Our New Associate, Chris Avanzino

Brian Lefholz

May 30, 2022

Recently, Dreyfuss + Blackford welcomed Chris Avanzino as our newest Associate in the firm. Chris has a passion for creating spaces for people. Empathy, and a curiosity drives that passion. He understands that architecture is for people and strives to create spaces that are meaningful for the those who use them. He has a wonderful balance in understanding the vision of the project with the rigor required to execute the most complex design solutions. He also knows that the devil is in the details. Whether he is working through simple solutions to complex problems or baking a perfect loaf of sourdough, he knows that details make or break the outcome of an endeavor.

Chris understands not just what we do, but who we are. He is an integral part of our culture and is always looking for opportunities to bring more voices to the table. He has a natural ability to remain calm in moments of chaos and is a steady mentor to many of our newer staff. We appreciate all Chris brings to our office, even his crazy wild socks, even his odd love of sour candy, and even his recording studio style microphone which gives him an unfair velvety smooth baritone voice during virtual meetings.

What is the proudest moment in your career so far?

The proudest moment in my career so far would probably be bringing my son to the topping out ceremony for the County of Santa Clara Animal Services Center. It was a project I worked on, and was extremely proud of all the way through. Being able to share that moment with my son was really special. A close second is getting my Architect license.

Chris’s son, Rowan, at the topping out ceremony for the County of Santa Clara Animal Services Center; he even signed the beam.

Where would you be right now if you had zero obligations and money didn’t matter?

Without obligation or monetary constraints, I would love to be somewhere new with my family where I can just exist. Being able to turn off is something I have a hard time doing sometimes, so when I am able to do so, I love being places where I have no plans, obligations, or stresses, so that I can just take in everything that is in front of me, but almost retaining nothing. The calmness that arises from that level of clarity is something I always look forward to.

Is there any experience you think everyone should be required to have? What is it?

I believe that everyone should volunteer. Helping those less fortunate is a valuable experience that everyone can learn a great deal from.

What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?

Before I was an architect, I worked at Costco for eight years. Primarily, I was a cashier. I had a manager who I always looked up to, and whenever I would address him, I would call him “sir” out of respect for him and his position. One day after I called him sir, he turned to me and said “don’t call me sir, I work for you.” It clearly was not intended at the time as advice, but it has really stuck with me all these years. It’s really about being a team player and everyone doing what they can to help the people who rely on them, at both ends of the leadership spectrum.

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