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Happy Hour: Hosted By Emerging Professionals

Thursday, September 28, 2017
Location: Drake’s Dealership, 2325 Broadway, Oakland

All are invited to join the Emerging Professionals at their September Happy Hour! Have a pint at Drake’s Dealership and get to know them–they’d like to meet you and learn about the work that you do, the path you took, etc.

Drakes has indoor and outside seating, serves food and drinks and is located four blocks from 19th Street BART in downtown Oakland.

Going Electric: A Roundtable Discussion

A Small Firm Forum Program

Thursday, October 5, 2017

BYO Lunch (brown-bag lunch)
Free AIA Members / $3 Guests

1.5 CES LUs


  • Moderator: Mercedes Corbell, AIA, Architect
  • Dan Johnson, Sustainability Architect. Beyond Efficiency, Berkeley
  • Colin Swan, Skytech Solar
  • Larry Guistiono, CEO A1 Sun

Amid the urgency to reduce our culture’s carbon footprint that damages our planet’s atmosphere and contributes to rising sea level and dramatic climate events, architects have a unique opportunity to contribute to a solution. Building by building, we can shift away from natural gas* and toward electrically powered buildings. Our buildings can serve as “batteries” powered by the sun, for our cars. Imagine the transformation in our cities, towns and roads.

At the same time, architects have to deal with seemingly constant code and regulations changes, the challenges of delivering projects well, and for some, the added challenge of running a business. There’s never enough time in the day. We will provide information, inspiration and resources for further learning at this roundtable discussion among local experts.

*Natural Gas: burning natural gas releases gases into the air, mainly carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Additionally, the destructive side effects of natural gas occur before it even makes it to the pipes that carry it to users; it’s in the most commonly used and economical method of extracting natural gas, known as “fracking.”

Learning Objectives:

After completing this program, attendees will…

  1. Learn about going electric and how it relates to California 2030, Architecture 2030 and carbon neutrality.
  2. Be able to list at least three reasons to go electric and how to get started.
  3. Learn about the associated costs (construction and soft costs) and which experts might be involved during design and construction.
  4. Identify the role of Solar PV (private and community) in going electric.

2017 Design Awards: Call for Entries

The AIA East Bay Design Awards program recognizes design excellence in architecture, residential architecture, interior architecture, restoration/renovation, and urban design. Criteria to be used by the jury include quality of design, resolution of the program idea, sustainable responsibility, innovation, thoughtfulness, and technique.

Click here to register.

2017 Design Award Guidelines


  • Projects must be designed and submitted by an architect.
  • Projects must have been completed after January 1, 2010.
  • AIA East Bay members may submit projects from anywhere.
  • Non-member architects may submit projects located in the chapter’s four counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa and Solano.

Project Types

Projects of all types will be viewed, including, but not limited to:

  • Commercial, office, and mixed-use
  • Industrial, laboratories, and hospitals
  • Transportation and parking structures
  • Places of worship
  • Libraries, schools, and other institutions
  • Historic preservation, adaptive reuse, renovation and restoration
  • Single & multi-residential, dormitories, affordable & temporary housing

Registration per project: $200 AIA Members / $300 Non-members
Click here to register.

Mark your calendars and save the date!

Submittal Deadline: Thursday, October 26, 2017
Awards Pre-Submittal Meeting: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 (for those who have submittal questions)
Awards Reception & Presentation: Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Please note, all submittals will be made via Dropbox. Please attend the pre-submittal meeting if you have not used Dropbox and have technical questions.

The 2017 Design Awards jurors:

Karen Fiene, FAIA, LEED AP
Mills College
Oakland, California

Karen Fiene leads campus design and environmental stewardship for Mills College, a private women’s college in East Oakland. Mills’ mission to provide education for young women to become future leaders in a complex global economy compliments Karen’s interest in the design of places that foster creative learning. Since joining the campus in 2006, she has overseen the largest expansion in the College’s history and has engaged high profile design firms with a commitment to sustainability and design excellence. Karen was co-designer of the first LEED platinum building in Oakland, one of two LEED projects on the campus. As co-chair of the Sustainability Committee, she is leading efforts to meet the net zero goals of the President’s Climate Commitment and Campus Climate Action Plan. Karen was instrumental in receiving a Getty Heritage Grant and was a collaborator on the resulting publication; Celebrating the Cultural Landscape Heritage of Mills College, 2008. Current projects include the renovation of Lisser Hall, a 116 year-old performing arts theater designed by Willis Polk.

