CDS | Studio | Bio | Giancarlo Renella


Giancarlo Renella has over 20 years of experience in architecture, construction administration, and furniture design. Giancarlo has been involved with institutional, mixed-use, and retail projects with strong participation in graphic communication, construction documentation, and construction administration.

Recent projects include the design/build construction documentation for the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, construction administration on the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, Milan Lofts in Pasadena, Mid-Town Plaza in Los Angeles, and University Village in Seattle. Urban design projects include station area planning for the Vernon Station Area and the Century/Aviation Station Area and a campus master plan for the Dhaka Architecture School in South Asia.

Renella studied at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc). He received a Green Building Certificate from the California State University in Fullerton and a Revit Architecture Certificate from Autodesk. His work has been displayed at the Pacific Design Center.

CDS | Studio | Bio | Ashwini Dhamankar


Ashwini is an urban designer, with several years of experience in architecture, urban design, and planning. Her experience includes planning for the revitalizing of cities by being sensitive to community needs and desires and collaborating with government agencies in India, and other design professionals in order to create new masterplans for metropolitan cities. Ashwini’s recent projects include Transit-Oriented Communities Assets Strategic Plan, Joint Development Exploratory Study and Station Area Planning for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor Transit Oriented Development Strategic Implementation Plan, the Shanghai Zizhu TOD Area Urban Design Plan, and the Hollywood Park Retail complex in the City of Inglewood.

Ms. Dhamankar received her Master of Urban Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design where she received the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Urban Design Thesis. She has a Bachelor of Architecture from NMIMS University in Mumbai, India.

CDS | Studio | Bio | Marisa Lopez


Marisa is an urban designer, with several years of experience in architecture, urban design, and landscape design. Her experience includes planning for the revitalizing of cities through the identification and documentation of cultural assets and collaboration with community groups and other design professionals. Recent projects have included public plazas, urban waterfront restoration, masterplans, and the revival of urban projects. In Los Angeles county, these include the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor Project TOD Implementation Plan, Macarthur Park Station Area Development Feasibility Study, Hollywood Park Mixed-Use Retail Project, and the Transit Oriented Communities Assets Strategic Plan. She has also worked on  the East Shore Staten Island Master Plan in New York which includes a documentation for the 5-mile waterfront on Staten Island’s East Shore in collaboration with the NYC Parks Department.

Ms. Lopez received a Master of Urban Design from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Architecture from Temple University. She is a licensed Code and Zoning representative of the NYC Building Department.

CDS | Studio | Bio | Frank Wolden


Frank Wolden’s creative view of the city has led to his reputation as an artist and an urban philosopher. Frank shares a special creative relationship with City Design Studio where he is often asked to develop and illustrate visionary concepts that guide the application of planning and urban design principles to new projects.

Over the past 20 years, Mr. Wolden has led the design of the major urban projects in the US and abroad. The uniqueness of his approach comes in providing a conceptual foundation and design process for projects that creatively engage architecture in the making of new urban spaces. Frank was the founding principal of City Design at San Diego and founding Principal of Skyport Studio. He is also an adjunct professor at the New School of Architecture and Design bringing an academic perspective to the design and planning of new urban environments.

Mr. Wolden received his Master of Fine Arts degree and Bachelor of Arts degree from San Diego State University. He has served as a guest lecture and design instructor at San Diego State University and the New School of Architecture and Design. Currently, Mr. Wolden is a Fellow at the Institute for Urban Design, a member of the national GSA Design Excellence Peer program and serves on the Urban Land Institute Executive Advisory Committee. He has also served on the National Committee for urban design and regional planning. Mr. Wolden has an extensive history of involvement in local AIA, where he received the prestigious John Nolan Award for Planning Urban Design.

