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8th Annual AEC Make the Connection 2016

A cocktails, conversation and charity event

Thursday, July 21, 2016
Location: Autodesk Gallery, One Market St. #200, San Francisco

Cost: $20.00 ($21.69 w/service fee) / At the door: $30
Click here to purchase tickets.

Come mingle and enjoy fabulous food and wine. Find out what these professional associations can do for you!  Join us for a fun introduction to EIGHT organizations serving the interior design, facility management, architectural & construction community, green building and marketing professions in Northern California.

Presented by AIA SF, AIA East Bay, SMPS, IIDA-NC, RECON, AEBL and Drinks By Design

Each year the proceeds from the Make the Connection event benefit a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit in the Architecture, Engineering or Construction industry. This year the 2016 beneficiary is Construction Industry Workforce  Initiative (CIWI). CIWI was created to develop internship opportunities for low-income, first generation college students with an interest in Construction/Development/ Architecture (Professional Services).

Healthy Demand for All Building Types Signaled in Architecture Billings Index

Recent client interest could signal resurgence for institutional market

Contact:  Scott Frank

Washington, D.C. – June 22, 2016 – Led by a still active multi-family housing market and sustained by solid levels of demand for new commercial and retail properties, the Architecture Billings Index has accelerated to its highest score in nearly a year.  As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the May ABI score was 53.1, up sharply from the mark of 50.6 in the previous month. This score reflects an increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 60.1, up from a reading of 56.9 the previous month.

“Business conditions at design firms have hovered around the break-even rate for the better part of this year,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD.  “Demand levels are solid across the board for all project types at the moment.  Of particular note, the recent surge in design activity for institutional projects could be a harbinger of a new round of growth in the broader construction industry in the months ahead.”

Key May ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: West (53.8), South (53.7), Northeast (51.2), Midwest (49.9)
  • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (53.7), institutional (53.0), commercial / industrial (51.0), mixed practice (51.0),
  • Project inquiries index: 60.1
  • Design contracts index: 52.8

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly numbers.
About the AIA Architecture Billings Index
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI), produced by the AIA Economics & Market Research Group, is a leading economic indicator that provides an approximately nine to twelve month glimpse into the future of nonresidential construction spending activity. The diffusion indexes contained in the full report are derived from a monthly “Work-on-the-Boards” survey that is sent to a panel of AIA member-owned firms. Participants are asked whether their billings increased, decreased, or stayed the same in the month that just ended as compared to the prior month, and the results are then compiled into the ABI.  These monthly results are also seasonally adjusted to allow for comparison to prior months. The monthly ABI index scores are centered around 50, with scores above 50 indicating an aggregate increase in billings, and scores below 50 indicating a decline. The regional and sector data are formulated using a three-month moving average. More information on the ABI and the analysis of its relationship to construction activity can be found in the recently released White Paper, Designing the Construction Future: Reviewing the Performance and Extending the Applications of the AIA’s Architecture Billings Index on the AIA web site.

President’s Letter: A Successful HAIAPPY HOUR


Suzi Marzuola, AIA Chapter President

Many thanks to Siegel & Strain Architects for hosting the AIA East Bay community at a member appreciation party in their courtyard on May 26, 2016. In addition to welcoming new members and familiar faces, we celebrated a few recently licensed members:

Wendy Sitler, AIA
Ashley Rybarcyzk, AIA
Lauren Tichy-Cruz, AIA


Lauren Tichy-Cruz, AIA

Miya Muraki, Associate AIA, was also recognized for her participation on the Home Tours committee over the past five years, a committeemen that culminated with Miya co-chairing the program in 2015. Peter Wolfe, AIA and Raphael Wade were thanked for their leadership while serving on the 2014-2015 Board of Directors.

