At TOLO, we believe that the character of our built environment profoundly affects quality of life, so we work very hard to respond with intelligent, creative solutions, while remaining attentive to the client’s schedule and budget. Our portfolio is diverse, ranging from the design of arts-based projects, to single-family houses, to retail and restaurants, as well as larger projects such as hotels, multi-family housing, and mixed-use projects. Our approach is consistent across this range of projects, each design is developed in close working relations with the client, and with a careful determination of needs and constraints. We see every project as unique, with its own set of questions and opportunities, that demands its own design solution. We are proud that many of our projects have been cited for their level of inventiveness, social vitality, and accomplished craftsmanship in design awards and in publications. Our office space, located in an industrial warehouse in Downtown Los Angeles, contains a fabrication shop, which allows us to test the material characteristics of our designs by means of prototypes and scale models.
First established in 1998, the practice’s early work, led by Peter Tolkin, focused on the revitalization and redevelopment of buildings in Old Pasadena, a historic downtown shopping and entertainment district. Peter’s experience in Pasadena led to work in other cities, such as Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Malibu, and Long Beach. The practice has completed residential, retail and commercial projects throughout the region, including Pasadena's award-winning Saladang Song restaurant, the Sherman Residence in Encino, and the Sunglass House in Malibu. In Merced, the practice designed a series of mixed-use buildings, including retail storefronts and lofts, in conjunction with a comprehensive downtown revitalization. In Claremont, the practice was responsible for the planning of the West Village Expansion, a project encompassing retail, movie theaters, hotel facilities, and a town square. The practice’s winning proposal for the development of a two city block mixed-use project called Metlox in Manhattan Beach created a public space connecting the city’s civic center with its main commercial street. A number of these projects have received awards from the American Institute of Architects and many have been featured in publications such as Domus, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Dwell, Architectural Record, and Interior Design.
Renamed after Sarah Lorenzen joined as principal, TOLO has built on Peter Tolkin’s early success. Recent note-worthy projects include the Veilmetter Gallery in downtown Los Angeles, an art studio complex for a well-known artist, and several new houses in the areas affected by the Woolsey fire.