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Tour: The Terraces at Los Altos

a Design for Aging Committee Event

Tuesday, January 6, 2015 Noon-1pm

Location: The Terraces at Los Altos373 Pine Lane, Los Altos Ave, Los Altos, CA 94022

Register Here

Free and open to all but please sign up as only 15 participants can be accommodated!

The Design for Aging Committee begin the new year with a tour of a community in Los Altos. The Terraces at Los Altos, is an ABHOW (American Baptist Homes of The West) community. Designed by D2 Architecture, the building to be toured has Memory Support, Assisted Living and a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF).  The focus will be on the SNF which is the only “neighborhood style” design currently in the Bay Area.  The rooms are grouped into 14 bed and 16 bed neighborhoods where the rooms open out into a common living/dining/country kitchen area.  The building is new and also in a well-executed craftsman style.

The tour will be conducted by Russell Mauk, ABHOW Vice President for Design, Construction and Redevelopment.

Pleasanton Program: High Pressure Decorative Laminate

a Pleasanton Program

Thursday, January 22, 2015
Location: Dahlin Group, 5865 Owens DrivePleasanton, CA 94588
All are welcome,  no cost to attend.
Bring your own lunch. Click here to RSVP


This presentation on High Pressure Decorative Laminate examines what HPDL is, the different types of HPDL and how and why it should be used to produce aesthetically pleasing, functional and safe installations.

Learning Objectives

  1. To fully understand what HPDL is and how it was developed (a brief historical overview).
  2. To learn about the process and the raw materials used to produce HPDL.
  3. To learn techniques used to produce HPDL including silk-screening and digital print design.
  4. To learn how and where to fabricate/specify HPDL and how and where not to, therefore allowing a safer and better looking installation.

Vectorworks User Group: Enhanced workflows and Vectorworks 2015

Tuesday, January 13, 2014
Free and open to all.

1.5 CES LU

Making use of the many new features and improvements to existing features in Vectorworks 2015, we will explore how 2D and 3D drawing creation, presentation, and collaboration workflows are significantly enhanced.  Continuing our discussions of the last meeting, our focus will be on Architectural drawings using improved Story, Wall, Stair, Window, Door, features to speed and facilitate the design process, using additional BIM functionality of Callouts, Dimensions, Spaces, Text, and Worksheets for better documentation, and working with the modified Import, Export, and Publish commands to share work with others.

About the Presenters

Peter Thayer – Architect, OAG Architects Inc: Peter has been using Vectorworks/MiniCAD software for over 15 years, providing residential architectural services with his firm in Benicia.

Paul Majka – Principal, Paul Majka Architect Inc: Paul is a seasoned professional in Architecture with over ten years of experience using Vectorworks, and is currently running an architectural practice in San Francisco.

Learning Objectives

  1. See how many of the enhanced features of Vectorworks 2015 can streamline efficiency.
  2. Understand how the use of stories, with levels whether or not associated with design layers can facilitate placement and control of parametric objects.
  3. Learn how to use several significant BIM improvements to enhance the documentation process.
  4. Learn to set Import, Export and Publish command parameters for better collaboration with others.

ArchiCAD User Group: Customizing Schedules in ArchiCAD

Wednesday January 7, 2015
Free and open to all.

1.5 CES LU

In this user group we will review how to create and customize schedules in ArchiCAD for door & window schedules, equipment schedules, finish schedules and LEED calculations.

About the Presenter

Tom Simmons, Allied Member, the founder of ARCHVISTA, Inc, will present at this user group. Tom has spoken at major industry events including EcoBuild, AEC Systems, AIA Desert Practice Conference, AIA Monterey Design Conference and the Dwell Conference. He has authored several books and articles on Building Information Modeling and architectural technologies. Tom has a Masters of Architecture from University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor of Environmental Design from Texas A&M University.

Learning Objectives

1. To understand how to use the ArchiCAD bi-directional interactive schedules
2. To demonstrate how to customize schedules using Schemes
3. To provide an overview of setting up custom criteria and fields for schedule content
4. To illustrate how to produce Door & Window Schedules, Equipment Schedules, Finish Schedules and LEED Calculations


ARE Seminar: Construction Documents and Services I & II

ARE Seminar: Construction Documents and Services I & II
Seminar I: Tuesday, January 20, 2014 6-9pm
Seminar II: Tuesday, January 27, 2014 6-9pm
Location: AIA East Bay, 1405 Clay Street, Oakland, CA 94612
Cost: $40 AIA Members & Employees of Chapter Member Firms / $75 non-members.
Click Here to Register



Robert Williamson, AIA, instructs this two-day ARE Seminar on Construction Documents and Services. This seminar is offered to those looking for a prep seminar in studying for the ARE.

Learning Objectives


Professional Practice Forum: Planning for 2015

Roundtable discussion

Thursday, December 18, 2014
Free, all are welcome

Practice excellence is integral to all we do and the Professional Practice Forum is a roundtable for architectural practitioners to discuss ‘best practice’.

What should we discuss in 2015? Bring a lunch and help us set up the calendar for next year!

