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RICHARD SOLARES | Principal / Founder

Richard Solares is the principal and founder of Urban Architecture Lab, with over twenty years of experience in design, construction and development of myriad projects encompassing: commercial, mixed-use, single and multi-family residential, hospitality and institutional. Having expertise on both the ownership and consultant sides, Solares takes the lead in managing the process from entitlements through completion on: redevelopment, urban infill and adaptive reuse projects, working closely with developers, community groups, the City of Los Angeles, the Mayor's office, Central Redevelopment Agency, LA Housing Department, LA Building Department and multiple council offices.

Prior to forming Urban Architecture Lab, Solares served as Director of Architecture for multi-disciplinary design firm, Archeon International Group. Solares and team focused on design and development of affordable and market-rate housing throughout Southern California.

Prior to Archeon, Solares served as Manager of Design and Construction in the hotel division of multi-family residential and hotel development company, The KOR Group.  The Viceroy Hotels in Santa Monica and Palm Springs were his primary projects.

Prior to KOR Group, Solares served as both Designer or Project Manager on various projects at both Rios Associates and Gould Evans Associates.

Solares holds a Master of Architecture and Bachelor of Science in Design from Arizona State University.

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Neil Silberstein is an award winning project architect with over 20-years of local and international experience in architectural design, project management, and construction administration. As a LEED AP licensed architect Neil understands the importance of creating sustainable projects that meet the unique requirements from the client, community, and end users.

Prior to co-forming Urban Architecture Lab, Neil was Associate Vice President and Senior Project Architect at JERDE, an internationally renowned architectural design firm where he managed and collaborated on several award winning built and published projects including:  Kuntsevo Plaza mixed-use project in Moscow, China Overseas Unipark mixed-use center and office tower in Jinan, Daegu Retail project in South Korea, and City of Dreams Hotel Resort in Macau.  Neil’s prior roles include: Designer at Hodgetts + Fung for The Hollywood Bowl, Gershwin Gallery at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and Architect / Project Manager at Marmol Radziner on several custom and residential development projects. 

Neil holds a Master of Architecture with a Minor in Real Estate Development from UCLA where he was awarded best thesis for his work on mixed-use development.  Neil also received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture with a Minor in Business Administration from the University of Nebraska.  He has been a Registered Architect in the State of California since 2005.  Neil is a LEED Building Design and Construction Accredited Professional dedicated to the integration of sustainable design concepts in the work of Urban Architecture Lab.

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Ewa Opasinski is a Licensed Architect in the state of California and a LEED Accredited Professional, whose portfolio includes numerous, award-winning, mixed-use and multi-family projects from inception to completion.

It was in Chicago where Ewa lived and worked, that she earned a Bachelor’s Degree of Arts in Architectural Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  From there she advanced on to attend Graduate School at the University of Southern California, where she earned her Masters of Architecture Degree.

Prior to joining UAL, Ewa was practicing with Steinberg Hart, where she served as the firm’s representative to the client regarding contractual and project development aspects.  She was also responsible for mentoring and guiding the teams through the design process.  Prior to Steinberg Hart, Ewa managed market-rate and affordable housing projects at PSL Architects and Lahmon Architects, many of which went on to win design awards. 

Ewa values the synergy created by working in a team-oriented environment, which is why she emphasizes collaboration and the sharing of creative ideas and technical expertise as she leads the project teams through the design and documentation process. She places great importance on mentoring project staff, seeing to it that each member of the team is learning and growing, while working together to deliver high quality projects that exceed Client expectations.

Ultimately, it’s being involved in projects that people call “home” that gives Ewa an enormous amount of joy and satisfaction.  She considers every project unique, and strongly believes in utilizing the power of architectural design to create a sense of community, security, and comfort, and provide the end user residents with safe, accessible, and healthy living environments.