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Ignition Architecture: Firm Profile

Ignition Architecture is an imaginative, woman-owned design firm that’s passionate about vibrant, creative design solutions and responsive, professional service. We thrive on tailoring unique, warm and green modern designs to our residential client’s specific needs and dreams.

Founded by Veronica Hinkley Reck, AIA, in 2005, we bring two decades of know-how and award-winning spark to every project. We offer a full range of design services to the entire East Bay through our offices in downtown Alameda, and from our office in San Francisco’s lively Dogpatch neighborhood.

Our team enjoys rolling up their sleeves and diving into the design process, which encompasses a collaborative search for creative, economical, and sustainable solutions that are responsive to the client’s program and budget. We believe that good modern architecture should be inspirational to those who experience it.  We nimbly work with clients of any size, from the individual single-family homeowner to large-scale development teams.

Ignition’s projects vary widely in scope, complexity, content and type. We succeed at integrating client’s needs with contemporary issues of design, technology, and environmental awareness. Our diverse portfolio includes: affordable housing, market-rate/mixed-use multifamily projects, private single-family homes, commercial offices, retail stores, hotels, restaurants, community centers, and civic projects.

Our single-family residential portfolio includes a range of projects, from modest bathroom and kitchen remodels to larger, high-end additions and new, ground-up houses. We take pleasure in working with individual clients, creating a design that speaks to them and their unique needs, then guiding them through all phases of design and construction. We act as a resource to all our clients while navigating complex entitlements and permitting processes, as well as investigating new materials and construction methods.

At Ignition we believe that design is a team effort and a synergetic process. No matter how large or small the project is, we work closely with the client, municipalities, and project stakeholders to meet their project goals. We involve our clients at every step of the way, from concept through construction, resulting in designs that often exceed client expectations.

Ignition Architecture is certified as a small, local and emerging business (SLEB) in Alameda County, and a woman-owned, small, local business enterprise (WBE/SBE/LBE) in San Francisco. We have a wealth of experience both as Prime Architect and as Associate Architect. This flexibility in our teaming approach is particularly useful for helping our clients achieve the SBE requirements of San Francisco’s OCII and those meeting SLEB goals in Alameda County.

Ignition’s team of architects and designers are enthusiastic about good design. If you are looking for a fun group of people to enliven your small or large project, get in touch with us at Ignition Architecture.

Octavia Court HUD 811 Affordable Housing; Art Gallery, San Francisco, CA. Photo credit: Treve Johnson Photography

Clipper Residence, San Francisco, CA. Photo credit: Ignition Architecture

Monkey Bars eco-friendly childrens store, Alameda, CA. Photo credit: Ignition Architecture


Kitchen Remodel in Oakland Mid-Century Modern Home

When the current owners purchased it, this home came with a cramped and very dated kitchen.  Originally surrounded on two sides by a walkway and deck, it had been remodeled by the previous owners to enclose this exterior space, creating a corner dining room and visually extending the kitchen.  The original exterior walls had been left in place with the window openings turned into pass-throughs, but that left the kitchen landlocked with none of its openings on the exterior of the building.  This created a very confined and dark room that was out of step with the rest of this relatively bright home with large living spaces.

Daniel M Swain, AIA had a plan to remove the original exterior walls and extend the kitchen by opening the space up to the dining room. This created bay views on one side and family room and backyard views on the other. This required some significant structural work to re-support the roof and ceiling, as well as a seismic upgrade to the rest of the structure. The kitchen is now open to the rest of the house, bright and functional, while maintaining the mid-century roots of the home.

For the finishes we replaced the raised panel, oak cabinets, tile countertops and red, clay tile floors. We replaced them with solid walnut cabinets, Princess White quartzite counter-tops, matte green glass subway backsplash and stainless steel appliances, and reused the sub-zero refrigerator. The owners were enamored with white marble, but opted instead for the lower maintenance requirements of the very white quartzite. The floor is long-dimension, textured porcelain tile giving a rich, dark look while being resistant to almost any damage.

Architect: Daniel M Swain, Architect

Contractor: Peter J Curlee Construction

Structural Engineer: Erik Andersen

Cabinet Maker: John Wilson

Photo Credit: Leori Gill

Firm Tour: Gensler Oakland

an Emerging Professionals event

Thursday, July 20, 2017
Location: Gensler Oakland, 2101 Webster St. #2000, Oakland, 94612
Cost: Free AIA Members; $5 BAYA/non-members
Sorry–this event is sold out. Please email to be placed on the waitlist.

