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Not built on bricks and mortar alone

Jackson Bell

What initially attracted Roger Chikhani to architecture was his

appreciation for the aesthetics of form, but it wasn’t that of

buildings or landscape. It was for all the beautiful women who seemed


to flock to architecture students.

“When I was in high school, I had friends who were in college and

I would see these architecture guys that had these beards and were

with girls,” said Chikhani, the principal architect at the Luckman


Partnership Inc., which recently relocated to Burbank.

When he became a student, however, he began to question if those

women were relatives because the only dates he had were with the

arduous hours spent completing rigorous study loads.

“I later realized the reason [the older students] had beards was

because they didn’t have time to shave,” Chikhani said.

An employee with the Luckman Partnership since 1980, Chikhani said

he quickly discovered a passion for his work.


“If you look at architecture as a business, you will fail,”

Chikhani said. “You have to put your heart into it.”

Founded in 1950 by Charles Luckman, the firm underwent several

name changes and shifts in business specialties until its current

incarnation as a small, 11-employee agency. Locally, its best-known

accomplishment is the Warner Bros. office building at 3903 W. Olive


Its new focus, which consists of 90% of its business, is community


projects. For example, the company has designed more than 20 YMCAs.

Architectural associate Jean-Claude Chamaa, who can walk his

commute to work in five minutes, said there were several reasons for

the move to Burbank, such as better freeway access than its former

location in West Hollywood and closer proximity to employees’ homes.

But, ultimately, he said Burbank was chosen over Pasadena, Glendale

and the rest of the San Fernando Valley because of its national

recognition, largely due to the entertainment industry.

And with that, the Luckman Partnership hopes to further its

reputation of adaptability.

“A lot of architects have a very specific style and get hired to

design that way,” Chamaa said. “We get hired because we can fit into

a community.”