CDS | Studio | Bio | Sijin Sun


Sijin Sun is an urban designer with several years of experience in planning, landscape, and urban design, her experience includes landscape design and terrain analysis for large planning areas in California and China as well as the design of office buildings. Recent projects include the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor Transit Oriented Development Strategic Implementation Plan, the Shanghai Zizhu TOD Area Urban Design Plan, and the Hollywood Park Retail complex in the City of Inglewood as well as urban design analysis for the Decoding Asian Urbanism research project. She previously worked in the Beijing office of Zaha Hadid Architects.

Ms. Sun received her Master of Science in Urban Design from the University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Urban Planning from  Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture. She is a certified LEED AP ND from the US Green Building Council.

CDS | Studio | Bio | Jim Leggitt


Jim Leggitt is a consulting urban designer based in Denver, Colorado who collaborates with City Design Studio in the role of professional illustrator and  urban planner on selected projects. Recent efforts include tradigital renderings for station areas along the West Santa Ana Transit Corridor in Los Angeles County. Other projects include the E-Street Urban Block in the City of San Bernardino.  Jim offers drawing seminars and design visualization workshops at AIA National Conventions, regional and local conferences, universities, architectural firms and allied design professionals throughout North America. Jim has given presentations at three previous Google SketchUp Basecamps. Leggitt authored Drawing Shortcuts: Developing Quick Drawing Skills Using Today’s Technology, published in 2002 and 2010 by John Wiley and Sons, New York. His books have been adopted by over 50 universities and published in three foreign languages.

CDS | Studio | Bio | Bob Shaffer


Robert Shaffer has more than 50 years of experience in a broad range of architectural, urban planning and urban design projects in a wide compass of international and domestic locations.  Bob has expanded the use of historic background, analytic techniques and the latest planning and design technologies. Bob attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where He received his Degrees and then taught “History and Theory of Architecture and Planning” and the Fourth Year Design Studio.  

He is a registered architect in the state of California and has successfully completed many distinguished projects in the U.S., China, Guam, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. After serving in the Peace Corps in Iran, where he developed plans for village development and the urban design basis for the Master Plan for Tehran, Bob led Middle Eastern projects in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, including the Qatar National Development Plan and two new towns, New Doha and Umm Said, both of which are now built.   His discovery of a series of unused urban rights-of-way led to a region-wide conceptual master plan for ribbons of open space throughout the wider urban area of Los Angeles.

CDS | Studio | Bio | Jun Bae


Jun is an Intermediate Architect at City Design Studio responsible for the design, coordination, and management of all project phases. Jun has a wide range of architectural experiences from design to construction in both smaller design-build projects as well as large-scale international projects.  Jun has held integral roles at award-winning firms such as Skidmore Owings and Merrill and Kanner Architects. Jun received his Master of Architecture from Southern California Institute of Architecture and Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Otis College of Art and Design.

CDS | Studio | Bio | Noah Zaccaglini


Noah is an architectural designer, researcher, and urbanist based in southern California. His work focuses on the intersection of high design and community-based development. Originally from the Bay Area, he completed his undergraduate work in urban studies at Vassar College. While at Vassar he conducted extensive field research on the urban and architectural implications of extended civil war in Northern Uganda through the school for international training (SIT) and received honors for his thesis proposing targeted architectural interventions in the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Following this, he studied at UCLA’s school of architecture and urban design where he received his Master’s degree in Architecture and a graduate certificate in Urban Humanities. In addition to working as an architectural designer, he has worked as a researcher for the UCLA based urban think tank cityLAB, a designer for a prominent California public artist, and as a project manager for an innovative LA housing development company.

CDS | Studio | Bio | Sabrina Ahmed


Sabrina Ahmed is Vice President at City Design Studio and holds a Master of Science in Public Administration from California State University, Los Angeles. She received her Bachelor of Law from the University of Dhaka and  began her career under the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh, Honorable Justice A.B.M Khairul Haque. She coordinated research in the adaptation of the California Community Redevelopment Act for potential urban development projects. She also worked briefly at Wells Fargo Bank before bringing her skills to the Studio. Sabrina was the Assistant Editor of the Law Review at the Student Center for Judicial and Political Research at Dhaka and also received a Diploma in Human Rights from Dhaka International University.