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GOING for the GOLD Danielian Associates Keeps it LEED

Danielian Associates has had a long-standing committed relationship to innovation and sustainability – and will continue that pursuit into 2019

By Abby Pittman

This year Danielian Associates celebrated their 50th anniversary of successful business.

After much consideration, and scouring the polls for reader votes, Danielian Associates has been voted Green Home Builder Magazine’s Architect of the Year. With a longstanding commitment to sustainability, Danielian has built a multitude of projects to LEED and Net Zero standards. “Since the firm was started in 1968, sustainability has been at the core of our architecture and design philosophy,” President of Danielian Associates John Danielian said. “The relationship between [Danielian Associates’] planning and architecture studios has been instrumental in creating great communities that trend lightly.”

Art & John Danielian.jpg
On the left: Arthur Danielian founded Danielian Associates in 1968, and has led the DA Team to a 50 year history of award-winning residential architecture. On the right: John Danielian is President of Danielian Associates and is continuing the Danielian legacy of high quality architectural services.

“In the early 90s, we created Home 2000 which featured many innovative sustainability concepts for its time,” Danielian explained. “Our work with NAHB for The New American Home in Las Vegas, and also with Peninsula Publishing’s ABC Green Home series, has helped us further hone our skills. This experience has helped us design and deliver more environmentally sensitive and sustainable homes to our production builder clients. Danielian Associates was also the first architectural firm to be certified by the Wellness Within Your Walls program and worked alongside founder Jillian Pritchard Cooke on the ABC Green House 3.0, ensuring that the inside of the home was as healthy as possible for its future residents.”

Danielian Associates continues to put forth great projects that are environmentally friendly, and healthy for its residents – this year, Danielian launched alongside Coachella Valley Housing Coalition and the U.S. Veterans Initiative, the March Veteran Village project in Riverside, California. “We are very passionate about affordable housing in general, but to be able to provide housing and supportive services to those who served our country is truly a special honor,” Director of Marketing Cassie Cherry said. “The icing on the cake was having this project achieve LEED Gold level certification in June 2018.”

So far, Danielian Associates has completed two buildings within the larger March Veterans Village campus and has begun construction on the third building. This past summer, residents were able to move into the building, and are already taking advantage of the resources and supportive services currently available to them. According to Cherry, when built out, this campus will help ensure the transition from military to civilian life is as smooth as possible and will provide three different levels of programming: The Veterans in Progress (VIP) program will provide short-term housing with onsite counseling for high risk veterans, the efficiency program will provide housing for veterans in need of job services and affordable housing, and a family program to help veterans with families transition back into the work force. The iconic wing element in the central building serves as a focal point to the campus and pays homage to its relationship to the historic March Air Force Base – a recognition of service and patriotism alongside a symbolic nod to resurgence and flight. “The Danielian team focuses on creating memorable spaces with a keen sense of place, connectivity to the environment, and a dynamic street scene,” Cherry said.

anielian provided the Gold Nugget Award Winning architecutre for the ABC Green Home 3.0 project developed by Green Home Builder Magazine.

This year Danielian also debuted and trademarked the “Undertainment Floor” in the Lennar development of Altair Irvine. “The courtyard basements that we recently designed for Lennar represent another way of generating density and maximizing land use,” Cherry explained. “With land constraints from both a sustainability and an affordability standpoint, this is one more tool that we can use as a design and planning firm to deliver sufficient square footage and maximize private outdoor space within small lot configurations.”

Finding innovative approaches to current dilemmas is key to progress with the current state of the industry: “We face the same challenges that our clients face,” Cherry explained. “Making projects pencil, labor shortages, land cost issues, affordability challenges, etc. all trickle down to planning and architecture. We are constantly sharpening our pencils to design ways that help our clients build smarter and be more efficient while providing great living experiences that future homeowners can personalize and make their own.”

In 2018 Danielian debuted and trademarked the “Undertainment Floor” in the Lennar development of Altair Irvine. This space generates maximizes land use to deliver sufficient square footage in a small lot configuration.

“One of the most important tools we have as a firm to help solve these challenges is our inhouse R&D studio – the iDA Lab™ (IDEA Lab),” Cherry continued. “Here we challenge conventions, find better ways, anticipate unmet needs, create sustainability and resilience, and ideally find ‘what is next’. Our number one goal is to take innovative concepts and adapt them into opportunities for real world application and production homebuilding. The team could be researching a new building system that can reduce labor costs, planning ideas that drive density while maintaining space and privacy, or architecture solutions that yield greater sustainability and allow homes to live better. We do this as a service to our clients and also to keep our team in passionate pursuit of pushing the envelope of residential design.”

Normally things start too slow as the holidays come around, but to date the Danielian studios haven’t slowed down a bit. There are many exciting projects already in the works for the team in 2019.

Set to break ground in 2019, Danielian is working on a project in Koreatown for a 10-story boutique hotel / apartment project with 20,000 square footage of ground floor retail space.

Something particularly exciting that Danielian Associates is starting to work on is a project that will become the largest net-zero community in California. According to Cherry, this project will utilize micro-grid technology and will allow residents to be energy independent and more sustainable. Similar to the Undertainment floor concept, “Our architecture and planning studios have been collaborating on designs that yield greater densities and still provide privacy and extraordinary living experiences for residences,” Cherry said. “We are looking forward to moving forward with some of our iDA Lab™ concepts into production housing next year. There are also some great attainable homes we are targeting for first time homebuyers that we’ll break ground on in 2019 [as well as] some fantastic mixed-use projects. One of our bigger projects set to break ground is a 10-story boutique hotel / apartment project with 20,000 SF of ground floor retail in the heart of Koreatown.” A successful 2018 will lead into a busy 2019 for Danielian Associates, and the firm will continue to create innovative, energy efficient projects to the highest standard.

This year Danielian Associates, Coachella Valley Housing Coalition and the U.S. Veterans Initiative, debuted the March Veteran Village project in Riverside, CA.

As the Architect of the Year, President John Danielian wanted to say: “Thank you to our many clients, colleagues, and industry friends that have supported Danielian Associates throughout the years. We have truly been humbled by the outpouring well wishes and congratulatory thoughts over the past few months as we celebrated 50 years in business. It is our honor to have helped play a role in the successes of so many projects throughout our firm’s history, and we look forward to working with many more of you in the future with a new generation of leadership here at Danielian.” For more information on Danielian Associates, please visit

Abby Pittman is the Editor of Green Home Builder Magazine. She may be reached at

To view this feature in the magazine, please click here.


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