2023 CO Architects Promotions
We are pleased to announce our new associate principals, senior associates and associates for 2023:
Jill Cheng, AIA, LEED AP BD+C has over 20 years of experience in planning, design and project management for institutional projects including healthcare, higher education, justice and K-12 facilities. A member of the firm from 2001-2017, she rejoined CO in 2020 to lead the day-to-day management of the UCI Health – Irvine Hospital project. She earned a Master of Architecture from Rice University and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from UC Berkeley.
Lauren Coles, AIA, CDT, LEED AP BD+C has partnered with higher education and healthcare clients on a broad range of projects from replacement medical centers to cutting-edge health sciences education and research facilities. Since joining CO in 2015, Lauren has served as the firm’s licensing supervisor and is the 2023 Chair of the AIA|LA Professional Practice Committee. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Northeastern University.
Esther Chao, AIA, LEED GA is a skilled project manager, planner and designer who thrives on communication, collaboration and problem-solving. Since joining CO in 2015, Esther has undertaken a range of higher education, healthcare and science & technology projects for clients in California, Arizona, Texas and Kentucky.
CO’s Director of Digital Design & Technology Chikara Inamura is a creative designer and technologist with over 15 years of experience across scales and disciplines in the built environment. Chikara has led CO’s digital technology practice since 2021, innovating computational design and digital fabrication through collaboration.
Digital Experience Designer Nazli Tatar researches, develops and integrates new customized digital tools that foster greater understanding and ownership of building designs. Since 2017, she has developed and applied a wide variety of new technologies to the design process and created user experience prototypes for the full range of CO's projects.
Emilio Todescato, AIA, integrates the built environment with nature, context and technology to create buildings that inspire, connect and encourage exploration. His experience with CO ranges from developer-led tech campuses and research laboratories to higher education research and teaching facilities, and medical education projects.
Jiming Bai is a tenacious and highly detailed designer who embraces complexity in his work. Since he joined the firm in 2019, Jiming has worked on medical education projects for Wichita State University and Mayo Clinic.
Interior designer Haley Becker utilizes her refined design aesthetic and communication skills to achieve each project’s vision. Haley joined CO in 2019 and has worked on projects for UC Riverside and Wexford Science & Technology.
Kenny Chao has a broad bandwidth of talent in programming, design and construction administration on impactful projects such as the new UC Riverside SoM Education Building II. Kenny interned at CO before rejoining in 2020.
Joe Chase is skilled in communicating with design teams, consultants, contractors and clients across complex healthcare and science & technology projects. He is also a mentor for CO’s summer program for high school students.
With an exemplary work ethic, Simin Chu is an in-demand team member on higher education, healthcare and K-12 projects. Simin is currently working on a new medical school for Rutgers University that will be a hub for innovation.
Marissa Cuevas is precise in her work and is relied on for her ability to drive science & technology projects forward . She is a versatile team player who has actively contributed to CO’s projects and the San Diego office since 2019.
Project coordinator Nick DiFalco is skilled in balancing responsibilities for the healthcare, civic and education sectors. Nick has been an asset to CO’s projects since 2019, including the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and North Hollywood High School.
A facile design talent, Zhiao Feng is highly detailed in his work, creative and insightful. Zhiao draws from a variety of project typologies, including urban planning and neurological research. He joined CO in 2020.
Demonstrating steep growth on every project, Gina Harrison's work on healthcare, science & technology and medical education projects has ensured that CO’s project documentation is incredibly detailed. She rejoined CO in 2020.
Ophelia Yuting Ji has demonstrated impressive growth on a range of CO’s project types. Since joining CO in 2018, Ophelia has worked on complex projects for Cedars-Sinai, Kaiser Permanente, LAUSD and UCLA.
Kaiwen Ku, RA, brings a holistic approach to CO’s projects from her experience in landscape architecture and interior design. Her strong design and technical aptitude is evident in her work for UCI Health and Wichita State University.
A strong design talent, Gabriel Lampe translates ideas into striking built environments. Gabe’s design approach is thoughtful and methodical, resulting in projects that improve the human experience and align with the clients’ vision.
A long-time member of CO, Veronica Carranza Morataya is a detail orientated project administrator who has taken on many roles. She is a valued team resource who distills and organizes complex information to accurately track projects.
Senior Marketing & Graphics Coordinator Sarah Palmer is a thorough and adaptable marketer who diligently works to develop successful proposals, award submissions and a strong social media presence. Sarah joined CO in 2020.
Megan Todd is a proven marketing and business development professional. With a broad industry reach and the ability to easily connect with clients, consultants and contractors, Megan is the face of CO in the San Diego marketplace.