Global architecture, design and planning firm HLW has appointed architect and Principal Sejal Sonani, AIA, LEED AP, as Managing Director of the firm's Los Angeles office. Sejal will lead the next generation of HLW's multidisciplinary West Coast team in delivering dynamic, conscious, and sustainable architectural solutions for industry-leading clients.
"The pandemic has underscored the importance of thoughtfully designed built-environments, from public spaces and personal dwellings to classrooms and workplaces, and their impact on our health, productivity, and overall well-being,” said Sejal. “As we continue to challenge our industry to meet new standards for practice through example, HLW is investing inward to strengthen the foundation from which bold, innovative solutions can emerge. I am humbled to be just one layer of that, leading an incredibly talented team into a rapidly evolving future."
Since joining HLW in 2012, Sejal has been instrumental in transforming the firm’s Los Angeles studio into a more holistic practice with a strengthened focus on architecture. In the last five years alone, Sejal has overseen more than 1.5 million square feet of office projects in the area, while championing the studio's adaptive reuse, repositioning, master planning, and ground-up construction expertise along the coast from Silicon Beach to Silicon Valley. Currently, her team has its hands in over 500,000 square feet of transit-oriented redevelopment along the Expo Line, aimed at creating vibrant, walkable and prosperous communities anchored by sustainable mobility.
The studio's active work builds on a nearly 30-year legacy of pioneering economic growth through transformative design, having first arrived in Southern California to spearhead the 54-acre production campus and first ever fully-digital network broadcast center for 20th Century Fox Studios. In the years since, the team has continuously evolved to help reshape the city’s built environment, including retrofitting aircraft hangars into professional cinema stages, reimagining the former Macy’s store at Westside Pavillion as a creative campus, redeveloping abandoned industrial parks into urban institutional and multifamily buildings, and renovating the city's first historic-designated skyscraper Union Bank Plaza.
"As we strive to enhance the diversity of our offering, placing a greater emphasis on our architectural discipline both in Los Angeles and beyond, we have introduced a number of groundbreaking initiatives and made many exciting changes within our organization," said Susan Boyle, Managing Partner at HLW. “HLW has been in continuous practice since 1886, longevity that we credit to agility and innovation. The past year has been eye opening in many ways, and in this time of reflection, we’ve had the opportunity to redefine how we think about what is important in positioning ourselves, and our work, for the future. We are confident that Sejal’s architectural design expertise, client service, and team leadership will reinforce HLW's rich legacy as she takes on this new role.”
In addition to her new role leading the Los Angeles team, Sejal’s work in pushing HLW’s Corporate Social Responsibility agenda has been crucial in helping to form a company-wide culture centered around diversity and equity. Her efforts have led to HLW’s recent alignment with the International Living Future Institute and Just Certification program, which provides measurable accountability that gives recognition to four levels of performance in 6 different categories: diversity and inclusion, equity, employee health, employee benefits, stewardship and purchasing/supply chain.
Sejal will continue to expand HLW's scope and influence in partnership with the firm’s various business units including BEYOND, a cutting-edge sustainability consultancy working across the built environment to drive higher standards for sustainability, resilience, and building performance; NEXT, HLW's integrated technology group; SPARK, the firm's lighting design team; and ARK, a semi-independent strategic consulting studio confronting the evolving landscape of real estate and organizational strategy.