Don PenderAIA, LEED AP

Studio Director

Irvine, California

Don leads strategic team development and management for educational facility projects, focusing on a collaborative approach to design high-performance learning environments. In LPA’s integrated design process, he brings together LPA’s architects, engineers and designers with the vision of educators, administrators, students and the community. He works with all the stakeholders to refine the details from concept to completion, supporting the original mission, while finding new opportunities to meet the urgent demands of budget and schedule.

Don provides seasoned, strategic leadership throughout the planning, design and construction process, reflecting his work on more than 100 educational projects. His career highlights include the design of the McBride High School for the Long Beach Unified School District, a finalist for the James D. MacConnell Award in 2015; the modernization of Paramount High School, which transformed the campus with state-of-the-art athletic facilities, a new science building and a new library with shared community/school use; and the master planning exercise for the Westminster School District, which modernized the middle schools, adding “Exploration Facilities” with arts, engineering, and technology and science labs.

In these and many other projects, Don’s participation led to a significant change in outcomes, working with clients and the community to go beyond the framework to find new opportunities to develop facilities that support the district’s goals for generations.

Don earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Master of Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin, where he has served as the chair of the Dean’s Advisory Council at the School of Architecture.