Quattrocchi Kwok Architects Marks 35 Years in Business with Commitment to Social Justice

Categorized as Firm News, Press Release
Mark Quattrocchi and Steve Kwok

Santa Rosa, Calif., Aug. 11, 2021 Quattrocchi Kwok Architects (QKA), a leading planning and design firm serving Northern California’s education industry, celebrates its 35th anniversary this month. Headquartered in Santa Rosa and operating a second office in Oakland, the 68-person firm has made an actionable commitment to reviewing and improving its social justice and equity policies and practices through participation in the International Living Future Institute’s (ILFI) JUST 2.0 Program. Last year, QKA employees founded the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council to spearhead social justice initiatives within the firm, including submission for its JUST 2.0 label.

ILFI’s JUST Program is a voluntary disclosure tool for all organizations seeking to become just and equitable. Different than a traditional verification or certification program, JUST provides a transparency platform where policy statements on a number of human resource and community stewardship practices are disclosed. An organization’s resulting JUST “nutrition label” is outlined by 22 specific social and equity indicators that are housed within six general categories: diversity + inclusion, equity, employee health, employee benefit, stewardship and purchasing. Throughout the JUST submission process, QKA’s DEI Council worked to revise and add many firm policies to ensure all are equitable and inclusive. In addition, the Council is currently developing a strategic plan for more inclusive hiring practices, working to set up community outreach to schools to expose underrepresented students to careers in architecture, and has focused on firmwide trainings on topics including diversity and allyship.

“Participating in ILFI’s JUST Program has allowed us to take a truthful and transparent look at how we can best support our employees, clients and community and also do our part to create social change in the industry,” said QKA Principal Aaron Jobson. “We certainly recognize there are areas in which we can greatly improve, as well as those we have already made significant strides in, and we have made a commitment to dedicating time and resources in pursuit of social justice and equity in all facets of our operation. As we celebrate 35 years, we know that success in this endeavor is synonymous to the future success of QKA.”

QKA’s 35-year history has been marked by a passion for designing superior educational spaces. The firm has continually been at the forefront of embracing innovations in design and sustainability, including modern learning environments that adapt to different styles of learning and teaching. Its robust portfolio of award-winning projects include the ambitiously-sustainable American Canyon High School, Marin County’s forward-thinking The Cove School and Historic Alameda High School’s seismic retrofit and restoration. Solutions-oriented, in 2015, QKA co-developed its own school building alternative, Folia. Folia’s pre-engineered buildings are durable, high-quality and flexible, while providing the cost and schedule efficiencies of modular construction. To date, 11 Folia-based buildings have been completed and seven more are currently in the design phase, ultimately saving several Bay Area school districts up to a year per project and millions of dollars.

“Reflecting on the past 35 years and who we are today as a firm, QKA has truly always been focused on people, collaboration and innovation, and delivering great work,” said QKA Founding Principal Mark Quattrocchi, FAIA. “My partner Steve Kwok and I have long-believed that investing in our staff and the culture here will result in partnerships and projects that we can be immensely proud of. This could not be truer today as we look to the future, continuing to grow, improve and learn. I am in awe of QKA’s next generation of leaders as they take us down this path, including the work to obtain and respond to our JUST 2.0 label.”

Also reflecting the significant value QKA places on its employees, at the outset of 2020, the firm became majority employee-owned through the adoption of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP).