Katherine Lambert, AIA, IIDA, is a founding principal of Metropolitan Architectural Practice (MAP) in San Francisco. For the past two decades the mutable environment of architecture, design, digital media, sustainable practices, community engagement, digital media, and visual arts has been the unique nexus of her research and praxis.
Prior to launching MAP, she was a founding partner of FACE (Forum for Architecture and Cultural Engagement), an architectural firm producing nationally award-winning projects for the private and public sectors. As truly reflective of the site specificities afforded by California, these projects ranged from the urban spaces to ranchscapes.
As a principal, she led several key projects ranging from the renovation of Willis Polk, an 18,000-square-feet city residence to the internationally acclaimed Tenderloin Aids Resource Center (TARC) to large-scale commercial spaces, such as Quokka Sports, People Soft, and Own & P Advertising, to historic landmark retail spaces such as 1 Grant Avenue in San Francisco to housing projects and contemporary residences throughout California.
Additional innovative approaches included the design of the large-scale development of the Thornton Ranch agricultural compound in Sonoma, California. This project spanned from 1988 to 1998 and employed pioneering sustainable construction methods in rammed earth, straw bale, water reclamation, and reclaimed lumber. Additional development on this working ranch included several outbuildings, indigenous plant restoration, organic gardens, olive groves, and vineyards.
The projects types Lambert was involved with were so innovative at the time that her firm literally contributed to authoring new building codes in Sonoma that addressed systemic issues related to sustainable building principles such as structural rammed earth.
She authored “Dirt Manifesto” in 1993, published in Architecture magazine as a call to the profession to prioritize sustainable practices as a basic tenet of all architectural projects.
Since the 1990s her emphasis has embraced the cross-disciplinary realm afforded by the intersection of architectural and design practices with digital and media practices. Its emphasis is on locative-based digital applications as they relate to 21st century urban and nomadic existence.
One such project, I-5 Passing, premiered at the San Jose Museum of Art's Edge Conditions international exhibition in 2006. She is also a consulting producer on 1000 Sq. Ft., a documentary film and media project revealing the little-known story of midcentury Los Angeles architect Gregory Ain. The film, currently in development, has earned the support of the Sundance Producer’s Institute and the AIA’s Architecture in the City Festival.
Professor Lambert’s projects have been widely published in journals and periodicals such as Architecture, Progressive Architecture, Architectural Record, I.D., Metropolis, and Interior Design. Her work has been the recipient of numerous awards, and she has lectured extensively, including presentations at international conferences.
Her work resides in the collections of the Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada; the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Quebec City; the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Dia Foundation, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
She has served on the boards of trustees of the San Francisco Art Institute and Theatre Artaud in San Francisco.
Currently, with MAP, Lambert is continuing to design urban and rural architectural projects that advance innovative design and sustainable building practices.