Hazim Rabadi, AIA, LEED AP, has joined CannonDesign as co-leader of the Education Practice in our Los Angeles office. In this role, Hazim will work closely with education leaders across all California offices to develop client relationships, lead project teams and create opportunities within the education market. His goal for the California offices is to continue to create spaces that are shepherds of the students they host, the educators that teach within them and the communities in which they reside.
“Throughout my career, I’ve known about the quality of work produced by CannonDesign. To be a participant and partner in this is the chance of a lifetime,” said Hazim. “CannonDesign’s strong culture and personal relationships with clients are important, and are reflected in every facility and space created.”
Growing up as a multi-disciplinary student, Hazim was guided to architecture by an unlikely source – his history teacher in high school. Hazim and a few other fellow students were interested in learning more about current news outside of the day-to-day curriculum. While his teacher was encouraging and willing to teach in off-hours, there wasn’t a space available to host the class. They settled on a book storage closet big enough to fit the group.
“I loved my class and am incredibly appreciative of the efforts of our teacher, Mr. Ring, but I couldn’t help but think of how much else we could have done or learned should we have had an environment that gave us the access we needed,” said Hazim. “This is what spurred me into architecture – I wanted to create new ways of learning through developing spaces that inspired students, teachers and communities to ‘raise the human condition.’”
Hazim brings more than 20 years of experience in the design and management of projects throughout California, most recently as the managing principal of TSK Architects in Los Angeles. In this role, he led the firm’s multidisciplinary Los Angeles office and as well as directed business development efforts for the Pre-K-12, Community College and University market sectors. Recent clients include West Los Angeles College, Los Angeles USD, University of Southern California, Santa Barbara USD, Long Beach USD and more.
Learn more about our Los Angeles practice >
Surfing comes naturally to Ben Juckes, but contrary to what you’d think, he did not take up the sport in his native Australia, one of the world’s premier surfing destinations.
It wasn’t until he moved to Los Angeles and began working at Yazdani Studio of CannonDesign, the in-house laboratory led by Mehrdad Yazdani with a staff of approximately 20 architects, designers, 3D artists, technical specialists and other creative thinkers.
For Ben, the sports’ appeal was always more about the surfboard, the idea of manipulating its form to maximize its performance – the architecture of it all. He plunged into the study of computational design (CD) in Perth, where he pursued a Bachelor of Environmental Science in Architecture at the University of Western Australia (UWA). There weren’t any courses in CD there, however, a one-year student exchange program at the University of Arizona introduced him to visual programming languages like Grasshopper.
“I was blown away by all the tools and technologies that people were using there,” Ben recalls. “The idea that you had the ability to harness complicated geometries through simple procedures really fit with my style of designing, and I decided that this is the way I wanted to practice architecture.”
Ben returned to UWA and earned his M.Arch, continuing to develop his skills in CD. He, along with fellow students and professors who were early adopters, established the “Hub,” a regular event for students to collaborate and share knowledge. He was also part of the team behind Augmented Australia, an exhibition at the Venice Biennale 2014, curated by the creative team known as felix._Giles_Anderson+Goad. It included apps that allowed users to visualize unbuilt modern and historic structures across the country.
After graduating, Ben transitioned from teaching evening classes on parametric modeling to taking on sessional staff positions at his alma mater. Though he enjoyed being in academia and plans to return to it someday, he felt driven to gain practical experience.
“I realized I needed to immerse myself in the industry before I (could) actually teach people!” says Ben.
Drawn back to the States, he settled in Los Angeles, which offered a similar laid-back vibe and warm climate to Perth. A friend introduced him to Yazdani Studio. Though he had been focused on computer modeling, seeing the many physical models displayed around the studio was one of the reasons he knew it was the right fit for him.
“You walk in and see it’s a playground of models,” says Ben. “That says something about the way the studio operates and that it’s a really cool, collaborative environment.”
Four years later, he is now an associate, having established himself as an expert in CD. One of his greatest strengths is creating DIY tools and custom workflows that challenge conventional practice.
The studio doesn’t have a dedicated CD team; rather, each staff member is encouraged to explore their own ideas in organic ways.“We have shaped our tools, but the tools are now starting to shape us,” Ben observes. “The term ‘computational design’ covers an extremely broad variety of roles and relationships. As it becomes more widely used across the industry, we will start to see bigger distinctions between these roles and the creation of more specialized divisions.”
“With a more diverse range of roles, coupled with advancements in technologies and applications, I think architects will retreat from outsourcing and create a new paradigm of insourcing,” Ben adds.
The first project Ben worked on with Yazdani was Lassonde Studios at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, a typology definer that hybridizes maker space and dormitory pods. The team utilized visual programming languages, like the Kangaroo plugin for Grasshopper, Dynamo for Revit, and other tools, to map relationships between programmatic elements. They also created a virtual reality game to help the university promote the project.
More recently, Ben has been focusing on Address Harbor Point, a set of slender, tapered residential towers on the waterfront in Dubai. By creating multiple iterations of physical models via 3D printers and utilizing Galapagos, another plugin for Grasshopper, Ben and his team have explored subtle rotations of the towers’ forms to investigate sight lines and maximize views from each unit.
These diverse experiences at Yazdani Studios have given Ben the space to dive even deeper into what excites him.
“A great thing about the style and culture Merhdad has created is that we all touch the projects in different facets, but we are encouraged to pursue and explore our own interests.” Those interests include making furniture, and, of course, surfing. He’s finally learned to surf along the coast of Los Angeles.
“I keep it practical outside of work,” says Ben. “It’s important to mix analog with digital. You have to get your hands dirty sometimes.”