"To me, design process is an effort of finding a balance. When it is done right, it feels easy and comfortable."
Byung KangSenior Associate, Senior Designer — San Francisco
Byung has an extensive background, with experience in Commercial, Residential, Hospitality, and Healthcare projects. A creator, Byung does not feel architectural design is work, but instead finds joy in the process, from the time of design inception into the development of crucial details while maintaining design intention throughout the CD/CA phases. Great at understanding clients’ needs in terms of time, budget, and design quality, Byung has the ability to infuse excitement into any project.
- Registered Architect, California
- M.Arch, Georgia Institute of Technology
- M.Arch, Korea University, Seoul, Korea
- B.Arch, Korea University, Seoul, Korea
- LEED Accredited Professional
"Travel and experiences shape our perception and create a new and unique vantage in our way of seeing."
Hilary BackmanSenior Associate, Senior Designer, Studio Leader — San Diego
With over 25 years of experience, Hil has designed a range of successful projects in California and abroad. He has been fortunate to design many building types including Residential, Retail, Mixed Use, Senior Living, Hotels, Higher Education, and Creative Offices. Hil has also designed large scale planning projects from Eco-Tourism to Urban Planning.
At SGPA, Hil blends effective communication skills and a flexible approach to design while working with clients, consultants, and colleagues to create special places that resonate with end users. He is also involved with the architectural and planning communities with associations such as ICSC, NIAOP, ULI, and BIA.
Hil’s deep passion and wonder of our built environment inspired him to pursue a career in architecture and design. He enjoys bringing life to the projects, or in other words “taking it from dream to reality.” He enjoys the collaborative process of working with clients as he believes it always deepens and enriches the work. Hil draws his inspiration from past and current architectural masters defining design with mass, texture, light, time and space.
- M.Arch, Dalhousie, Nova Scotia, CA
- B. Environmental Design Studies in Architecture, Dalhousie, Nova Scotia, CA
- B.F.A. Painting and Drawing, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, CA
"There is no solution; seek it lovingly." —Socrates
Justin TholenSenior Associate, Project Manager, Studio Leader — San Francisco
Justin focuses on the coordination and management of projects, from design and permitting to construction administration. He is also responsible for writing agreements and RFCPs, Revit modeling, and document production. Known for his excellent record-keeping and organizational skills, Justin excels at finding solutions to complex problems. He began his career as a drafter at a small father-son firm, moved on to production work at larger corporate firms, and joined SGPA in 2011.
- Registered Architect, California
- B.S. Architectural Studies, University of Utah
"Architecture is the fundamental element of the places we live. It should strive towards enhancing everyone’s life with no explanation from the people that created it."
Norman SearsSenior Associate — San Francisco
With over 25 years of professional experience in master planning, retail, education, and mixed-use, Norman has managed projects throughout the United States, Canada, England, France, Germany, and Japan. His educational background in engineering and environmental design. Norman’s project management style is centered around leadership and communication skills which enable him to resolve challenges and build consensus. This means decisions get made on time and the project progresses according to schedule.
- B.S. Environmental Design, University of California, Davis