David Hertz FAIA


My connection to Venice: As a young child I have vivid memories of visiting my Great Grandmother who lived in Venice since the 1920’s at 21 Ozone Court just off the Ocean Front Walk.  I grew up going to the Pacific Ocean Park  Pier (POP) right in front of my Great Granmothers apartment,  and remember the last day of operation of POP  which happened to be on my 7th birthday.  I surfed and skated in Venice, in the era of Dogtown in the late 1960’s and 70’s and continue to enjoy it. I have  lived continuously in Venice since 1978, now over (35 years).  I am deeply connected to Venice and it’s future.  I worked with Frank Gehry in the Brooks St. Studio in the early 1980’s and subsequently worked with many of the Venice artists, including Robert Graham, Chuck Arnoldi, De Wain Valentine, and Jean- Michel Basquiat and others.  As a young man, I helped Ray Eames organize the contents of  thier studio at 901 for the Library of Congress.  In 1984, I started my studio, Syndesis, at 1142 West Washington Blvd. (Now Abbot Kinney Blvd.). My 3 children are all born and raised in Venice.

 I evolved my practice working on the small confined lots and within the municipality and community of Venice having realized buildings in most of it’s zones over the last 30 years.  I served on the Land Use and Planning Committee (LUPC ) for several years at the formation of the neighborhood council. I presently serve on the Ad Hoc committee of the (VNC) Venice Neighboorhood Council on Character Scale and Mass, having been invited by a neighboorhood group after sucessfully working with them on a project on the Walk Streets.

I have been involved in many social and community causes in Venice hosting events for the Venice Family Clinic, Venice Community Housing and others. I presently serve on the curatorial committee for the Venice Art Walk, where I have participated since 1984.

My studio is in a 1922 Historic brick building which I restored on Market Street right off the Ocean Front Walk and I feel very fortunate to ride my bike almost exclusively to and from work and to my local projects.

What I do: Father, Husband, Architect. 

What I care about: Having grown up as an environmentalist with a deep concern for nature, my practice over the last 30 years has been devoted to understanding the impacts the built environment has on the natural world.  Whether through education, development of green building products or practice, the work has sought to innovate within the space of green building and sustainability.  As a founding member of the Committee on the Environment  for the American Institute of Architects (AIA COTE ) and its outgrowth the USGBC and LEED, I was involved in the first LEED Platinum Commercial and first LEED Platinum Residential buildings in the Country. Additionally, I have been teaching classes at  SCI-ARC, USC, Art Center and at UCLA on Sustainability for over 25 years.

I’m an expert in: I continue to be involved in the development of Green Building ordinances for several municipalities and have been a member of the Task Force for the Environment for the City of Santa Monica (ETF ) which has been responsible for much of the groundbreaking environmental legislation in the U.S. for over a decade.  In our firm's work we continue to think  outside of the box.  Whether it’s exploration of prefabrication or reuse, repurposing or the integration of state of the art technologies and systems which are integrated into climate responsive efficient and economical buildings, we are acknowledged pioneers in the field. 

I’ve won these cool awards: Distinguished Alumni award from  the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-ARC).  In 2008 I was elected to the prestigious American Institute of Architects, College of Fellows as one of its youngest members in its over 160 year history.  I’ve been widely published and exhibited internationally in places like the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), The Smithsonian Museums of Natural History, the National Building Museum, and the Cooper Hewitt Museum.  My work has been included in the Venice and Instanbul Architectural Biennale’s, where I won the American Architecture Award in 2009 and 2012 respectively.

My role in the hotel: Architect, Dream-Sharer, community builder

Why I’m excited about the hotel: I feel I have an understanding of the character that is Venice and am able to impart in the work an aesthetic and vibe that is appropriate to the area so that the development becomes a welcome part of the community and a draw to visitors alike. Working on the hotel has given me an opportunity to interact and help shape the future of Venice in the best possible way.

Something cool about me:  I still like to surf the Venice Breakwater in front of my studio as often as i can. My home, which I designed and built in 1995 in Venice was used as the primary  house in the TV series, Californication.