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Small Firm Forum 2017 Luncheon

Thursday, December 7, 2017
$15 First Registrant / $10 Friend
Please click here to register by noon, Thursday, December 5, 2017

SFF Host: Jerri Holan, FAIA                              

Bring a friend for a discounted price to our annual Small Firm Forum luncheon and enjoy a Mediterranean holiday feast! Show off your favorite project for a chance to win our annual Builder’s Booksource Gift Certificate.  Submit no more than two slides to when you register and be prepared to share why it’s a small-firm project. And have fun sharing your Lego (and team) skills for special holiday treats.


ArchNews November 2017

November ArchNews is out now! Click the links below to read each article:

Project Profile: Megan Carter, AIA of CB Design
AIA East Bay Design Awards Reception and Presentation: November 28, 2017
Codes: Tiny Homes
CoolTechStuff: Colored Photovoltaics
Post-Disaster Safety Assessment Training
Members News
Firm Profile: Goring & Straja
Member Firm has Office Space for Rent
Member Profile: Len Freeman, Assoc. AIA
Take Over the AIA!
Call for Submissions: Grant for Housing Innovation

YAF: A Conversation with Hayes Shair, AIA and Tyler Kobick, AIA

Thursday, November 30, 2017
Free and open to all Young Architects (licensed under 10 years)

This month the Young Architect’s Forum opens its doors to Hayes Shair, AIA of Wanmei Properties and Tyler Kobick, AIA of Design Draw Build to talk about their careers and professional choices that led them to become successful young architects and young developers in the Bay Area. Please join us for drinks and light dinner while participating in a short panel discussion.

About the Young Architects Forum:

Have you been licensed in the past ten years? Are you getting more responsibilities within your firm? Who is your peer group that you share best practices and knowledge with? If you don’t have one, or want another one, come have a beer or glass of wine (and other refreshments) with other Bay Area Young Architects.

Design Tour: Chow Oakland

Saturday, December 16, 2017
Location: 3770 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland
Cost: $5 AIA Members / $10 Guests
Click here to register.

1.5 CES LUs

Lowney’s Tony Valadez leads this design tour of the newest location of the Chow franchise by Lowney Architecture.

Chow Oakland is a project with a  hybridized program – part food market, part restaurant and café and part commercial bakery. Chow gets its energy from the intersection of these disparate programs. Blurring the line between interior and exterior, Chow brings customers and shoppers outside and brings plant life and landscape to the inside. Additionally, the building involves the renovation of a long-vacant concrete and steel building. Wherever possible, the existing structure will be exposed, adding more interest to the experience of the project.

Vectorworks v2018: New Features and Improvements

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Free and open to all.
Click here to register.

At this meeting we will discuss and demonstrate the most significant new features of Vectorworks 2018 – the user interface changes and the enhancements that speed productivity and BIM creation and exchange.

About the Presenters:

Peter Thayer – Architect, OAG Architects Inc., Benicia, CA.

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., San Francisco, CA

Paul is a seasoned professional in Architecture with about ten years of experience with Vectorworks, and is currently running an architectural practice in San Francisco.

Learning Objectives:

  1. See how to use multiple and floating view panes to see 3D “models” from multiple angles, and design and document sheet layers simultaneously.
  2. Learn about the new features to control parametric object parameters through styles.
  3. See how enhancements to editing of site models, walls, roofs, “live” sections and elevations can be used to increase productivity.
  4. Understand the interface changes for document sheet layouts and publications, and worksheet data.

Are you new and interested in attending?
Send an email to the user group leaders Paul Majka or Peter Thayer

COTE Happy Hour

Thursday, November 16, 2017
Free and open to all. RSVP to

All are welcome at this 2017 Committee on the Environment meeting. We’ll review results from a recent member survey focused on embodied carbon, discuss what we learned from last month’s COTE, and more!

Post-Disaster Safety Assessment Training

Friday, January 12, 2018
$62 AIA Members; $75 Non-members
Includes lunch and all training materials
Click here to register


Please register by 5pm Friday, January 5, 2018.

Become a registered Safety Assessment Evaluator and be prepared to help local governments perform accurate facility-safety assessments in the aftermath of a disaster.
AIA East Bay and the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), will present an all-day training program available to licensed architects, registered engineers, or certified building officials and inspectors.

This full-day training will provide guidelines and procedures for making post-disaster building safety evaluations. The purpose of these evaluations is to determine whether damaged or potentially-damaged buildings are safe for use or if entry should be restricted or prohibited.

This training provides procedures for two different levels of safety evaluation and advice on evaluating structural, geotechnical and nonstructural hazards:

  • Where to look for damage.
  • How to rate the safety significance of damage.

About the speaker:
Statewide Safety Assessment Program Coordinator Jason Spotts is a civil engineer with over 15 years of experience.

