- Petaluma Library Refresh
- BIG Oakland*
- 990 Pacific, San Francisco*
- 2005-2007 Delaware Street, Berkeley*
* Prior Firm
“If both of my parents grew up here and spoke English, then I wouldn’t have been exposed to a lot of things as a kid. It’s very valuable.”
Vivian Yu’s first job in architecture was as a translator. Her parents, local restaurateurs, bought a building and had plans for a renovation drawn up. One minor detail: her dad doesn’t speak English. So, at age 10, Vivian was taken along to the City of Oakland planning department to provide some help with communication. “It was the first time I had seen a set of plans,” she says. “Before then, I didn’t know that architects existed.”
That experience made Vivian aware of the whole process of design and construction. “I went into architecture knowing a little more than, ‘I’m designing buildings,’” she says. After college, her first job was with a construction firm. This allows her to speak the language of contractors while training to be an architect.
Vivian loves to walk around cities. One of her favorites? Budapest. With the bridges, coffee, and beer, “it feels like the Portland of Europe,” she says. Having been all over Europe and Asia, she can’t wait to plan her next trip.