Formerly with EHDD, Karen gained diverse experience with academic and exhibit related projects with zoos, museums and aquariums. Karen served as President of EHDD for the last three of her 13 years there leading the firm through a critical transition period. She founded Karen Fiene Architects in 1999 focusing on the design and planning of dynamic learning environments prior to joining Mills College.


Craig Steely, AIA
Craig Steely Architecture
San Francisco, California

Craig Steely is a California and Hawaii based architect whose buildings have been described as true and unique hybrids of these two environments.  They embrace the realities of the environment and our connection/separation to it over the subjugation of it, all the while focusing on developing a singular architecture rooted in its context.  Active projects include work on the Big Island of Hawaii, as well as several along the coast of California—from Sea Ranch to San Francisco to Big Sur.

He received his architecture degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He has lectured at the University of Hawaii, University of California at Berkeley, Cal Poly and at many conferences including the Monterey Design Conference.  His work has been awarded recognition by the American Institute of Architects and published widely in books and periodicals. In 2009 he was selected as an “Emerging Talent” by the AIA California Council. His office was chosen top firm in the 2013 Residential Architect Magazine leadership awards.


Marc L’Italien, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C
San Francisco, California

Marc is a Principal with HGA in San Francisco, where he leads the Arts/Community/Education practice. He is an innovative thinker with a creative voice in the design of major public projects. Many of his projects have broken new ground in high-performance design. Marc has been involved in higher education, museum, science center, aquarium, and zoological park projects. He has deep a passion for—and expertise in—the symbiotic relationships between landscape, architecture, and exhibits.

Prior to joining HGA, he led the design of the new Exploratorium at Pier 15 in San Francisco, which is a LEED Platinum Certified adaptive reuse project, expected to become the largest net zero energy museum in the United States. Other noteworthy accomplishments include the headquarters for the David and Lucile Packard Foundation in Los Altos, CA, a Certified Net Zero Energy Building with the International Living Future Institute; Valparaiso University’s Arts and Sciences Building, which is adjacent to his award-winning 2004 Christopher Center for Library and Information Resources in Indiana; and Factor 10 House, an affordable case-study house completed for the City of Chicago’s Departments of Housing and the Environment. The Exploratorium, Packard Foundation and Factor 10 House projects are all AIA COTE Top Ten Awards recipients.

Marc is currently leading the design of the Westwood Hills Nature Center outside Minneapolis and working with SWA on a Campus Master Plan for SF State University in San Francisco. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan and Yale University.


Ideate, Inc

Dealey Renton & Associates

Dolan’s Lumber



Pacific Coast Building Products

2015 East Bay Design Award Winner: East Oakland Sports, ELS Architecture and Urban Design
Photo Credit: David Wakely Photography

ARE Bootcamp: CDS

Begins Monday, October 16, 2017
$50 AIA Members & Employees of Chapter Member Firms/ $75 Non-members
Click here to register. Limited space available


AIA East Bay’s ARE Bootcamp will provide a structured, rigorous study group for the Construction Documents & Services section of the ARE 4.0, with the goal of every person passing. Cost includes a set of Construction Documents & Services flashcards and access to study materials and knowledge experts.

Bootcamp meets Mondays at AIA East Bay beginning Monday, October 16 for eight weeks: 10/16, 10/23, 10/30, 11/6, 11/13, 11/20, 11/27, 12/4.

Participants must schedule to take the CDS section of the ARE between Tuesday, December 19, 2017 and Tuesday, January 9, 2018. Participants must provide proof of test registration to AIA East Bay by the third session of the Bootcamp (10/30). Please do not register if you cannot attend at least seven of the eight meetings.

