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Karin Liljegren, AIA
Principal, omgivning

  • When did you first realize you wanted to become an architect?
    When I would draw house plans on grid paper when I was 13. I would watch soap operas and try to draw the house plans. I soon realized that the tv sets were not realistic plans and I created my own. I think my parents thought I was doodling, but after I drew about 100 house plans, they finally looked at them and said, “wow, these actually work and are to scale!” (note - difference in raising kids today, you would notice by house #1 what they were doing and if they were good).
  • Who has inspired you and/or influenced your career the most? And how?
    #1 - The 3 former bosses and teachers when I was 17-20 years old that told me I couldn’t make it or shouldn’t be an Architect. They made me determined to prove them wrong. #2 - My former employers of 16 years - Wade Killefer and Barbara Flammang. It was the first work environment that I was unaware of anyone’s gender - we were just people. I had my own drive and determination, but they instilled in me to “give”. It was an office of low ego, quality of life and quality of work. They allowed us to rise to the occasion and I did.
  • What are your recommendations for increasing diversity in the workplace and within the design process particularly?
    Removing ego from the equation of design. The more collaborative we can be, the stronger the design process and the design outcome.
  • As a woman, what are your thoughts on the Los Angeles region as a place to work?
    I think we are very lucky to be in Los Angeles. This is a City born on pioneering. People are less afraid here to do something different than the way it’s been done before and it inspires me daily.

Karin Liljegren, AIA

Principal - omgivning

Karin Liljegren, AIA, has been enthralled with urban environments throughout her life. Her career and company have focused almost exclusively on creating great design and services contributing to the Revitalization of Downtown LA.

From 1999 through 2009 she design and led through construction 12 historic high rise adaptive reuse projects in Downtown Los Angeles as a Senior Associate with Killefer Flammang Architects.

In 2009 she opened Omgivning. Omgivning is Swedish for ambiance, setting, and environment.

Omgivning strengthens urban communities through architecture and interior design, emphasizing reuse. Since its 2009 inception, Omgivning has established itself and become a recognized firm in Downtown Los Angeles Architecture and Design. The firm's wide range of projects includes large nightclubs, neighborhood restaurants, historic theaters, large adaptive reuse projects, furniture design, and creative office.

Omgivning has grown into a firm of 19 Architects and Interior Designers, and has provided design services on over 100 buildings, primarily in Downtown Los Angeles.

Last updated: 09-Feb-2015 02:22 PM
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