About Us

In their integration of function, technology, social interaction, user identity, and regionally specific sustainability, the examples of work of Barton Phelps & Associates appearing on this website reflect concerns that are central to our practice and key to understanding our approach to creating comfortable, useful, memorable places. Regrettably, photographs of completed projects, no matter how carefully composed, seldom accurately convey actual perception of built spaces in is full complexity and are even less helpful in explaining the process by which the building pictured has come into existence. Both experiences are too complicated for that.
But we hope that images and descriptions included here will introduce you to certain key aspects of our practice. For instance, it’s clear right away that BPA experience encompasses an ever-widening range of different project types and one might surmise correctly that our approach doesn’t grow from specialization in one particular service, building type, location, or client profile. Our focus is as much on our design process as it is on the actual built results that it produces.

After reviewing our work you may also observe that our projects don't tend consistently toward an immediately recognizable look or over-arching compositional style. This is partly because our designs build largely on difference - the characteristics of each site and its physical and societal surroundings combined with the imprints of the very different clients with whom we collaborate.  Defining difference can involve helping clients articulate their spatial perceptions, clarifying early intentions, and finding ways of making places that palpably express the resolution of key factors.

Established in Los Angeles in 1984, Barton Phelps & Associates, Architects and Planners provides sequenced services from programming and pre-schematic design through construction administration. Tasks are tailored to help clients implement their most progressive intentions and maximize the beneficial use of their property.

We think of design as open-ended investigation – the assessment of possibilities, both hypothetical and well-known, for responding to social and physical conditions that distinguish each project. In the process, we utilize contemporary design and construction technique to create spaces and envelopes that interpret and inform the surrounding collective landscape with which we intend them to interact meaningfully.

The result we ardently seek is an articulate, contemporary architecture that is both physically and intellectually accessible - sophisticated but not artistically incomprehensible - one that avoids flashy fashions of “award-winning” styling and instead aims for gradual accrual of meaning and enhanced cultural value. Three projects of this sort included here are the North Range of UCLA’s Clark Memorial Library, the East Building of the UCLA Lab School, and the linked Milligan Auditorium and Carver Commons at Thacher School in Ojai, California.

Coming After
In addition to attracting international recognition for new buildings, BPA is widely known for its contribution in the increasingly important area of renovation and alternative re-use. Our projects for expanding, updating, and renewing older facilities of different scales have involved alternative reprogramming, seismic strengthening, digital media, acoustics, interior design, sustainability, and historic preservation. Examples include our design for a comprehensive renovation of Royce Hall – UCLA’s landmark performing arts center, the expansion of the Frank Gehry-designed Cabrillo Marine Aquarium for the City of Los Angeles, and the national headquarters of financial consultants Dimensional Fund Advisors, Inc.

In both new composition and coming after projects, the effectiveness of BPA’s interactions with clients and user groups as well as the success of its approach to project management are demonstrated as much by repeated commissions from clients as by publication and the national and regional design awards that our projects have received.