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Design Conversation Series

Lisa Gray FAIA & Alan Organschi

November 6, 2019 | Design Series


Over the past two decades, Gray Organschi Architecture has developed an award-winning practice that integrates architectural design, low-impact ecologically-conscious construction techniques, building fabrication, and construction management. Broad-reaching and close-range enquiry has informed their philosophy: the technical, physical and economic demands of a project give lasting clarity to the language of its architecture.

“Gray Organschi’s architecture is elegant, elemental, and spatially rich. Their details and use of materials, wood, stone and concrete, in particular, are always exquisite. I know few architects and people as thoughtful and talented. For me personally, bringing Lisa Gray and Alan Organschi to the Liljestrand House to share their work is the realization of a dream.” – Dean Sakamoto FAIA LEED AP

As founder of an architectural practice in the inner city, Lisa Gray has demonstrated her commitment to fusing design excellence with community engagement, providing volunteer and pro-bono services to programs in need, working intensively with local organizations and institutions to delineate clear and achievable project goals and guide the design and construction process to ensure the timely delivery of buildings of the highest quality. Careful project research, frank and open conversation and the clear presentation of options and opportunities have been a defining ambition and hallmark of her professional work.

She is also the founder and principal designer of Gray Design, an interior design and furnishings firm with projects ranging from private homes to public institutions. Since 2001, this practice has woven design fabrication with an expertise in contemporary and historical material culture, providing innovative and livable spaces for a variety of building types and uses.

In 2009 with her partner, Alan Organschi, Lisa was recognized as an Emerging Voice by the Architectural League of New York. In 2012, Lisa and Alan were honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters with an Arts and Letters Award in Architecture. Lisa has served as Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professor at Yale School of Architecture.

A trained cabinet-maker and builder as well as a teacher, Alan Organschi has developed a practice and a pedagogy that seeks to link broad based conceptions of architectural space, form, and program to the physical means and methods of producing them. He is the founding principal of the construction company JIG Design Build, an offshoot of his work at Gray Organschi Architecture in the research, prototyping, fabrication, and installation of building components and systems. As a member of the faculty of the Yale School of Architecture, he coordinates Yale’s first-year graduate housing studio that culminates each spring with the student design and construction of an affordable house in New Haven. He is also an instructor in building technology at the school and has led a Yale Architecture graduate research seminar on new technologies in timber.

In 2009, Mr. Organschi received a grant from The Hines Research Fund for Advanced Sustainability in Architectural Design for work on high density, high performance wood housing in the United States. That same work continues today under the auspices of Timber City, an interdisciplinary research initiative supported by Gray Organschi Architecture and the Hines Research Fund at Yale that examines the potential supply chain links between sustainable forest management and dense urban construction in wood.

Alan has served as the Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professor of Architecture at Yale where his students, in both a research seminar and an advanced graduate design studio, explored the carbon emissions of building and the possible role of forests in dense timber construction in climate change mitigation.

Today, in addition to his practice and research, Alan continues to lecture internationally on the global impacts of material extraction and resource depletion in the face of global urbanization and population growth.

That’s the most beautiful and well-preserved house I’ve ever been to. Thank you so much!

— Igor and Kate Gots, St. Petersburg, Russia

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The Liljestrand House is listed on the Hawai‘i State and the United States National Register of Historic Places.

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