STUDIO SHIFT is a multidisciplinary architecture and design practice whose ethos derives from a commitment to progressive design and methodology, education and a belief that architecture can enhance individual and collective experience and quality of life. Established in 2004, the Santa Monica based firm evolved from a strong design sensibility with an interest in contemporary culture, architecture, and the urban environment providing a foundation for the work.

STUDIO SHIFT has completed a substantial body of residential, commercial, cultural, educational and master planning work throughout the world. The firm brings extensive international experience to every endeavor having completed numerous projects across the United States, Asia and Europe. This substantial experience completing complex projects globally allows the studio to approach any project, regardless of type, scale or program with innovative and pragmatic solutions.

STUDIO SHIFT'S designs are inventive and expressive, emphasizing evocative spatial qualities and material experimentation. The firm produces architecture that responds effectively to the unique requirements of each client, site and program as well as the relevant social, cultural, and political context of a project.

STUDIO SHIFT is committed to contributing to a contemporary social, cultural and political discourse through architecture, research, criticism and education. In addition to architectural practice, firm principal, Mario Cipresso maintains a teaching position at the University of Southern California and is editor of the popular online architectural resource, Death By Architecture (, which he founded in 1995.



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Mario Cipresso is founder and president of Santa Monica based architecture firm, Studio Shift. Formed in 2004, Studio Shift is a critical practice with a commitment to challenging convention and producing innovative architecture through rigorous analysis and advanced design methodologies. Prior to Studio Shift, Mario worked as a lead designer alongside Pritzker Prize winning architect, Thom Mayne at Morphosis.

While with Morphosis, Mario contributed to many of the firm’s most innovative and notable projects both nationally and internationally. Recently reaching completion is the progressive Giant Interactive Group Headquarters in Shanghai, China for which Mario was the lead designer and project architect. The project introduces a novel model for what a corporate headquarters can be by integrating sustainable concepts and innovatively combining work and recreation/hospitality programs. Large scale urban planning and design projects for which Mario was responsible include the Penang Turf Club in Malaysia and East Darling Harbor in Sydney, Australia among others.

At Studio Shift, Mario has lead the firm in a broad scale and variety of projects such as the competition winning scheme for the Miyi Cultural Tower and Masterplan project and the honorable-mention winning scheme for the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control. More recent projects include an invited competition in Kuala Lumpur for a mixed-use tower reaching over 280m tall combining apartments, hotel, retail and office space, and an interactive recreation-based retail center alongside an aquatic resort in Sichuan Province, China. Smaller scale single-family residential projects include the progressive Tran Residence in Los Angeles and the renovation and extension of the Palisades House.

A licensed architect in California, Illinois and Colorado, Mario’s design work has been exhibited and published extensively. In addition to his work as a practitioner, Mario maintains a commitment to education and to the critical discourse of contemporary architecture, design and culture. He currently teaches architectural design at the University of Southern California and serves as editor-in-chief of the online architectural forum, Death By Architecture, which he founded in 1995.