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Posts from the ‘ArchNews’ Category

Gyroscope: Firm Profile

Gyroscope is a multi-disciplinary design studio founded on the simple idea that design matters. Led by four owners, our work across the country ranges from planning and designing a new start-up museum in Pennsylvania to expanding a children’s art museum in Arizona. We approach every project as a learning environment to support, promote, and encourage meaningful learning behaviors through good design.Most of our projects are for museums, yet this year we opened a Center for Excellence for Morgan Advanced Materials in Hayward, a new maker space for Woodland Public Library, completed a comprehensive master plan for San Mateo County Libraries, and designed an interactive literacy based children’s museum for Rancho Cucamonga Public Library. This May, the Oakland Public Library will reveal an electric mobile library we designed. Stay tuned for the big reveal. Click here for details.

If you haven’t noticed in your own work, maker spaces are the all rage in ours. Similar to high school home economics and wood shop of years past, maker spaces include desktop CNC routers, laser cutters, 3D printers, computerized sewing machines with technology throughout. What is different are the diverse uses such as drop-in activities, informal programs, classes, demonstrations and/or corporate rental space for participants ranging in age from early childhood to seniors. Gyroscope was architect of record for building renovations as well as for interior fit-out, custom furniture and graphic design for Woodland’s Square One Maker Space.

Three blocks from our studio is the Jack London Square Amtrak station so taking the train back and forth to Santa Barbara while working on MOXI, the Wolf Museum of Exploration and Innovation was great fun.  Fodors ranked it number six of the top ten new museums in the country for 2017. Although not an architectural award, it recognizes the high level of visitor satisfaction for which we are incredibly proud. Our work focused on visitor experience planning, exhibition design and graphics. Click here for details.

One of the most photographed exhibits there is our White Water interactive installation featured on the roof with views to the ocean and mountains. It is a spectacular setting and lots of fun for all ages, although a very challenging design. For projects like these, we are lucky to get private tours of amazing companies such as FLIR, a local Santa Barbara company that makes high-end infrared equipment for both military and civilian uses. We incorporated their equipment on the roof for families to view heat prints of the buildings along State Street. Other incredible field trips took us to a maglev engineering research group, a tele-medicine robot manufacturer, a renewable energy start-up harvesting ocean waves, and a working Foley Studio at Fox Studios.

People always ask us what we do. It’s hard to describe, but we definitely have fun. Staff loves that it is different every day. Tim Phillips, one of the owners, is shown washing out 96 cans of chopped tomatoes for a prototype. The final installation is slated for a new building in Jack London Square. Check it out!

For more information, contact Maeryta A. Medrano, AIA, LEED AP at
Gyroscope Founder & President, 283 4th Street; Suite 201; Oakland, CA 94607

Gordon Huether Studio: Allied Member Profile

Gordon Huether Studio was founded in 1987 and has created large-scale, site-specific public art installations for universities, hospitals, recreation centers, civic buildings, libraries, museums, airports, transportation centers, parking garages and private corporations throughout the Bay Area and the world. Effective collaboration with architects, design teams, project stakeholders and developers is a central component of GHS’s success. Recent installations in the Bay Area include the BART Coliseum Station in Oakland, wall installations for the downtown parking structure in Morgan Hill and Mariposa Plaza in Fresno.  A team of project managers, administrators, highly skilled fabricators and technicians support the process from initial design development through final installation. The studio is located in a 15,000 square foot facility in Napa and visitors are welcome.

Artist Gordon Huether, Allied Member uses a wide variety of materials, approaches and applications in his art practice. Whether fabricated with glass, metal, fabric or synthetic materials, or architecturally integrated, sculptural or suspended, each installation is an expression of the qualities and character of the site and an engagement with those who experience the space. A seven-term member of the City of Napa’s Planning Commission, Gordon has consulted with numerous civic entities on the integration of public art into public and private spaces. He is frequently asked to speak on the topic of Public Art and is recognized as an expert on the integration of public art in airport settings. GHS is currently collaborating with the Salt Lake City Department of Airports on a multi-million dollar art installation for the Terminal Redevelopment Program, with an expected installation date of 2020.

San Benito High School Visual Arts and Performing Arts: Project Profile

The design and construction of the new San Benito High School Visual Arts and Performing Arts (VAPA) building started with a school district’s interest in receiving a turn-key project through a design-build project delivery.  Based on the design criteria, Byrens Kim Design Works, in collaboration with Jeff Luchetti Modular Construction pursued the project with intent of delivering a high performing, contemporary classroom building in the historic context of the city of Hollister.  The design concept during the project pursuit was carefully coordinated between the building and the design team to deliver a value-added project from the inception.

The concept arose from a review of the historic high school building located at the site.  Various design elements, including a new tower, arched elements and materials, were carefully considered to work within the project parameter.

The scope elements included six classrooms, a ceramics studio, art studios and a dance studio.  Implementing contemporary technology and sustainable building strategies into historic context proved to be a challenge.

The building was design to utilize a single loaded corridor which provided maximum daylight and natural ventilation. High windows were incorporated to provide optimal lighting for classrooms and studios.   The mechanical system was decentralized to promote individual control and reduce energy-use waste.  Building materials, including the tiled roof and polymer modified cement plaster were utilized to provide minimum maintenance while keeping with the context of the site.

The project was completed within two years from design-build proposal to construction completion.  Success of the project is attributed to the collaboration of the client, the building and the design team.

Design-Build Architect:  Byrens Kim Design Works
Contractor: JL Modular
Structural: Structural Design Group
Mech/Plumbing: TEP Engineering, Inc.
Electrical: Brokaw Design
Energy: Guttmann & Blaevoet
Photographer: JL Modular

Matt Maneval, AIA: Member Profile

Originally from San Diego, Matt Maneval, AIA grew up surrounded by new construction and development. This early exposure to architecture led him to attend the Summer Exploration of Architecture program for high school students at the University of Southern California. This month long program introduced him to basic concepts of architecture and sketching, and had such a great impact on him that he attended USC’s five year Bachelor of Architecture program and eventually become a Teaching Assistant at the same summer program he attended.

While at USC, Matt studied abroad in Barcelona through a collaborative design studio with Spanish students and also volunteered teaching a creativity class to elementary school students through the USC’s Joint Educational Project. He also interned at HMC Architects, Innovation and Design in Architecture and The Autry National Center, where he worked on a variety of projects from healthcare to museum exhibit design. Matt’s graduate thesis explored the potential of 3D scanning and printing systems as a design tool and was nominated for material and innovation thesis awards.

After graduating from USC in 2015, Matt accepted a position at the Los Angeles architecture firm Modative. He worked on several design-build small-lot subdivision projects where he was involved in all aspects of each project from preliminary site planning to giving neighborhood outreach presentations. In 2016, Matt moved to Oakland where he returned to HMC Architects as a Designer, eventually being promoted to Project Coordinator.

Matt is currently working on Higher Education projects including a physical education complex and a fine arts complex in the East Bay. Apart from project responsibilities, Matt is also involved with HMC’s Designing Futures Foundation and helped coordinate HMC’s participation in charitable events like the LEAP Sandcastle Classic. Matt received his California Architect’s license in early 2018 after taking all licensure exams in one year and is an active contributor to HMC’s licensure committee.

Outside of the office, Matt enjoys playing piano and volunteering as a Big Brother with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area.

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.