Member News – September 2017

A Recently Completed Project

Forward, designed by Alexander Jermyn Architecture is a new medical office providing an innovative form of preventative care, bringing together data-driven technology, A.I., wearable sensors, and 24/7 mobile access to redefine the healthcare paradigm. The design is a careful integration of spatial and virtual strategies to ensure a fluid experience for the member. Click here for images and details on the project.


Archispeak, a podcast by Neal Pann, AIA, has released it’s 123rd episode! From Neal, “Archispeak ep 123 asks the question, how long have you been working at your firm? Let us know and listen at:





New Positions

John Berggren, Assoc. AIA, has accepted a new position with Noll & Tam Architects, in which he’ll be a Project Manager, Sr. Designer, Sr. Construction Contract Administrator. John was previously with SmithGroupJJR.

ArchNews September 2017

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

Project Profile: Eviva Mission Bay, LDA Architects, Inc.
SunShares Makes NOW a Great Time to Add 100% Renewable Electricity
Building Code Issues: Exterior Elevated Elements (EEE)
CoolTechStuff: Seek thermal Compact
Members News
Firm Profile: Cooley Architectural Corporation
Member Profile: Rebecca Ivans Amato, AIA: Living and Designing With Purpose
Call for Submissions: Grant for Housing Innovation

Rebecca Ivans Amato: Living and Designing With Purpose

A Member Profile

Her first foray into design began in her childhood bedroom in Lakewood, Colorado. Rebecca Amato spent hours rearranging the furniture in the room she shared with her two sisters, attempting to realize a version of the modernist home she admired on The Brady Bunch.

Fast forward a few decades and Rebecca Amato is still rearranging–and creating. Her visionary designs have reimagined historic San Francisco Victorians, Berkeley bungalows, and turn-of-the-last-century industrial warehouses into vibrant and distinctive spaces. Now principal architect and owner of Amato Architecture, a company she started in 2002, Amato employs a team of five designers who help her turn every project into a unique environment configured for the way people want to enjoy life.

After graduating from the Environmental Design program in 1988 from the University of Colorado in Boulder, Rebecca’s career almost immediately took on a cosmopolitan flair. She moved to San Francisco where she worked for Huntsman Associates on commercial interiors. Then, after obtaining her architecture license in 1995, she pursued an opportunity to work in the Chitwan jungle in Nepal for 3 months. An 18-month exploration of Southeast Asia followed, including a design stint for Bangkok-based Woods Bagot.

Her next job at HOK in San Francisco sent her to Beijing and Hong Kong to work on large hotel projects. Desiring to work outside the corporate environment, Rebecca next joined IN:SITE Design Build Association to gain project management skills and lead large design projects in a smaller team environment.

After starting a family in 2003 and then designing a 1,200 square foot addition to her own residence, Rebecca gained insight into the needs and unique tribulations of a family attempting to overhaul their home. Her residential work often includes repurposed space and multi-use options (such as a residential conversion of a storage room into a laundry/music/guest room) or imaginative build-outs like a children’s play-loft above adjacent bedroom closets. A redesigned, unique kitchen with inside/outside bar access will be on display September 23-24, 2017 during the Rockridge neighborhood Kitchen Tour.

One outstanding example of Amato’s commercial work is The Pearl, a recently completed, exclusive event space in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco. A steel crane system across the ceiling of the former boiler factory was fixed in place to structurally support a new rooftop deck, then utilized below to house event lighting while also functioning as a decorative planter. A spin-off of that project is a marquee event space (now under construction) in Oakland’s Jack London Square featuring the United Beerworks brewery, also designed by Amato Architecture.

A favorite of Rebecca’s projects that is also currently under construction is a new two-level, modern vacation home on the beach in Maui, outside of Lahaina. “It doesn’t get much better when you get to travel to Hawaii with your family to see one of your projects under construction,” Rebecca said. “I really do feel I am living the life I dreamed where travel, family and my design passion all come together!”

