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Posts tagged ‘Firm Profile’

Joel Freeson Carico : Architect : AIA: Firm Profile

Joel Freeson Carico : Architect : AIA is a sole proprietor in Concord. Joel moved to the Bay Area in 2009 to be closer to family. Joel has worked in the architectural profession for nearly forty years and his experience includes a broad range of projects.  Joel has worked as a designer, project manager, site planner, renderer, draftsman and model builder. He has been involved in designing custom homes, multi-family housing, office, retail, school, day-care, military and restaurant projects, R&D buildings, planned communities, and a domed observatory. He also has experience in existing site and building recordation, and historic preservation and renovation. He has worked on projects in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, South Dakota, Croatia, and the Bay Area. This experience allows Joel Freeson Carico : Architect : AIA to offer services to a broad range of clients.

Joel comes to architecture from an art background. Throughout his life Joel has enjoyed drawing, painting, sculpting and model building. When taking a seventh grade drafting class at the age of twelve, he knew without doubt he wanted to be an architect. Joel graduated from California Polytechnic State University College of Architecture and Environmental Design in San Luis Obispo in 1980 with a Bachelors of Architecture.

When designing or trying to communicate initial design ideas to clients or colleagues, Joel feels that hand sketching is still the best method. There is an immediacy, an intimacy and a flow of ideas from thought to hand that cannot be achieved on a computer. But when it comes to design development and construction documents, BIM (Building Information Modeling) is tremendously powerful. Joel has been using BIM, in the form of ArchiCAD by Graphisoft, since 1995. Communication is key to any successful project. The use of BIM to virtually walk a client through a project and to work out structural and infrastructural details with consultants and contractors means issues and problems are resolved before construction begins. BIM is an essential architectural tool that leads to better buildings and satisfied clients.

Joel is never happier than when designing a project and modeling that design on the computer, producing construction documents and details that will bring the design to fruition. He says, “when I am sketching ideas and drawing designs, or modeling and detailing a building, I lose all track of time.”

Although Joel considers his design philosophy to be in the modernist tradition, and deeply admires many of the designs of Wright, Neutra, Calatrava and others, he does not strictly adhere to a particular design aesthetic on every project. Joel approaches each project on its own terms. The client, location, context, and desired uses of the building are unique to each project and help guide the design. Architecture is a collaborative process. The best designs result when the client, consultants, contractor and the architect work together.

Photographer credits: Lee Geiger, Architect and Joel Carico, AIA

Firm Profile: Howard McNenny, AIA

I began my practice in 2009, with a focus on residential design, including remodels and second story additions. I drew upon experience I gained as an architect in corporate practice and as a developer of properties I personally owned. Many of my projects are in Albany, where my office is located, but I also work in many of the surrounding areas of the East Bay. A typical project might be a small 1920s or 1930s home in which the owners wish to add a new master suite and a family room, and improved access to the backyard. Many are growing families who love their neighborhood and the community, but just need more space. I also have done a number of kitchen remodels, and lately have seen a demand for accessory dwellings units.

Ayala Kitchen, Contractor/Developer: RWW Properties

As a sole proprietorship,  I enjoy giving personal service to these families. I help navigate the regulatory maze of the community where the project is located, and design something that makes economic sense and will give my clients years of enjoyment.  Given today’s real estate economy, I emphasize return on investment, realizing that it is always best to consider the re-sale value of any improvement in the overall economic equation.  My design philosophy is heavy on contextualism  and respect for the character of the existing house and neighborhood, while always willing to consider the preferences of my clients.

I do all my work on the Vectorworks 3-D drafting program, which I have found to be a very powerful tool for visualizing the volumes of the project during the conceptual design phase, and also as a basis for creating the technical drawings. While I have occasionally employed drafting assistance, I have found that I have the most control and actually derive the most satisfaction from doing an entire job from A to Z.  This idea extends to a preference to also do my own structural design—as long as the project is not overly complex.  (I do employ a consultant for the energy analysis, however.)

In private life, my wife Dianne and I enjoy travel, involvement in Albany civic life and spending as much time as possible with our two daughters and three grand-daughters, all of whom live in Southern California.

El Cerrito Project: Proposed addition to El Cerrito home, construction beginning fall 2018.

