Project Profile: Levitch Associates, Inc.

Warm Modern Remodel + Addition
Text provided by Levitch Associates, Inc.

Albany homeowners wanted a modern design, open plan and additional space for family and guests at their two-bedroom, 1 Bath, 1,053 SF home on a 30’ wide lot. At the same time, they wanted to respect their neighborhood of mostly one and two-story bungalows. A 3,600 SF lot meant a vertical addition was the most feasible solution.

At the main level, Levitch Associates, Inc. created an open plan and completely remodeled the entire floor. Removing an accessory structure made way for a back deck, accessible through the dining nook and family room. Since the deck faces west, they designed a pergola for shade. Now with an easy flow inside to the outdoors, there’s plenty of room for everyday living and entertaining.

The owners asked for a stair to the new second-story that would have a minimal footprint while bringing light into the home. Levitch met their request with a staircase lit by a skylight and windows and accented by a dramatic light fixture and teal walls. The upper level has laundry, three bedrooms and two bathrooms including a master suite.

During construction Levitch took the house down to the floor structure, so it’s essentially a new 2,000 SF home. Given the scope of the remodel there were some challenges:

  • It was more complicated to leave a section of foundation intact than to replace all of it, which would have added to the cost; in hindsight we could have completely demolished the home.
  • There was, however, a nonconforming setback on one side so leaving one corner allowed us to maintain about 1’ of width in footprint.
  • Fire sprinklers were required.

Despite the challenges, a consistent theme of colors, textures and materials such as wood, metal and glass inside and out creates a modern aesthetic that is warm and livable for their client’s new home.

Architect: Maurice Levitch, AIA
Structural Engineer: Aghazarian Consulting Engineers, Inc.
General Contractor: Levitch Associates, Inc.
Railings: Carrillo’s Ironworks
Cabinets: Ecohome Improvement
Cabinet Installer: Semolina Design
Painting: Aurora Painting and Decorating
Flooring: Amber Flooring Inc.
Wallcovering: Bay Area Toile, designed by Matt Ritchie and Jorma Taccone
Wallcovering Installation: James Hauge
Fire Sprinklers: Thorpe Design Inc.
Photographer: Treve Johnson Photography, Inc.

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Jeff Moore: Allied Member Profile

Jeff Moore, P.E., principal and owner of Greenwood & Moore, Inc. (G&M), has 30 years of experience as a professional Civil Engineer.  Moore received his Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering from Cal Poly/Pomona in 1984.  He received a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering from UC Berkeley in 1986.  He received his Professional Civil Engineering License in 1987.

G&M is a multi-disciplined design, engineering and land surveying firm that serves the Northern California area.

Jeff Moore has had the opportunity to work on numerous types of projects within the residential, commercial, industrial and municipal sectors of the construction industry.  Because civil engineering is a core element of the design process, Jeff works with architects in many capacities on a routine basis.

He has been the featured speaker on subjects of interest to the design and construction industries.  He has made numerous presentations on Stormwater Control and Site Design Issues, Site Accessibility Compliance and Strategies and The Land Use Planning Process to architects, general contractors, real estate community and facility managers.

Moore was appointed a member of the Alameda County Planning Commission in 2012.  Among other things, this body is responsible for reviewing and acting upon various development applications issued by the County.

Jeff has also served as a member of Alameda County Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) from 2011-2012.  This body is responsible for the review and approval of variances, conditional use permits and code enforcement actions throughout Alameda County.

Prior to serving on the BZA committee, Moore served as a member and past-chairman of the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council (CVMAC) from 2001-2011. The CVMAC is a mandated council that is responsible for reviewing land development projects within Castro Valley prior to their being submitted to the Alameda County Planning Department.

Jeff is an active member and past president of the Castro Valley Rotary Club.   He is also a member of numerous professional organizations including, AIA East Bay, AGC of California, American Society of Civil Engineer (ASCE), California Land Surveyors Association (CLSA), National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), California Society of Professional Engineers (CSPE) and California Association of Stormwater Quality Agencies (CASQA).

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Joel Freeson Carico : Architect : AIA: Firm Profile

Joel Freeson Carico : Architect : AIA is a sole proprietor in Concord. Joel moved to the Bay Area in 2009 to be closer to family. Joel has worked in the architectural profession for nearly forty years and his experience includes a broad range of projects.  Joel has worked as a designer, project manager, site planner, renderer, draftsman and model builder. He has been involved in designing custom homes, multi-family housing, office, retail, school, day-care, military and restaurant projects, R&D buildings, planned communities, and a domed observatory. He also has experience in existing site and building recordation, and historic preservation and renovation. He has worked on projects in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, South Dakota, Croatia, and the Bay Area. This experience allows Joel Freeson Carico : Architect : AIA to offer services to a broad range of clients.

