Architectural Review Board Biographies

Peter Baltay


Peter Baltay, AIA is the President and principal architect of TOPOS Architects, a Palo Alto based architecture and construction management firm. He has been practicing in Palo Alto since 1995.

Peter holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Washington, a Master of Science in Civil Engineering degree and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University.

In addition to his architectural practice, Peter has served on the Redwood City Architectural Review Board and the San Mateo County Design Review Board. He is also an active member of the Santa Clara Valley chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Wynne Furth

FURTH, Wynne

Wynne studied economics at Stanford and law at Harvard.  She and her husband moved back to Downtown North in 1999 after a thirty-two year absence.  During those years, after spending time in Fiji researching dispute resolution and at the University of California studying “law and society,” she was in private practice for twenty five years in Southern California.   Her practice focused on municipal law (she was the City Attorney of Claremont) and representing colleges and universities.  Her specialty within municipal law was land use and environmental law.   

Between 1998 and 2006, she worked in the Palo Alto City Attorney’s office, advising the Department of Planning and Community Environment as well as the “underground” (water, gas and waste water) utilities. She then joined McDonough, Holland and Allen’s Oakland office.   

She currently consults for ChangeLab Solutions, a non-profit that researches and drafts model laws and policies supportive of public health. She is a gardener and former volunteer at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens (the largest botanic garden in the world dedicated to California native plants) and former Filoli weeder.

David Hirsch


My decision to become an architect and to attend The Cooper Union in New York and complete a Master’s degree at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design altered my early career as an architectural photographer. Working and living in New York gave me a broad understanding of this megalopolis’ urban complexities, including its social, political, and physical environment. In my working career, as a principal of several offices I have often been required to present designs to review boards and neighborhood groups. I have always found that the best of these review experiences broadened my understanding of the task and improved the quality of our office’s work. This has led to my conviction that there is a place for an architect to be bold and innovative, but it is equally important to know when to be modest and contextual. Recognizing the importance of these two approaches will be my guide as a member of the ARB to ensure that Palo Alto benefits from a high standard of design and a qualitative improvement to the built environment.

Alexander Lew

LEW, Alexander

Alex has served on the Architectural Review Board for 8 years (2.5 terms completed).

Alex grew up in Palo Alto and attended Crescent Park, Jordan, and Paly.  He graduated from Washington University with Bachelor of Arts and Columbia University with a Master of Architecture.  Alex studied with the late Professor Klaus Herdeg, a critic of the diagrammatic way modern buildings were designed in the United States. Alex worked on an unpublished book on European modern architecture in the concession zones of Chinese cities.

After architecture school, Alex did drafting for David Neuman, Stanford University’s Architect and Planning Director.  Alex learned about the Palo Alto’s ARB, Site and Design, and PC processes while working on several projects for Tony Carrasco in Palo Alto.  He became an associate for Dan Solomon, one of the founders of the Congress of New Urbanism. Alex’s projects included 320-340sf studio apartments for graduate students in Stanford University’s Escondido Village and Holly Park Phase 3, a redevelopment of former low income housing in Seattle into a mixed use, mixed income, transit village as part of HUD’s HOPE VI program. Holly Park won 3 design awards.  Alex is currently designing houses and writing a book on great streets.

Osma Thompson


Biography not yet available.

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