Albany Kitchen, Contractor: David Collins Builder

Swatt|Miers Architects: Firm Profile

Swatt|Miers Architects was formed as a merger of two long-established San Francisco Bay Area firms, Swatt Architects and George Miers and Associates, with the goal of creating a practice that consistently creates beautiful, sustainable and user-responsive buildings. We offer our clients the highest level of design, management and principle-oriented services.

The firm is directed by Robert Swatt, FAIA and George Miers, AIA and led by six principals.  Robert Swatt established Swatt Architects in 1975 after working in the offices of renowned architects Cesar Pelli and Howard A. Friedman.  George Miers founded George Miers & Associates in 1982 after serving as Studio Director at Kaplan McLaughlin Diaz and Project Designers at Skidmore Ownings and Merrill.  Our twenty-five person firm is based in Emeryville.

One of the basic goals of our firm has been to maintain a varied design practice marked by a diversity of building types and sizes for private, civic, institutional and corporate clients on commercial, residential, and educational projects throughout the world. The firm’s dedication to design excellence, combined with the highest level of service to clients, has contributed to the recognition Swatt | Miers Architects has received, with over 80 local, regional and national design awards.

We enjoy transforming older buildings and spaces and creating ‘new life.’ We have created success in this endeavor on small additions to large-scale corporate headquarters, religious buildings, institutional buildings and multi-family and single family homes.  We are recognized for our contemporary, warm and inviting modernism. We’re also know for sensitive planning in which buildings are knitted into the landscape and creating site environments which seem inevitable as solutions to their surroundings.

One of the firm’s most notable and widely published projects are the teahouses completed in 2009.  The client’s desire was to create a place where he could simply retreat into nature.  The sculptural interpretation of a simple tree house has succeeded in a magnificent tribute to the beauty of nature. Viewed from afar or viewed from within, the teahouses appear at one with their sites inextricably connected to the native California landscape.

 Tea Houses. Photograph by Tim Griffith

On a larger scale, the Black Mountain Project in the San Carlos Hills currently in the “Planning Approval” phase consists of sixty-eight modular units assembled on site constructed foundations.  While modular designs are generally limited to flat sites, an overriding design has been to carefully integrate the buildings with the site’s unique physical characteristics, including the steep topography, trees, views to the Bay and in relationship with the surrounding neighborhoods and homes.

Black Mountain Project. Rendering by Markus Lui

Recently completed, the Amara Residence is a new family home in Atherton. This home is located on a flat corner lot with beautiful mature trees along the perimeter of the property, affording privacy on all sides.  The main house plan forms an ‘L’ shape with the public spaces on the ground floor opening up to expansive landscaped areas and a swimming pool.  Deep cantilevers with trellises provide sun protection for the interiors and create beautiful dappled light patterns for the outdoor spaces.

Amara House. Photography by Russell Abraham

Studio Bergtraun, AIA, Architects: Firm Profile

Established in 1988, Studio Bergtraun, AIA, Architects, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this summer!

Palo Alto Lutheran Church Narthex addition to 1960’s Mid-Century Modern church creating a community “glue” to encourage its members to socialize and draw closer to each other in the new space.

Based in Emeryville, this six person office has designed over the years an array of projects varying from single family residences and multi-family residential complexes to neighborhood commercial, religious architecture, an urban farm and  a few Boy Scout Camps.
Alex Bergtraun, principal of the firm, a graduate of Cal Poly, SLO, completed his 5th year of the school with a Rotarian Scholarship in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Upon his return to the US, Alex worked the next four years for noted Peninsula architect Goody Steinberg, FAIA.  This important phase of Alex’s career transitioned when he then returned to Europe and worked for the next three years in an architectural studio in Milan, Italy.  This extensive work experience and study in Italy and Denmark along with travel through Asia and Europe have provided a rich design background for the studio.

The studio is located in a vibrant hub of activity in Emeryville  which has helped to continue the studio’s goal of inclusively working together with local artists and artisans on all projects integrally as they are designed. After having rented the Doyle Street studio space for over two decades, the firm bought the building complex and has incorporated a gallery space as part of its overall studio so that it can further promote the arts showing art by the firm’s members as well as hosting gallery openings of local community artists and artisans.

Each environment designed by the studio, residential, commercial and institutional, is responsive to the client’s program and budget, respectful of the surrounds in which they are sited, and attentive to the creative, functional and eco-friendly use of materials.  Every project attempts to create in various California climate zones, from Sea Ranch and Eureka to Tahoe  and both sides of the Bay Area, indoor-outdoor flow as an integral part of each design.

