Alda Ly Architecture was founded in 2017, when groundbreaking co-working platform, The Wing, tapped Alda Ly as the architect of its East Coast and California locations. ALA has since grown to serve innumerable entrepreneurs and startups; the New York–based studio’s long list of disruptor clients also includes 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 affect occupants’ wellbeing.
To arrive at these thoughtful designs, ALA starts an assignment with no preconceptions, and treats each as an opportunity to foster a client’s creativity. Because the studio 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, as well as concepts for layouts and finishes.
Ly personally prides herself 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.
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 in the field from Harvard’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. During this period, 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 email@example.com.