Alumni Spotlight: Jason Opp

Jason Opp graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture from Woodbury in 2013. He is currently working as an architectural designer at Gensler in Los Angeles. We caught up with Jason and asked him about his career as a designer and how his studies at Woodbury prepared him for the profession.

Interview with Jason Opp

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishments both personally and professionally?

Personally, one of my greatest accomplishments is going back to college at the age of 35 graduating with honors from the school I had always wanted to attend. The other is my marriage to my wife and best friend Nenna. Professionally, my greatest accomplishment is being a part of the Work 1 studio at Gensler and being able to create some beautiful designs with the team.

What advice would you give to younger alumni or current students who aspire to follow a similar career path?

Believe and invest in the work you produce. Be open and accepting to any and all the critique you can get as it will only make you stronger as a design student and later as an architect/designer and a member of a design team.

What would you say to a prospective student who is considering Woodbury University?

Stop considering and just do it! It will be one of the most trying and rewarding experiences you will ever have in your life. The professors at Woodbury are truly gifted professionals within the community and always make themselves available to their students. In the professional world, having the name Woodbury on your resume carries a lot of weight as firms know how well prepared we are to produce the work that is expected of us. Woodbury is a seemingly small community of amazing individuals but once you are an alumni, you will realize that we can be found working EVERYWHERE!

What is your lasting impression of studying Interior Architecture at Woodbury?

The years I spent at Woodbury were some of the best years of my life, and I look back on them with great admiration. Both the professors and my fellow classmates will always hold a very special place in my heart. I am thankful to the professors who helped shape me as a designer and shared the skills that set me out on my life’s path. I’m also grateful for my classmates – during school we went through some of the most trying times of our lives and came out on top, together. I’m looking forward to keeping the friendships I made during my years at Woodbury for the rest of my life.

How did your time at Woodbury prepare you to pursue your work?

The professors at Woodbury are world class. They were able to get us to see and create design in an entirely different way than we had ever envisioned. I use the same design principles and skills at Gensler today that we were taught in school. Also, the computer programs taught and used at Woodbury are current allowing for a seamless transition from college to the professional world.

What do you like best about working at Gensler?

Right out of college I initially didn’t want to work for a large corporate firm. And yet I found myself at one of the largest corporate architecture and design firms.

Jason Opp Headshot
Jason Opp and his dog Wilbur

The great thing about Gensler is that we are a compilation of many smaller studios that make up the much larger firm. For me the best part about working at Gensler are the people I work closely with on a daily basis. They push me to be better both as a designer and teammate. I am surrounded by creative thinkers, and we are lucky enough to work on amazing projects all over the world.

What projects have you worked on that you’re most proud of?

I had the opportunity to design the interiors for all of the back of house spaces at the Motiongate Theme Park in Dubai. It was a challenge to work on such a large project and coordinate with consultants and other Gensler offices all over the world. The project is currently under construction and set to open later in 2017. I also worked with a small team designing five floors of a downtown office space for the City of Los Angeles, which was nominated for an award at Calibre Design Awards. Currently, I am working on an outdoor mall in Phoenix, Arizona – The Esplanade mall. The project is under construction and scheduled to be completed later in 2017.

See a project image of The Esplanade in the image slider above.

What have been the biggest challenges in your career? Did your experiences at Woodbury help you to overcome any obstacles?

The biggest challenge for me was to begin a second career later in life and pursuing what I have always been passionate about. I had a successful career in real estate until 2008 when the market crashed. Despite the unforeseen career setback I found myself looking at the perfect opportunity to follow my dream of going to architecture school, specifically Woodbury School of Architecture. The people at Woodbury helped me strike a new career path, and I will always be grateful for that.

Describe Woodbury University in 3 words.

Community. Innovative. Self-actualizing.

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