Project Profile: Eviva Mission Bay

Eviva Mission Bay, designed by LDA Architects, Inc. offered imposing challenges that were developed into unique design opportunities. The property is situated between established, industrial buildings, with a railroad yard and a freeway ramp to the north and a budding residential neighborhood to the south. It is an odd-shaped lot that presses tightly against the curve of the off-ramp. This created a few challenges for any units along the north side – the quality of life for the residents of those units is important to protect. Light, air and views became paramount concerns in the design of those units. Environmental issues created by the traffic noise and air quality compound the burden.

The design team wanted to shield those units from the challenges imposed by the freeway, yet pay homage to the industrial history of the neighborhood. To accomplish this, LDA proposed a corrugated steel skin to buffer the noise and to offer the impression of a protective barrier – using Corten steel of highway guard rails and the siding of choice for heavy, industrial buildings. This skin floats above the parking level, curving in response to the sweeping arc of the off-ramp and wrapping around the east to present this materiality to the descending traffic.

Balcony rails appear to “peel away” from the exterior metal, for added texture while offering protection to the shallow balconies behind them. Clad in a perforated version of the corrugated siding, they match the long, random panels that cover the numerous exhaust vents that are now invisible behind these masks. Wide, shallow windows channel interior views towards the distant San Francisco skyline, and in sync with the peeling balconies and long, perforated vents, reduce the frenetic pace of the freeway.

Along Berry Street, the scale of the neighborhood changes, as does the façade. This is the residential side of the site. This south facing side is much more open, bright and playful. A seemingly random assortment of bays, balconies and recesses are apparent among the grid that dominates the pattern down to a pedestrian level. The street level contains private stoops with bright, unique colored doors that define the personal space of these garden units. The skin is embellished with glass bars that are inset to refract light and promote interest to passing pedestrians. Windows along this south side face the sidewalk to create a connection between residents and their passing neighbors.

The interior courtyard at the podium level adjoins the open space at the neighboring development, creating a larger area of light and air. A fitness room sits below a living roof, clad in the corrugated metal of the north side, while colorful patterns replicate the look and feel of the streetscape, allowing for a conjoining of the two languages at the garden.

Codes: Exterior Elevated Elements (EEE)

Kerwin Lee, AIA, CASp

It has been over two years since the tragic balcony collapse in Berkeley. The city reacted by creating their own ordinance to address the issues, mainly focusing on maintenance. The state has enacted their own Emergency Amendment to the code, which was enacted  at the end of January of this year for a 18-month period. The Building Standards Commission has extended the Emergency Amendment.

The requirements, which amends Part two of the Title 24 and Part ten for existing buildings, has three main points:

  1. Waterproofing documentation
  2. Ventilation of concealed spaces, and
  3. Maintenance

Details of the code requirements can be found in Bulletin 17-01, Dated February 2, 2017 from the Building Standards Commission at:

Let’s start with “Maintenance.” This responsibility falls on the local jurisdiction as to how to implement this. When the city of Berkeley looked at this, it was estimated that 6,000 letters would be sent of building owners.  Each local jurisdiction will deal with this as they see fit.

Item 2 “Ventilation” is new to the code.  The code currently does not address, require or is silent on the issue of ventilation for enclosed balconies or other types of projections.  Ventilation is generally associated with moisture with condensation related to a temperature difference between spaces.  Although the code addresses keeping moisture (weather protection) out of these areas, the basic assumption of the new section is that if there is moisture within these assembles, the ventilation will help mitigate the problem.  The addition of ventilation will also provide visual opportunity to inspect the enclosed or sealed off areas more easily.  The alternative is to provide access panels or performing destructive demolition for inspection and repairs.  So the venting in the ordinance is different from venting in the current code.

The addition of the vents may address one issue, but may also create another issue related to fire protection of the structure.  All new R-1 and R-2 structures are required to be fire resistive in design, Type A construction.  This would include projections, like decks and balconies.  These projections are considered floor or floor/roof assemblies and required to have the same fire resistance as the rest of the building.  By adding all of these vents, which is required in the ordinance to be a minimum 1/150th of the area of the space ventilated, this may compromise the fire resistance integrity of the balcony.  For an 8 x 10 foot deck, a minimum of about 77 square inches of venting is required.  This is potentially a lot of unprotected openings.

