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Posts from the ‘Small Firm Forum’ Category’s Mission to Eradicate Lawns

Thursday, September 3, 2015
Free for AIA members / $3 for non-members
Brown bag lunch (BYO lunch)

1.5 CES LUs

Host: Maggie Maiers, AIA

Come join us as we hear from representatives of and others on their mission to organize communities around converting water intensive lawns to drought resistant planting. The forum will include local success stories.

How to Act Like an Eagle in Legal Matters Pertaining to Your Architecture Practice

a Small Firm Forum

Thursday, August 6, 2015




Architects face a wide array of different potential legal liabilities in their practice. In this Small Firm Forum hosted by Linda Randolph, AIA, attorney Jerome Pandell will walk you through some of the obvious legal minefields to avoid in terms of drafting contracts, managing client relationships, and shielding yourself from becoming a named defendant.

About the presenter: 

Jerome Pandell, Esq. of Pandell Law Firm Inc., specializes in Architectural Law and Construction and Design Law. He was anointed as a Northern California Rising Star in 2012 by Super Lawyers, an organization that rates outstanding lawyers who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.

The Philosophies of Drawing: Small Firm Forum

Thursday June 4, 2015
Noon – 1:30pm

Free for AIA members / $3 for non-members
Brown bag lunch (BYO lunch)

1.5 CES LUs

Hosts: Maggie Maiers, AIA & Donald Wardlaw, AIA

A characteristic and attractive freedom of small firm architects, is the freedom to choose to express our intent via our drawings in the manner we find most comfortable and/or effective.  This may contrast with the stricter client driven documents requirements that larger firms must contend with.

Our June program will explore, via the urge to share, the many ways we express our intentions via our drawings.  The ways in which we express our intentions are normally closely linked to what we believe we should say and what we believe we should not say.  The ways we express our intent are also strongly influenced by the technological evolution of the tools we work with, and our reaction to those tools.  Some of us may choose to adopt the latest cutting edge technology, and others may judge it not worthy.

Please bring your thoughts, your biases, and if you feel inspired to do so, examples of how you are expressing your intent in your drawings.  Once in a while, silence is not golden.

Learning Objectives:

  1.  Gain an updated perspective on the philosophies small firm architects adopt or reject in choosing their tools for the creation of their drawings.
  1.  Learn what other small firms see as priorities in their strategies for their drawing communications.
  1.   Learn what technical tools are found especially useful in the creation of architectural drawings among small firms.
  1.  Gain a perspective on the trends of graphic communication in small firm practice.







In Your Hands: Concrete Ways To Win Creative Projects

A Small Firm Forum Presentation

Thursday, May 14, 2015
Cost: Free AIA Members/$3 Guests

1.5 CES LUs

Host: Andus Brandt

Join Fu-Tung Cheng of CHENG Desigas he traces the evolution of his design work and demonstrates examples of how architects can play directly with concrete and concrete forms with their own hands — and discover new ways of scaling up and channeling that experience to clients and contractors/sub-contractors.

He will cover a range concrete mix designs, from basic to high performance, that he has utilized and will show examples of some of the applications used in homes. 

Fu-Tung will also talk about some of his successes and failures as a product designer.

About the Presenter

Fu-Tung Cheng, CHENG Design. Fu-Tung is the founder of CHENG Concrete, CHENG Products and CHENG Design. He is a designer, best-selling author and speaker — known for his sophisticated design, use of concrete as a finish material and product designs. His boutique fabrication shop has produced concrete products for his design clients, other architects and designers for over 20 years. Fu-Tung has trained over 5,000 contractors in concrete countertop making in addition to the fundamentals of good kitchen design.

CHENG Design’s House 6 is an AIA East Bay 2008 Exceptional Residential: Bay Area Design Awards Winner. Matthew Millman, Photographer.


Plumbing Today: People, Our Planet and Water

A Small Firm Forum

Thursday, March 5, 2015
Jack London Kitchen & Bath Gallery, 2500 Embarcadero St. Unit F, Oakland, CA 94606
Free and Open to All. Lunch will be provided by Jack London Kitchen & Bath so please CLICK HERE to RSVP
You can also RSVP by calling 510/464 3600.


Host: Italo Calpestri, AIA

This presentation will provide an insight into water efficiency and the role of sustainable plumbing. We’ll also discuss testing and standards, environmental technologies, product transparency and contributions to LEED certification.

About the Presenter

Ted Howell, Midwestern Sales Company. Ted is a technical support and sales representative for Western Sales Co., the Northern California representative agency for TOTO. He has received extensive plumbing and code training, including as a certified Journey Level plumbing contractor for over 20 years and through IAPMO, ICBO, and PHCC. He has had extensive experience with the Uniform Plumbing Code and the California Plumbing Code, including in the areas of ADA and CalGreen compliance. Throughout his career he has also provided plumbing and code presentations to plumbers, sales professionals, architects, designers, and engineers.

