On Kristina’s first day of drafting class as a high school freshman, her teacher told the students that girls were not welcome. On that day—and in that moment—she set out to become an architect. After the other girls dropped out, she would go on to become the top student in the class—doing advanced drafting projects and mentoring other students. Today, as a senior project manager at HMC Architects, her leadership skills, attention to detail, and ability to juggle multiple large projects at once, has some clients calling her the “best architect they’ve ever had the pleasure to work with.”
Kristina comes from a family of educators. So, she had developed a passion for educational architecture. Early in her career she focused on K-12 projects, but now focuses on higher education. While she has managed various projects, including performing arts and library projects, the last 10 years have been mostly student housing. She loves being part of the education process and it’s very important to her to help teachers make a better environment in which to teach.
Before joining HMC, projects like a $250 million design for UCLA put her on the map. Kristina was not only at the initial interview for the project, but also oversaw construction teams and managed an in-house team (with two architecture firms) of over 12 people and 20 consultants. She also managed associate architects and teams through high profile projects such as a new theater at the Palms Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas, as well as a Revit project for UCLA. She plays an integral role in HMC’s Emerging Leaders Forum, which engages up and coming leaders with learning opportunities in finance, marketing, strategy, and management.
It’s often said that there is opportunity in chaos. This was the case on San Diego State University’s Zura Hall Renovation. With an accelerated schedule, constrained site and lengthy debates with an approval agency that nearly derailed the project—Kristina rose to the challenge and worked closely with the State Fire Marshal to put actions in place that would not stop construction. The end result was a beautiful flagship residence hall that exceeded the client’s expectation on all levels.
Kristina’s genuine approach and selfless attitude is a path everyone can learn from. Most of her time outside of HMC is dedicated to helping others, whether it’s her family or volunteering time to Habitat for Humanity, Project Linus or the Girl Scouts of America.
OFF THE CLOCK
Kristina has been sewing since she was a kid, and has made over 50 quilts in the last 20 years. She also applies her creativity in the kitchen. And if you work at HMC, chances are you’ll get a homemade cake on your birthday.