Meet the Principals: Eyal Perchik
Meet Eyal Perchik, AIA, ACHA, DBIA
Describe the moment you knew you wanted to become an architect. What was your a-ha moment?
I’m not really sure that there was a distinct a-ha moment. Originally from Israel, while I was still in elementary school, we had to take a battery of tests to help determine our strengths and understand which direction would work best for our continuing education into high school. Since I was good at math (and geometry) and also had an artistic inclination, the results weighed heavier on the engineering and architectural pathways. So that was one clue. The other was my natural tendencies to know and learn how things were built, put together and worked. I used to take apart all my toys (as well as my sister’s) which drove my mom crazy but made me realize how things came together when I tried to put them all back. That was a lot of fun and a challenge which I always enjoyed, even if some pieces eventually did not make it back. I also played a lot with Lego sets and loved following the “drawings” and learning how to put buildings together. After moving to the US, the thoughts of architectural education stayed with me throughout high school and just led me to applying to both Cal Poly Pomona and SCI-Arc. I ended up at SCI-Arc and was one of the younger students there in the early 1980s.
What project pushed you out of your comfort zone? What did you learn from that experience?
I spent the first 8 years of my career at Ross/Wou International and learned a lot about design, planning and putting construction document together. I drafted a lot on CAD systems including GDS and AutoCAD. Along with my training and self teaching while at SCI-Arc on just about every computer program available at the time, it helped me become very proficient and somewhat of an expert in computer systems utilized in architectural offices. However, I did not have a lot of client interface, nor construction administration experience since we did not work on many local projects. Once I moved on to my second firm, right after the 1994 Northridge earthquake, I was given the opportunity to manage a client with all of their associated projects at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Valencia, California. This was an awesome opportunity which I grabbed whole heartedly, since it got me out of the office and interfacing with the client at the CEO, C-Suite and board levels. I worked with the facility managers, doctors, nurses and department heads. It opened my eyes to just about every department in a hospital to better understand its operations and nuances. It allowed me to work and manage all of our consultants and basically tear the medical center apart and put it back together for seven years, touching multiple buildings across the campus including the hospital, skilled nursing facility, medical offices and administrative buildings. I worked very closely with the contractors and sub-contractors and oversaw all of the construction projects. It also allowed me to forge very strong relationships with many people at OSHPD (now HCAI), and built a strong understanding on how to design, manage and oversee construction of very complicated healthcare projects in California.
What advice would you give to young architects?
Be bold and decisive. Listen to your inner self and follow your gut. A lot of times we overthink things and tend to analyze them too much. Learn from your mentors, see how they handle issues and situations, but don’t be afraid to ask questions, challenge decisions respectfully and learn to make your own. I learned a lot from many of my mentors, but also understood that oftentimes they just made decisions on the fly and were not sure of them themselves. You know what’s best for you, so chart your own course. You live only once, so make it the best life it can be.
What are your hobbies?
I have a few – scuba diving, riding horses and flying airplanes. I dove a lot when I was younger, in my twenties and thirties, and love the underwater world. It’s truly amazing and awe inspiring. I’ve loved horses since I was a little kid – I learned to ride in Israel when I was 12 years old and have continued here in LA. I rode a lot in Griffith Park and love the trails over there. It’s an amazing place when you get to know it, and it’s huge with over 50 miles of trails and lots of opportunities to get lost, meander around by yourself with a horse and really get to know the outdoors – all inside the urban sprawl of LA. But being up in the sky in my own airplane is at the top. I’ve been a pilot for over 30 years now and have loved every moment of it. It's certainly a challenging, and an ever-learning experience.