Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘ArchNews’

ArchNews May 2018

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

Project Profile: San Benito High School Visual Arts and Performing Arts
Codes: Code Changes Through Legislation
CoolTechStuff: WRLD
Firm Profile: Gyroscope, Inc.
Member Profile: Matt Maneval, AIA
Allied Member Profile:
 Gordon Huether Studio

Code Changes through Legislation: Codes

Kerwin Lee, AIA, CASp

Changes to the Code come through many channels. We have our national code development process through the International Code Conference (ICC). Legislation created the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which is a Civil Rights Law. From the ADA, the basic original guidelines were written into the Act as Appendix 28, CFR Part 36.  A lot of the details/interpretations were created by the Access Board for compliance with the ADA. The latest set of standards (2010) were created by the Access Board. The problem with code language being written into law is that it’s there forever unless the law is changed through legislation. It took 20 years for the original ADA guidelines to be changed.

In our great state of California, our legislation loves to write laws because many of the laws are driven by special interest. There are currently over 4,500 bills being introduced in the state this coming year. Some could have an effect on construction of our built environment. Again, many of the proposed bills stem from current events or a reaction to a disaster.

Here are some of the proposed bills that could affect our work:

AB565 – The bill authorizes city or county alternative building regulations for the conversion of commercial/industrial buildings to joint living/work quarters and includes provisions for housing artists, artisans and other similarly situated individuals.  It is unclear what the real intent of this bill is other than to perhaps encourage live/work occupancies, which the code already addresses. It appears to be more of an attempt to change zoning regulations to allow more live/work occupancies in industrial areas.

AB1857 – This bill would require the commission to adopt earthquake standards for engineered buildings meeting “immediate occupancy” standards, as defined, to be included in the next triennial edition of the California Building Code, as specified. Until the immediate occupancy standard is adopted, the bill would require the commission to adopt strength and stiffness standards, as defined, for engineered buildings that is 1.5 times the level of the current standard. Here is a case where the legislation includes a design value with little or no engineering basis – why 1.5 times the current standards? The basic intent is to strengthen buildings to withstand an earthquake. Since every value in the code is arbitrary to start with, justification of any number is needed. This proposed bill missed the deadline for the current code cycle and will have to wait until the next cycle to be included, if passed.

AB2911 – This bill would require the State Fire Marshal, by no later than January 31, 2019, in consultation with the Director of Forestry and Fire Protection and the Director of Housing and Community Development, to recommend updated building standards that provide comprehensive site and structure fire risk reduction. This protects structures from fires spreading, as specified, based on lessons learned from the wildfires of 2017 and develops a list of low-cost retrofits that provide comprehensive site and structure fire risk reduction, as provided. This is another knee jerk reaction to a recent event. This bill should look at what more the code can address that is not already in Chapter 7A – Urban/Wildand interface.

There are a number of proposed bills that aim to increase dwellings and allow for more Accessories Dwelling Units (ADUs). AB2939 addresses unlimited ADUs in multi-dwelling zones, so an additional dwelling could be added almost anywhere. SB827 addresses transit-rich housing development exempt density, FAR, parking and height limitations, allowing an automatic 55 to 85 foot height limit. Other proposed bills address housing concerns near colleges and universities. All of these bills will impact local zoning and building authorities. The basic intent is to provide more housing near transit centers, but is a blanket statewide bill needed? Does a small town like Orinda want denser housing in and around their BART Station?

Perhaps bills are a way of getting things done. Some of the proposed bills don’t make much sense and begs the question why do we need this? AB2929 says it will require grab bars in public restroom. Don’t we already have code requirements for this? Other proposed bills reduce permitting fees for all types of construction, not sure if this will spur construction in the state.

AIACC’s Government Regulations program represents the AIA before the State Legislature, regulatory agencies, boards and commissions. Go to their website for more information on proposed and current legislative actions:

WRLD: CoolTechStuff

Larry Mortimer, AIA

With summer approaching I spent some time the other day looking for architecture related travel apps.  You may recall I did an article on an architectural travel app called “Buildings” back in June 2012.  That app had access to a database of over 40,000 buildings, but alas, it appears to be gone.  On the iOS platform it was probably a victim of the upgrade from 32 bit to 64 bit.  I don’t know what happened to it on the Android platform.  However, the 40,000+ building database is still accessible with your browser at

I did find several other architectural related travel apps, but most were related to a specific city or location.  One app that did cover most of the world and was available on both iOS and Android was WRLD.

What Does It Do: WRLD is a mapping program that shows major buildings and structures in 3D superimposed on a 2D map.

System Requirements: Mobile devices using iOS or Android operating systems.

What does it cost: It’s free, and does not have any ads.  As for data, they may collect when we use the app, I read their Terms Of Service and Privacy Policy and am not sure how or if they will use any data collected.

How Does it Work: The app interface is fairly simple.  When zoomed out it looks a bit like Google Earth.  There are five buttons.  A magnifying glass will take you to predetermined locations (such as a major city) or allow you to search for a specific type of location (such as tourist info).  The settings button allows you to set the season and time of day, and get info about the developer.  The bottom left hand button allows you to flatten the 3D buildings or show them in full height.  A compass button shows the orientation of your mobile device, and allows you to return to your current location.  The fifth button allow you to place a marker pin so you can easily return to a specific location.  To move the view, just swipe with one finger in any direction.  To rotate the view, twist with two fingers.  To zoom in or out, simply pinch or expand two fingers.  A few buildings have a symbol of an open door.  Tapping the symbol will take you to a graphic view of the building interior where you can move around, change levels, or exit.

Conclusion: This is a fun app to use with a fairly intuitive interface.  Kids will find this app a great way to explore an unfamiliar city and will love the animated cars, trains and planes that show up in certain views.  I could see using this app to scope out a visit to an unfamiliar urban area.  However once you get outside of the major metropolitan areas there is not much to look at.  For example I tried to find 3D views of the Mackinac Bridge and the Taj Mahal without any luck.

More Info:

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.