Steinberg Hart Augments Planning Team with Nicole Friend and Benedetta del Vecchio

LOS ANGELES, Calif (May 21, 2021) – Steinberg Hart today announced the expansion of the higher education planning team with the addition of two key leadership roles. Steinberg Hart is excited to welcome Nicole Friend as Director of Campus Planning and announce the promotion of Benedetta del Vecchio, LEED AP BD+C, LFA, to the position of Planning Director. With Rob Barthelman, Higher Education and Planning Principal, this team will lead the firm’s Higher Education Planning expertise in the areas of campus planning, programming, and facility analysis.

“Building upon Steinberg Hart’s strong foundation of delivering innovative, campus and facilities planning, both Nicole and Benedetta bring important expertise and leadership as we continue to elevate our firmwide planning practice,” said Rob.  Kim Patten, Partner and Higher Education Practice Leader added, “Building upon Steinberg Hart’s strong foundation of delivering master planning and campus planning projects across the nation for clients such as Stanford University, Rutgers University, Whittier College, and numerous community college campuses, Nicole and Benedetta will work closely with our extended higher education team to ensure best-in-class service of our clients and campus communities.”

Joining the firm with over a decade of diverse experience in planning, urban design, and architecture, Nicole brings a wealth of experience in executing planning and design solutions across various scales, conducting in-depth data analysis, and consensus building for college and university clients.  In her role, Nicole will partake in nationwide client development and she will engage firmwide, ensuring the application of strong planning principles across all markets. Prior to joining, Nicole was a Planner & Project Manager at Sasaki, where she cultivated strong, collaborative relationships with her clients, communities, and stakeholders both in the public and private sectors. Her experience encompasses the spectrum of planning from building programming to large scale university master plans and P3 campus developments. Nicole has worked with clients such as University of Nevada Las Vegas, Arizona State University, and University of California San Diego.

Nicole is a member of the Society of College and University Planning (SCUP), the American Planning Association (APA), and Urban Land Institute (ULI), and holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Roger Williams University and a Master of Architecture from the University of Southern California.  Nicole has lectured at institutions such as Harvard University and has served as an advisor for the ULI Hines Student Competition.

Benedetta (Bene) joined Steinberg Hart in 2018 as a Planner, and quickly established herself as an integral member of the firm’s planning practice. Her wealth of expertise in planning highlights a focus on sustainable planning projects, and through her commitment to collaborating with higher education leaders, she has helped to develop socially and ecologically just visions for educational institutions and environments. In her tenure at Steinberg Hart, Benedetta has been instrumental in the innovative planning and delivery of the Firm’s Campus Plans at three colleges of the Los Angeles Community College District, and has worked with clients such as UC Riverside, Gavilan Joint Community College District, and Ventura County Community College District.  In her new role, Bene will lead campus design across the firm’s college planning projects, while assisting in the continued refinement of graphic standards and innovative planning deliverables.

Benedetta holds a Masters of Architecture from ETSAM (Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid) and a Bachelors degree from Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, and is a licensed architect in Italy. She is an active member of the Society of College and University Planning (SCUP), where she recently presented on her experiences in equitable campus planning strategies and processes.