Birthplaces: Los Angeles, California & Salinas, California
Positions: President & Vice-President of Tetra Design
Bob and Blossom Uyeda are a unique pair in the field of architecture. As man and wife the two run Tetra Design, an architectural and planning firm in Los Angeles. “We are both products of Japanese immigrants from the pre-World War I era,” says Bob. “Those immigrants came to the U.S. feeling the excitment of a new land, hopes for the future and the belief that hard work would enable them to fulfill their dreams to return home. Ironically, the U.S. became their home, the country where they established their roots.”
Both Bob and Blossom studied at USC where Bob received his Bachelor of Architecture and Blossom received her master’s degree. Bob went on to work for a small Seattle architectural firm where he diligently put to action the skills he’d learned at USC. From the Pacific Northwest, Bob ventured cross country to Boston where he worked closely on a pro bono advocacy basis with the city’s Chinese community. He also teamed with the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency to bring together Boston’s various inner city ethnic communities.
“Those were exciting times for a young architect.” say Bob of his early years in the field. There, Bob had the opportunity to “consider the architect’s role in society, how one could make a difference, to be truthful, sincere and to persevere.”
Seven years in Boston was enough, however. In 1975 he came back to Los Angeles where he and Blossom pooled their skills and energies to form Tetra Design. Blossom ran the company business and marketing operations while Bob focused his design and planning skills.
Their expertise and team effort served them well as Tetra Design quickly became one of the leading architectural firms in southern California.
Perhaps the company’s most noted contribution to the L.A. landscape is its recent renovation of the historic Angel’s Flight Funicular downtown. But the Uyeda’s are quick to praise the company’s team efforts in any project, large or small. “Everyone shares in the satisfaction of successfully reaching the goal together,” says Bob.
Much of Tetra’s success has been the result of its management philosophy, the “Tetra” philosophy—a four-prong concept that utilizes teamwork, responsiveness to client needs, design excellence and a positive partnership between client and company.
Successful husband/wife partnerships are indeed rare, but the Uyedas offer this advice to all professionals, new and established: “Enter a field that excites you. A field or industry that fascinates you and which will afford you the endurance and commitment necessary to succeed. Nothing replaces a clear vision of what you want out of life.”