John Lum has dedicated his 30+ year career to designing sustainable, functional, livable spaces that express the distinct design aesthetics of his clients. Rooted in a collaborative and personal process, he balances artistry with efficiency to translate clients’ visions into attainable design solutions. He approaches projects in a direct, realistic manner, analyzing the physical and psychological contexts to create inspiring spaces. He has grown the firm from a residential studio into a bustling practice that designs affordable housing, multifamily housing (SRO and micro-units), retail, hospitality and education. He continues to evolve his work by bridging the demands of sustainable solutions, financial considerations, social purpose, and personal expression.

An award-winning architect, John abides by a belief that simple is better and uses design to solve complex societal issues. He currently serves on the Board of AIA San Mateo County and is active with the AIA San Francisco chapter. In 2018, he received an AIACC Presidential Citation for representing them as a panelist at the California Housing Crisis Conference. Prior to founding JLA in 1994, he was an Associate at Reid and Tarics Associates designing schools and hospitals.

BArch, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
BS, Architectural Engineering, California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo
Diplome d’Architecture, Ecole Des Beaux Arts, France
Registered Architect, CA

Awards and Honors

  • 2022 CH+D Award for Residential Architecture
  • 2022 Builder Magazine, Builder’s Choice Grand Award
  • 2020 CH+D Kitchen & Bath Awards, Large Kitchen
  • 2018 AIA-CC Presidential Citation
  • 2018 AIA-SMC, Merit Award for Residential Architecture
  • 2016 AIA-SMC Honor Award for Design Excellence in Residential Architecture ‘Small Site’
  • 2012 CH+D Award for Sustainable Product Design
  • 2011 AIA-CC, Merit Award for Small Projects
  • 2011 CH+D Award for Sustainable Architecture
  • 2011 ID BOY Award for Small Installation
  • 2011 & 2012 AIA-SF Home Tour
  • 2010 AIA-National recognizes Sunset House as one of San Francisco’s top 10 greenest buildings
  • Interior Architecture Awards for Design Excellence, Honorable Mention, AIA SF
  • Overall Design Excellence Award, Gold Retail Interior, North Chapter, ASID
  • Annual Interiors Magazine Award for Best of Retail
  • Coalition for Adequate School Housing, Honorable Mention
  • Overall Design Excellence, Gold – Retail Interior, Bronze – Furniture and Lighting, North Chapter, ASID
  • CASH, CCAIA Award of Excellence, Jean Parker School
  • ASID-Sunset Design West Awards-Stellar Award, Restaurant Design
  • AIA-CC Design Award Honor, Jean Parker Elementary School
“Simplicity yields modern livability.”


The Bean, designed by Anish Kapoor, is a fantastic art piece. Conceptual but also structurally brilliant, delightful, simple, intriguing, and engaging….and just plain awesome!