Steve Johnson and Jim Favaro founded the architecture practice Johnson Favaro in 1988 in Culver City, CA with a commitment to the public realm, where they believe architecture has the greatest impact and is most appropriately experienced.

For over thirty years Johnson Favaro has focused their work on schools, libraries, and community centers, as well as cultural and civic institutions. The firm is founded on the principle that high quality and inspiring architecture in support of the social infrastructure of which these institutions are a part is crucial in the advancement of our democracy and civil society.

Highly regarded among those they serve and their peers nationwide, Johnson Favaro’s services include all areas of planning and design: master planning, programming, feasibility studies, facilities assessment, cost planning and conceptual design, building design, document production, and construction administration.


Jim Favaro, Principal

  • Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, Masters of Architecture, 1982
  • Stanford University, Engineering School, Phi Beta Kappa, Bachelor of Science, 1978
  • Licensed Architect, State of California #C32185

Jim Favaro founded the firm with Steve Johnson in 1988. In the thirty years since he has worked with Steve on buildings for schools, libraries, civic, cultural and community facilities. Jim like Steve believes that excellent architecture in the public realm is crucial for the viability of our democracy, civil society and the dignity of individuals. He believes that architecture can and should both reflect and initiate change in society and that all buildings contribute to a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Jim has taught at UCLA, USC, the Rhode Island School of Design and the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. He received his Masters in Architecture from Harvard University and his Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Stanford University. He was the recipient of the Rome Prize in Architecture from the American Academy in Rome where he lived before moving to Los Angeles in 1987.


Steve Johnson, Principal

  • Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, Masters of Architecture, 1983
  • University of Florida, Bachelor of Design, Architecture, 1979
  • Licensed Architect, State of California #C17181

Steve Johnson founded the firm with Jim Favaro in 1988. Thirty years of firm experience includes the planning, design and construction of campuses, school buildings, libraries, museums and residential buildings throughout Southern California. With Jim, Steve’s focus has been on the public realm and the premise that a new building must give shape and form to public space, provoke conversation and engagement and intensify your sense of place in the city and the world. He works daily with the belief that models you can physically walk around and drawings you can erase remain indispensable tools of the practice. He has previously been an instructor in both the graduate and undergraduate programs at Sci-ARC. Steve has lived in Los Angeles since 1984, relocating from the east coast after receiving a Masters of Architecture degree from Harvard University where he received the Henry Adams AIA Gold Medal.


Brian Davis, Associate Principal

  • Licensed Architect, CA #C34524
  • Masters of Architecture, University of California, Los Angeles, 2001-2004
  • Bachelor of Architecture, University of Nebraska, 1996-2000

Brian has been with the firm since 2004. He recently served as the project manager for the Manhattan Beach Library and UCLA Hedrick Study, and is currently a project manager for RIverside Main Library and Lions Park projects. Brian's responsibilities include all aspects of a project from initial site visits through permitting and construction, including client/consultant meetings and presentations, researching and writing specifications, detailing and plan check/planning/public agency submittals. A LEED Accredited Professional, Brian works closely with the client and subconsultant team to incorporate sustainable design strategies that are embedded into the design and not mere embellishments. A selection of his key project experience includes: Manhattan Beach Library, West Hollywood Library, UCLA Hedrick Study, UCLA UNEX Master Plan, Southwestern College National City Center, LATTC Student Services/Administration Building and Technology Classroom Building, and Chaffey College Main Instruction Building.


Kathy Williams, Associate Principal

  • Masters of Architecture, Rice University, 2001-2004
  • Bachelor of Science in Architecture, University of Michigan, 1994-1998

Kathy Williams has seventeen years of professional experience, having spent the last eight at Johnson Favaro after joning the firm in 2011. She was co-project manager on the Beverly Hills Library renovation project which opened in 2012, and additionally worked on the Manhattan Beach Library, completed in 2015. Kathy is currently the project manager on the UCLA Continued Education Program headquarters projects. Kathy's responsibilities include all aspects of a project, from initial site visits through permitting and construction, including client/construction meetings and presentations, researching and writing specifications, detailing and plan check/planning/public agency submittals. A selection of Kathy's experience includes LAUSD Master Plans for Markham Middle School; JF Kennedy High School; Frost Middle School; Porter Middle School; Old South Gate School, Los Angeles, CA; and extensive work on the Center for Early Education.


