HGA Welcomes Lisa Matthiessen as National sustainable Design Director


HGA Architects and Engineers is pleased to welcome Lisa Matthiessen, FAIA, LEED Fellow, as Associate Vice President and National Sustainable Design Director.

In this newly created leadership position that reinforces HGA’s commitment to sustainable design, Matthiessen will help shape the firm’s approach to high-performance building design, guide related research, education and marketing efforts, and support industry-leading projects.

“Lisa is a nationally recognized leader in the green building movement,” said Daniel Rectenwald, AIA, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of HGA. “Her considerable experience and insight complement our own expertise, which has grown significantly in recent years—from designing Net Zero and Living Building Challenge projects to developing expertise, tools and resources in resilient design and environmental simulation. We are thrilled to welcome Lisa as we continue this progress and envision a future that supports our strategy to create positive impact through design.”

Matthiessen has more than 25 years’ experience in sustainable design and planning, focusing on architecture and design, engineering and energy-efficient building systems, urban and campus master planning, policy development, and cost management. Throughout her career, she has progressed from designing individual buildings that set new green benchmarks to framing the national dialogue on sustainable design through her work on national committees, associations, and forums. She was an early proponent of the LEED green building rating system by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in the late 1990s, and was instrumental in developing LEED for Healthcare and LEED for Labs.

Among her notable projects are a Net Zero clinical building for Kaiser Permanente; multiple LEED v4 projects at the San Francisco International Airport; and master planning and zero energy/waste/water projects with the California State University system, University of California Santa Barbara, University of California Los Angeles, and Los Angeles School District.

“We are at a tipping point now,” Matthiessen said. “On the one hand, climate change is occurring much faster than predicted, and on the other, the building industry is poised to be able to deliver sustainability across all scales. I am tremendously excited about the opportunity to work with a firm that has such a strong national reputation for design, such passion and commitment to architecture and sustainability, and the internal resources to deliver truly integrated design.”

Matthiessen began her sustainability career when she wrote the guidelines for “The Greening of Bren Hall,” a lab project at the University of California Los Angeles, designed by ZGF, that became one of the first two LEED Platinum certifications and established ZGF as a national leader in sustainable design.

Other significant leadership roles followed.

As Director of Architectural Projects at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, she developed the pro forma for a massive building project, culminating with an architectural competition that attracted international firms. As Associate Principal with Davis Langdon, she directed a 20-person team of sustainability specialists working on projects around the world. As a Partner with Buro Happold Engineering, she led integrated engineering services for high-performance projects. And as Founder and Managing Principal of the Los Angeles office of Integral Group, Matthiessen directed a 24-person team specializing in engineering and sustainability services for high profile master plan and architecture projects.

Most recently before joining HGA, Matthiessen led her own consulting firm, Matthiessen Consulting, where she collaborated with architecture, engineering and construction firms to develop and benchmark sustainable initiatives. During this time, she also worked with Urban Fabrick, providing sustainability consulting at both the building and policy scale.

Matthiessen is past Director of the National Board of Directors for USGBC, where she also served as an inaugural member of the LEED faculty, Chaired the Market Advisory Committee, worked on LEED for Healthcare and LEED for Labs planning committees, and is Founding Member of USGBC Los Angeles.

She currently is a Member of the AIA | Los Angeles Board of Directors, a Director on the AIA California Council, and past Member of the National AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) Advisory Group.

She is a seasoned presenter, having spoken at multiple Greenbuild and AIA National Conventions. Her series of research reports into the cost implications of building green was a game-changer when written while with Davis Langdon beginning in 2004 and subsequently posted on BuildingGreen and the U.S. Green Building Council websites as industry references.

Matthiessen has a Master of Architecture from the University of California Los Angeles and a Bachelor of Arts in History from Stanford University.