Learning Objectives

After attending this presentation attendees will be able to:

1.  Define ‘water efficiency’.
2. Explain why additional testing may be needed beyond that required to meet the WaterSense specification for toilets.
3. Distinguish between reducing the volume of water used in a building and reducing flow rates.
4. Select technologies for use in designing bathrooms which contribute toward LEED points and meet long-term sustainability goals.

The Wonders of Residential LED Lighting

a Small Firm Forum

Thursday, February 5, 2015
Free AIA Members/$3 Guests. Open to All.

1.5 CES LUs

Host: Alex Bergtraun, AIA

The variety of architectural grade lighting solutions available to designers, installers, home and business owners is limited only by their imagination.
Here is our opportunity to discuss together with an in-house product specialist the array of possibilities and issues of LED strip lighting, color temperature, the meaning of CRI, RGB color manipulation, and the variety of dimming possibilities available.

We will cover product specification, space needs for the various components of a system including its drivers and light element types and sizes.

Our presenter intends to also allow ample time for Q&A as well!

About the Presenter

Naomi Turrentine, Elemental LED: Naomi is the Marketing Director for Elemental LED lighting Co. in Emeryville and with the ever-increasing demand for the LED technology she has experienced firsthand the meteoric rise of quality and the capabilities of LED lighting solutions for architectural problem solving. Naomi is a UC Davis grad and has been at Elemental LED for the past 7 years.

Learning Objectives

1. Learn the many benefits of using LED lighting for a variety of applications in residential projects, new and remodel.
2. Learn what components need to be accounted for spatially in the designing of an LED Lighting layout including the various dimmer types and lighting approaches that can be combined for a blended ambient, area and task lighting.
3. Learn the flexibility LED lighting design provides in coping with the latest Title 24 requirements.
4. Understand more fully how color rendition is translated into LED CRI and Color Temperature for various residential projects.

Small Firm Forum: I Am an Architect

Annual Show and Tell

Thursday, January 8, 2015
Free for AIA members / $3 for non-members
Brown bag lunch (BYO lunch)

1.5 CES LUs


Host: Donald Wardlaw, AIA

Program Description:

This month three of our own will share their work with us.

Andus Brandt, Architect
Blackbird Designs

I am an architect because….

I continue my practice as a small firm architect for many reasons. Here are three: for one thing, I like what I do for the most part, so why quit? For another, my family needs financial support. And the third, I have a real passion for Aikido, a martial art that teaches non-violent defense and is a path to compassion.

Richard Morrison
Architect-Interior Designer

I am an historical architect because….

By the eighth grade I realized that the architect who lived next door had the coolest profession of any of the adults I knew. I was actually picking my freshman high school courses with the intent of getting into architecture school.

I still think architecture is pretty cool, but in residential practice, sometimes clients and contractors don’t value architects as much as they should. I’m highly interested in finding ways for residential architects to define value for our clients beyond “good design”, and using leading-edge technology and procedures to support and maximize small firm revenue generation. (Ultimately, we should be better paid! And have more fun!) I expect to share some provocative ideas about this with the group.

G. Barry Wagner, Architect

I am an architect because….

I like making things that delight the eye, require technical and physical talent to execute, and make folks go “wow.” This may be a piece of furniture, a chicken feeding station, a pocket door, a house…it hardly matters.
Solving problems seems to keep me out of trouble creating problems.

I’ll show some photos of an accessory structure that I recently completed that includes my my office, a garage/workshop, and a guest studio.
Learning Objectives:

At the end of this program, attendees will…

1. Gain insight into the variety of service niches other small firms are exploiting.
2. Learn how other small firms juggle design, client needs and business realities.
3. Gain insight into the important relationship between inner drive and rewarding work.
4. Gain a useful perspective that ties one’s own challenges to those others face and master.


Green Building and Integrated Project Delivery

a Small Firm Forum

Thursday, November  6, 2014
Free AIA Members/$3 Guests. Open to All.

AIA East Bay
1405 Clay St
Oakland, CA
(510) 464-3600

1.5 CES LUs

Ann Edminster will discuss preliminary findings from a project underway by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s Green Building Task Force, which she chairs. The Commission for Environmental Cooperation has been charged by its three federal government partners – the US, Mexico, and Canada – with advancing the practice of green building across North America. Creating a guide to adoption of “integrated design and delivery,” or ID2, is one of the ways the CEC has been pursuing this agenda.

“Integrated design” is a term that has been in use in the green building community for at least 10-15 years, possibly longer, and refers to an unconventional approach to building design that engages all the principal design team members early during the design process, working together instead of separately and sequentially. The aim of integrated design is to derive the benefits of the collective knowledge and insights of all the team members in order to achieve a project that is better-integrated and therefore higher-performing from a green building perspective.

Independently and more recently, the term “integrated project delivery” was introduced by members of the AIA California Council working in collaboration with attorney Howard Ashcraft, a partner at HansonBridgett LLP. Howard’s career has a strong focus on improving the construction process to reduce conflicts and achieve better outcomes for all the principal participants in the construction process. One of the mechanisms developed to further this end has been the development of new standard contract forms for pursuit of integrated project delivery. Ashcraft and AIACC consider integrated project delivery to take place only when these contract forms are used. In a more generic sense, however, integrated project delivery is distinguished from integrated design primarily by the explicit inclusion of the construction phase in the team approach to integration – it doesn’t stop with design.

