We’re excited to kick off a series of posts introducing some new faces on the Epicenter board!
Todd Erlandson is an designer, educator, and rural advocate living in southern California. Below is a brief interview with Todd about his background, work, and involvement with Epicenter.
Epicenter: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Todd: I grew up on Long Island, New York and studied at Tulane School of Architecture and SCI-Arc in Los Angeles. I’ve always been an avid outdoors person and a builder and maker, both of which I got from my dad who was an aerospace engineer but knew his way around a toolbox. Since graduate school I have been a teacher and practitioner, working with my partner Leigh Hoffman on mission-focused design and helping our clients achieve their vision through architecture and interiors. During the pandemic we pivoted specifically towards non-profit and community-based clients.
E: What’s your connection to rural Utah? Green River specifically?
T: I discovered Green River on a road trip from Los Angeles to Colorado, being the best place for a stop after a 10-hour drive. I stayed at the Robbers Roost and went for a steak at Rays and I was hooked. I got a hold of the Green River newspaper by Fellows Nicole Lavelle and Sarah Baugh and proceeded to meet just about everyone featured, including the owner of the motel, the postmaster and my waitress at the Tamarisk. I knew something was going on and hunted down Epicenter and Maria Sykes whom I had met years ago when I lectured at Auburn University. A few years later I introduced my daughter, Frances to Maria, and she became an Americorps volunteer in 2020 and continued as a specialist through 2022; sharing her time with Epicenter and PACT, working on a 10-year anniversary publication, coordinating the 2022 Summit and running the afterschool program.
E: Where are you from and where do you now live?
T: I’m originally from the East Coast, but came out West to go to graduate school and never left. I live in a neighborhood of Santa Monica called Ocean Park, adjacent to Venice CA. Leigh and I have lived in our house for 28 years, raising Frances and her older brother Jake, but in that time we spent a year and a half in Ticino, Switzerland, a summer in Paris and a year in New Orleans, mostly as a result of teaching opportunities. Our design office, March Studio, is walking distance in a storefront around the corner. We also have an off-the-grid surf shack on the coast of Baja Mexico, between Rosarito and Ensenada, where we love spending quiet time, building things and practicing our Spanish.
E: Do you have a favorite animal, plant, and/or mineral?
T: The fox is my favorite animal. My first name means fox in Middle English, and I like that the fox is known for his cleverness and daring. I am also pretty fond of pronghorn antelope!