The Solar Decathalon Needs YOU!

Susi Marzuola, AIA Chapter President1

Hello Members of AIA East Bay!

Is it really February already? A belated happy new year to you all. 

I am very excited to be part of our thriving and growing East Bay architectural community, and honored for the opportunity to serve as your AIA East Bay Chapter President. My job, as I see it, is to help keep our local chapter relevant to you and the work you do in our field. Previous presidents Malvin Whang, AIA, Jeremiah Tolbert, AIA and Andre Ptaszynski, AIA are indeed hard acts to follow. They are also excellent mentors. Add to that a fearless Executive Director Sidney Sweeney, the unflappable Secretary/Treasurer Doug Frazier and dedicated board members and committee chairs, and I believe your local chapter is in good hands.

This year we will shine a bright spotlight on design excellence – beautiful, purposeful, sustainable and healthful places designed for people. A special thanks to the panelists of our first monthly program Oakland Planning Director Rachel Flynn, AIA, Pyatok Principal Peter Waller, AIA and Gensler Oakland Principal Doug Wittnebel, AIA – for kicking off the discussion, focusing on the design of places to live and work in Downtown Oakland (Wednesday, February 3).

On the special project front, I am particularly excited about AIA East Bay’s involvement in the first ever UCB Solar Decathlon Team. The Solar Decathlon, now in its 14th year, is a biannual competition sponsored by the Department of Energy. The challenge for the 16 selected American and European university teams is to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive. The buildings will be assembled on a yet-to-be announced competition site in Fall of 2017 to showcase integrated sustainable design and new technologies, and to help accelerate the adoption of energy-efficient products and design. Please contact team leader Sam Durkin, AIA at for more information. The UCB Solar Decathlon Team would love your help and guidance. Lastly, Sidney and the board used our annual retreat in January to lay out a year of programs, events, roundtables and forums that:

■ build on the on the work of previous boards and presidents
■ support our broad range of members from recent graduates to established architects
■ demonstrate to the public how our work makes a difference in their lives
■ partner with other chapters and affiliated organizations.

I am looking forward to a very busy and stimulating year. I invite you to let us know how we can make this chapter more your chapter.

Carry on!

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