The multidisciplinary architecture, design and planning practice WXY architecture + urban design has announced that Kaija Wuollet has joined the firm in New York in the position of Director, with a focus on the firm’s acclaimed city-building practice. In this position, Wuollet will direct varied projects merging strategy, master planning, urban design, architecture and policy as she contributes to business development across the United States.
Previously, Wuollet led the noted design practice Laavu in Detroit, where as principal she managed and completed a range of high-profile projects including the Pink Zoning/Mix Tape Detroit Commons/MACC Development completed this year — and included in Detroit Design 139’s influential Inclusive Futures exhibition — as well as the renovation of the popular El Club, a 250-person music venue with outdoor spaces in Detroit.
Highly visible in the design and planning communities, Wuollet earned a master’s degree in architecture and a leadership medal at University of Detroit Mercy. She cofounded the nonprofit Ponyride Maker Space and served as a UNESCO City of Design Partner and on advisory boards for the Corktown Business Association and Detroit Design Festival. Joining WXY architecture + urban design, Wuollet will work to expand the firm’s highly strategic and creative, interdisciplinary approach to planning and building.
“Kaija Wuollet shares our worldview of vital city-building challenges and the benefits of bringing planning and design together to address varied concerns from affordable housing and social equity to an improved public realm and climate action,” says Adam Lubinsky, PhD, AICP, the firm’s managing principal. “Her experience in Detroit echoes much of WXY’s work, showing the benefits of looking at policy and urban innovation through a design lens. Kaija is an amazing thinker who brings a critical voice to approaches we’ve been developing.”
As Wuollet relocates from Detroit to the New York area, she has begun working on several master planning projects, strategic framework commissions, and architecture projects underway at WXY architecture + urban design.
“It’s wonderful to be in New York and dipping into all of these realms with the team at WXY,” says Wuollet. “Our work at Laavu and with various clients in Detroit was very much aligned with the ethos of WXY, as we developed urban design, planning and architectural solutions in some of the most challenging contexts, often for a diverse mix of community, public and private stakeholders.”
WXY architecture + urban design is a recognized leader in planning, urban design, architecture and innovative engagement practices. Recent projects led by the firm include The Peninsula, a large mixed-use affordable housing development in the Bronx, public realm improvements for the Brooklyn Army Terminal, school integration plans in New York and Pennsylvania, and planning of the Broadway Junction area. Other current works include guidelines for on-street electric vehicle charging in New York City, the reconstruction of Astor Place, and new cabins for New York State Parks and Recreation.
Wuollet brings valuable development and agency expertise to a team seeking to continue its track record of large-scale, ambitious engagements like these. “I look forward to working with WXY to spearhead more equitable developments that continue to engage communities and bring high-quality architecture and urban design solutions to more people,” Wuollet adds.