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Posts from the ‘ArchNews’ Category

Member News – February 2018

Member Promotions and Awards

Lowney Architecture is pleased to announce that Anthony Cataldo, AIA has joined them as Chief Operations Officer. Prior to working with Lowney, Anthony was Director of Commercial Architecture at Ware Malcomb.




Kathryn Wagner, AIA was named employee of the year by Dougherty Architects.






Allied Member Anniversary

Thorburn Associates is celebrating 25 years of design excellence.


Member Firm Featured

Arkin Tilt Architects was featured in East Bay Express for their work on Origin Brewer in Richmond.

“A few months before Armistice got going, Michelle Baker formally launched her commercial brewery, Origin Brewer. Origin is a tiny nano-brewery in Baker’s backyard — and an extremely sustainable one at that. Built from reclaimed and salvaged materials with help from Arkin Tilt Architects, an ecological design firm, it notably collects and reuses rainwater. Given its size, there’s no taproom.”
Read the full article here:



Important Messages for ARE 4.0 Candidates

Anyone currently testing in ARE 4.0 should be aware of the following key points:

The last day to take an ARE 4.0 division in a test center is June 30, 2018. Candidates who have not completed ARE 4.0 by this date will need to complete any remaining divisions in ARE 5.0 to satisfy the examination requirement for licensure.

Now is the time to make a plan to finish the exam if you are currently testing in ARE 4.0. There are several resources available on to help candidates make their plan. NCARB’s Customer Relations team is also available to help candidates understand their individual testing options.

Your rolling clock will not change if you transition to ARE 5.0. Candidates must still complete the test within five years of their first pass—whether through ARE 4.0, ARE 5.0, or a combination of both. Expiring ARE 4.0 divisions could impact the credits received in ARE 5.0 when transitioning.

Prometric test centers fill up fast, so candidates will need to plan ahead when scheduling their remaining divisions in ARE 4.0.

When the exam transitioned from ARE 3.1 to ARE 4.0, candidates encountered difficulty finding test appointments in the final months before the exam retired. If candidates plan on testing in May and June, they should book these appointments as soon as possible.

The ARE retake policy will remain the same. Candidates must wait 60 days before they can retake a division of the ARE, and can only take a division three times within 12 months.

This means if a candidate has taken a division of ARE 4.0 since the end of June this year, they will only have two more opportunities to take that division between now and the retirement of ARE 4.0. They will also need to take their second attempt before April 30, 2018, to have the option of one more retake before ARE 4.0 retires.

In Memoriam: Pamela Seifert, AIA, 1950-2018

Pamela Mabelle Seifert, AIA, 67, of Martinez, California, passed away January 24, 2018.  She died peacefully in her home that she designed and loved. Pam was born to the late Curt and Mabelle Seifert on August 5, 1950, in Hackensack, New Jersey. She received a BA in Fine Arts from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana in 1972 and a MA in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley in 1975. Pam married Stephen Harvey in 1972. Pam and Steve were loving and supportive partners to each other over 45 years of marriage.

Pam adeptly balanced her career as an architect with her life as a wife, mother, and friend.  Pam made sure all her architecture had something special for each of her clients, many of whom became friends.  She and Steve also shared their professional careers as Steve built many of Pam’s designs.  They enjoyed creating homes together for their family, as well as to sell.  She was also a talented artist, craftsperson, photographer, gardener, cook, tennis player, equestrian, and animal lover.  Pam loved nothing more than harvesting food from her garden to prepare for a Sunday dinner with her family.

In spite of her healthy and active lifestyle, at age 53, Pam suffered a stroke, the first of many major health challenges. With hard work, a positive outlook, and strong support, she fought her way back time and again, maximizing her quality of life and quality time with loved ones.  Pam designed, and Steve built, her dream ranch home on 35 acres in Briones. For her last 12 years, she enjoyed life there, amongst the horses, goats, chickens, dogs, cats, fish, and beautiful oak-covered hills.  Pam and Steve continued to travel the world in recent years including rafting the Grand Canyon and recently visiting Peru and Machu Picchu.

