photo by Marcus Brooks


Aja Bulla-Richards is a designer living in Los Angeles, CA.  She received both a Master of Architecture and a Master of Landscape Architecture  from the University of Virginia, where she was awarded the ASLA Certificate Honor Award, and Architecture Faculty Awards for Design Excellence and Community Service.

Aja’s design work has focused on the intersection of vast landscape systems with everyday experience. The questions that drive her work revolve around the relationship between that which we perceive as solid and fixed, terra firma, and what we know as dynamic process, such as the hydrolic cycle. Through exploring this juxtaposition, unseen aspects of a place are revealed. This inquiry can involve literally uncovering infrastructure or illuminating ecological processes and cultural narratives.


While in Graduate School, Aja was a TA and RA for several classes and studios, she held a two year position as graduate student mentor for Initiative reCOVER.  She also helped in the formation of the Design Center at the UVA School of Architecture, collaborating with professors and classmates on design proposals for the University grounds.  Before graduate school Aja spent four years learning about every phase of design and construction as the resident designer for Ranta Ling Retreat Center in Sonoma, CA. Since graduation she has worked for ParadoXcity in Berlin Germany , Charlottesville, VA and Los Angeles CA, her projects have included design research, exhibit design & production, and research on urban river corridors under a Design and Health grant from UVA with Professor Jorg Sieweke.


Aja’s ongoing research continues to explore how we can re-imagine and redesign water infrastructure, transforming monofunctional systems into resilient socio-ecological cycles that engage and expand everyday experience, promote alternative cultural practices, and reveal latent ecological processes.


Design Inquiry


Design Inquiry necessitates questioning our role in this world, and a new way of discerning the mechanical paradigm and resulting infrastructure that is now failing us. An understanding of the mindset behind existing cultural landscapes will enable us to re-envision the future of public space in our cities. By intensifying ecological and cultural narratives we can instead reveal invaluable knowledge already inherent in the places we inhabit. Assumptions underlying our daily activities shape the environment we live in. Urban density creates intensified ecosystems and large quantities of waste. These conditions are an opportunity for designing architecture and cultural landscapes of accelerated transformation. This is particularly urgent in the face of global climate change because we are re-defining how we inhabit the earth in hopes of building more resilient cultural and ecological frameworks.