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Monday, Aug 15, 2022

Architect Has Urban Designs Personally, Professionally

When Karin Liljegren was just a young girl in Wayne, N.J., she used to tell her mom that she was going to the mall. But instead, she would take the bus into Manhattan and explore the city’s landmarks and cultural institutions.

New York’s urbanity rubbed off on her, and by high school Liljegren was already working at an architecture firm and taking classes with a career in mind.

“I took a precollege program in architecture at Syracuse University around the age of 17 and then I knew this is what I want to do,” she said.

Liljegren, senior associate and director of adaptive reuse projects, recently added director of hospitality projects and interior design to her duties at Santa Monica-based Killefer Flammang Architects, which she joined right after receiving her master’s at UCLA.

“My first position at the company was measuring existing buildings that were going to be used for new projects,” she said. “The first one that I measured was a medical building in downtown Los Angeles.”

And downtown has remained a key location, professionally and personally.

“I’ve been focused on downtown L.A. and I’ve been in charge of most adaptive research projects in the last 10 years,” Liljegren said. “Being a part of this revitalization downtown has really drawn me to downtown because of its need and urbanity. I’m really drawn to the cultural aspect of downtown and I like to bring that into my architecture and design.”

Making sure that her projects foster personal connections is also important.

“When you’re designing for people, you’re designing for an experience,” she said. “What it should feel like inside and how that correlates to what you’re building for. Which has brought me to interior architecture and design. The thing that I like the best now is that I can design total environments.”

Liljegren lives downtown with her 5-year-old son, Arik. In her free time, she makes sure that she and Arik are participating in the local culture and happenings.

“I immerse myself into my downtown culture knowing everything that’s going on downtown,” she said. “I like to expose my son to as much culture and diversity as I can, whether it’s becoming friends with the homeless guy on the corner or going to all the events at the public library.”


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