FoundationForForm Architecture & Development is a San Diego-based design studio specializing in mixed-use developments, multi-family housing, urban design, custom residential, furniture design, space activation and good fun.
Our team is committed to urban renewal and infill revitalization. We are purposefully focused on areas in most need, and we thrive on opportunities for the collaborative and thoughtful reinvention of a complicated site. By applying a fresh and adventurous twist to basic design principles, we conceive of structural strategies that support the evolutionary goals of a neighborhood.
Mike Burnett has been designing buildings since he was a boy, professionally since 2000, and his career as an award-winning Architect/Developer launched in 2007 with his graduate thesis project, mxd830. The project's design and site-revitalizing qualities were widely acclaimed, and recognized by organizations including the American Institute of Architects, Urban Land Institute and San Diego Architectural Foundation. With mxd830 underway Mike formed Community Collective, a development collaborative focused on building affordable, multi-family, mixed-use, tax-credit projects in redevelopment areas of Southern California cities. He founded FoundationForForm Architecture and Development in 2008. In 2010, Mike was named Young Architect of the Year by the American Institute of Architects, San Diego Chapter. Since then, his projects have been consistently recognized and awarded for their spirited and inspiring sensibilities. Mike is a licensed architect in the state of California. In his "off" hours he teaches graduate studio classes at his alma mater, Woodbury University, where he received his Bachelor of Architecture in 2001 and his Master of Architecture in Real Estate Development in 2006.
Craig Abenilla started his architecture career in New York City in 1997, working on large-scale projects including the Trump World Tower. His growing interest in more intimate spaces was explored with the design of numerous luxury single-family residences and boutique hotels in and around New York. Moving to San Diego in 2000, Craig continued to design high-end contemporary residences before joining forces with Mike Burnett in 2008 and starting FoundationForForm. Craig “is hooked” on infill architecture, and adept at integrating sophisticated design solutions with required economical implementations. Craig holds both a Bachelor of Architecture (1997) and Bachelor of Fine Arts (1996) from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence, Rhode Island.
Robert Gabriel brings a multi-faceted experience and a European aesthetic to FoundationForForm, including over a decade as a project architect of various residential and academic architecture and urban planning projects in The Hague, The Netherlands. Robert attended a 2-year training program for promising young architects at the Royal Dutch Institute of Architects after earning a Master of Science in Architecture from the renowned Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands in 2003.
Jimmy Brunner's passion for housing began as an undergrad at Woodbury University School of Architecture, where he examined the concepts of producing housing for those with limited resources. This culminated with a degree project that challenged and expanded upon the notion of low-cost housing. In 2003, his work was published in Designing the Highline: Ideas for reclaiming 1.5 miles of Manhattan, and in 2004, Jimmy received the AIA San Fernando Valley Architectural Achievement Award for his exploration into “no-cost housing.” From 2007 to 2009, Jimmy served as a committee member for San Diego’s Centre City Development Corporation Downtown Education Task Force. His expertise in Building Information Modeling (BIM) has been a source of consistent improvements in consultant coordination, project visualization and project timelines. Jimmy graduated from Woodbury University in 2004, going on to Syracuse University, where he completed a Master of Architecture research program in 2010, focusing on alternative housing and development strategies/opportunities found within existing policies and codes.
Willis Locke is a native San Diegan whose career in development stems from his interest and education in real estate law. Willis is well versed in real estate contractual issues, financing strategies and taxation implications. His specialty in acquisitions is focused on urban renewal and adaptive re-use in the greater San Diego and Los Angeles regions. Willis obtained a Bachelor of Science in Business from University of San Diego in 2009, and a JD in Real Estate Development from California Western School of Law in 2013.
Jeffrey Umphres began his explorations of space and form early in life through the mediums of Lego and Sculpey before graduating to erector sets and then repeatedly attempting to reverse engineer his father’s lawn mower (though never successfully reproducing/reassembling it). In his teens, showing an aptitude for the arts and mathematics, he was encouraged to participate in the Summer Architecture Workshop at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where he received a merit award for his exceptionally sound toothpick model. He went on to earn his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Oregon in 2009 and subsequently pursue a brief but illustrious career as a staircase designer prior to striking out on his own as an independent lifestyle goods manufacturer. In 2014 he was overtaken by a penchant to investigate alternative architectural practices and housing prototypes which lead him to the Master of Real Estate Development at Woodbury University in San Diego from which he graduated in 2015.