Joel comes to architecture from an art background. Throughout his life Joel has enjoyed drawing, painting, sculpting and model building. When taking a seventh grade drafting class at the age of twelve, he knew without doubt he wanted to be an architect. Joel graduated from California Polytechnic State University College of Architecture and Environmental Design in San Luis Obispo in 1980 with a Bachelors of Architecture.

When designing or trying to communicate initial design ideas to clients or colleagues, Joel feels that hand sketching is still the best method. There is an immediacy, an intimacy and a flow of ideas from thought to hand that cannot be achieved on a computer. But when it comes to design development and construction documents, BIM (Building Information Modeling) is tremendously powerful. Joel has been using BIM, in the form of ArchiCAD by Graphisoft, since 1995. Communication is key to any successful project. The use of BIM to virtually walk a client through a project and to work out structural and infrastructural details with consultants and contractors means issues and problems are resolved before construction begins. BIM is an essential architectural tool that leads to better buildings and satisfied clients.

Joel is never happier than when designing a project and modeling that design on the computer, producing construction documents and details that will bring the design to fruition. He says, “when I am sketching ideas and drawing designs, or modeling and detailing a building, I lose all track of time.”

Although Joel considers his design philosophy to be in the modernist tradition, and deeply admires many of the designs of Wright, Neutra, Calatrava and others, he does not strictly adhere to a particular design aesthetic on every project. Joel approaches each project on its own terms. The client, location, context, and desired uses of the building are unique to each project and help guide the design. Architecture is a collaborative process. The best designs result when the client, consultants, contractor and the architect work together.

Photographer credits: Lee Geiger, Architect and Joel Carico, AIA

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YAF Holiday Happy Hour

Thursday, December 20, 2018
Free and open to all. Drinks are no-host.
Location: Mad Oak, 135 12th Street, Oakland

RSVP on Facebook here.

Happy holidays Young Architects Forum! We are having our last happy hour event of the year on December 20th at Mad Oak in Downtown Oakland. Come join us as we recap the year, discuss leadership for the group and plan our events for 2019.

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Regional Urban Design Forum

Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Free and open to all.

Please join us for a presentation of The Agile ADU, a research project on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) by Design Draw Build. ADUs are small, separate dwellings associated with a primary house, and increase housing supply with minimal impact to neighborhood character.  This research examines policy, design, and financial roadblocks to ADU production, and is partly funded in part by the chapter’s Grant For Housing Innovation program.

The Regional & Urban Design (RUD) Forum is hosting the event, and it will be held in the chapter office at 1405 Clay Street, near 12th Street BART Station in Oakland.


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2018 Member Appreciation Party & Annual Business Meeting

Thursday, December 13, 2018
Free AIA East Bay members and employees of chapter member firms / $38 guests
Location: Neyborly Jack London,
95 Linden St #1, Oakland
Click here to register.

AIA East Bay Members, sponsors and welcome guests gather at Neyborly in Jack London for our annual Member Appreciation Party and Annual Business Meeting. We’ll have heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine, beer and soft drinks–and a celebration of you, our members!


CSI East Bay

Dealey Renton & Associates

Dolan’s Lumber

Ideate, Inc


Pacific Coast Building Products


Vectorworks, Inc.

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Small Firm Forum 2018 Luncheon

Thursday, December 6, 2018
$15 First Registrant / $10 Friend
Click here to register by Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Please join the Small Firm Forum for their Annual Holiday Lunch. We will share a catered lunch, have good conversation and share up-to-two meaningful slides each from our practices.  Let’s celebrate the past year and look forward to 2019.  All monthly hosts for 2019 will be entered into a raffle to win a gift certificate to Builder’s Booksource.  Everyone is invited to bring a guest at a special price.

About the Slides:
Submit two jpeg images.  They can be meaningful images from your practice or related to your practice.  As a nod to years past, the images can even be of problems from your work.  Each person will have 90 seconds to tell us about their images.

Submit no more than two slides to when you register and be prepared to share why it’s a small-firm project.

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11/15: COTE

Thursday, November 15, 2018
Free and open to all. RSVP to

The Committee on the Environment would like to hear what environmental issues (existing and potential) are most important to you. We encourage all chapter members to attend this happy hour and  share your thoughts on program ideas, discussion topics, group mission and anything else you’d like to see next year.

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A Fragile Energy Revolution: Green

Cate Leger, Principal, Leger Wanaselja Architecture

A New Local Energy Provider

In November, most residents in Alameda county will join the growing number of Californians receiving their electricity from a not-for-profit, governmental agency rather than a corporate power provider.  The change will be seamless, noticeable only as a change in the billing statement.

