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Members in the News

newsSwatt I Miers Architects earns Design Award

Swatt | Miers Architects earns the Honor Award for Design Excellence in Residential Architecture ‘Large Site’ for the ARA House in Atherton, CA. This award was given by AIA San Mateo County Chapter on November 3, 2016.

Alexander Jermyn Architecture earns award

Alexander Jermyn Architecture is an Architectural Record 2016 Design Vanguard Recipient. Since 2000, Design Vanguard has showcased emerging architects from around the world. For this program, RECORD looks at firms established no more than 10 years ago that are demonstrating inventive approaches to shap-ing the built environment. Unlike some years past, when young architects were still coping with the economic downturn, this year’s winners have a robust body of built work and are making a big impact on the places where they practice.

Siegel & Strain Honored for Outstanding Contribution to Community

Siegel & Strain Architects receives an AIA San Francisco Community Alliance Award, the Firm Achievement Award, given in recognition of “outstanding contributions to the community, advancement of the profession, and for producing distinguished architecture.” The AIA San Francisco Community Alliance Awards celebrate the accomplishments of its awards recipients and the nonprofit community to make San Francisco and Northern California a beautiful, affordable, and resilient place for all.

CoolTechStuff: 1001 bit Pro

Larry Mortimer, AIA

If you use SketchUp, here’s an inexpensive architectural plug-in that you should have in your tool box.


What Does It Do:1001 bit Pro is a plug-in for SketchUp that allows you to easily create parametric objects such as foundations, walls, columns and roofs. It also has a number of tools to manipulate primitive objects.

System Requirements: SketchUp on any platform.

What does it cost: $48 (Proversion), but you can test it free for 30 days. There is also a standard version that is free.tech4

How Does it Work: 1001 bit Pro is a ruby script plug-in that adds over 49 additional tools to SketchUp. Some of the tools augment your ability to manipulate primitives, such as slicing an object along a plane or extending the face of a surface to meet another surface. It’s real power however is in creating parametric architectural objects, such as foundations, walls, windows, doors, stairs, roof planes, framing, cut & fill and more. tech3

Pros: It’s inexpensive, yet very powerful and easy to use. It works in both metric and feet/ inches and has an extensive User Guide.

Cons: You must already have SketchUp.

Conclusion: If you are using SketchUp for architectural modeling, or any 3D modeling, you should have this tool. It will greatly increase your productivity. It will also increase the accuracy of your model because you can make numerical entries.

More Information and Purchase at: http://

Codes: Accessible Means of Egress (MOE)

Kerwin Lee, AIA, CASp

Kerwin says:

When the first accessibility standards were developed (i.e. ANSI – A117.1), there were no provisions for accessible means of egress. The primary focus was to allow the disabled to enter and use a building. It may have been assumed that if you can enter, one could leave, but the approach is not the same. The philosophy, at least in high-rise buildings, has been to notify the floor below and two floors above the floor of incident. The fire alarm system does not sound a total building signal for evacuation. Once a signal has been initiated, occupants should evacuate using the MOE system within the building. Elevators have been, for the longest of time, signed to state “Do not use in an emergency.” This has all changed since 9/11.

So when an evacuation signal is initiated, what does a disabled person need to do?

Although Chapter 11A and B are not changing, there are other sections of the Code in the IBC which affect disabled access. Exiting requirements will remain in Chapter 10, but will also include IBC requirements for means of egress (MOE) for the disabled.

Under the 2015 IBC, the following are considered accessible means of egress elements:

• Elevators, Section 1009.2.1

• Areas of refuge, Section 1009.6

• Horizontal exits, Section 1026

Section 1009.2.1 of the 2015 IBC and 2016 CBC, requires buildings with accessible floors located four or more stories above or below the level of discharge that at least one accessible means of egress be by elevator. Additionally, elevator access is required to be associated with an area of refuge or a horizontal exit. Under the CBC and the ADA, areas of refuge are seldom incorporated into the design because buildings have been monitored by automatic sprinkler systems. The area of refuge will be required either within a stair enclosure, as shown in the illustration from the IBC Commentary, or an area that provides direct access to a stair or accessible elevator. Buildings and floors with sprinklers and a horizontal exit would be exempt from the requirements for areas of refuge. Although the activation of sprinklers allows time for occupants to exit a building, sprinklers alone do not provide equal facilitation for all occupants. A sprinkler system may limit the growth and spread of a fire, but smoke may continue to be generated and move through the building.