ArchNews December 2014

ArchNews December 2014 Out Now! This month’s issue includes:

Project Profile: Fukuji Architecture and Planning Collaborative, Supportive Housing at Alameda Point
President’s Letter: Two Thousand and Fourteen is About Over
Emerging Professionals: Year End Party
Codes: Guards at Operable Windows
CoolTechStuff: Logitech K480 Keyboard
Members in the News: Three Advance to Principle @ELS, Associated Building Supply Inc. Recognized for Industry Excellence, ELS Wins National Historic Preservation Award, HKit Architects Recently Completed Phase V of Lion Creek Crossings
Firm Profile: Variable Projects
Member Profile: Sun Lee, AIA

Click here to download the PDF: ArchNews December 2014

Building Code Issues: Guards at Operable Windows

Guards at Operable Windows
Sections 12013.1 and 8

By Steven R. Winkel, FAIA, CASp and Kerwin Lee, AIA, CASp

Kerwin Lee, AIA, CASp

Kerwin Lee, AIA, CASp

Kerwin Says:

The requirement for the application and use of guards, previously called guardrails, are seldom totally understood by designers and enforcers. The basic intent is to provide fall protection when there is a change in elevation. The general rule is when there is a change in elevation of more than 30 inches, a guard is required.

The requirements for fall protection at operable windows codeshave been longingly debated. We have all heard stories of children falling out of windows. The requirement for protection in the form of guards, made it ways into the code in the 2006 Edition of the International Building Code. It was placed in Section 1405.13.12 Window Sills. To this day few designers even realize that this requirement exists. In the 2013 edition of the code, it has been moved to Section 1013.1 and .8 associated with guards, where it really should be.

The drawing on the right is taken from the book “Significant Changes to the CBC” published by ICC. The drawing outlines the basic dimensional requirements related to when guards are required at operable windows. The basic requirement is when operable windows have openings that are more than 4 inches and are within 36 inches above the interior finish floor and more than 72 inches above the exterior ground level.

I have yet to see a design that has operable windows that require protection install guards in these locations. Most designers choose to avoid installing guards by placing operable windows above the 36 inch interior height. Note that the 36 inch interior height was increased from previous codes, which was 24 inches above the finished interior floor.

There is one possible condition that requires remembering, Section 1029 still requires Emergency Escape and Rescue windows in some R/Residential Occupancies. The sills of such openings are required to be within 44 inches of the interior floor level. As long as the operable rescue window is above 36 inches, protection or guards will not be required.

Guards are never the absolute answer to fall protection. What is in the code may be only providing a false sense of security related to falls. People will still climb guards to get a better view. There have been attempt to codify language to make guards unclimbable (or harder to climb), but there have never be an agreement as to what that language should be.

Editor’s Note: I’ve been told that the above 36” requirement does not apply to single-family- dwellings — verify to be safe.

Member Profile: Sung Lee, AIA

Sung Lee, AIA

Sung Lee, AIA

After graduating from The University of Michigan in Ann ArboMI with Master of Architecture degree, Sung Lee moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1993. He started a professional career with VBN Architects in Oakland, CA. He worked on various types of projects including educational, transportation, commercial and housing facilities. Also, he worked as CAD manager/IT manger to plan network system implementation, standards development, and employee training.

After 12 years with VBN Architects, he joined Eichleay Engineers Inc of California in Concord, CA. He is actively involved in projects in industrial, commercial, cGMP manufacturing and biotech facilities. He has a broad range of expertise with architectural design, code analysis, planning, detailing and construction documentation in various phases of projects, utilizing computer aided design including 3D renderings and graphic design tools.

His architectural design experience includes schematic design to construction documents and construction administration in new and renovation project types.

Firm Profile: Variable Projects


Centennial Chromograph

Variable Projects is an Oakland-based, award-winning design and research office operating at the intersection of architecture, computation, and fabrication. The office’s work explores the rich territories of overlap between contemporary technology and traditional construction methods. Of particular interest is how new modes of design and fabrication can interface with longstanding architectural traditions of craft, materiality, ornament, and pattern. The practice ranges from small architectural projects to public artworks to consultation services in advanced computational design and digital fabrication.

Recent work by Variable Projects include Centennial Chromagraph, a large architectural installation constructed in Rapson Hall at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The structure, which received a 2013 Honor Award from AIA Minnesota, is fabricated from 100 robotically routed plywood ribs and over 8,000 colorful pencils. Built as a centerpiece for the centennial celebrations of UMN’s School of Architecture, the project takes its form and color from data analysis of the history of the school and

Modular Variations Prototype I

Modular Variations Prototype I

its 100 years of alumni. The project reflects a broader interest in data-driven, computational design techniques, and how they can be leveraged

to produce new effects and modes of public engagement. It also demonstrates the office’s commitment to using economical, conventional materials in unconventional ways.

An ongoing research project in the office is Modular Variations, an exploration of the design of

Modular Variations Prototype II

Modular Variations Prototype II

reconfigurable molds for the production of modular masonry units. The project involves developing reconfigurable molds constructed from a set of finite, simple components and capable of producing a large range of variable cast plaster modules that can be stacked into a wall assembly. The first phase of this project resulted in two full-scale, proof-of-concept masonry screen wall prototypes consisting of entirely unique cast modules, each produced from a single, reconfigurable mold.