Learning Objectives:
Upon completion of this full day training, you will:1) Become proficient in California’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) Safety Assessment Program (SAP)

2) Become registered to assist jurisdictions across California and the nation with accurate evaluation of facilities, buildings, and infrastructures in the aftermath of a disastrous event

3) Qualified individuals will earn a State-issued OES badge (in addition to 6 AIA/ CES HSW LUs)

From Cal OES: “The Safety Assessment Program utilizes volunteers and mutual aid resources to provide professional engineers and architects and certified building inspectors to assist local governments in safety evaluation of their built environment in an aftermath of a disaster. The program is managed by Cal OES with cooperation from professional organizations. SAP produces two resources, SAP Evaluators, described above, and SAP Coordinators, which are local government representatives that coordinate the program. Cal OES issues registration ID cards to all SAP Evaluators that have successfully completed the program requirements.”


Member News – November 2017

Members Featured

Alex Bergtraun, AIA of Studio Bergtraun Architects was featured in East Bay Times for his involvement as an Eagler Mentor in the design and building of a Solano Avenue Parklet.
Click here to read the article.




Chris Craiker, AIA spoke to the Napa Valley Register about the rise in popularity of secondary housing conversions in Napa. Click here to read the article.

Len Freeman, Assoc. AIA: Member Profile

Len Freeman, Assoc. AIA is a 2011 graduate of the University of Texas, Arlington where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in architecture.  As a current member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Board as well as new associate member of the American Institute of Architects, Freeman is on his way as he pursues licensure­­­­­.

Freeman comes from a rigorous academic background that began while attending Oakland Technical High School’s engineering academy in Oakland, which influenced his professional career. With the knowledge he learned, he progressed into his undergraduate studies.  It was not until undergrad that he faced great challenges – sleepless days, nights, months and years that tested his loyalty to his profession. Nevertheless, his dedication allowed him to prevail and he blossomed into the strong critical thinker that he is today. His unique pattern of thought lives between space and anti-space.

He has worked on a variety of project types including, K-12, higher education, residential, commercial and retail architecture. The diversity in project types has helped Freeman grow personally and professionally within the realm of design. In his past role as a project leader, he learned how technology affects project work flows. He also managed the production standards development, while handling construction schedules, budgets, agency requirements. He did all this while performing a variety of tasks involving schematic design and construction administration.

Freeman works as a senior project coordinator for BRW Architects in San Francisco. There he focuses on a variety of municipal, civic and fire station tenant innovation projects. While working with these various projects throughout California and Texas, he upholds the company’s values and commitment to client service. Freeman is unwavering, independent and jumps hurdles without batting an eye. His demeanor remains very calm and professional under pressure and he continues to have fun throughout this evolving world of architecture. My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.  -Mya Angelou

Tiny Homes: Codes

Kerwin Lee, AIA, CASp

Sparked by all of the conservation efforts, tiny homes have recently been presented in TV programs and other forms of media.  Call it a social movement – where people are choosing to downsize the space they live in. The most popular reasons for downsizing includes environmental concerns, financial concerns, and the desire for more time and freedom from the cost and effort of having a large home. One solution is to live smaller. While tiny houses are not for everyone, there are some good aspects for this approach. The typical American home is over 2,000 square feet, whereas the typical small or tiny house is between 100 and 400 square feet.

There are some huddles for taking this approach that need to be addressed in the rules and regulations associated with construction. Both the local zoning regulations and building codes have many elements that could prevent construction of tiny homes in our cities and/or neighborhoods. We will only look some of the building code issues associated with this movement.

First, if the tiny home is on a foundation it will be regulated by the building codes. If the tiny home is on wheels or axles, it is considered a mobile home and would be regulated under those rules. Factory built homes also fall under a different set of regulations, outside of the building code. Currently the state does not have any specific regulations addressing tiny homes, but Housing and Community Development (HCD) has issued a bulletin (Bulletin 2016-01) on what current regulations do cover. Every building in the State needs to comply with something. Here is a link to the Bulletin issued by HCD:

The current building codes, California Building Code or California Residential Code would place some limitations on tiny homes and perhaps would end up not making them so tiny. Currently the codes do address the following in some way:

  • Minimum floor areas
  • Minimum ceiling heights
  • Minimum stair geometries, including handrails and guards
  • Exit and egress windows

If one were to design and build a tiny home – how would you go about getting through the building approval process? Using the code as is today, it is possible to come up with something that is less than 400 sf and would still be comfortable. If one were to design something smaller and push the design envelope beyond the code, the best way under the current code would be to approach it with the use of Section 104.11: Alternative Materials, Design and Methods of Construction. Even using this code approach, one would have to justify why a smaller stair geometry, for example, meets the intent and provides a reasonable level of safety. One would have to do some research in finding justification through test data that a different geometry is as safe as what is in the code.

There is another approach and some light at the end of the tunnel. Proposed for the 2018 edition of the International Residential Code is a new appendix section V. This new appendix will address some of the issues in permitting tiny homes, such as ceiling heights and stair geometry. It is proposed as an appendix section, which makes it optional for the local building official to use and/or adopt. The 2018 edition of the International Codes will be available soon. To even allow this appendix to be in the code was controversial. If the standards for tiny homes are acceptable, why not apply these to all homes since the code is a minimum standard? Some building officials thought the appendix would open a can of worms for smaller/lesser standards to be used everywhere and therefore compromising the already minimum safety standards.

If we expand our use of tiny homes to tiny condos/apartments, sometimes called efficiency dwelling units, we need to address and include people with disabilities. This is another area, totally dependent on space.