Designing Minds: Cynthia Phakos ’72

Co-founder in 2002 of the Los Angeles firm Koffka/Phakos Design, Phakos specializes in single- and multi-family residences that incorporate sustainable materials and green technologies. Prior to Koffka/Phakos, she worked for The Architects Collaborative, in Cambridge, and the Los Angeles firms Johnson Fain and Perkins+Will, designing K-12 schools, science buildings, and dormitories, among other projects, over a 20-year period. She has served as co-chair of the American Institute of Architects’ Committee on the Environment and as a board member for the International Code Council’s green building products certification program.

Education: B.A., Allegheny College; M.S. (Design), University of Massachusetts Amherst; M.Arch., Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Examples of her work: Phakos’ architectural and interior design firm has designed or updated more than 300 houses in the greater Los Angeles area, from historic restorations to entire net-zero homes. Among her earlier institutional projects: several laboratory buildings on the Amgen campus in Thousand Oaks, California, and elementary and high school campuses for the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Favorite places at Williston: “I have the best memories of the ceramics building, which was across the street on the south side of the campus, in an old brick train station.”

In her own words: “Living in Los Angeles, I have a different perspective of public space than I had in Boston. Los Angeles—in spite of the fact that it has a great climate where you can be outdoors most of the time— doesn’t have that many parks, so school campuses, such as the UCLA campus, are an important feature of the city.”

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