DA Awarded Peninsula Publishing’s 2014 Pubby Award: Architect of the Year

Builder and Developer magazine and Peninsula Publishing are pleased to award the 2014 Pubby Award for Architect of the Year to Danielian Associates Architecture + Planning. With the desire to provide quality homes for all people, Art Danielian, Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA), established Danielian Associates in Irvine, Calif. in 1968. He began with the business model to, “Stay ahead of industry trends, treat your workers with dignity and respect, and roll with the punches,” and it is this attitude that has made Danielian Associates (DA) a great place to work for over 45 years.

Founded upon the principles of neighborhood and “market-driven” design, Danielian was involved in the design of many Master Planned Communities throughout the U.S. He believes design influences the health and wellbeing of residents and strives to plan communities and design homes that respond to demographic, cultural, lifestyle and economic shifts over time.

New American HomeThus, the neighborhoods DA has planned incorporate housing type diversity, public amenities, consistent architecture, higher densities, sense of place and walkability. The homes themselves consistently resonate with authentic style, seamless connections between indoor and outdoor spaces, open plans, value oriented design, and environmental sensitivity.

Having established a reputation for setting residential trends, DA has designed showcase homes including New Home 2000 for the 1994 Pacific Coast Builders Conferences 2009 New American Home, an 8,800 square foot home in Desert Contemporary Style with near net zero energy consumption; and is currently designing the ABC Green Home 3.0, integrating the spirit of modernism with universal design features for a disabled veteran and his family.

Art’s son, John Danielian, shares his father’s passion for residential design.“There is nothing better than seeing a project you’ve put your heart and soul into come to fruition.” John Danielian said.“The best part is seeing homeowners move in, turning the houses designed by DA into homes. This is what makes me passionate about residential architecture,” .

DA’s succession plan commenced in 2006 with the announcement of four new Principals including John Danielian, AIA, LEED AP; Michael Boyd, AIA, LEED AP; Brian Miller, AIA, LEED AP; and Connie McKenna, Hon. AIA.Boyd, who has been with DA for 33 years, also focuses his attention toward designing great homes. “Residential architecture touches everyone. It is about designing homes that form neighborhoods which in turn create community,” Boyd said. “Careful, thoughtful and creative residential design can boost the quality of life, effect productivity of the inhabitant, promote pride of place, reduce crime, and increase happiness.”

Virgil Final RenderingThis economic recovery has re-energized DA, shifting the firm’s focus to higher density single and multifamily communities. In Los Angeles, DA designed Virgil Apartments, 74 units on a challenging infill site. The Residences at Westgate, by Old Town Pasadena, is scheduled to open January 2015. Design partner Christopher Coe, FAIA collaborated on the design of this 88-condominium complex which integrates an existing historic structure, community connections, public paseo, and ground floor retail.


Danielian Associates is also designing and planning affordable/special use projects. In 2009, the Pomona Intergenerational Apartment project for Related Companies was completed, winning the SAGE Project of the Year Award. Plans for Holt Family Housing, also in Pomona for Related, are underway. Clark Commons in Buena Park for Jamboree Housing uses a creative site planning solution that integrates a vocational training facility and retail facade to create a vibrant street scene. Construction for The March Air Reserve Base Transitional Housing complex in Riverside is scheduled to commence in June 2015. Designed to create a nurturing, rehabilitative environment, the residential units overlook a large central green and designed to emulate market-rate apartments.

Expansion to other markets in the U.S. is ongoing.“The ability to learn about local cultures and introduce new trends has allowed DA to bring value in the design process,” Principal Brian Miller said.“This experience has led to our ability to expand into new market regions and the opportunity to open a new office in Nashville, Tenn. Its central location allows me to pursue first-class design projects in the South, Mid-West and East Coast.” DA has become one of the preferred architects for Beazer Homes and Lennar across the nation with current projects in Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Indiana, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada.

Internationally, Danielian Associates began work in China in 1996 designing luxury SFD and resort communities with mid- to high-rise residential buildings, and opened its Shanghai office in 2011. DA is introducing Medical Health Villages and senior care communities in an effort to adapt America’s innovative senior care concepts to Chinese cultural values. DA’s Planning Director John Leehey recently presented a master plan for a Medical Healthcare Village in Yixing, and the firm has signed MoUs for healthcare developments in other cities.

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DA has designed commercial towers, resort and townhome communities in Africa (Ghana and Nigeria); a 20,000 square foot custom home in Tibet; the first American-style master planned community near Moscow, Russia; as well as residential communities in Mexico and South America. DA is also working with a firm that converts waste to energy, opening up new markets in developing nations like Costa Rica.

In addition to multi-family projects, single family communities remain a significant part of Danielian Associates’ portfolio. An exemplary case of the firm’s ongoing commitment to improving lives through design is The Heights at Loma Vista, which evolved from a 2007 high density urban SFD housing prototype. Designed for McCaffrey Homes, this award-winning 13.8 du/ acre community offers residents private and open space, affordability, and diversity using small and variable width lots, and integrated solar electric. Homes offer Gen-Y families an alternative to renting and a single-story plan attracts downsizing seniors. DA’s planning group was initially involved in master planning Loma Vista communities.

In the luxury home category, one of DA’s most progressive, modern communities, Revelle, opened in September 2014 in Rancho Mirage. Awarded a 2015 Nationals Silver award, it is designed to be “not just another housing tract.” The team at Family Development challenged DA’s design team to create “semicustom” home plans to enable homebuyers to pick and choose options in order to make their home a unique expression of themselves. Designed in Desert Contemporary style, these homes redefine the standard production homes.


For Brookfield, DA recently designed two award-winning projects. La Cresta at Woodbury in Irvine is a culturally targeted product with an optional wok kitchen and feng shui sensitivity. Homes increased in price approximately 30 percent from release to sell-out. Palo Verde at the Foothills in Carlsbad delivers coastal casual lifestyle with enhanced indoor/outdoor living using bi-fold glass walls that open into courtyards and/or outdoor rooms. All of these homes offer a master-down option.

Springhouse by Taylor Morrison at Great Park in Irvine was a top selling phase one neighborhood. American heritage style and family friendly, award-winning floor plans appeal to Gen-X and intergenerational households. FivePoint Communities selected DA to design the largest and smallest new neighborhoods in phase two, demonstrating DA’s versatility. Similarly, given the high absorption rates of the award-winning Ryland Sendero in phase one at Rancho Mission Viejo, DA was reserved to design age-targeted homes in Esencia, offering single-story living and second floor flex space. Research relating to aging boomers, universal design standards, new products, and emerging technologies have informed these designs to enable those with physical restrictions to live active and independent lives.

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The future holds even more opportunity for Danielian Associates. The team at DA is excited about growth in the housing market and opportunities to design and plan more diverse projects like the 12 Oaks Winery Resort in Temecula, a luxury hospitality project designed to evoke historic regional style. The project includes a 200-room luxury hotel, conference center and winery on a new 100 acre working vineyard. “Projects like the 12 Oaks Resort, Lagos office building, specific plans, national builder clients like Beazer and Lennar, and higher density multifamily, infill and rehabilitation projects will fuel Danielian Associates’ future growth,” John Danielian said.

Tamara Philips is the assistant editor for Builder and Developer magazine. She may be contacted at Short Version.


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