The prime contractor working on the project is Building Green, with assistance from Bill Reed, John Boecker (authors of the main text on integrated design, as well as of the ASTM standard), Howard Ashcraft, Edminster, and others. Edminster will preview the guide for presentation attendees.

About the Presenter:

Ann V. Edminster, M. Arch., founder and managing principal of Design AVEnues LLC, is an expert environmental and net-zero energy design consultant, green building teacher, speaker, and author. She guides project teams in the creation of award winning, high performance residential projects, both single- and multifamily. She was a principal developer of LEED for Homes and in 2009 authored the first book on zero net energy homes, Energy Free: Homes for a Small Planet.

Learning Objectives:

  1. After completing this program participants will understand the use of the guide for green building and integrated project delivery.
  2. After completing this program participants will understand the roles of the respective players in an integrative process.
  3. After completing this program participants will understand how to structure team collaboration to greatest effectiveness.
  4. After completing this program participants will be able to set the groundwork for an integrative design to effect a positive project outcome.


The Benefits of Working with a Lighting Designer

a Small Firm Forum

Thursday, October 2, 2014
Free AIA Members/$3 Guests. Open to All.

AIA East Bay
1405 Clay St
Oakland, CA
(510) 464-3600


Hosted by Maggie Maiers, AIA.

1.5 CES LUs

Working with a Lighting Designer has many benefits.

Professional Lighting Designer Caprice Carter’s specialty is keeping abreast of the most cutting edge lighting technologies on the market and finding clever (appropriate) applications for them. Every space is different and, therefore, requires it’s own approach for a lighting solution. In this Small Firm Forum, Caprice Carter addresses functional as well as aesthetic aspects of Lighting Design, and will detail how this can enhance the architecture and magic of the space.

About the Presenter:

Caprice Carter, Caprice Carter Lighting Design. After working in the Interior Design field for a number of years Caprice found herself drawn to the field of Lighting Design. In 1988 Caprice apprenticed with Lewis Rosenberg from Electric’s Lighting and Design and thereafter with Becca Foster Lighting Design, going on to manage the Lighting Dept. at Limn Co., a modern, cutting edge furniture and lighting showroom. In 1998 Caprice started her own business, Caprice Carter Lighting Design, and has worked on many complex and interesting projects since. Caprice particularly enjoys residential, restaurant, retail and landscape lighting design projects and has also taught Lighting Design classes at the Academy of Art, San Francisco.

Learning Objectives:

1. Learn the many benefits of using a Lighting Designer and when to bring them in on a project.
2. Learn what a Lighting Designer provides to the project and the three phases of the Designer’s  services.
3. Learn the “ins and outs” of Kitchen Lighting Design with the latest Title 24 requirements.
4. Using a case study, learn the aspects of a Lighting Designer’s involvement with a residential remodel/addition project.

Small Firm Forum: Berkeley West Branch Library

Thursday, September 4, 2014
Location: Berkeley West Branch Library, 1125 University Avenue, Berkeley (east of San Pablo Avenue)
Everyone is welcomed to attend an optional no-host lunch at Priya North and South Indian Cuisine, 2072 San Pablo Avenue (west side of first block south of University).
Free and open to all. Click here to RSVP.


Join the Small Firm Forum of a tour of the West Berkeley Public Library in September!

The 9,500sf West Berkeley Public Library situated along bustling University Ave is projected to be a net zero energy (and potentially net positive) with a EUI of 17kbtuh/sf-yr.

The project’s building team, led by Harley Ellis Devereaux’s GreenWorks Studio, is targeting LEED Gold. The $5.5 million library is one of the first projects to take part in the California Public Utility Commission’s ZNE Energy Pilot Program, supported by the Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Passive design strategies like natural ventilation, radiant heating/cooling, and daylighting helped meet the aggressive energy goals. Prevailing winds off the Bay made natural ventilation a logical approach. With the help of CFD modeling, the design team devised a clever natural ventilation scheme that uses negative pressure to pull in fresh air at the rear of the building and then circulate it through the interior spaces.

Speaker Bio:

Luciana Arim has 15 years of architectural experience in the State of California and brings with her an international perspective having worked abroad. Her skills include the full range of processes critical to successful projects, from budgeting to cost estimating to construction administration. In addition, her excellent communication and coordination skills are key to her experience in Design Reviews and the Building Permitting Process.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this program, attendees will:

  1. Understand how a climate action plan can impact a project for ZNE.
  2. The importance of setting design criteria for design build systems like PV or solar thermal where ZNE in a highly integrated building is concerned.
  3. For systems like PV, ensuring how you design the interface between the roof and their racks is future proof and accounts for roof slope.
  4. Understand how the systems and design strategies work for this particular ZNE building in its specific climate and site.

West Berkeley Library