Pam is survived by her husband, Steve; two children, Allison Harvey Turner and Ross Harvey; son-in-law, Michael Turner; granddaughter, Grace Harvey Turner; and brother and sister-in-law: Larry and Diane Seifert.

A memorial will be held Sunday, March 11th at 1pm at the Lafayette Veteran’s Memorial Building. If desired, donations may be made to Heifer International.

HazMat Reference and Emergency Response Guides: CoolTechStuff

Larry Mortimer, AIA

As you may guess from the topic of this article, I just finished the chapter’s Post-Disaster SAP Training course.  Living and working in an industrial area of the city I’ve always been concerned about what kinds of nasty things are in, or passing through, my neighborhood and the SAP Training course renewed my concerns.  Here are a couple of mobile device apps that will give you information on questionable materials that you need to stay safe.

I found two apps that seem to do a good job identifying hazardous materials.  ERG 2016 by National Library of Medicine, and the HazMat Reference and Emergency Response Guide by ThatsMyStapler Inc. (for all of you fans of the movie Office Space).

What do they cost: ERG 2016 is free, and the HazMat Reference and Emergency Response Guide is $4.99.

ERG 2016:  There is both an iOS and an Android version of ERG 2016.  ERG 2016 contains an indexed list of dangerous goods, their associated ID numbers, the general hazards they pose and recommended safety precautions.  The home screen for this app opens with a choice to search by name or placard image, or to browse the guide section or reference materials. The guide section lists information on types of material, including; potential health, fire or explosion hazards, and recommended emergency responses, protective clothing, evacuation and first aid.  The reference section includes: “How to use this App,” “Hazard Classification,” “Protective Distance,” “Safety Precautions,” and “About/Contact.”


HazMat Reference and Emergency Response Guide:  The HazMat Reference and Emergency Response Guide is only available for the iOS platform. This app opens to an alphabetical list by name of hazardous materials, showing the proper placard, hazard class, isolation distances, synonyms/trade names, and a physical description for each. From the home page you can also go directly to the sections on guides, history of your inquiries and references.

The guide section is exactly the same as that in ERG 2016.  The reference section includes emergency phone numbers, other resources, and suggested actions.

Conclusion: Although both apps provide similar information, the HazMat Reference and Emergency Response Guide format is easier to use, and it provides synonyms/trade names, and a physical description that ERG 2016 does not.  My choice would be the HazMat Reference and Emergency Response Guide, but either app will do the job.

These apps both provide a quick reference to identify hazardous materials and guidance regarding the dangers they present. Hopefully you will never need the information these apps provide, but if you do, you will need it immediately.  Having one of these apps in your kit of tools is cheap insurance.

Download at:  Apple Store, or Google Play

Removing Barriers to Electrification

Cate Leger, Principal, Leger Wanaselja Architecture and Commissioner, Berkeley Energy Commission

The new round of updates for Title 24 2019 Building Efficiency Standards are in the final stages of creation.  They will go into effect in 2020. While incredibly arcane and mind-numbingly complex, these standards have been the cornerstone of California’s leadership in energy efficient construction.  It is through standards like these and regulations that implement them that high level state policies, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, are achieved.

Historically, energy efficiency standards and incentive programs have been based on the assumption that natural gas appliances have lower environmental impacts than electric appliances.  However, this is no longer the case.  The dramatic increase of renewables in supplying electricity and the development of heat pump technologies for space and water heating have turned this balance around.  If the significant fugitive emissions from gas infrastructure were added to the equation, the scale definitely tips in favor of electric heating.

Building efficiency standards and other programs need to stay current with the science in order to be effective tools in achieving high level state goals.

The good news in the Title 24 updates is that heat pump hot water heaters will be given equal standing with gas.  They will have their own baseline for calculating compliance.  No longer will designs be penalized for using high efficiency electric water heaters.

