Karen Dietrich

Project Designer

“Design is people.” — Jane Jacobs

Born and early childhood in San Francisco where I lived in the first racially integrated housing cooperative on the West Coast – St. Francis Square Cooperative. The modernist designers were inspired by Jane Jacob’s urbanist observations that “design is people” and “the point of cities is multiplicity of choice.”  

Later moved to Philadelphia, PA and Madison, WI. As a “PK” (preacher’s kid), almost moved around as much as an ‘army brat’. Developed early interests in art and urban planning which manifested in pursuing a career in architecture 

Attended Grinnell College and majored in Art. Attended the University of Oregon earning a Master’s in Architecture. Upon graduating, worked with UO faculty on elementsdb, a digital prototype for a database of case-based urban form examples to inform real-time community design processes. 

Moved back SF after graduation and since, have been living in the Bay Area working with great firms in the city – commercial architecture, healthcare architecture, and now, housing and urban design. 

Currently, live in Petaluma. 

In my free time, I’m hiking and traveling as much as possible with my partner, and painting outdoors; mostly the barns and landscapes of Sonoma county.

Greatest satisfaction and contribution: architectural delineation. Detailing the design intent into constructible assemblies, a building is made up of many details contributing to the whole ….

Happy to be at JLA designing livable cities one house at a time.

From Barcelona, Gaudi’s Park Guell. Close ups shots of the broken tile mosaic’s, beauty found in a collage of broken pieces, the sum is greater than the pieces…..