Item #1 “Documentation” has a big effect on how drawings are created. The code change requires designers to show the waterproofing associated with the types of exterior elevated elements. First of all how many designers are competent with waterproofing? One can find many details for roofing, decking and opening protections, but what happens when these elements are joined together? What happens when a door opens on to a balcony or deck? Now we have a door opening intersecting a balcony, a horizontal element. This can be a very complicated detail for waterproofing. Perhaps the code change addresses this by requiring venting and physical inspection, with the assumption of waterproofing failure. This issue could be a big responsibility and liability for the designer.

Comments from Steve Winkel, FAIA

I cannot comment in detail on what the CBSC Exterior Elevated Element  (EEE) subcommittee will recommend, as we are in the midst of developing those recommendations. But Kerwin’s comments are all spot-on. The issue of documentation is one where architects who do not consider themselves adept at specifying and detailing deck waterproofing may need to seek expert consulting advice. They also need to be very aware that these issues involve intersections of multiple systems of walls, doors, windows and decks where there are transitions between waterproofing elements, all of which can lead to failures to prevent water intrusion. The one issue Kerwin did not mention was about increased requirements in the new provisions for inspections prior to enclosing deck elements. Designers should consider inclusion of special inspection provisions for decks and balconies under the provisions of CBC Chapter 17.

Firm Profile: Cooley Architectural Corporation

Cooley Architectural Corporation (CArch) is a budding new architecture firm that was founded on May 29, 2015 and consists of three employees.  They are its CEO and founder Robert Cooley, Project Manager Ema Shahinian, and Production Manager Alexandre Silveira.  It is on a path to grow, but plans to remain a small to medium size firm with 10-30 employees.

Robert earned his Bachelor of Architecture from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; his Masters of Architecture from the University of Oregon; and is a California licensed architect with over thirteen years of design experience.  In 2012, he was the project manager for the barrier removal of over 35 Whole Foods Market grocery stores in Northern California to ensure the company was providing equal access to all of their customers and meeting the requirements of the ADA.  As a result of that experience, Robert became a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) and founded CArch to provide accessibility inspections and full architectural services to commercial clients.  The CASp program was created by California Senate Bill 262 (Chapter 872, 2003) and is designed to meet the public’s need for experienced, trained, and tested individuals who can inspect buildings and sites for compliance with applicable state and federal construction-related accessibility standards.

The firm utilizes their experience on multiple types of commercial and mixed-use residential projects to specialize in universally accessible design across a broad spectrum of project types, but mainly focuses on retail, fitness, grocery, restaurant, and office spaces.  Their aim is to push the envelope of regenerative design, or architecture that regenerates our ecological, economical, and sociological environments.  They are well positioned to aid small businesses in becoming access compliant and place their clients in a position to better defend themselves against serial ADA litigation.  In addition to taking on this creed, they also have some larger projects in various phases of design and construction, and Robert has been instrumental in several LEED Gold projects in his career.

As a small practice, they are able to tailor every phase of the project to best meet their client’s needs and expectations.  The creative process of fitting architecture into existing conditions is their greatest passion, but their expertise is often called upon by other architects to ensure their plans meet the accessibility provisions in the code.  The majority of their referrals come from contractors who rely on them for their expertise in the challenging area of accessibility, along with their ability to provide clear and complete sets of plans that minimize time overruns and change orders to the client, which maximizes efficiency.

Travelex SFO Kiosk Barrier Removal, Renovation of Five Existing Stores and Design Review of Mobile Kiosk – photos by Robert Cooley

Tapout Fitness Adaptive Use TI, 6,700 sq. ft. Gym, Alameda – photos by Alexandre Silveira

Galls Tenant Improvement, 6,200 sq. ft. Wholesale Uniform Sales and Distribution Warehouse, San Francisco – photos by Alexandre Silveira