The bad news is that the metric used to calculate building performance, TDV, will not be updated to adequately reflect the costs of natural gas.   The TDV metric is a bit of a black box created by the regulators in 2006 to give value to the time energy is used.  While greenhouse gas emissions and energy use are part of the TDV algorithm, the problem with TDV is that it generally over values natural gas, giving the false impression that natural gas heat is better for the environment than electric.  This was born out in one of the regulators own studies prepared by E3 which showed that in almost every climate zone gas outperformed electric based on TDV but had higher greenhouse gas emissions.

The continued use of TDV is one area where California’s energy regulations are not keeping pace with science.  Another is energy rebates and incentive programs.

For example, the ratepayer-funded Energy Upgrade California program supports tens of millions of dollars of rebates for energy efficiency upgrades including insulation and appliance upgrades. However, these rebates are not available when switching fuels.

To address these inconsistencies, the AIAEB Committee on the Environment members are supporting a coalition effort advocating for climate leadership in Sacramento and across the state agencies to decarbonize buildings (see attached).  Cities, environmental groups, architecture and energy consulting firms across the state are asking for regulations and programs to be aligned with state climate goals.  This realignment is absolutely consistent with the AIA’s support of the Paris Agreement and zero net energy in new construction by 2030.

There is no time to lose.  Energy efficiency programs must be realigned quickly to support accelerated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Curtis Pancoast, Allied Member Profile

Curtis Pancoast, Allied Member specializes in professional liability insurance and risk management for design professionals.  As an independent broker with IOA Insurance Services, Curtis has access to the top-tier a/e insurance programs in the nation.  Curtis actively participates on multiple insurance company advisory councils to address how best to meet the risk management needs of architects and engineers.

Curtis is also an active member of a/e ProNet (, an international network of brokers serving the needs of design professionals in the insurance marketplace.  a/e ProNet provides its members and their clients with a wealth of educational materials for risk management, scholarships and more.  His membership with a/e ProNet affords Curtis a direct forum in which to dialogue regularly with underwriters from a/e ProNet’s insurance carrier sponsors.

Curtis holds a Bachelor’s degree in organizational management from the Forbes School of Business at Ashford University, and he holds the designation of Commercial Lines Coverage Specialist (CLCS), certified by the National Underwriting Company and the Hartford School of Insurance (

Insurance is a family affair for the Pancoasts.  Curtis’ mother, Leslie Pancoast, has been an a/e specialist broker for over 30 years.  His sister, Audrey Camp, worked for IOA Insurance Services in the past and continues to serve as the chief editor for a/e ProNet.

Prior to his insurance career, Curtis spent nine years in the U.S. Air Force as a meteorologist.  He supported flight operations throughout the Pacific theater while stationed at Hickam AFB in Hawaii, and he supported the space-launch mission at Vandenberg AFB in Southern California for several years.  Curtis takes pride in the core values instilled in him during his military career and having carried them over into his role as a broker – integrity, service, and excellence.


Valley Health Center Downtown San Jose: Project Profile

Situated at a transit gateway to downtown San Jose, the Valley Health Center connects three vicinities that have lacked medical services.  The 62,000 s.f. facility, raised on the grounds of the old San Jose Medical Center, serves a young, multi-ethnic population with a high dependence on public healthcare.  A wide range of outpatient services are offered, including family medicine, pediatrics, ob/gyn, laboratory, pharmacy, radiology and behavioral health.  An urgent care clinic is also featured that is open for extended hours seven days a week. The LEED Gold certified facility acknowledges the unique heritage and setting of downtown San Jose and pays tribute to the surrounding architecture.  The center features rhythmic placement of colored glass fins and integrated sunshade screens with use of multi-color glass panels throughout.

The building envelope allows in natural light but keeps out heat and solar exposure in the warm climate.  Visitors encounter natural light, wood paneling, clear wayfinding, and an LED star ceiling.  Large, sunny waiting rooms on upper levels afford views, and waiting room walls are treated for noise reduction.

