So What Makes an Architecture Firm Hot?

Last night, a few of us attended the OC Metro Hot 25 Awards honoring some of Orange County’s best and brightest business professionals, educators, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and outright inspirational people (i.e. “Quiet Achiever” award recipients Artyn and Max Gardner). During LPA’s 45 years of being in business, we’ve taken home oodles of awards but never had we graced this particular list. What an honor to have made it through the hundreds of applicants, to the Hot 25.

So what does it take for an architecture firm to make the list of OC’s 25 Hottest entities? According to Churm Media Publisher and CEO Steve Churm, it takes plenty.

It takes carving out a nationally recognized spaced for yourself in your niche. For LPA, it’s been sustainable design and not only have we been recognized as the #11 Green Design Firm in the Nation (2009), but this year, we ranked #5 on the Top Green Firms list in Education.

It takes leaving a legacy in the region(s) you conduct business. As Churm cleverly pointed out, LPA has done more than leave its fingerprints across Southern California – we’ve left our blueprints too. We’re fortunate to be in a business where the products we provide stay on display indefinitely, in public places where generations of people get to enjoy the buildings we’ve designed.

It takes a continuity of excellence, and conducting business from your core convictions. Long before “green” or “sustainability” were the overused buzz words of the day, LPA found itself creating sustainable places and spaces. The Irvine Ranch Water District HQ was completed in 1990. Yes, 20 whole years ago. Long before anyone had jumped on the “green band wagon.” Where we were once the lone voice, there is now an entire industry that has followed suit. It’s not easy being a pioneer, but it’s definitely worth it.

To learn more about why LPA was the sole Orange County Architecture Firm to make the list, watch Steve Churm’s presentation above.

For more about The Hot 25 Awards and businesses, people, and life in Orange County, visit

Rochelle Veturis Coles is the media and public relations director for California-based LPA Inc.