Mia Lehrer + Associates (MLA) is now Studio-MLA. Putting studio first, our new name celebrates our growth, diversity and looks forward to the talented next generation. Expanding on the direction set by founder Mia Lehrer, Studio-MLA will continue to design and advocate for landscapes that inspire human connection, cultural expression, and reverence for nature through landscape architecture, urbanism, and planning.
We believe in the transformative power of landscape design to enhance the livability of urban environments, connect people to natural systems, and create meaningful spaces for recreation, reflection and exploration. Our continued allegiance is to address complex urban issues with creativity, pragmatism and responsibility.
Our 40-person firm includes landscape architects, urban designers, community advocates, botanists, ecologists, and technical experts. Diversity and multiple perspectives add depth and meaning to the collaborative process, allowing us to bring design and implementation expertise to a variety of projects from park master planning to intimate plazas and gardens. Solutions are rooted in client and community engagement and contextual understanding rather than an imposed aesthetic.
About the Founder
The unique value system of Studio-MLA is grounded in that of the founder, Mia Lehrer, who was raised in El Salvador in a family that engaged in community participation and leadership. Her father founded a land conservation and youth camping program aimed at helping disadvantaged youth. Her mother started a microlending program for women in the 1960s. While in the United States to attend Tufts University, Mia was introduced to landscape architecture through a retrospective of Frederick Law Olmsted’s work. She earned her Master of Landscape Architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, and moved to Los Angeles with her husband, architect Michael Lehrer. She entered the profession with a focus on the design of residential gardens, establishing a methodology for her design practice that she would later apply at larger scales and projects that are more complex.
As Mia’s practice and her family grew, she led community initiatives to improve the local schools and volunteered with her children to help the local environment. One of these volunteer activities was the annual La Gran Limpieza river cleanup, hosted by Friends of the Los Angeles River, where she met cofounder Lewis MacAdams. Mia’s design lens eventually gave vision to MacAdams’s dream of making the river accessible to all. The Los Angeles River work is exemplary of how Mia has shaped her firm to balance private work with that which contributes to the community.