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Posts from the ‘ArchNews’ Category

ArchNews April 2018

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

Project Profile: Siprosa School Nairobi
Codes: ANSI A117 – Everything Old is New Again
2018 Fellows Celebration
CoolTechStuff: Shapespark
Green: Natural Building for Remodels and The New Carbon Architecture
Firm Profile: Harriman Kinyon Architects, Inc.
Member Profile: Tay Othman, AIA
Sole Proprietors – You’re Not Alone
OSHPD Releases Express Terms for New Non-Structural Performance Category, NPC 4D


This month’s issues is sponsored by Moen.

Sole Proprietors – You’re Not Alone

The New York Times reported at the end of December, “In the U.S., 99.7 percent of all businesses have fewer than 500 employees, according to government statistics. Of those, nearly 80 percent, or more than 23 million enterprises, are one-person operations.”

Natural Building for Remodels and The New Carbon Architecture

Imagine that the act of building actually helped heal the environment.  What would that look like?  Massey Burke takes on this question both in her work as a local natural builder and in a chapter in the inspiring new book The New Carbon Architecture, by Bruce King.

Massey answers questions below in conversation with AIAEB COTE’s Cate Leger. 

Cate:  Natural building is generally associated with expensive or do-it-yourself new, custom houses  in the countryside, but I have seen firsthand that natural building is appropriate and cost effective for remodels and city building.  We met when you installed natural earth finishes for an apartment building renovation I was working on.  The prices were competitive with the alternative:  wood floors and plastered sheetrock walls  and 3 years later the earth finishes are holding up well.

Why do you like working with natural finishes and materials?

Massey:  I like working with natural materials because they help me maintain a direct relationship to the landscapes that they come from, both aesthetically and practically.  Working with natural materials usually involves a much shorter and more accessible supply chain, and often means that I am sourcing and refining the materials as well as building with them.  I love this process:  it allows me to make choices about how I affect the environment through building.

Cate:  We’ve heard a lot about zero net energy buildings as a key step to reducing use of fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.  In The New Carbon Architecture, you argue that buildings can go a lot farther in solving the climate crisis.  Tell us more about that.

Massey:  Shifting to natural building materials can sequester carbon, and, done right, can make our buildings carbon sinks rather than carbon emitters.

Wood and other plant-based natural materials  are now understood to sequester carbon within a building–because plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turn it into stable non-atmospheric carbon.  As long as they do not break down, the carbon within the plants remains locked up and does not return to the atmosphere.  

While it is less common in modern construction than wood, straw has been used worldwide in building for many thousands of years.  Straw bale construction is typically the most familiar to people, but there are actually many different ways to use straw in construction.   Straw is also used in a most earth or clay building systems, like adobe, cob, earth plasters, and earth floors. 

Cate: Where will you be taking this research in the future?

Massey:   This year is a mix of building work and carbon sequestration research, which is moving me toward creating high-performance buildings that are explicitly designed to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  I’m also developing more avenues for using natural materials for remodels.  In particular I am interested in expanding the applications of clay plasters in remodels to improve humidity control and energy efficiency. 

OSHPD Releases Express Terms for New Non-Structural Performance Category, NPC 4D

The new regulations introduce a resilience approach to seismic performance of nonstructural systems, coupling bracing in patient critical areas with the introduction of a post-earthquake Operational Plan.  In California, the Office of Statewide Health Planning & Development (OSHPD) regulates non-structural seismic performance through the use of NPC (non-structural performance category) ratings. This month, OSHPD introduced Express Terms for NPC 4D which will become part of the 2019 California Building Code after a period of public comment.

In short the new rating reduces specific anchorage/bracing requirements for critical care areas of the hospital environment for NPC-3 compliance and provides a multi-tiered level of compliance system for other approximately 75% non-critical care areas.  This allows owners to define and prioritize seismic bracing programs with key departments over time.  The new rating has reporting, submittal, and permit milestone requirements in years 2024, 2026, and 2028.

What does this mean for your hospital or healthcare system?

Like all seismic compliance regulations, each healthcare facility will need to evaluate the new NPC 4D category for potential benefit to its overall seismic compliance program. Facilities may use the NPC 4D rating as a way to integrate non-structural bracing work into planned remodels to meet their desired compliance status.

“The new rating gives hospital facilities more options to focus their seismic bracing work on key departments in the near term, “ said Jorn Halle, Allied Member, Healthcare Practice Area Leader. “Money can now go to the areas in need of the most renewal.  Seismic bracing does not have to be the driving force for modernization work.”

Need to know more?
Review an OSHPD presentation to the Hospital Building Seismic Board at,

This article was originally published in the Degenkolb eblast. Check out Degenkolb Engineer’s website at

Shapespark: CoolTechStuff

Larry Mortimer, AIA

Here is an interesting desktop application and service that allows you to create and share real-time 3D visualizations of your architectural model that will run on any web browser, or mobile device, without the need for any additional software or plugins.

What Does It Do: The Shapespark application (scene editor) creates a real time dynamic rendered version of your model with light mapping that can be uploaded to the internet and viewed by anyone with a browser.

System Requirements:  The scene editor requires 64-bit Windows 7, 8, 8.1 or 10.

What does it cost:  Charges are on a subscription basis as shown below and include the scene editor.  There is a 30-day free trial.

How Does it Work: First, import your model into the Shapespark scene editor.  The application works with the following 3D formats:  SketchUp (with a dedicated extension), 3ds, fbx, collada, and obj (Revit is supported with OBJ Export 2 add-on).

With the scene editor you set the materials, reflectivity and lighting in the imported model and bake them in creating a fast real-time rendered model that can now be uploaded and viewed on any modern browser.

