Zoltan E. Pali, FAIA is the creative energy and tireless driving force behind the firm’s award-winning design, and his signature is on every single project that bears the company name. A native of Los Angeles, California, Mr. Pali began his architectural career in 1978, and founded SPF:a seventeen years later, in 1995. His background includes a degree in Design from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and a depth of experience in the construction industry. Mr. Pali’s combination of award-winning design proficiency and his rigorous standards for technical accuracy in construction documentation constitute the foundation of SPF:a’s methodology and approach to every project.
Prior to founding SPF:architects, Mr. Pali worked for Vito Cetta Architects (VCA), Solberg & Lowe Architects, and as a sole practitioner collaborated with case study maestro and protégé of Craig Ellwood, Jerrold E. Lomax, FAIA. His early projects included multi-family housing structures, mixed use facilities, and challenging landmark projects, such as the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel renovation, the Santa Monica Museum of Flying and the award-winning DC-3 Restaurant. Early collaborative projects with Jerrold E. Lomax, FAIA included the 2,000 car Cedars-Sinai Parking Structure, the award-winning Benjamin Residence [GA-Houses 64], and an award-winning flagship retail store for Virgin Entertainment in Orlando, Florida.
In 1990, Mr. Pali joined up with partner Judit Méda Fekete, and five years later formed what is now SPF:a. The firm sets out to create a unique design footprint, incorporating the best in creativity, technology and resourcefulness. Within the first few years of its inception, SPF:a was selected as part of Los Angeles’ “New Blood 101”, and received the Architecture Magazine Progressive Architecture Citation Award. Under Mr. Pali’s stewardship, SPF:a was selected to sit on the judging panel for Architecture Magazine’s Home of the Year design awards in 2005, has won dozens of design awards, citations, and publications of its work over the years, and has received national AIA honors for design excellence. Among his many designs, Pali’s most decorated projects include the Oshry Residence, Somis Hay Barn, Flagship Virgin Megastore, Cotner Building, Central California Museum of History, Pantages Theater Restoration, Wildwood School, and the Brosmith Residence.
Mr. Pali has also touched numerous landmarks on the Los Angeles horizon. His combined passion for progressive design and his respect for historic buildings has earned SPF:a a role on the Greek Theater Renovation & Expansion, the Getty Villa Museum renovation and the Historic Restoration of the Hollywood Pantages Theater.
Pali has served as a visiting critic and at California State Polytechnic University at Pomona School of Architecture, the UCLA School of Architecture and the USC School of Architecture. He has guest lectured at the UCLA School of Architecture, the New York Architectural League, and the LA Urban Forum on topics ranging from general architecture to mixed-use building design.
His personal contribution to the surrounding community includes pro bono design services and fundraising events for the Shakespeare Festival Los Angeles (a creative literacy program for underserved youth of Los Angeles) and Artstorm (an artpark concept designed to provide graffiti artists with a legal and positive outlet for practicing their design talents).