The new energy provider is called East Bay Community Energy (EBCE) and represents more than a decade of work by environmental and social justice activists working hand-in-hand with legislators and government agencies to provide East Bay residents with more control over the generation of their power and how the money spent on that power is invested in the community.

Customers will be automatically enrolled in Bright Choice service which will provide electricity with a higher renewable generation content at a slightly lower price than electricity currently from PG&E.  Customers can also opt up to cleaner power at a slightly higher price or opt out and switch back to the corporate power supplier, PG&E.


Opt Up to 100

Opting up is one of the cheapest significant steps that anyone can take toward going fossil fuel free.  Both higher cost options are 100% fossil fuel free generated power:

  • Renewable 100 is generated entirely from renewable energy sources, mostly solar and wind, and costs 1 cent per kWh more than PGE’s electricity.
  • Brilliant 100, which includes power from large hydroelectric dams, is still 100% fossil fuel-free and is virtually the same price as PG&E’s electricity.

The EBCE was initiated under a state law passed in 2002 that allowed government jurisdictions to create agencies (called Community Choice Aggregators or CCAs) to purchase power on their residents’ behalf as a way to provide energy options to Californians.

In 2010 Marin County was the first community in the state to create a CCA: Marin Clean Energy.  It was quickly followed by Sonoma and others.  There are now close to two million Californians served by CCAs and more joining each month.  A 2016 UCLA study predicted that up to 80% of electric accounts will be served by CCAs by 2030.

Why is Community Choice Energy so Popular?

One major appeal of CCA is that they are not-for-profit.  Any financial surpluses are invested in new power generation, rather than going to pay shareholders profits, and this generally means cleaner and cheaper electricity.  The UCLA study found that CCAs in California offered 25% more renewable energy compared to the investor-owned utility (IOU) in the same area resulting in an estimated reduction of 600,000 metric tons of CO2 in 2016.

As local government agencies, CCAs also are entirely devoted to their community.  Even before EBCE was providing electricity, it was developing a plan to invest locally in energy development.  In July, the Board of EBCE adopted a groundbreaking Local Development Business Plan which spells out strategies for local clean energy, energy efficiency, and energy storage projects specifically to help address the environmental, economic, and social justice needs of the East Bay community.

A Fragile Future

The rapid increase in CCAs and their predicted dominance is causing seismic shifts in the California regulatory landscape.  One of the biggest debates is who should be responsible for paying the long term obligations the three IOUs made on behalf of customers that are no longer be supplied with power. A recent LA Times article reports these fees are significant and depending how they are allocated, have the potential to crush the nascent CCA movement.

The IOUs are pressing that the CCAs be responsible for many of their debts.  The IOUs argue that they are tightly regulated and entered many contracts because of legal requirements.   Renewable Portfolio Standards, for example, required them to enter contracts for solar and wind power at prices much higher than they are today.  Others argue that the IOUs should have foreseen the decline in demand for their energy but  that the regulatory structure also guarantees IOUs a robust return on their investments, which could incentivize them to invest in surplus energy development.

A 2017 LA Times article outlines the buildup of the current surplus in electricity generation capacity. For example in 2010, as Marin Clean Energy was being established, PG&E secured approval for the Colusa natural gas power plant, an investment that will cost its customers more than $700 million over the plant’s lifespan and has operated “far below capacity” since launching.  Some may recall, this was also a time when PG&E spent millions in advertising trying to sabotage Marin Clean Energy’s start.

While many questions, including who pays for past contracts, still need to be worked out the data thus far indicate that CCAs are helping to accelerate generation of cleaner, cheaper, and locally generated electricity.  With the right regulations in place, this competition can only help us meet our ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals while also supporting good local jobs for Californians.


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Vectorworks 2019 – Best New Features and Improvements

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Free and open to all.

At this meeting we will focus in on the most significant new features of Vectorworks 2019 –improvements that speed work-flow, new tools and enhancements for site modeling, visualization, documentation, and BIM creation and exchange.

Paul Majka, Principal, Paul Majka Architect Inc. is an architect with over fifteen years of experience with Vectorworks. He provides architectural and design and construction management services for hospitality, entertainment, leisure, and arts venues, and for select residential projects.

Learning Objectives:

  1. See how to use the new tools for site modeling.
  2. Learn to employ the new software interface features to speed your workflow.
  3. See how to use the improvements to existing tools to facilitate the visualization and documentation of your work for sections and both 2D and 3D graphics.
  4. Understand the capabilities and advantages of the new import and export features to facilitate file exchange and collaboration.
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