Riz Walker Joins Blitz’s New Los Angeles Office as Senior Designer

Award-Winning Designer Hired to Expand Inventive Architecture and Design Practice

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Riz Walker, Associate AIA, Senior Designer. Image courtesy of Blitz. Click here for high-resolution images.

LOS ANGELES: Blitz, a spirited architecture and design firm headquartered in San Francisco, has appointed Riz Walker, Assoc. AIA, as senior designer in its newly opened Los Angeles office. Walker will work together with Seth Hanley, AIA, LEED AP, co-founder, principal, and Los Angeles managing partner of Blitz, to advance the firm’s energetic approach to the design and delivery of human-centered environments. The firm—already well-known for disrupting the status quo of traditional workplace design—has collaborated with some of the world’s most innovative companies, such as Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Skype, Dropbox, and Levi’s, among many others.

“Riz is a perfect fit for our firm,” says Hanley. “She understands our process of investigation and immersive observation in developing spaces that improve the quality of our clients’ lives. She has the talent and experience to push our practice into uncharted territory in terms of design and creativity.”

A strategic thinker, Walker has spent the past decade applying urban design concepts—streets, squares, and blocks—to the interior design of workplaces in order to promote a culture of inclusivity and collaboration. At Blitz, she is currently designing and managing a 31,407-square-foot, cutting-edge interiors project in Irvine, CA, for a web-based client.

“The firm’s disruptive approach to workplace design for technology leaders and corporate clients aligns with my own outside-of-the-box approach,” says Walker. “Like Blitz, I also strongly believe in research-based design and its integration into the development and construction of projects.”

In addition to her interiors work, Walker is an active member of the local and national design community. She serves on design councils for leading furniture manufacturers, such as Steelcase and Allsteel, and often presents her ideas at professional conferences and industry events. The senior designer has also curated exhibitions and led several research initiatives. Most recently, Walker was the project manager and lead researcher for Sustainable LA: The Grand Challenge, a project and publication undertaken by the Now Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), to explore ways of achieving 100-percent renewable energy and 100-percent locally sourced water for Los Angeles County by 2050.

Growing up in Maine, Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts, Walker first explored architecture and design in her parents’ wooded backyard where she built tree forts and huts from debris. “These were some of my first creations,” she recalls. “I grew up in an artistic environment with my parents teaching us about how to be our best creative selves, as well as learning how to tie our shoes and other practicalities.”

Walker earned a Bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University in 2010. She later moved to Los Angeles to pursue a master’s degree in urban design and architecture at UCLA, which she received in 2016.

Before joining Blitz in 2018, Walker worked for several leading firms, including Omgivning in LA and Sasaki Associates in Boston, as a designer and job captain on workplace projects. She currently teaches a class about graphic storytelling and presentations at UCLA Extension, and has previously taught at Harvard University and Boston Architectural College. In her spare time, Walker enjoys cooking, singing, and rearranging the interiors of her house.

“As I’ve progressed from being an interior designer to being a design strategist, I’ve learned that widening your view of the profession and leaning on research-based design can strengthen the physical and emotional impact you have on your clients,” says Walker. “Joining Blitz, which takes a similar approach to projects, is empowering to my own intentions. I’m honored to join the Los Angeles studio and can’t imagine a better team to grow, and grow into.”

By applying a human-centered design approach across various scales and typologies, Blitz brings the personality, culture, and values of each client to life in physical form. Founded in 2009 by Melissa Hanley, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP, and Seth Hanley, AIA, LEED AP, the award-winning full-service architecture and design firm offers a variety of solutions, including architecture, interior design, graphics, and branding, for a range of typologies that comprises workplace, hospitality, retail, and education. To heighten the human experience, Blitz engages in an investigative process that includes immersive observation to understand clients’ needs, while using technology to optimize the design delivery process. The firm operates from offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and works with clients throughout the US, Europe, Australia, and Asia.