Accurate lighting is key to making a virtual scene feel real. To generate photo-realistic images, Shapespark simulates the behavior of many types of light sources such as, the sun, the sky or artificial light sources.

Shapespark also supports WebVR allowing the viewer to enter VR without leaving the web browser. You can use desktop or mobile headsets such as: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Google Cardboard and Daydream for a relaistic VR experience.

Shapespark has two presentation modes, first-person and top-view. The first-person mode provides a realistic walk-through experience for the viewer, and supports collision detection and stairs climbing for multi-level buildings. The top-view mode shows the model from above and gives an overview of the floor plan.

Conclusion: Creating a real-time rendered model is not a simple task, but in Shapespark it appears to be a fairly intuitive process, and there are plenty of tutorials online that show you how to do it.  Google “Shapespark” and you will find several YouTube video tutorials that show you how it’s done.

This could be a very useful tool to help clients understand what you are designing for them.  The great thing is that the person viewing the model does not need any special knowledge, software, or tools to experience the model in a very realistic way.

The main drawback I see is that the scene editor currently only runs on Windows.  Sorry Mac users.  When I inquired, the developer stated “We don’t have a Macintosh version yet,” so there may be one in the works.

More Info:

Tay Othman, AIA: Member Profile

I was born, raised and educated in Iraq, and studied local architecture and urban planning principles at Alnahrain University, prior to interning in post-war reconstruction and infrastructure rehabilitation projects.

Tay Othman, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

Being pushed by the geopolitical turmoil in the area, I moved to Jordan in 2006. Seeking personal safety and hope, I helped co-establish a small animation studio, and worked as an art director for film and TV commercials for few years. In 2010, I was granted refugee status and moved to the United States. Later that year, I Joined AIA Santa Clara Valley as a part of the emerging professionals committee, then started to lead the local ARE study groups from 2012-2013. I also served as the chair of the Emerging Professionals Committee from 2013-2015. In 2016, after obtaining my license in California, I was elected as architect chair for the Bay Area Young Architects, helping with mentorship, license stewardship and the organization of events and firm tours. Recently I transferred to AIA Eastbay to participate in local programs around Oakland and Berkeley.

My career path was native to the Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, starting at Gensler in San Jose as a Job Captain and BIM specialist where my main focus was commercial office buildings for technology companies. Five years later, I moved to DES Architects and Engineers in San Francisco as a project architect to work on education, higher education and mixed-use projects. My current project is a 130,000 sf mixed-use- development with a historical preservation scope in downtown Redwood City.

Aside from my current employment, I’m running a home atelier for weekend enjoyment by working on small design projects and computational exploration and fabrication for buildings and objects.

Siprosa School Nairobi: Project Profile

The award-winning Siprosa School Nairobi designed by Sidell Pakravan, provides global progressive education in spaces that negotiate between classrooms, flexible spaces, and outdoor learning environments. These spaces are distributed through a collection of stacked and shifted voids that are wrapped by a terra cotta screen that connects diverse spaces, buffers the school from the city and addresses the setting’s environmental needs.

Responding to the curriculum developed by the school’s founder and Golestan Co-lab, an education non profit focused on experiential learning, Sidell Pakravan has created a series of varied spaces that create awareness of nature, material and community.

Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Size: 14,000 sf
Client: Siprosa School, Mary Otieno
Curriculum Development: Golestan Co-Lab, Berkeley
Project Team: Rudabeh Pakravan, Kristen Sidell, Pablo Hernandez, Julia Klineberg

Harriman Kinyon Architects: Firm Profile

Harriman Kinyon Architects, Inc. is an architecture firm based in Walnut Creek that was established over 40 years ago which offers our services primarily in healthcare and affordable housing markets throughout the Western region of California and Nevada.  The firm’s philosophy has been to work on projects that have a true impact and vital service to our community as well as to deliver projects that will allow for the best possible level of care and contribute to better experiences for the patients that are served by these facilities.

Oakland Broadway – Photographer: Mike Polk

The Oakland Broadway project was on a very tight narrow site, originally on four separate parcels.  The existing three buildings on the site were removed to make way for a new two story medical office building along the very busy and highly visible corridor of Broadway.  Multiple factors had to be coordinated for this development of the project which included keeping the existing 25 foot high retaining wall at one side of the property as well as cooperating with the residential neighbors so that the building blended into this community.

Castro Valley – Photographer: Mike Polk

In Castro Valley, we were able to take an oddly shaped property at a great location near the medical corridor of the community.  Though this challenging sloped site was small, we were still able to design the layout of the site with the needed building footprint, parking and landscape areas.   This project also had multiple governing agencies and departments to coordinate and communicate with this development.

We are also working currently on an existing multi-family housing property in Napa, CA.  The remodel of this project includes a new community room, leasing office as well as rehabilitating of the property with new accessible rental units and upgrading the existing kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, heating & cooling, plumbing, painting and new site work with updated drainage, parking striping, landscaping and site lighting.

Napa – Renderings

ArchNews March 2018

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

Project Profile: Canyon Road Bridge House, Santa Fe
AIA East Bay/UC Berkeley Joint Lecture
CoolTechStuff: Blackbelt 3D Printer
Member News
Firm Profile: Barry & Wynn Architects, Inc.
Member Profile: Rick Kattenburg, AIA
Steel, Aluminum Tariffs will Negatively Impact U.S. Design and Construction Industries


This month’s issues is sponsored by Moen.

Member News – March 2018

Liz O’Hara is retiring from Ratcliff.







Michelle Solimon, Assoc. AIA, has been promoted to Manager, Store Design at Ross Stores.






The office of California Governor Jerry Brown announced the reappointment of Erick Mikiten, AIA to another four years as a State Building Standards Commissioner. He has served since 2012.