In Plain Sight: Profiles of Inspiring People and Programs
From Brooklyn to the Bay: Stan Moy Architect (Ret.), Founder FMG Architects, Oakland and San Francisco
By Rona Rothenberg, FAIA, 2022 AIA California President
Stanley Yip Moy, Architect (Ret.) devoted his long career to delivering quality, lasting public architecture throughout the Bay Area and California. Stan founded his firm, Finger & Moy Architects in San Francisco with his long-time friend and colleague Ronald Finger, AIA (Ret.). Now FMG Architects of Oakland, the small minority and—currently–woman-owned and managed practice, has had a continuous focus on transportation and civic projects, project management, and meticulous community-focused design.
A first-generation American, Stan was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, proud son of Chinese immigrant parents. His father served honorably in WWII. Stan was an honors student at the Brooklyn Technical High School and then City College of New York, where he earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1966. He started his long and fruitful career with a position at Shreve, Lamb and Harmon Architects in NYC, architect-of-record of the Empire State Building. Clearly, they had high standards and Stan took this ethic to his own practice.
College friends, Stan and Ron Finger, came to California with their wives and founded their practice in the late 1970s. When I graduated from U.C. Berkeley, I took the sound advice to work for a small firm in order to learn how to practice, and gladly accepted Stan’s offer to join him and Ron in their charming 3rd-floor offices at 580 Jackson Street at Columbus
I will always be grateful for the opportunities Stan gave me as a young intern to participate in all phases of a wide variety of interesting projects. These included planning for CalTrans, renovations at the City College of San Francisco, work on a renovation of insurance offices in Chinatown for C. C. Wing–the first Chinese American licensed to practice law in California–and then helping them restore their historic heirloom photographic collection.
I have fond memories of watching the Blue Angels fly through downtown past the Transamerica Pyramid from the roof of their building, talking about the Challenger explosion at work, and then also celebrating the births of Stan’s daughter Meredith, Ron’s son Jonathan, and my son David, all born the same year–1985!
Stan’s generous mentorship impacted many architects who have continued as industry leaders. Those of us who benefitted from Stan’s meticulous practice will never forget his generous impact on the many industry leaders who were positively influenced by him.
Pauline Souza, FAIA, Partner at WRNS Studio; Merideth Marschak, AIA, Principal, Noll & Tam Architects; and I, all worked for Stan early in our careers. Merideth recalled:
“When Stan hired me in early 1986, we both had 4-month-old babies. The firm was young, and so were we. Stan had a tremendous sense of confidence and possibility that he shared with everyone he encountered. He always took the position that the quality of our work was every bit as good as that of the much larger firms we partnered and competed with.
He made the point that the energy and enthusiasm we brought to the projects we pursued would lead us to successful solutions. He seemed absolutely fearless but never arrogant—and we jumped on board.
That energy enabled us to take on projects that were large, complicated, and unique. We worked fiercely hard, but there was always humor and camaraderie in the office.
Stan had a strong desire to ‘give back.’ I think he was the first person I ever heard use that phrase, and he truly meant it. Over the years that I’ve known him, he has always been active in the public realm and generous with his support for emerging A/E firms.”
I continued to marvel at Stan’s contributions over the years. They were numerous and included: an appointment to the California Seismic Safety Commission, his long service as a Member of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and his contributions promoting other architects and minority businesses through the Asian American Architects and Engineers Association.
To our colleague Stan Moy: artist, architect extraordinaire, community leader, husband, brother, son, father and grandfather, athlete, world traveler, gourmand, mentor, friend, and model citizen architect! All we can say is: Bravo for your long career, and thank you!
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