Monika Häfelfinger was born in Basel, Switzerland. From 1982 to 1986 she apprenticed at the office of her father, an ETH/ Harvard GSD educated architect, Häfelfinger Architekten in Sissach, Switzerland. In 1987 she moved to Los Angeles to enroll in the undergraduate architecture program at University of Southern California, from which she graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture Degree in 1992 receiving the Robert Allen Rogaff Award. In 1994 she graduated from Columbia University with a Master of Science Degree in Advanced Architectural Design. From 1994 through 1995 she worked for the architectural office of Herzog and de Meuron in Basel, Switzerland, playing a key role in several award winning buildings and competitions. In 1996 she returned to the US, working for DMJM/ Keating on high-rise buildings in Asia before establishing her own design studio later that year. In 2000 she established XTEN Architecture with partner Austin Kelly. Monika Häfelfinger lives in Los Angeles.