StudioThe Team

What’s in a name? Red dots are ubiquitous, from a Bindi to a sold sign for artwork, each one a simple “solution” to complex requirements. Our design approach, akin to the simplicity of a red dot, looks for everyday beauty and meaning, drawing from the Bay Area Tradition, the natural world and an appreciation of craft.

Buildings grow. They absorb the vestiges of life and become places. The more thoughtful, the more spontaneous, the more revered, the more irreverent, the more precise, the more imperfect, the more sublime the place.

It is time to move beyond sustainability. It is time to create design practices that allow abundance- an abundance of clean water through onsite percolation systems, an abundance of light through day-lighting practices, an abundance of air through natural ventilation.

Our process elicits discovery and fun, a synthesis shared among studio, client and construction team. Red Dot Studio believes that the built environment can support, enhance, uplift, enlighten and foster good for people and the community. Our projects are narratives allowing the life that occurs within to continue to shape the space.

PHOTOGRAPHY Thomas Heinser

Publications,  Awards & Exhibits

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Karen Curtiss

Karen Curtiss Principal

Born and raised on the East Coast of the United States, Karen Curtiss studied in Scotland, and then lived in Hungary, before settling in San Francisco.  Her cultural explorations, intellectual pursuits and participation in competitive fencing eventually led her to architecture and inform her unconventional approach to the practice.

Since founding Red Dot Studio in 2005, Karen has championed a design thinking and engagement based on a belief in the profoundness of the prosaic in elevating the human experience and creating spaces imbued with the feeling of good design.

Karen holds an MA in Philosophy from the University of St Andrews in Scotland, an MA in Interior Architecture and a California Architect’s License.

Jackie Adams

Jackie Adams

Jackie has provided integral support to staple San Francisco organizations such as SFMOMA, Project Open Hand, ACLU, Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center and the Community Music Center, in their development and administrative efforts for over fifteen years.

At Community Music Center she was involved with the capital campaign and supported a 95-year-old organization’s goal of expanding its campus and bringing more accessibility to its community of learners and musicians. This experience has reinforced her belief that a well-conceived, creatively-designed and efficiently-produced physical space can bring a community together and increase its inclusivity.

Jackie holds a BA in Fine Arts from San Francisco State University with an emphasis in printmaking and photography.

Lyda Cort

Lyda Cort

Lyda has been working in the design and art world for over 3 decades. With a background in fashion, photo styling, interiors, art and textiles, Lyda is intrigued by textures and colors and the ways they mix and layer in life and space. Working in architecture libraries since 2000, allows her to combine her interest in materials and her affinity to organize.

Lyda holds a MFA in Fiber Arts from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a BS in Fashion Design from the University of Cinncinati School of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning in Ohio. Some of the company’s she has worked with throughout her career include: Esprit de Corp, Levi Strauss, Smith and Hawken, Helly Henson, Lundberg Design, Sagan Piechota Architecture and Boor Bridges Architecture.

Barbora Jakubauskaitė

Barbora Jakubauskaitė

Raised in Lithuania by a family of architects, Barbora Jakubauskaite grew up immersed in a world of functional design and cultural aesthetic. Fueled by her passion, the first of her many compositions stands today in her family’s hometown, a reminder of the value of design in improving the community experience. With a human-centric focus, Barbora creates environments that visually reflect the quintessence of the occupants without compromising on utilitarian aspects.

Prior to joining Red Dot Studio, she worked at Proporcija LP where she served clients across custom residence and commercial building projects. Barbora holds a Master’s in Heritage Protection from Vilnius University, and a Bachelor’s in Architecture from Vilnius Gediminas Technical University.

Henry Gao

Henry Gao

An avid globetrotter, Henry has traveled to over 30 countries for leisure, work, and study abroad. These experiences have provided him with a unique perspective on architecture, design, and life outside of work. He holds a MArch from Cornell University, as well as a Bachelor’s from Carleton University in Canada.

Henry is interested in the intersection of design and storytelling. He has an extensive background in both fine arts as well as rendering and visualization from his training as a designer. With a particular focus on architectural illustration, Henry pursues visual narrative and graphic communication throughout his work. Outside of work, Henry has a special love for teaching and coaching others. He regularly teaches graphic communication workshops and has found this to be a real passion.

Camille Peignet

Camille Peignet

Growing up in France, Camille always dreamed of designing houses and creating spaces according to people’s own habits and dreams. She has worked at interior architecture firms in France and in New York and loves to discover the valued habits of everyday living wherever she travels. To make meaningful spaces, Camille has learned to analyze the users’ needs, to answer them, and to realize the projects at a human scale.

Camille received a Bachelor’s in Interior Architecture and a Master’s in Sustainable Cities from L’École de Design Nantes Atlantique. Her thesis focused on vacant urban spaces, and her project aimed to inhabit them, with the creation of a minimally-sized, livable structure that could be placed in unoccupied commercial spaces.

Alexandra Spautz Waterson

Alexandra Spautz Waterson

Alex was born in the bay area and raised by a biologist and a mechanic. From an early age Alex learned to see the world at multiple scales: from the huge web of social and environmental ecologies, down to the minute details in a small structure.

With each unique project Alex works to infuse the overarching design concept at multiple scales. She finds the most joy in a creative and collaborative design process.

Alex holds a B.A. in Art from UCLA and a M.Arch from California College of the Arts. Her professional experience ranges from urban design, cultural and institutional projects to residential design. Eventually gaining experience in construction administration, seeing ideas come to life, she was inspired to focus on smaller scale and residential architecture.


We are located at the edgy edge of the design district with a great view of a scrap metal yard. Come visit we have plenty of room for guests.