The top recognition award was given to Mary Hardy for her Achievement in Historic Preservation. Earlier in the year, the Board of Directors unanimously agreed with nominator David Alpert, FAIA, that Ms. Hardy’s preservation work has had profound impacts locally and around the world. Ms. Hardy, Director of Historic Projects at Siegel & Strain Architects, had no advance notice that she would be honored, making the event at Siegel & Strain that much more memorable.

The certificate honoring her achievements reads:


Mary Hardy


In Memoriam


Peter Harmon, AIA 1953-2016

Peter Boone Harmon passed away on April 18, 2016 in Concord, California. Peter was the beloved husband of Marlene, father of Zachary and Joshua and son of Arliss Harmon. He was born March 31, 1953 in Oakland, California, the son of Ted and Arliss Harmon. He was raised in Hayward. In 1976 he graduated with a degree in Industrial Design from Arizona State University to be followed by a Masters in Architecture from Cal Poly, Pamona in 1979. He began his career, primarily as a residential architect, with the firm of Hollman Bologna in Walnut Creek in 1979. He started his own firm in 1988. Peter brought a ready smile, infectious laugh, kind word, listening ear and generous spirit to all he did. During his over 30 years as an architect Peter designed numerous outstanding custom homes, remodels, church structures and commercial spaces. His projects have been featured in magazine and newspaper articles. Peter loved his profession. In addition to his work, he served many years on the Concord Design Review Board.

He really loved being an architect.



D. Jamie Rusin, AIA 1958-2016

ELS Principal D. Jamie Rusin, architect, urban designer, father, author, cyclist, mentor, and great friend passed away April 21, 2016. For over 30 years at ELS he led numerous projects with the common objective of bringing people together through great architecture and public spaces. At the office, Jamie championed a culture of open dialogue, debate, and collaboration. His admiration for academia translated directly into his leadership. Involved in every aspect of a project from the initial sketches to the final details, he knew, mentored, and learned from his teams at all levels. His core belief that innovation is a product of process opened the door for many voices to participate, making each project distinct and memorable in its own way. In the field, he was a constant student of the public realm and the people it served. His devotion to the end user provided a clarity and purpose to projects that were often complex and multi-faceted. This sensitivity to the way people interact, socialize, and enjoy the presence of others created projects with an inherent vibrancy.

Jamie will be dearly missed.

Donations in Jamie Rusin’s memory can be made to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research or to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

For more information please contact Ryan Call, AIA (

MCE/ADA Day: Friday, August 5, 2016

MCE/ADA Day: Accessibility for California Architects

Friday, August 5, 2016
Cost: $110 AIA Members / $150 non-members. Includes coffee and lunch.
Click here to register.


Presented By: Craig Williams, CASp. Provides the complete 5 hours of disability access coursework required for California Licensure.

About the Presenter:

Craig Williams, CASp has been the principal for the Sebastopol-based firm Access Consultants for more than 35 years.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this presentation, attendees will be able to:


Member Profile: Jeremy Hoffman, Assoc. AIA

mpJeremy comes from a Law Enforcement family but his love of design and construction comes from his Grandfather who worked for the State of California and was instrumental in designing the Aqueduct System. Jeremy has been interested in the AIA since 2007 when he first joined the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) while attending Community College. He even held the position of Vice President of the Cuesta College AIAS chapter in 2009.

Jeremy then transferred to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2010. In 2013, his thesis project “Play. Learn. Grow.” a design for a new wing at Bishop’s Peak Elementary School was nominated as one of six finalists for the AIA Central Coast Chapter’s 2013 Design Awards. During Jeremy’s time at Cal Poly he was introduced to the Bay Area through the San Francisco Urban Design Internship program. During the program he interned with The Design Partnership, LLP and fell in love with both the company and life in the Bay Area. Upon graduating from Cal Poly in 2013 with his Bachelor of Architecture degree, he was hired on full time with The Design Partnership and has been working there ever since. After earning his degree he immediately joined the AIA as an associate member.

