Barbara Bestor, FAIA

Photo credit:  Hamish Robertson

Photo credit: Hamish Robertson


Featured Speaker:

Barbara Bestor, FAIA
Founding Principal, Bestor Architecture


Barbara Bestor, FAIA is founding principal of Bestor Architecture. Since 1995, Bestor Architecture has actively redefined Los Angeles architecture with a practice that rigorously engages the city through design, art, and urbanism. Increasingly, the firm applies L.A.’s lessons to national undertakings. She explores the architectural form through experiments in spatial arrangements, graphics, and color, which is evident in her projects from custom residences to headquarters for international companies. Her varied and progressive body of work connects with people on many levels, often outside the boundaries traditionally delineated for architecture. She believes that good design creates an engaged urban life and embraces the ‘strange beauty’ that enhances everyday life experience.

Barbara’s career is punctuated with inventive projects in a wide breadth of typologies. She has designed new ways of creating accessible urbanism in her “stealthy density” Blackbirds housing, groundbreaking retail and restaurant flagships, dazzling and dynamic workspaces for major LA corporations, award-winning experimental residences and pioneering arts projects that are deeply rooted in their communities and cultural context. Many of these projects balance a strong instinctual modernism with an engagement in popular culture and media. The headquarters for Beats By Dre, a National AIA Honor Award recipient, synthesized the three founders’ own heritage stemming from hip-hop, rock and roll, and indie rock and deftly developed a variety of atmospheric and aesthetically functional environments within the larger workspace: peaceful, active and spectacular spaces organized around light filled courtyards. The headquarters’ design fully represents the company’s place at the intersection of music and technology. The Silverlake Conservatory of Music creates a vibrant musical haven that supports a community of children, adult students, and musicians, with an internal urban village enclosed within the shell of a classic and ubiquitous Hollywood warehouse.

While maintaining a practice, Barbara has continuously taught at Southern California’s leading design schools from SCI-Arc to Woodbury University, where she is also currently the executive director of the Julius Shulman Institute. Barbara’s commitment to the profession is evident in the leadership she brings spearheading exhibits and publications that showcase the talents of underrepresented artists. Along with her co-curators she conceived the first retrospective for the environmental designer Deborah Sussman. Currently she is pursuing a collaborative exhibit on the work of architect Paul Williams, which will be on view in 2017

She received her undergraduate degree at Harvard University, studied at the Architecture Association in London and received a MARCH at SCI-Arc. She is the author of Bohemian Modern, Living in Silver Lake.

Christine Joo