purposeful way for a changing context that will continue to inform and reshape the original idea.