Jeremy’s background in architectural technology distinguishes him from many other young designers. He enjoys working for The Design Partnership and being that it is a small firm he is given many opportunities to gain experience in a broad array of tasks. He is currently assisting with Construction Administration on a 219,000 SQ FT Mental Health & Research Building for the Seattle VA Campus.

Jeremy is currently enrolled in the ARE Bootcamp program through the AIA East Bay. He recently passed his first ARE exam for SP&D and is scheduled to take his CD&S exam in July. Jeremy greatly
appreciates the resources and mentorship that are available through the AIA East Bay and looks
forward to the day he becomes a licensed architect and is able to join the AIA as a full member.

Firm Profile: Peter B. Harmon, AIA Planning+Architecture

Sadly Peter HarmonAIA passed away in April. Please see page 10 for more about him.

Peter has eschewed the “design for design’s sake” philosophy and instead approaches each project as a solution to a problem—the problem of living in the case of residential projects. He looks at how clients actually live, think and act—not just how they believe they do. And therein lies the crux of Peter’s approach to design: “My favorite part of each project is getting to know the clients—not just on a superficial level but to reach inside of them and to think as they think. This way the design can evolve to meet their actual lifestyle and dreams. Often this leads t o creative nuances both to the program and finished design unforeseen by the now appreciative client.”fp

This approach requires frequent meetings with clients and in-depth discussions. At times it requires almost acting as a marriage counsellor to reconcile differing spousal opinions, uncovering the design wishes of a disinterested silent partner or understanding other aspects of human nature intrinsic to a successful design. Peter opines, “It’s really exciting when it all comes together and the project takes on a life of its own and evolves naturally. I almost feel like an observer but the architect’s hand moves effortlessly in accord with the spirit of the project.”fp2

This month, Peter B. Harmon, AIA, Architecture + Planning is pleased to feature a few of their recent kitchens! These projects demonstrate a wide variety of design—from historic to traditional to contemporary. All are portions of a larger design program, but required specific design thought, since most clients hold their kitchen up as both a show place and as a practical indication of how they work in that space. Each is reflective of their owner.fp3

1) addition/remodel to an 1860’s era home in Alamo
2) addition/remodel to a 1920’s home in Walnut Creek
3) traditional design to an early 70’s home in Danville
4) contemporary kitchens to a late 70’s home in Danville
5) contemporary kitchen in a new home Eldorado Hills

Peter’s projects are primarily in Contra Costa County but fp4he has completed numerous residential projects in the Green Valley, Sacramento foothills, Incline Village and an un-built but approved residence on a 10-acre bluff over-looking the Pacific Ocean in the Santa Barbara area. In addition to residential work Peter has designed several projects for religious organizations, over eighteen fast food restaurants and numerous tenant improvement projects. The firm’s projects have been published in magazines, newspapers and books, featured on Home Tours, filmed for a pilot cable series on unique homes and received awards for excellence in design from public agencies.fp5

His projects also extend to the Green Valley area of Solano, Eldorado Hills, Lake Tahoe and Montecito. Currently, his firm is just finishing a year-long addition/remodel project in Concord and is just getting started with construction drawings for a new home in Lafayette as well as another addition/remodel in the same town. “I enjoy the challenge of each new project!” says Peter.

What is a crucial aspect of each successful project? “I’ve formulated an excellent design team. My longtime engineering consultant, Dale F. Jones, SE, has worked with me for over twenty years. During that time I’ve found no design is impossible. Frequent designers include Dempsey-Newport for lighting and most recently Adeeni Design Group of San Francisco for Interior Design. Contractors include Young & Burton and Tassajara Construction of Contra Costa and Grendahl Construction in the Sacramento area.”

Members in the News


Lauren Tichy-Cruz, AIA


Danielle Campbell, AIA

Lauren Tichy-Cruz, AIA (Siegel & Strain Architects) has earned her California license and Danielle Campbell, AIA (Wiss, Janney, Elstner) has earned her Hawaii license. Danielle is looking forward to passing the CSE next!


