Yvonne Riggie founded YR Architecture + Design in 2013, combining her interests and knowledge in design, construction, business, and entrepreneurialism. Prior to starting YRa+d, Yvonne worked for seven years at the award-winning firm, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, where she worked on projects of various scales, including the Newport Beach Civic Center + Park and various Apple Computer Stores. She also interned at Phillips/Sekanick Architects for three years while in school.
Yvonne is very passionate about social responsibility, volunteerism, and helping others. She volunteers extensively with Habitat for Humanity, both locally and globally, where she has satisfies her passion for helping those with fewer resources. In 2016 she launched the OpenDoor, an educational platform empowering and inspiring everyday people to apply good design principles to the spaces they inhabit. It’s designed for budget-conscious people who have a project in mind but don’t know where to start or if they can even afford it. It’s a way to make architecture more accessible, a social mission Yvonne is passionate about undertaking.
Through her work and volunteering endeavors, Yvonne has experience in various project types, in domestic and international locations, with high-profile clients requiring a high level of design rigor and with humanitarian non-profit groups tasked with providing basic shelter. It is these diverse exposures to many different cultures and ways of life that have given her a unique understanding, empathy, and appreciation for the human condition, all of which deeply inspire her thoughts on architecture today.
Yvonne grew up in West Virginia in a home initially built by her grandfather and later enlarged by her parents. From an early age, she was involved in construction, getting involved in projects when she could. She holds a MArch and MBA from Kent State University. She is a licensed architect in California, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio and is a LEED Accredited Professional with a specialty in Building Design and Construction.
When Yvonne is not working, she enjoys traveling the world, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying the simple things in life.
Other Interesting Facts
1. I’m frugal and a minimalist.
(I live a modest, simple life, and am mindful of how I spend money. I choose to spend it on experiences and people rather than coffee, beer, or designer clothes.)
2. I can weave bamboo to make a house.
(Its true, I learned bamboo weaving in southern Nepal while volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. We built two houses by weaving bamboo strands together then covering the walls with “plaster”, a mixture of mud, cow dung, straw, and water.)
3. I love playing sports, exercise, and being active not just to stay healthy, but also for mental clarity.
(In the hustle and bustle of today’s society, work and life can be a non-stop roller coaster ride – noisy, busy, fast-paced, and filled with highs and lows. To level it out, I like to unwind and unplug with exercise. My favorites are flag football, racquetball, piyo, and dodgeball. – Dodge, dip, dive, duck, dodge!)
4. I’m a fan of life-long learning.
(I love learning new things. I’d stay in school forever if I didn’t’ have to make a living. I’m currently taking construction management classes right now for my own continuing education and to eventually do some Design Build work.)