the studio

Alda Ly Architecture (ALA) was founded in 2017, when groundbreaking co-working platform The Wing tapped Ly to design its East Coast and California locations. ALA continues to  serve a growing number of entrepreneurs and startups as well as established organizations looking to rethink traditional retail, healthcare, office, and cultural spaces. The New York–based studio’s long list of clients includes Bloomberg, Rent the Runway, functional medicine provider Parsley Health, the retail platform Bulletin, and social-action technology firm Blue State Digital. 

While ALA’s projects range from those with multi-million dollar construction budgets to start-ups building their very first headquarters, they all share ALA’s minimalist and playful design vocabulary, and seamlessly combine biophilic design principles to improve  occupants’ wellbeing. 

To arrive at these thoughtful, custom solutions, ALA treats each as an opportunity to foster a client’s creativity. Because the studio often gives form to services and business models that have few spatial precedents, it starts each project with a discovery phase in which an organization’s founders, team members, and users share their individual experiences with that brand; ALA’s ethnographic research becomes the basis of programming and functionality, as well as concepts for layouts and finishes. 

Ly and her team pride themselves on deep listening and hands-on collaboration in this process, and the studio is committed to expressing every commission’s potential within the constraints of time and budget.


the principal

Alda Ly is founder and principal of ALA. Born in New Zealand and raised in a working-class suburb of Los Angeles, she would watch her cabinetmaker father draw kitchen elevations and accompany him to open houses to see how other people shaped their spaces. From the moment she studied freehand drawing as a UC Berkeley undergrad, Ly knew she wanted to become an architect, and went on to earn a Master’s degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. While still a student at Harvard, in 2008 she helped launch MASS Design Group, the award-winning nonprofit design practice dedicated to humanitarian and socially sustainable work. 

Since 2002, Ly has lived in New York City and has worked at Rafael Viñoly Architects, 212box, HWKN, and Leong Leong. In these tenures, she nurtured a curiosity in evolving work and cultural spaces, and discovered a talent for leading project teams with empathy. She also co-founded Designers Assembly, which supports young architects who aspire to ethical, creatively fulfilling entrepreneurship. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Rob, a tech product manager, and their son Simon.


You can reach her at alda@alda-ly.com.