Studio (New) | SPF:architects
zoltan pali, zoltan e. pali, los angeles architect, los angeles architects, SPF:architects, spf:a

Zoltan is the founder and design principal of SPF:a. Launched in 1990 with partner Judit M. Fekete-Pali, SPF:a has received over 100 national and regional design awards, including an American Architecture Award in 2014 for the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, a National AIA Honor Award for his iconic design of Somis Hay Barn completed in 2001 in rural Somis, California, and a AIA|LA Presidential Award for leading the Executive Architecture team on the $300-million renovation and expansion of the Getty Villa Museum.

Known for an elegant minimalist approach to California modernism honed over a 40-year career, Zoltan has designed projects in varying typologies and sizes, from custom-built single-residencies high up in LA’s many hills to large civic infrastructure and privately developed commercial buildings. Among his other notable built designs are MODAA, a mixed-use live/work space in the heart of Culver City’s Arts District that houses SPF:a’s main offices, the Taylor Yard Bridge, a bicycle and pedestrian river crossing at the heart of the City of LA's LA River Master Plan, and Double Stick, a Beverly Hills residence named for its unique use of a high-performance two-sided panel tape to hold up the entirety of the façade.

An LA native, Zoltan began his architectural career while a student at UCLA in 1978. Prior to starting SPF:a he worked alongside Jerrold E. Lomax, FAIA, a case study maestro and one of the original LA-12, a famed 1976 group exhibition that included Frank Gehry, Cesar Pelli, and Craig Ellwood.

Zoltan has served as a visiting professor and lecturer at the University of Southern California, and a visiting critic at both California State Polytechnic University at Pomona School of Architecture and UCLA’s School of Art and Architecture. In 2005, he was inducted into the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows.

Judit M. Fekete-Pali is founder and the Creative Director of SPF:a and has been responsible for the strategic direction and artistic vision since launching the firm in 1990 with partner Zoltan Pali, FAIA. Their collaboration has produced over 90 national and regional awards for a wide variety of projects, including the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, the $300 million renovation and expansion of the Getty Villa Museum, and the extensive historic renovations of two iconic LA venues, Hollywood Pantages and the Greek Theatre.

Judit has contributed to the designs of some of the firm’s most widely published work, most notably as the lead designer and developer for MODAA, a block-length mixed-use space in the heart of Culver City’s Arts District. The acclaimed project was named the LA Business Council’s Mixed-Use Project of the Year in 2007, and the building’s 1920s art-deco inspired façade was officially designated by the City’s Cultural Affairs Commission as “Architecture as Art.” MODAA has also received awards from the AIA|LA, the AIA California Council, and the SoCal Development Forum, and is currently home to SPF:a’s main offices, a 2,200 square-foot SPF:a-run art gallery, a global modeling agency, and a coworking space.

Trained in the spirit of the Bauhaus, Judit studied under the noted Hungarian artist Ferenc Lantos and received a degree in architecture from the University of Pécs.

Aside from serving as the firm’s managing principal, Judit also is the head curator of the SPF:a Gallery, founded in 2007 and focused on the symbiotic relationship between art and architecture. Past exhibitions have featured the work of artists Charles Arnoldi, DeWain Valentine, Brad Howe, Lucas Blok, and architects Jerrold Lomax and William Krisel.

Selected Awards

—Full List

Team

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Our Practice

SPF:a is an award-winning firm specializing in the design of small- and large-scale works that touch both the private and public spirit.

Our practice is anchored in a rigorous pragmatic, holistic philosophy. We aim to uncover truths, pursue the unexplored, and challenge conventions in architectural and urban organization; we speak the language of our builders and engineers, and we have a strong culture of critique and communication.

We want to make things perform better, look better, and awaken their environment. And so we give care to our clients’ goals and investments and endeavor to balance them with our pursuit to enhance the human experience and our communities.

Our team is energetic, cooperative, and diverse. Together, our capabilities include all phases of project development, from research and conceptual design to schematics, design development, construction documents, bidding, negotiations, and contract administration.