Real Estate Design Consultant,
Transit Oriented Architect,
The original creative team to invent the first Apple Stores with Steve Jobs. 20+ years of profound experience in design, real estate, art, contracting and construction. 8+ years of public service in government leadership. Solving problems with design-thinking solutions.
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.
SOLYD Architecture, Management & Design is a minority woman owned company founded in 2016 in San Francisco. It brings innovative ideas and collaborative processes to work with our clients to design high quality, safe and beautiful environments. With 23 years of diverse architecture experience in the San Francisco Bay Area, our approach to design is founded on research and continuous innovations that Have advanced the architecture profession – from retail stores, offices, homes, wellness facilities and public arts.
We create intelligent, functional and flexible spaces that enhance building efficiency and improve the built quality. We work together in a true collaborative platform, delivering projects on-budget and on-schedule. We contribute to our projects in a variety of forms, SOLYD provides architectural and interior design services, real estate / land use consulting, construction management, cost estimate services and art consulting services in the San Francisco Bay Area.
We have extensive experience and good relationships with the San Francisco City agencies, professional engineers and specialists in the industry, contractors, local vendors and distributors, nonprofits and residents which are vital to ensure the project process smoothly to completion.
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Advisor, Board of San Francisco Symphony
Committee Member, BART Business Advisory Council
Art Committee Advisor, Grace Cathedral
Former Board of Directors, Portsmouth Plaza Parking Corporation
Board of Directors, Chinese Historical Society of America
Former Board of Directors, Current Member, American Institute of Architects
Vice President, Asian American Architects & Engineers
Committee Member, Memorial Advisory Committee, San Francisco Mayor’s Office
Member, Lambda Alpha International Land Economics Society
Member, Urban Land Institute
Design Award Juror, Programming Lead, California Preservation Foundation
Former Advisor, Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza