A native of a small town in the Philippines, Olivia moved to the suburbs of Elk Grove, California at the age of 11 to fulfill her dreams of changing architecture. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture at U.C. Berkeley and worked at Equity Community Builders (ECB), a real estate development firm committed to revitalizing Bay Area communities through urban in-fill projects that exemplify innovative, environmentally-responsible and socially-equitable design using creative financing solutions. She recently received her Master’s degree in Architecture at the University of Oregon, focusing her studies in social and universal design.
She believes that environmental design can have a positive effect on the human condition and that it is our responsibility as designers to ensure that our projects promote social equity and universal design.
Aside from design, Olivia is also passionate about improving architecture through research. She strongly believes that our design decisions have the potential to create physical symbols that tear down social barriers and inequalities. One of the projects she has worked on is her own research entitled “Accessible evacuation: improving fire safety and building evacuation for people with disabilities,” where she assesses the efficacy and accessibility of existing evacuation protocols and building safety codes and theorizes solutions for more inclusive and safe building designs. Her research has been presented in various symposia, including the University of Oregon Department of Architecture’s Annual Student Research Symposium, and the Environmental Design Research Association EDRA46LosAngeles Conference, where she won First Place for the Student Best Design Award for her presentation. She is also currently managing the Large Classroom Comparison Research project, working with students to find correlations between teacher student interactions and the physical qualities of large lecture halls.
In her free time, Olivia enjoys going to concerts, watching Broadway musicals, cooking, singing, designing t-shirts, and spending time with her adorable nephews and nieces.