After nearly 20 years with SGPA Architecture and Planning, Associate Principal Stuart Stoller has retired. Stuart served SGPA as a Senior Associate (1998-2008), Associate Principal (2008-2016), and as Director of Wellness & Senior Living (1998-2016). A recognized leader in wellness design, Stuart has been creating senior living and healthcare environments for three decades.
“Working with Stuart Stoller for almost 20 years has been one of my greatest pleasures at SGPA,” said Stuart Lyle, President. “His passion for using design as a way to improve people’s lives, particularly those people who need it the most, has inspired our team to be the best architects, planners, and designers we can be.”
When he joined SGPA in 1998, Mr. Stoller was tasked with diversifying the practice of the San Francisco office, which was then almost exclusively retail. Under his leadership, the Wellness & Senior Living studio was awarded its first major project in 2000: Crocker Amazon Senior Housing, located in San Francisco. In 2004, the first clinic was awarded to the studio: Native American Health Center, in Oakland.
“His focus on providing housing and healthcare for at-risk populations and the less fortunate among us has been truly inspiring. All of us at SGPA are richer for having worked with him and we will strive to continue the mission for helping others that he has created here at SGPA,” said Stuart Lyle.
During Stuart’s tenure, he led by example with integrity, devotion, and sensitivity. He has focused his career on serving passionate, mission-driven nonprofits that provide housing and medical care to aging, special needs, and safety-net populations.
A registered architect in California and Louisiana, Stuart is also a member of the NCARB and a LEED Accredited Professional. He is the former Board Chair for Resources for Community Development, based in Berkeley.
“In first grade I was committed to becoming a circus clown. But then I received my first set of Legos, and began creating buildings,” said Mr. Stoller. “From that first set, I wanted to be an architect.”
Stuart was determined, and took his first drafting class in 7th grade. “I remember we built balsa wood scale models and I painted mine electric green, ” he said. “My mother was easily upset, but she provided an early lesson in the difficulty of picking building colors for clients.”
Stuart pursued and received a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture with Honors degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Masters of Architecture from the NewSchool of Architecture and Design in San Diego. Stuart recognizes the impact his architectural education at Berkeley in the early 1970s helped shaped his commitment to community and non-profit development, and fondly remembers two classes in particular: one focused on market places for Vietnamese farmers, and one focused on farmworker housing in Watsonville.
“I relish the problem solving of the creation and construction process, and the satisfaction of seeing a creation used for many years. I really appreciate the level of esthetic quality demanded by Bay Area residents and planning agencies, and feel very lucky to have pursued my career here.”
Today, the Wellness and Senior Living studio at SGPA has a portfolio that includes both new and renovated senior housing, affordable housing for families and special needs populations, dementia care and community clinics. The studio specializes in serving community or faith based, non-profit developers and service organizations. We have now completed nearly 1,000 units of new and renovated housing, and 30 community health sites, all in the San Francisco Bay Area. Studio staff understand the intersection of health, wellness and housing for seniors and fragile populations, as well as the complexities and rewards of non-profit development.
“SGPA owes Stuart high praise for his strong mentorship skills in bringing up new leaders in our San Francisco office,” said David Janes, Principal at SGPA. “I’ve always admired how cool, calm and collected Stuart handles pressure and his clever, simply worded responses to solve (major) problems or issues. I will truly miss him in the office as a partner as well as our studio leader working on Senior Housing, Affordable Housing as well as Medical Clinics.”
Senior Associate Alexis Burck has been working closely with Stuart for the last seven years and she will be taking over as the Director of Wellness and Senior Living. She is looking forward to continuing the mission of the Wellness and Senior Living Studio that Stuart has developed here at SGPA.
A look back at some of Stuart’s projects over the last 20 years includes the following:
Lifelong West Berkeley Health Center and Lifelong Ashby Health Center are both completed community clinics in Berkeley. Incorporating highly technical design elements in a creative design, Stuart acted as Principal In Charge on both. Lifelong Ashby Health Center is converted office space with an OSHPD 3-compliant safety net clinic that offers primary health care for adults, women’s and mental health services, HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, and wellness services. Lifelong West Berkeley, a National Historic Register building, has won two prestigious awards. The $8 million remodel includes renovation of the existing space and construction of a three-story addition.
Stuart led the development of the Jack London Gateway Senior Housing, located in Oakland. This award-winning project integrated critically needed housing for a low-income, aging population with a shopping center that provides necessary goods and services for the community. The complex, colorful, mixed-use development infills an underutilized neighborhood shopping center parking lot.
San Jose’s Town Park Towers Senior Apartments Occupied Renovation is a project in construction. A ten story high-rise containing 216 affordable senior apartments, Town Park Towers is undergoing a complete renovation renewing its exterior weather resistant surfaces and all interior surfaces.
Stuart plans to relocate from the Bay Area to New Orleans in the coming months. While Stuart will not be working with day-to-day operations at SGPA anymore, he does plan to contribute to building design and development as he transitions into retirement. “With three grand-babies and a big front porch with six rocking chairs awaiting me in New Orleans, I hope to spend most of my time there,” he says.
For Wellness and Senior Living related inquiries, please contact Alexis Burck.