The AIA East Bay Emerging Professionals are pleased to announce a Firm Tour of Gensler Oakland led by Anna Han, AIA. Ms. Han will be joined by her colleagues Amy Wynott, Emilio Todescato, Fabiola Catalan and Dayton Mac, AIA.

Gensler’s award-winning Oakland office is characterized by function and flexibility. Perched on the top floor of a Class A office tower, the space provides a captivating 360-degree panoramic view of the East Bay hills, Downtown Oakland, the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the San Francisco skyline.  Organized into multiple components that support a multidisciplinary practice, the core-centric space has sit-stand desks, benching tables and drop-in stations around the perimeter, with conference and small meeting rooms around the core and a large flexible project area on the south end of the floor. Each area of the office is distinguished by its deliberate form and honest expression of materials.We are pleased to invite members of BAYA, the Bay Area Young Architects, to join us on this tour!

Beer and wine hosted by Gensler; cheese and other refreshments hosted by AIA East Bay. Space is limited; please register early.

Mary Loumeau: Allied Member Profile

The Northern California Glass Management Association (NCGMA) is your expert and resource for all things commercial glass—whether you are designing curtain walls, store fronts, doors, skylights, or interior demountable walls for your projects.  There is a movement within the architectural community for more collaboration at the design phase, which maximizes budgets, production and install schedules.

NCGMA represents union commercial glazing contractors and manufacturers in the San Francisco – Bay Area and parts of Nevada.  NCGMA is one of the finishing trades that falls under the association umbrella of Northern California Allied Trades (NCAT).  The other trade is the Northern California Painters and Finishing Contractors which covers commercial and industrial painting.

The normal course of “build-to-specs” is followed by our contractors.  A recent case study of the design and construction of a fitness facility where the use of space was mostly likely not taken into consideration in the design phase resulted in a costly fix and frustrated owners and end users.  In this particular case, a decorative and custom curtain wall system was installed in the interior of the fitness club as an aesthetic design feature.  However, there were significant air gaps between the mullions, the walls, and also the floor, which allowed a tremendous amount of noise from smoothie machines, people talking, and loud microphones to filter into the rooms.  These rooms were being used for meditation, Pilates and yoga.

The benefit of bringing in expert glazing contractors in the initial design phase would have mitigated this situation entirely.  The architect would have been advised of the best and most proper materials to use for what the space was designed for.

To help mitigate future instances of this type of circumstances, NCGMA has enlisted Mary Loumeau, Allied Member and Director of Marketing and Member Services to connect architects with glazing experts to work together at the beginning of the design phase—before possible costly fixes have to come in after construction has begun.

Mary is a recent transplant from Virginia.  The long, cold winters and extremely hot and humid summers finally took a toll and with her husband and two young children, they moved to the Bay Area.  She has a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in international business from James Madison University and participated in a one year study abroad program in Tokyo, Japan.  She has checked running the Marine Corps Marathon off her bucket list and looks forward to participating in local, short races.  Mary has a great appreciation for music and the arts, distinctive architecture, travel and is a self-professed food, wine and coffee enthusiast.


Matthew Cortez, Assoc. AIA: Member Profile

Matthew Cortez, Assoc. AIA grew up in California’s Central Coast and its natural beauty gave him an appreciation for harmony and design. His mother, a seamstress by trade, instilled in Matthew and his siblings the value of using your own hands to create. This started Matthew’s desire to achieve a career in a creative field. He graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor’s of Architecture in 2009.  Since then his career has been anything but traditional.

After he graduated, Matthew began his post-university career working in real estate, coordinating the preparation and sale of residential property.  In 2012, Matthew began working in the construction industry as an estimator and project control manager.  His experience in this part of the building process has given him valuable insight into bidding and budgeting processes as well as project management and tracking. This experience in construction management allows Matthew to quickly understand impacts to overall project cost and completion time.

Although the positions Matthew held early in his career were disconnected from the design process and focused on the business side of construction, he has always found a way to express his creativity.  While Matthew was in high school, he developed a passion for woodworking. In his spare time, he can be found in his woodshop designing and producing small furniture items and other home decor for a small business he owns and manages.  Matthew has developed and fostered a keen ability to visualize the end design, and develop a creative approach to produce outstanding results.

