ARB Biographies

 Peter Baltay.jpg

baltay, peter

Peter Baltay, AIA is the President and principal architect of TOPOS Architects, a Palo Alto based architecture and construction management firm. He has been practicing in Palo Alto since 1995.

Peter holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Washington, a Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University.

In addition to his architectural practice, Peter has served on the Redwood City Architectural Review Board and the San Mateo County Design Review Board. He is also an active member of the Santa Clara Valley chapter of the American Institute of Architects.



David Hirsch.jpg

hirsch, david
My decision to become an architect and to attend The Cooper Union in New York and complete a Master’s degree at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design altered my early career as an architectural photographer. Working and living in New York gave me a broad understanding of this megalopolis’ urban complexities, including its social, political, and physical environment. In my working career, as a principal of several offices I have often been required to present designs to review boards and neighborhood groups. I have always found that the best of these review experiences broadened my understanding of the task and improved the quality of our office’s work. This has led to my conviction that there is a place for an architect to be bold and innovative, but it is equally important to know when to be modest and contextual. Recognizing the importance of these two approaches will be my guide as a member of the ARB to ensure that Palo Alto benefits from a high standard of design and a qualitative improvement to the built environment.



 Grace Lee.jpg

lee, grace

Grace Lee has worked broadly as an architectural, landscape, and urban designer in the Bay Area.  As Adjunct Faculty/Lecturer, she has taught design courses at the University of San Francisco, Stanford University, and the University of California, Berkeley. 

At Carrasco and Associates in Palo Alto, CA., she managed urban design, mixed-use development and multi-family housing projects. She collaborated on landscape architecture and urban planning projects with Hood Design Studio in Oakland and Field Paoli in San Francisco as a LEED Accredited Professional and previously served on the Palo Alto Architectural Review Board.  

She received Masters degrees of Architecture and of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley and Bachelors degrees of Art History and French Literature at Stanford University.



 Alex Lew.jpg

Lew, Alexander

Alex grew up in Palo Alto and attended Crescent Park, Jordan, and Paly.  He graduated from Washington University with Bachelor of Arts and Columbia University with a Master of Architecture.  Alex studied with the late Professor Klaus Herdeg, a critic of the diagrammatic way modern buildings were designed in the United States. Alex worked on an unpublished book on European modern architecture in the concession zones of Chinese cities.

After architecture school, Alex did drafting for David Neuman, Stanford University’s Architect and Planning Director.  Alex learned about the Palo Alto’s ARB, Site and Design, and PC processes while working on several projects for Tony Carrasco in Palo Alto.  He became an associate for Dan Solomon, one of the founders of the Congress of New Urbanism. Alex’s projects included 320-340sf studio apartments for graduate students in Stanford University’s Escondido Village and Holly Park Phase 3, a redevelopment of former low income housing in Seattle into a mixed use, mixed income, transit village as part of HUD’s HOPE VI program. Holly Park won 3 design awards.  Alex is currently designing houses and writing a book on great streets.



 Osma Thompson.jpg

thompson, osma

Having focused her graduate thesis on the slum areas in Mumbai, Osma has developed a passion for design in urban areas, particularly housing and transit. Her Bachelor’s from the UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television complements her Master of Architecture from the California College of the Arts, giving her a unique perspective of architecture as a designed experience and programmatic juxtaposition. She is currently an Associate at DLR Group | Kwan Henmi, where she works on transportation projects, multi-family housing, and education projects.  

Osma is a Palo Alto native, having gone to JLS and Gunn High School.