Redefining Cityscapes from London to Los Angeles with Architect Lucy O’Sullivan

Portia Leigh
6 min readNov 15, 2023


Rapt Studio Architect and Lead Designer Lucy O’Sullivan shot by Justin Chen

Though it’s sometimes easy to take for granted, the built environment has a huge impact on our society, culture and well-being. The design and construction of buildings, from corporate offices and shopping centers to individual dwellings, shape the way we go about our daily lives. That’s why it’s important to have highly experienced, incredibly thoughtful architects, designers, and studio leaders, such as Los Angeles-based Lucy O’Sullivan, involved in the shaping of our cities.

With more than 20 years of professional experience, O’Sullivan has left her mark on major cities around the world including Amsterdam, New York, London, Portland and Los Angeles. Currently, she holds the titles of Studio Lead, Technical Lead and Senior Project Architect at Rapt Studio in L.A., a design studio that boasts an impressive roster of clients such as PayPal, Tinder, General Electric, HBO and The North Face.

O’Sullivan wears many hats at Rapt Studio. In addition to working on projects, she builds teams and organizes project resources; handles financial planning and projections; manages contracts, procurement, and schedules; and provides guidance on best practices, technical detailing, and jurisdictional approvals to ensure integrated and streamlined delivery for her clients.

During her time at Rapt Studio, O’Sullivan has worked on a diverse array of projects, which is a testament to her range of capabilities and creativity. One such project she led was the ambitious renovation of 5670 Wilshire, an existing historic 27-story tower in the prominent Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles.

In order to deliver on the client’s desire to bring a sense of community and shared experience to the building’s tenants, O’Sullivan and her team set out to design exciting new entry and lobby experiences, add enhanced amenities such as a conference suite and screening room, make updates to the building’s facade, and upgrade the exterior courtyard and public-facing areas.

Inside the 5670 Wilshire Project (Photo courtesy of Madeline Tolle)

This complex and prominent project demanded clear communication, precise material detailing, and on-site coordination across consultant and contractor teams. The historic status of the 5670 Wilshire property also added an additional layer of complication. O’Sullivan’s proven expertise working landmark buildings was critical for the success of this project, as there were a number of issues to overcome on-site which required quick thinking, level-headedness, and prior experience.

“Understanding the concerns of the contractor and desires of the owner, Lucy continuously provided solutions to difficult problems allowing us to maintain the design intent and advance the construction schedule,” said Reggie Hanna, Senior Vice President of Development and Construction at Rockhill Management. “Quite simply, this project would not have been designed better by another architect, and we would not have been able to construct the project per the timeline and budget goals without Lucy’s leadership.”

The end result for 5670 Wilshire was a stunning renovation which enhanced the building’s location and arrival sequence on the prestigious Miracle Mile, and provided world-class wellness and productivity amenities for tenants. As a result, this project was a finalist for two awards in 2022: the FX* Awards, in the Mixed-Use Development category; and World Interiors News Awards, in the Co-Working Spaces category.

While a day at the office may seem mundane for some, there are companies that invest in inspirational workplaces for their employees. One such client, Entertainment HQ, hired Rapt Studios to create an incredible workplace with the capability to host and entertain within the space. O’Sullivan led this project, which spanned 130,000 square feet across six stories, combined with unique amenities, a planted courtyard, a large hospitality bar and kitchen, and an all-hands area featuring a large staircase to host guests and team members alike.

The Entertainment HQ project presented a number of material development and constructability challenges that required a need for strong specification knowledge, as well as precise coordination with specialist subcontractors for steelwork, concrete, stone, and metalwork. O’Sullivan’s expertise and experience was tapped here, as she reviewed subcontractors and shops, and liaised with the site teams throughout the construction and detailing processes.

Inside Entertainment HQ featuring Lucy O’Sullivan at the top of the stairs (Photo courtesy of Madeline Tolle)

“While this project had to be executed with the highest specification and selection of materials and detailing, balanced with budgetary and time constraints, I enjoy this level of complexity in my work.” said Lucy O’Sullivan. “I’m Incredibly proud to have been part of the thoughtful team that created this impactful and groundbreaking space.”

Entertainment HQ was selected as a finalist for the Interior Design Best of Year Awards 2022, in the Creative Office Finalist category.

Another Rapt Studio project O’Sullivan led from concept to completion was a production studio for Haven Studio (formerly known as Fremantle Studio), a client known for producing shows like The Price is Right, Family Feud, and The X Factor.

In recent years, many Los Angeles-based production studios have moved outside of the more traditional areas for film and television production. In this case, Haven Studio wished to convert an existing warehouse space into a 50,000 square-foot production studio for live television. To address the challenging nature of the space and the highly specialized technical demands of the client, O’Sullivan assembled an integrated team from the outset, consisting of experienced consultants and subcontractors.

“The Haven Studio project presented many challenges, but I truly enjoy solving these types of problems on the job,” said Lucy O’Sullivan. “I always look for opportunities to employ conceptual thinking within seemingly mundane and technical projects.”

O’Sullivan and her team ultimately decided on a “box within a box” approach in order to achieve the client’s desired level of acoustic separation. While there were immense technical difficulties involved separating a new structure from the existing frame, O’Sullivan was able to employ her depth of knowledge from technical, jurisdictional, detailing perspectives to overcome these, as well as additional zoning and permit issues, and deliver the project successfully.

Inside Haven Studio

“From the very beginning of this project, I was extremely impressed at how quickly Lucy keyed into the specific structural needs related to the unique business of television production,” said Daniel Funk, Head of Studio Operations at Haven Studios. “Lucy possesses a special ability to quickly and intuitively understand her client’s needs that I don’t often see in our building partners.”

Whether she’s renovating a historic residence, designing an awe-inspiring workspace, or creating an unconventional production studio, Lucy O’Sullivan brings a high level of expertise, calm and collected demeanor, and ‘can-do’ attitude to every project she’s a part of. O’Sullivan’s presence has proven critical for the diverse and discerning clients of Rapt Studios, and as she continues to live and work in Los Angeles, her positive impact on the city and its inhabitants will only continue to grow as she interfaces more with the city’s built environment. In a fast-moving industry that requires attention to even the most minute of details, it’s imperative to have leaders like Lucy O’Sullivan to guide the way.



Portia Leigh

Portia is a journalist & poet from Los Angeles. You can find her work through №3 Magazine,,, and more.