Lydia So is a licensed architect, land use, transit and art advisor, who provides solutions for clients through design and economics thinking. She runs her architectural and consulting company, SOLYD, making positive impacts and transit oriented regional economic growth, inclusive cultural heritage historic preservations and public art advocacy.
Lydia moved from Portland, Oregon to San Francisco 22 years ago. After working for corporate America, Lydia founded a local small business to fulfill her immigrant dreams. SOLYD pivoted from a tech start-up to a full service architectural, interior design, art selection and real estate consulting company. Her company curates unique and agile solutions for each client on offices, homes, retail and wellness properties throughout the Bay Area.
Most recently, Lydia was appointed by the Mayor and received unanimous votes from the Board of Supervisors to serve as the Director on the Board of the SF Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA)
. Lydia has lengthy experience in public service, having served as San Francisco City Commissioner for four terms. She was on the Historic Preservation Commission
and its Architectural Review Committee to provide governance to the Planning Department by reviewing and approving complex private and public historical assets and districts, land use legislations and small legacy businesses. Prior to that she served on the Arts Commission and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development.
In 2021, Lydia gave a talk hosted by the AIA SF
at the Golden Gate Park about the historic transformation of the music concourse. She was the Moderator at a forum with community leaders, architects and urban planners to discuss economic resiliency of Chinatown during the Covid pandemic. Lydia was hired as the Chinese cultural consultant to the Paramount film production of the “The Tiger Apprentice”. She was featured on an international TV show with the Smithsonian channel about the history and architecture of SF Chinatown.
Lydia is a juror on numerous design award jury panels, such as the Northern California Historic Preservation Foundation and the California College of the Arts.
Lydia honed her real estate and design skills over 20 years at Apple
; Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
; Bohlin, Cywinski, Jackson
. Her global experience includes the highest sales net revenue electronic store in the world, the tallest skyscraper in Beijing and the world’s first glass spiral staircase in Osaka
. She invented the first 9 Apple stores with Steve Jobs and team. She earned over 35 design awards. She holds a Certificate of Commercial Real Estate Investment at MIT (Executive Education). Business Management Certificate at Apple University. B.Arch and Business Minor at University of Oregon.