member stories

Get to know our past participants, their projects, and their experiences with CritRoom!


A community for architects "going digital"

CritRoom is not a VC-backed start-up, and in fact, we are (semi-jokingly) an antithesis of that model. We are first-and-foremost a community. We don't seek "hockey-stick growth." We're not about rapid scaling. At least for now, we are entirely financially self-sustaining (though you'd like to sponsor us, do reach out!). This is essential because we need the quality time and space for meaningful conversations to happen, and to foster authentic relationship building. We strive to uncover possibilities in the intersection between architecture, design, and technology, as well as to harness our collective resources, talents, and design knowledge as we do so.


Cycle 4


You can toggle between our stories and our projects at any time. The described projects will be presented in our virtual Pecha Kucha event on April 11th, 2021 (9:30-11:30am PST).

Senior UX Designer, Acquia

Alison Voghel


I have a varied educational and professional background from Quality Assurance at a SaaS startup to Architecture at an international design firm. From research to the final build and every stage in between, I approach design with a universal lens and with a focus on the user, whether it's for a 40-year city plan or a modal on a mobile application. I have spent the last year making my official transition from Architect to UX Designer and was very lucky that a good friend from architecture school (Andrew Calnen) helped found this group and invited me to participate. It has been instrumental in getting me to where I am now with my design career and has provided the accountability I needed to push my projects forward.

Fullstack Design Developer

Preston Smith


I’m a “designer-that-codes” with experience in both Architecture & BIM Management. By day, I write code as a Senior Fullstack Developer for Canoa Supply. By night, I explore design by crafting and building things both digitally & physically. I joined CritRoom to meet others with similar goals, interests and experiences and it’s been a phenomenal experience. Having my peers push my work further with their feedback have taken my skills to the next level. Would recommend it for anyone looking to advance themselves and work with people with a love of design!

Designer, Researcher, and Program Manager

Zach Vieth


I design digital experiences and human interactions by applying lessons learned from designing urban systems and ecologies in the built environment. As an architect, I was fortunate to participate in and learn from projects in the US, UAE, and China.  As I've pivoted into digital product design and user research over the past year, my process is now through the lens of ‘for whom’ and ‘what problem,' and I scale up my impact through constant iteration and systems thinking. Prioritizing research and strategy before interface design, my specialties now include design operations, program management. I am currently freelancing and actively seeking new work opportunities.

Aspiring VR Designer

Vien Nguyen


I am transitioning into Virtual Reality interaction design. I am fascinated by this emerging medium and hoping to shape how people will use it in the near future. CritRoom offers that same camaraderie that I really enjoyed during the studio days in school, and has been a vital part of my transition from architecture into tech. The speakers sessions widen my perspective on what is possible for someone with my background.

Freelance Designer

Alexis Oh


I feel like I've always lived on the edge of architecture, tethering between built and digital realms. The pandemic gave me the nudge I needed to step into abstract space of tech and embrace this tremendous energy that I've been craving for awhile now. I joined CritRoom to understand my journey but unexpectedly found a community; it feels like belonging to a studio again.

Hybrid Product Designer and Manager, Collov; Co-Founder of CritRoom

Lai-Jing Chu


In 2018, I left a Ph.D. program in architecture at UC Berkeley to find a more practical application of my design and research skills, and I achieved this by moving into digital product design. I co-founded CritRoom with Andrew Calnen a year ago to bring together a community with shared experiences and a passion for multimedia design, and it had open up our world beyond our expectations. To date, I keep CR going because I crave the synergy as much as everyone else.

Cycle 3

More coming soon...

Product Designer at Meet Copper

Francesco Stumpo


During two-cycles of Critroom I was able to hone my digital design skills, grow my product-knowledge and deliver two self-initiated projects alongside a dedicated cohort of peers looking to take their design experiences to the next level. I am a big advocate for building products that offer positive solutions, answer real problems, and are community-based, and couldn’t have done this career pivot without Critroom’s community.

Product Designer at Mentra

Bhavik Mistri


The way we engage with space has become increasingly embedded in our digital interfaces. It is important for me to understand how I can leverage my previous design training in architecture and fine arts towards a digital application. A fascination with HCI and neuroscience has drawn me to UX design processes. Working with CritRoom allowed me to be immersed in a studio environment of other designers who share a common background in architecture. By working with a team from similar walks of life, we found shared parallels in our architectural experiences and the UX design process. The team has been a critical part in my development and foothold within the digital sphere.

Product Designer at Zignal Labs

Kate Kudrya


My background in architecture equipped me with the tools I needed to practice design in the digital realm, but it was my community of peers and mentors, who helped me leverage those tools and successfully transition my career. Critroom has provided the necessary space to share work and exchange ideas with those working toward similar goals, which was instrumental to advancing my design skills and jumpstarting my freelance practice.