Although areas of refuge and horizontal exits do provide an additional protection from products of combustion (smoke and heat).

pg. 5 mikiten

Erick Mikiten, AIA, LEED-AP

Erick says:

An important point that Kerwin mentions is the idea of equivalency. When we create an area of refuge, imagine the experience of a person using a wheelchair, in an emergency, being “trapped” in that enclosure while everyone escapes past, leaving them behind. Even though the Area of Refuge is a relatively safe spot, getting to the public way is better.

A horizontal exit is a more equitable solution; everyone exits together to a fire-separated portion of the building. I find lots of architects don’t know exactly what a horizontal exit is, so certainly few laypeople do. And Kerwin is right that they are not well signed.

Although you can’t always avoid an area of refuge, I encourage you to first try hard to exit everyone directly to grade. Establish this in your earliest diagrams of your project, and it will be easier to incorporate. As a second-best option, use horizontal exits that are well-signed. You may also find other advantages, such as reduction of the number of required exit stairs, when you incorporate horizontal exits. But I think the biggest benefit is that you’ll be treating your building users more equitably.

Help Your Candidates Transition to ARE 5.0

The newest version of the Architect Registration Examination (ARE), ARE 5.0, launched on November 1. In case you missed it, here are a few basics about the updated exam:

■ ARE 5.0 features six new divisions organized around current architectural practice.

■ NCARB has updated the testing technology—which means smoother testing and no more vignettes.

■ Candidates will see two new item types on the exam: hot spot and drag-and place, along with case studies.

Preparing Candidates for ARE 5.0

Ready to help your candidates transition to the new exam? Here are a few ways you can guide early testers:

■ NCARB is offering $100 Visa gift cards for candidates who test early on each ARE 5.0 division. This benefit is guaranteed for anyone testing by January 31, 2017. Encourage your candidates to test early and take advantage of this incentive!

■ If your candidates have had trouble using or learning the ARE 4.0 vignette software, transitioning to ARE 5.0 will enable them to focus on the content being tested, not how it’s tested.

ARE 5.0 Resources

NCARB has created a number of study tools and resources to help candidates prepare for ARE 5.0, including:

ARE 5.0 Video Prep Series—These videos explain each division, walk through sample questions, and explore the new exam format.

ARE 5.0 Demonstration Exam—Available for free in My NCARB, the Demo Exam lets candidates explore the exam interface and practice using the new item types.

ARE 5.0 Community—Candidates can get help from NCARB experts, share testing tips, and find local study groups on the new community.

ARE 5.0 Handbook—This document includes a breakdown of each division, sample questions, helpful formulas, common abbreviations, and more.

ARE 5.0 Guidelines—The guidelines provide details on scheduling appointment times, what to expect at the test center, receiving your score, and more.

See more at:

President’s Letter: Winston Win, AIA

2017 Chapter President

Happy New Year! At our member appreciation party in December, we emphasized the notion of community. Foremost in our minds as we execute our craft is the public’s health, safety and welfare, and a commitment to social and environmental responsibility. We are a large community of over 700 members and constitute the fourth largest AIA chapter in California. We work in a variety of settings – small firms, big firms, public agencies to name a few- advocating for good design in its various forms and scales which sustain and allow people, places and communities o thrive. We are emerging professionals, mid-career professionals and seasoned practitioners. And we are united by our creativity.

It is in the spirit of creative community that we invite you to our monthly program on January 25th. We need to hear your voices on this day as we plan for the year informed by your priorities. We hope you with engage with us and get involved on this day and, indeed, throughout the year to strengthen this community.

My goal is to continue successful programs, improve upon them and test new ideas this year. I am dedicated to an accessible, transparent and engaging chapter for our community; a chapter that reflects our shared values, celebrates our diverse voices, and advocates well for architects and architecture. I know you have an opinion about this, and this is why I look forward to getting to know you better, and working with you in 2017. Cheers to our community!

President’s Letter: Suzi Marzuola, AIA


Suzi Marzuola, AIA, 2016 Chapter President

In my “swan song” letter to the membership, I’d like to share a few thoughts on what I’ve come to appreciate about our community this past year.

I appreciate that design matters to us. You came out in great numbers for programs ABOUT:

■ Contextual Design in Downtown Oakland, Berkeley and other Bay Area cities

■ How to effectively communicate with clients about design and what good design means to clients, and

■ Delivery of good design using LEAN Construction method. Home Tours, our largest annual public outreach program, shows five or six homes to as many as 550 visitors, and requires 80-100 volunteers of largely chapter members. Logistical magic if I’ve ever seen it, possible only because of members and their commitment to sharing what they know with the interested public.