Matthew is currently pursuing his architectural license. He works with Past the Gate, a general builder and design/build firm, specializing in landscape construction and associated small remodels.   The firm’s design team combines expertise in landscape architecture, architecture and technical construction methodology to ensure each design meets the client’s specific spatial and budgetary needs.

Innovative Technology Solution for Leveraging BIM Data

Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Free and open to all. Lunch provided by Ideate.
Click here to register.

Assemble Insight is a cloud-based BIM data solution used today to manage over 7,500 projects. This solution allows Revit and non-Revit users alike to access, analyze, and share data for numerous tasks, including model validation, estimating, visual variance (comparisons), and custom reporting.

During this presentation, you will learn how project teams use Assemble Insight to transform architecture, engineering and construction processes and improve project predictability.

Learning Objectives:


Site Development

A Northern California Vectorworks Users Group

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Free and open to all.

Mandy Shlugleit presents the work of David Thorne, Landscape Architect and shares how her office uses Vectorworks. We will demonstrate the creation of a digital terrain model with some common site improvements using the tools in the Site Planning tool set and commands for Vectorworks Architect and Landmark users.

About the Presenters:

Mandy Shlugleit, Associate, David Thorne Landscape Architect is trained in fine-arts painting and passionate about the dynamic relationship between people, plants and landscape as a sculptural form. Mandy creates unique and personalized landscapes across a variety of styles, scales, microclimates and ecological considerations.

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

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

Learning Objectives:

After completing this program, attendees will…

  1. Learn how to create digital terrain models using Vectorworks.
  2. See at least three ways in which to modify terrain for common site improvements.
  3. Learn how David Thorne Landscape Architect and their office use Vectorworks in their practice.
  4. See a sampling of landscape architecture and how Vectorworks can be used in the design process.

Make the Connection 2017 Benefiting Rooms of Hope

Thursday, July 20, 2017
Location: Autodesk Gallery, 1 Market St #200, San Francisco
Cost: $20 + service fees / $30 day-of
Click here to purchase tickets.

Rooms of Hope’s mission is to provide dream room makeovers to children with life-threatening illnesses. Their purpose is to surround these children with love and co-create the space of their dreams, may it be their bedroom, playroom or other refuge away from all the medical tests and treatments they must endure at the hospital. They are about bringing hope and joy to seriously ill children as they literally fight for their lives. These spaces are very personal and are built to represent the child’s unique personality, filled with everything that is meaningful to our Rooms of Hope children. Rooms of Hope is a 501(c) non-profit organization serving 9 counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area.

About Make the Connection:

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 FIVE organizations serving the real estate, interior design,  architectural & construction community, and marketing professions in Northern California.

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 2017 beneficiary is Rooms of Hope. Rooms of Hope is a local Bay Area non-profit whose mission is to provide dream room makeovers for children with life-threatening illnesses. Bringing hope and joy while creating spaces that matter!

Presented by AIA-SF, AIA East Bay, SMPS, IIDA-NC, & RECON

Take Over the AIA!

….the AIA East Bay’s Instagram, that is. We want to see the world through your lens—and see it shared on @aiaeastbay. Whether it’s a sketch or a design detail, a shot of a late-night ARE study session or a job site visit, we want to see what a week (or two) in your life is like. All we ask is that YOU–not your nimble-fingered teenager or marketing staff–run the posts, and post at least seven times in two weeks.

Posters must be current AIA East Bay members. Want to get on the schedule? Send a message to

New to Instagram? Follow us @aiaeastbay!

Hardwood Floor Finishing

Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Noon or 4pm
Location: Amber Flooring, 5652 San Pablo Avenue, Emeryville, CA 94608
Free and open to all; RSVP to


Hardwood Floor Finishing is a continuing education course intended to provide an understanding about the life cycle of a hardwood floor in a residential or commercial setting. The course covers the benefits of specifying hardwood, each step of the sanding and finishing process and how design trends have contributed to advanced color techniques on site finished wood flooring installations. Attendees will also learn about proper long-term maintenance procedures that contribute to successful design implementation.

Key topics covered:
Why hardwood floors?
Types of hardwood flooring
Specifying the correct adhesive
Sanding and finishing process
Staining, sealing and finishing options
Oil-based vs. Water-based finishes
Proper maintenance
Sustainability/Indoor air quality/LEED/VOC regulations

Once the presentation is completed, we will open for Q&A to discuss any wood flooring specifying questions that you would like addressed, as well as how you can incorporate a variety of floor finishing systems (or options) as an effective design element.