CoolTechStuff: Artificial Reality

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LarryMortimer, AIA

What if you could go to an empty site and have your new design superimposed as a 3D hologram so you, your client, the builder or anyone else could walk around and through it? Well the tools to allow you to do that will soon be available.

A recent article in Wired magazine identified three types of artificial reality: Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR). In VR the user is transported to an entirely new location and the real surroundings are completely blocked out. In AR a layer of digital content is superimposed over the real world but the user still sees the real world. For our purposes MR is essentially the same as AR.t

Science Fiction fans will know that the concepts of VR and AR have been around for decades. Neal Stephenson’s classic (1992) sci-fi novel Snow Crash portrays a world where AR is the norm. We are now coming to an age where computers are small and powerful enough to make artificial reality possible and we have the peripherals and software to drive them.t2
I recently visited the Seattle Art Museum and was introduced to my first real experience with AR. The museum employed a program called Layar to provide information about images in an exhibit. Once installed on your smart phone, Layar scans your view and provides any AR information that might be available such as text, images, audio, or videos. This means that you are constantly looking at your smart phone, so if you had a wearable device like Google Glass, it would become much more usable.t3

While Google Glass was only sold as a prototype (2013-2015), Google is still working on the product. Currently there are at least seven VR headsets and nine AR headsets available now or sometime soon. The most exciting of the AR offerings is Microsoft’s Holo Lens, which not only projects a 3D holographic image but also recognizes hand gestures to manipulate that image.

This is just the beginning of the development of tools we will use for visualization, design manipulation, communication, marketing and more.

For more information see:t4

If you only look at one of these sites, look at the Trimble video in this one (if architecture were only this easy):



Degenkolb Visits Ecuador Earthquake site


Mutualista Pichincha in Portoviejo before and after earthquake (photo on left courtesy of Google)


Time for Awareness
Degenkolb Engineers continued its 64-year-old tradition of learning from earthquakes by sending Senior Principal, Jay Love and Associates Gordy Wray and Alvaro Celestino to Ecuador following the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on April 16, 2016. The quake struck at 7pm and caused severe damage in the northern coastal regions of the country.

The Degenkolb team partnered with Perkins Eastman Architects to inspect a number of hospitals and schools operated by the Junta de Beneficencia de Guayaquil. This private non-profit charity organization was founded in 1888 and provides health care and education to low-income Ecuadorians. Ground motions in the Guayaquil area from this earthquake 175 miles to the north were low and damage in hospitals was minimal. All hospitals that were visited were able to maintain normal function immediately after the earthquake. The team of engineers, architects and hospital administrators exchanged ideas on the measures to be taken, small and large, to maintain operations in a larger event.

Sharing Lessons Learned
Strong shaking in the cities of Manta and Portoviejo resulted in the collapse of many buildings, leaving hundreds dead and thousands displaced from their homes. Gordy Wray visited the downtown area of Portoviejo on April 26 and observed that the method of construction was similar to that of Guayaquil, reinforcing that the potential for severe damage in Guayaquil, the most populous city in Ecuador, is high. Jay Love, Senior Principal, noted, “Ecuador has an opportunity in the coming months to seize on the awareness brought by the earthquake to improve the code enforcement, construction, and inspection process to limit future exposure.”

Structural damage is often the focus of earthquakes but non-structural damage to architectural finishes, contents and mechanical systems is more likely to disrupt operations, especially under lower levels of shaking. Both need to be addressed, especially for critical infrastructure.

Degenkolb and Perkins Eastman addressed the Chamber of Construction of Guayaquil to share the process that was implemented for seismic mitigation of hospitals in California, acknowledging that it is a long process and there are obstacles along the way. Conversations with engineers, developers and local government are continuing after the trip to create a dialogue about seismic safety.

Visit this blog to read about Degenkolb’s Ecuador earthquake reconnaissance trip.