I’ve also come to appreciate that AIA East Bay is a reliable community of colleagues and friends. All too often we hang out long after the reception is over and the food is gone (to the point that staff has to remind us that we have day jobs as they nudge us out the door).

I also appreciate that as a group we like to try new venues. In addition to many architectural tours organized by 2017 President Winston Win, AIA this year we initiated:

■ An off-site, mid-year member appreciation gathering at Siegel & Strain Architects, and

■ An off-site Design Awards reception at Gensler Oakland.

I love that we are passionate about sustainable design excellence. This year:

■ Local experts shared their thoughts about the inseparability of design excellence from sustainable design, and

■ We are now among the few chapters that require sustainable design metrics with design award submittals, the review of which engaged many young architects and designers.

And lastly and most impressively, we care deeply about our diverse East Bay community, our finest hour being a couple weeks ago when, at a moment’s notice, a group past presidents, new members, and building code experts came together with keen focus to develop a safety guide for those living in or visiting alternative living spaces.

It has truly been a pleasure and an honor serving as Chapter President and more importantly, getting to know you all better as individuals and as a collective.

You are in great hands with Winston Win, AIA who embodies characteristics of a good architect and leader. Winston is thoughtful, resourceful and an innovative problem-solver. 2017 is going to be fun.

Project Profile: Devi Dutta Architecture Inc.

Backyard Retreat

pp3Located in the East Bay, this backyard studio provides a close retreat for a young family of four and their dog. They were rapidly outgrowing their two bedroom/one bathroom house and desperately needed more space. They have frequent family guests and had nowhere to put them, needed a place to keep growing instrument and surfboard collections and just needed space to hang out. Their current house, however, did not lend itself to an expansion without severe disruption to the structure, not to mention their daily lives. The two bedrooms faced the back yard, and the only way to access the yard was through one of them.

We decided on building backyard studio just steps away, that would contain construction separate from their house while ultimately providing the additional space they needed. The structure is a simple form that takes advantage of a western exposure with high windows and a loft that captures sky-line views. Triple-sliding doors open up the space to the yard and make backyard entertaining easy. Windows on all four sides create a warm, naturally lit space at all times of day. The palette is also simple, with smooth cement plaster and corrugated corten steel accents. The interior floors are acid stained concrete, and tile in the bathroom. A redwood loft warms up the space. At about 400sf, it’s just enough space to make a difference in how they inhabit their property. The kids have a hangout and future teenage space, the family can entertain without people traipsing through the house, and they have a vacation home just steps away!

Engineer: Mehdi Karimi, STG Inc. Photographer: Kat Alves Photography Contractor: Canivet Construction


ArchNews January 2017

ArchNews January 2017 is out now!

This month’s issue includes:

Project Profile: Backyard Retreat, Devi Dutta Architcture, Inc.
Presidents’ Letters
Emerging Professionals: Help Your Candidates Transition to ARE 5.0
Codes: Accessible Means of Egress (MOE)
CoolTechStuff: 1001 bit Pro
Members in the News: Swatt I Miers Architects earns Design Award, Alexander Jermyn Architecture earns award, Siegel & Strain Honored for Outstanding Contribution to Community
Firm Profile: The KPA Group
Member Profiles: Zachary Wong Assoc. AIA, Scott Malloy, Allied Member

Click here to download the PDF.

Wood Flooring

A Small Firm Forum Program

Thursday, February 2, 2017 
Location: Amber Flooring Showroom, 5652 San Pablo Ave, Emeryville
Free AIA Members / $3 Guests
Lunch provided by Amber Flooring; RSVP required, click here to register.

1 CES LUs         

Join the Small Firm Forum for a presentation at Amber Flooring Showroom. Learn about engineered floor types, sizes installation, sustainable hardwood floor species, grades, finishing installation, proper substrates, substrates, delivery and environmental concerns about VOC and ventilation.

Learning Objectives:

After completing this program participants will…

  1. Be knowledgeable of wood flooring products, the pros and cons of solid wood flooring and engineered wood flooring
  2. Be knowledgeable of the installation methods required for the installation of wood flooring over various sub-floors (plywood, concrete, etc.)
  3. Have an understanding of the appropriate flooring material for historic applications
  4. Have an understanding of “green” flooring options.

AIA EB : BE AIA, A Member Mixer

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
Cost: Free AIA Members / $10 Guests; After 1/23: $10 AIA Members / $15 Guests
Click here to register.

What do you want? How can we help? Let’s kick off the year right! Please join us at the chapter office on January 25, prepared to share your ideas and priorities on what AIA East Bay can do (and do better) for you.