About Our Workshops

The Ideas Workshop is wHY‘s think tank of new beginnings, leading investigations that generate fresh and unique designs, programs, branding & identity strategies and solutions for businesses, cities, and institutions. The Ideas Workshop digs deep, articulating what shapes our clients’ endeavors while identifying new opportunities for success.

The Ideas Workshop fuels wHY‘s explorations with an ongoing series of Salons. These Salons pull from wHY‘s network of thinkers and doers, bringing interesting people together to share and explore ideas about what’s happening and what’s possible. (You can read about our latest Salon in the What’s Happening tab!)

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As leader of the Ideas Workshop, Misa Lund, RA heads wHY‘s research and design strategy efforts, working closely with Kulapat and the design team to guide the institutions and their stakeholders. Equal parts skilled designer and project manager – and a strong listener and communicator – Misa’s creative approach to systemic thinking makes her the ideal leader of workshops and program development. Her ability to bridge the gap between ambiguity and tangible direction, and guide teams from visionary ideas to actionable agendas is of particular value to institutions looking to break into new territory.

The wHY Buildings Workshop makes fresh, creative and intelligent buildings that are game-changers for our clients and their communities. We eschew iconic form making in favor of solving functional problems and represent multiple identities without compromising the whole. Through a combination of craft and craftiness, the Building Workshop delivers projects with value that exceeds cost.

wHY currently has more than 30 active building projects, ranging in typology from private houses, monuments, bridges, and several art museums to a new Studio Art Hall at Pomona College, in locations from California to Cairo.

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Brian Kenworthy, Architect AIA is the Director ofwHY‘s Los Angeles office and Buildings Workshop, and is responsible for significant project management and operational protocols at wHY. Joining wHY in 2009, Brian brings more than fifteen years of experience in the design and construction of complex institutional buildings that serve as a foundation of knowledge and expertise for the remainder of the office. Further, by leading systematic technical and material investigations, he fuels the development of attitudes in the detailing ofwHY‘s diverse range of projects.

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Serbia-born architectural designer Andrija Stojic, LEED AP is Director of wHY‘s East Coast office and Buildings Workshop. Andrija leads a team of 10 architects and designers throughout all phases of wHY‘s major East Coast projects including the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, a private residence in Connecticut and – in collaboration with wHY‘s in-house landscape architect – the 120 Project in Chicago’s Jackson Park.

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Michael Gruber, Architect AIA brings perspective from his 25 years of experience leading the implementation of large-scale projects and coordinating owners, architects, consultants and contractors on demanding projects of multiple scales. At wHY, Michael is the Technical Director overseeing all ongoing projects for efficiency and quality control. Prior to joining wHY, Michael worked firsthand on the design and development team of The Getty Center in Los Angeles. In addition to practicing, he won the Rome Prize in 1995 and is an Adjunct Lecturer at Tulane University in New Orleans.

Equal parts making and learning, wHY’s Objects Workshop is our test kitchen for ideas. From material investigations and whimsical art objects to furniture and casework, the products of the Objects Workshop are just as likely to hatch from an intriguing conversation as from an experiment gone wrong. The scale of the work allows us to cycle rapidly through more experiments with a wider range of materials and methods than larger projects would otherwise afford.

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Bob Dornberger is the quiet force that drives wHY’s Object Workshop. He is a skilled maker with an eye for quirky sophistication. His formal education in sculpture, furniture design and sound art at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, and his practiced obsession with cooking make him the ideal Chef to leadwHY‘s test kitchen of ideas. Prior to joining wHY, Bob worked at a number of museums and galleries including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Zolla Lieberman Gallery and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, where he ran the exhibits shop.

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The Grounds Workshop is an imaginative landscape and urban design studio that collaborates with architects, urban planners, and artists worldwide to cultivate and program future ecologies and open space. The goal is to connect people and lifestyles to a vision of healthy and resilient cities and environments through the seamless integration of building, landscape and urban environments. The workshop enables art, function, nature and structure to beautifully coexist.

Mark Thomann leads the wHY Grounds Workshop. Prior to joining wHY, Mark was the landscape design director for 14 years with Balmori Associates and WORKac, where he led the conceptual design, development and management of international award winning projects and strategic plans, which include the Campa de los Ingleses in Bilbao, Spain, the Masterplan vision for Sejong, Korea and the Strategic Plan for a resilient Hoboken with OMA. He teaches landscape studios at the University of Pennsylvania, Yale and Columbia University.