Many clients will rely on public transit, and the facility is located at a transit gateway to downtown, served by a major bus corridor and future BART station.  Additional elements include:

  • Community connectivity – pedestrian-friendly open spaces;
  • Cool roof and reflective site paving;
  • Water efficient plumbing fixtures;
  • Minimized irrigation of landscaping; reclaimed water use;
  • High performance building envelope with solar control to minimize heat loss / gain
  • Abundant daylight and views in public areas
  • Thermal comfort with healthy, energy-efficient ventilation system for indoor spaces;
  • Reduced indoor air pollution with non-toxic building materials and furniture;
  • Use of sustainably harvested wood;
  • High percentage of recycled construction waste;
  • A PG&E Savings by Design rebate of $150,000 that exceeds California Title 24 standards.

Project Team

Architect: Ratcliff
Photographer: David Wakely
General Contractor: FLINT
Construction Manager: URS Corporation
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
Mechanical Engineer: Mazzetti (MEP)
Electrical Engineer: Mazzetti (MEP)
Plumbing Engineer: Mazzetti (MEP)
Civil Engineer: Brian Kangas Foulk (BKF)
Geotechnical Engineer: Sandis
Landscape Consultant: MPA Design
Telecom Consultant: Mazzetti
Acoustic Consultant: Charles Salter & Associates
Cost Consultant: Cumming
Environmental Consultant:  Terracon
Waterproofing Consultant: SGH
Signage Consultant: Kate Keating
Security Consultant: Guidepost Solutions
Elevator Consultant: Syska Hennessey
Hardware Consultant: Stanley Spec Center Services

Lafayette Backyard: Project Profile

The owner of this Lafayette property wanted to demolish the existing backyard structures and completely redesign the yard. They wanted to include a new garage, outdoor kitchen, lounge, patio, swimming pool with a waterfall, cabaña and fireplace covered with a mechanical, louvered trellis. They wanted the new work to complement their existing craftsman style house, while remaining a calm and clean-lined design.

Since this was a landscape-heavy project, I brought in Joseph Huettl, the landscape architect, and collaborated with him to establish the site layout and detailing.

Each structure had different levels of detailing. The garage was a stripped-down version of the existing hip-roofed house and the fireplace/kitchen/lounge trellis and cabaña had flat roofs, which were expressed with modernist detailing. The buildings were laid out so the outdoor fireplace and lounge were adjacent to the house. The garage was placed further from the house, and the pool and cabaña were furthest. This created a pattern of alternating traditional and modern structures in a comfortable progression away from the house.

A major problem arose when we found that since the garage required a double-width car access, it pushed the kitchen/lounge structure to the center of the house, blocking the view of the yard. We solved this by allowing a 10ft. wide driveway to pass the house and garage to a motor court which accessed the garage from the rear. This freed the space between the house and garage for the kitchen/lounge area, allowing views of the pool from the house.

We stained he wood structures to match the existing house colors. The wall which screens the motor court behind the garage and carries the fountain, was built of stone to match the house, and the patios were rendered in limestone matching existing paving. This unified the project into strong visual continuum.

Andre Ptaszynski, AIA, Architect
Joseph Huettl, Landscape Architect
Asha Engineers, Structural Engineer
Midas Construction, Builder
Envision Landscape Studio, Landscape Construction
Riviera Pools, Pool Construction
Joseph Huettl, Photography

ArchNews January 2018

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

Project Profile: Glimmer By Variable Projects
January Monthly Program: Wednesday, January 31 
Codes: 2017 and Beyond
CoolTechStuff: Solar Squared
Members News
Firm Profile: M I Architects, Inc.
COTE: Center for Environmental Studies at Bishop O’Dowd High School
Member Profile: Shifan Deng, Assoc. AIA
Take Over the AIA!


This issue of ArchNews is supported by

COTE: Center for Environmental Studies at Bishop O’Dowd High School

Thursday, January 18, 2018
Free and open to all. RSVP to

Susi Marzuola, AIA of Siegel and Strain Architects discusses the 2017 AIA East Bay COTE Sustainable Design Honorable Mention winner, The Center for Environmental Studies at Bishop O’Dowd High School. Please note: this is a presentation at the chapter office, not a design tour.