"Architecture stands for hope," declares Alek. "Hope is what I try to express in every project and every detail I work on—to lift the human spirit and serve something larger than itself." Alek calls the profession "a labor of love," something he’s been drawn to since age six. "Architecture has helped me understand and value life at a level not too many professions can do," he suggests. "Everything in life is connected; it is the appreciation of little things that let me lead a richer life every day." Born into a family of artists and architects in Tehran, "I grew up surrounded by paints and brushes," says Alek. "Drawing, painting and sculpting were natural passions ever since I can remember." Today, Alek’s Southern California lifestyle includes an array of interests, from playing the bongos to films like Sleepless in Seattle. "I like the way the movie characterizes the mystical power that makes things happen," he explains. “Hollywood reminds us that the human spirit always prevails."