James Trahan AIA

James Trahan AIA was born in Kaplan, Louisiana in 1969. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Louisiana State University and also studied architecture in Sienna, Italy. James graduated with honors and was the recipient of the highest honor bestowed by LSU's College of Architecture, the 1993 Alpha Rho Chi Medal. James holds a certificate from the National Council of Architectural Registration Board and is a registered architect and general contractor in the State of Arizona.

James is the past recipient of the American Institute of Architect’s [AIA] Young Architects Award and has been the past president of both the AIA’s Rio Salado Chapter and the State of Arizona. He is the past treasurer of the Phoenix Art Museum’s Contemporary Forum and current secretary of the Rio Salado Architecture Foundation. 

James is the founder of 180 Degrees Design + Build, an architect-led design and construction firm specializing in modern architecture. 180 Degrees Design + Build's work has been published worldwide and has won numerous design and construction awards. AIA honored them with the Contractor of the Year Award in both 2008 and 2016. 

Trahan has designed and managed educational, religious, recreational, retail, and residential works, and he has built projects in 18 different states. A monograph of the firm's work, Making Architecture, was published in 2019 to complement an exhibition of the same name for Le Musée De Kaplan in his hometown.

Oh, and he makes art.




The Bale series demonstrates the elevation of society’s castoffs to large format art.

James has rescued thousands of pounds of metal from a Phoenix scrapyard, and in these works has combined his love of industrial materials and his passion for art.

The materials were compressed into gigantic ingots, transported to 180’s fablab, cleaned, trimmed, and readied for their next life.  Then, a custom base was crafted for each, lifting these massive chunks of scrap up from the ground, both literally and figuratively.

In Adding Color to Fashion, James created a series of watercolors from discarded magazine prints. 

The images are from The Wall Street Journal Magazine, September 2018 issue entitled: The Power of 10 | Celebrating a Decade of Style. 

James animated the pages in bold colors, giving the fashion shoot a whole new vibe.