Ingrid Dennert, Senior Design Associate

  • Masters of Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design, 2005-2009
  • Bachelor of Fine Art, Mount Holyoke College, 1995-1999

Ingrid has been with Johnson Favaro since 2011. Ingrid's responsibilities include all aspects of a project from master planning through permitting, construction, and close-out. Ingrid has been instrumental in permitting a number of projects in our office as well as in closing out most of our DSA projects. She also manages all aspects of the development of the in-house Building Information Model (BIM) from design development through construction documents. A selection of Ingrid's experience includes the Manhattan Beach Library, the Center for Early Education, and the Mirman School Athletic Facilities and Master Plan. She is currently managing the Center for Early Education.


Lyannie Tran, Senior Design Associate

  • Master of Architecture, University of Auckland, New Zealand (2009)
  • Bachelor of Science, University of Southern California (2002)

Joining the office in 2018, Lyannie is interested in the ways design can reach out to the public in the civic and cultural environments. She is a strong advocate for good design as a part of everyday life. Currently she is working on the master plan for La Cienega Park in Beverly Hills.


Ryan Ekstrom, Design Associate

  • Masters of Architecture (M.Arch), Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)

  • Bachelor of Environmental Design (B. ENVD), University of Colorado - Boulder

Ryan Ekstrom has worked on various projects throughtout the office since joining the practice in 2014, shortly after completing his graduate degree. Over the past two years Ryan has largely been focused on the Lions park projects, both the Costa Mesa Library and the Neighborhood Community Center, beginning from its pre-design all the way through construction documentation and administration.


Daniel Nguyen, Design Associate

  • Masters of Architecture, Yale University
  • Bachelor of Art, Architectural Studies, UCLA

Daniel joined the firm in 2016 after completing his Masters of Architecture degree from Yale University. Since joining the practice, he has worked on cultural and institutional projects including the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Museum of Redlands, Mirman School Master Plan & Physical Education Facility, and the Costa Mesa Library & Community Center. Daniel is currently working in construction administration on the UCLA CEP Headquarters on 10960 Wilshire and Gayley Center.


Begum Baysun, Design Associate

  • Masters of Architecture (M.Arch I), Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc)
  • Bachelor of Civil Engineering, Dual Diploma Program at Istanbul Technical University & University at Buffalo

Begum joined the Johnson Favaro team in 2018 having a particular interest in projects serving the public sector. Her past experience includes working as an assistant teacher at SCI-Arc, working within a design team for the 2016 Venice Architectural Biennale (U.S. Pavilion), and working in design and development on single-multi-family dwellings on hillside topography. Begum has also worked on several public art projects and exhibitions. She is currently working on the Independent Elementary School for Gifted Students.


Kevin Geraghty, Design Associate

  • Bachelor of Architecture, Cum Laude, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo 2016
  • Washington Alexandria Architectural Consortium, off-campus studies at Virginia Tech

Kevin joined Johnson Favaro as a recent graduate in 2016. Drawn to the studio for its involvement in civic and cultural projects such as community libraries and museums, Kevin is interested in great architecture and urban design that everyone can enjoy. He works on various projects at different stages from early modeling, rendering, and diagramming to final stages of construction documentation. Kevin is currently working on the Riverside Main Library.


Hongjie Li, Design Associate

  • Masters of Architecture II, Harvard University
  • Bachelor of Architecture with Honor, Zhejiang University

Hongjie joined the office in 2017 after he completed his March II degree at Harvard University. His previous experience includes working at Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. He is currently working on the new Riverside Main Library.


Carrie Li, Design Associate

  • Masters of Architecture, Southern California Institute of Architecture
  • Bachelor of Architectural Design, University of Queensland

Carrie joined the office in 2018 after completing the March I degree at SCI-Arc. She is working on the LAUSD Canyon Charter School, currently in schematic design.