Zoltan E. Pali, FAIA
“I find poetry in ingenious solutions,” says Pali, design principal and founder of SPF:a. “When you find those solutions in the built environment, they take a shape that speaks more than the building itself and more of the human condition. They become poetic.” Zoltan Pali founded SPF:a in 1988 with the mission of generating unique architecture that harmoniously blends forces of site, program, budget, nature, and humanity. His approach is decidedly modern – having been mentored by modernist giant, Jerrold E. Lomax, FAIA, a protégé of Craig Ellwood. Pali likes to synthesize the myriad of complex forces surrounding a project, and allow them to smolder into a clean, efficient solution that is at once piercing in its clarity and stunning in its beauty. His efforts have caught the attention of the wider architectural world, as his work has been widely published across the globe, winning numerous awards for his well-known projects. In 2005, Zoltan was inducted as one of the youngest members of the AIA’s prestigious College of Fellows.
For his restoration work on the famous Hollywood Pantages Theatre, Pali won the LABC Award for historic preservation. He is also well-known for his work renovating the beloved Greek Theatre and Gibson Amphitheatres. For his work on the Getty Villa Museum in Malibu, a $300 Million dollar renovation and expansion project that included a new Getty Conservation Institute campus, Pali received the AIA Los Angeles Presidential Award. For his mixed use, Museum of Design Art + Architecture (MODAA) building, Pali received the LABC Award, an AIA Los Angeles Award, AIA California Council Award and the SCDF Award for Community Enrichment. For his design of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts – a site that involves connecting a new state-of-the-art theatre with an adaptive reuse of a historic 1929 WPA post office building, Pali won an AIA Los Angeles “Next LA” and LA Business Council award for “Best Civic Project on the Boards.” He is currently working on a redesign for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on LACMA West, a 350,000-SF adaptive reuse of a historic department store into museum galleries, offices, media libraries and program space. Early in his career, Pali was also involved in the design of the Santa Monica Museum of Flying and the award-winning DC-3 Restaurant.
Pali’s smallest project may even be his most significant – he won an AIA National Honor Award (and numerous others) for the design of the Somis Hay Barn – a small horse barn that reinvents the prototype, and which has been published around the globe. He is dually-known for his iconic modernist single-family homes, a signature of the Los Angeles area in which he lives. Such homes have won numerous regional AIA awards, House of the Year awards, and other accolades for their clean lines and sensuality of materials.
In spite of his busy schedule, Mr. Pali still finds time to give back to the community. Pali’s pro bono design services and fundraising include work with the Shakespeare Festival/ LA (a creative literacy program for underserved youth of Los Angeles) and Artstorm (an artpark concept designed to provide graffiti artists with a legal and positive outlet for practicing their design talents).
Pali served as a visiting professor at the University of Southern California in 2005, and has served as a visiting critic and lecturer at California State Polytechnic University at Pomona School of Architecture, the UCLA School of Architecture, the USC School of Architecture, and the New York Architectural League.
Bachelor of Arts in Design,
University of California at Los Angeles, 1983
American Institute of Architects, College of Fellows
Architecture Foundation of Los Angeles
LICENSES & CERTIFICATIONS:
California, Architecture License #C19741
Judit Méda Fekete, LEED AP
Judit M. Fekete serves as the managing principal of the firm, overseeing its strategic direction and maintaining the firm’s rigorous reputation for quality as President and CEO. Ms. Fekete’s unique background juxtaposes the complexities of large-scale commercial architecture with refined taste and understanding of the arts. After joining forces with Zoltan E. Pali, FAIA in 1990, Ms. Fekete began collaborating with Pali on the firm’s numerous award-winning architecture projects. As the firm’s architect-developer Ms. Fekete designed the building and started the development company that created the award-winning MODAA Building in Culver City, winner of LA Business Council’s Mixed Use Project of the Year in 2007, Southern California Development Forum’s Community Enrichment Award, an AIA Los Angeles Design Citation and a California Council AIA Merit Award. The block-long, mixed use facility houses SPF:a’s architectural offices alongside a full-service art gallery, café, and live-work lofts. Ms Fekete played a similar role as architect/developer on a 24-unit mixed residential and retail complex in the heart of downtown Culver City.
Ms. Fekete has been particularly instrumental in SPF:a’s technological advancements and other unique service offerings. Her architectural contributions to the firm have led to publication in Architectural Record [the Orlando Virgin Megastore] and GA Magazine [Benjamin Residence, Sharpe Residence, and the Smith-Loring Residence]. She has also played a key role in design successes such as the 1999 PA Citation Award given by Architecture Magazine for outstanding un-built work on the boards. Her current design and development focus is on the 9900 Culver Project, a signature architectural development in the heart of Culver City’s downtown district, and on curating the firm’s SPF:a Gallery, which has been widely published internationally for its innovative approach and collaborative exhibits featuring the work of artists, architects, photographers, and designers.
Ms. Fekete received her training in arts and architecture in Pecs, Hungary [birthplace and hometown of the famed designer and architect, Marcel Breuer]. Her Arts Degree master and mentor, Ferenc Lantos is presently one of Europe’s premier modernist artists and art educators. Upon completing her Arts and Architecture studies in 1981, Ms. Fekete worked for two architectural firms in Hungary, and in 1984, Ms. Fekete opened her own firm where she designed and built the interiors of retail stores and renovated historically significant residences [plantation homes built in the 1800’s].
Upon arrival in the United States in 1987, Ms. Fekete worked on technical projects, such as the UCLA Powell Library Seismic Upgrade and Reconstruction and the Calabasas Water Treatment Facility, and on large-scale multi-family construction, and on the award winning San Francisco Virgin Megastore project, a 30,000 square foot three-level retail store within an existing 1920’s masonry department store.
Bachelor of Architecture, Technical University, Pecs, Hungary
Bachelor of Arts, Lantos School of Visual Arts, Pecs, Hungary
Associate Member, American Institute of Architects
Urban Land Institute (ULI)
US Green Building Council (USGBC)