The firm has also done a series of pro bono projects giving back to the community including:

-Design and construction of the Solano Avenue Parklet

-Design and construction of a 60 foot long grape arbor and seating area at Urban Adamah farm in West Berkeley, where the firm is also designing all of the other buildings for this Urban Farming community campus, including a communal kitchen and an EcoLodge.

-Design workshops for the local Boy Scout Council High Sierra and local camps

It is the studio’s belief that architecture can be a beautiful framework enhancing the lives of those who live and work within and around it and the studio is committed to being a part of the rich exploration of Bay Area architecture.

Alpine Meadows new home perched on 23 degree granite ledge above community creek using materials reminiscent of old nearby Truckee train barns.

HKIT: 70 Years And Counting

As part of their 70th anniversary celebration, HKIT agreed to answer questions about their history and what’s next for the firm. Be sure to see their commemorative exhibit at the chapter office the next time you’re in downtown Oakland. HKIT’s exhibit will be on display through the end of August.

  1. How did your firm get its name?
    The firm began in 1948 as “Donald L. Hardison, Architect”, the name of its founding partner, it changed several times over the years as Principals joined the firm becoming Hardison Komatsu Ivelich & Tucker in 1974. The name was later simplified to HKIT Architects in 2008.
  2. How large is the firm?
    47 employees

  1. Where are you located?
  1. How did the firm get its start?
    Founding Principal Donald L. Hardison started the firm in 1948 with a variety of post-war housing and community projects.
  1. What is the firm personality?
    Socially conscious and community-based architecture, largely for non-profits
  1. What’s the firm’s focus?
    Affordable Housing, Senior Living, and Learning Environments (K-12 Schools)
  1. How might the focus of your practice change?
    The diversity of our portfolio has sustained us through the changes in the economy over time, so for the present our direction is solid moving forward.
  1. What’s the most unusual project your firm has done?
    The Peace Garden at the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose and Buena Vista Terrace, the conversion of a church to affordable senior housing, in San Francisco
  1. When was the firm established?
  1. What’s your favorite local building?
    U.C. Berkeley Student Center (designed by Hardison DeMars)
  1. What is the makeup of your firm and do you have other disciplines?
    HKIT offers Architectural, Planning and Interior Design services
  1. How is your firm structured?
    6 Principals, 2 Senior Associates, 8 Associates
  1. Do you have any office pets?
  1. Which method of marketing has been the most successful for the firm?
    All of the above … no rest for the weary here … but we rely heavily on existing clients, and repeat work as a result of the value we place on client service and doing good work
  1. How would you describe your firm’s culture?
  1. What team-building activities happen within your firm?
    Happy Hour Fridays, summer picnic, regular staff lunches, volunteer opportunities etc.
  2. What’s your firm’s favorite lunch spot?
    There are so many great places in Old Oakland!
  1. What does the future hold for the firm?
    It looks bright!!

    Lion Creek Crossing

    Visit HKIT at to learn more.

Firm Profile:  A2R Architects

A2R Architects, Inc. was formed in April 2014 with Rob Henley, AIA (UC Berkeley & SFIA) and Rob Sesar, RA (U of Oregon) as principals of the firm.  Combined, the principals have 75 years of experience practicing in the Northern California.  Rob Henley is a Northern California native while Rob Sesar was raised in Oregon.

A2R Architects is located in Vacaville and provides architectural design expertise for a wide range of project types along with a full spectrum of professional design services.  Services to our clients include: programming, master planning, design, construction documents, bidding, construction administration and post construction evaluations.  Project types include:  assisted living/memory care, commercial/retail, auto dealerships, institutional, industrial and educational.

Our firm’s culture values integrity, trust & commitment and is dedicated to achieving our clients’ vision and our design solutions reflect a clear understanding of their goals and objectives.  In collaborating with our clients and consultants, we create buildings and spaces that promote social interaction, comfort and productivity with outcomes that respect our environment. Two recently completed projects exemplify this:  Sheet Metal Workers Training Center – Local 104:  LEED Gold and the Building 600 and Administration Expansion and Remodel – Solano CC:  LEED Silver.

A2R Architects is dedicated to maintaining a high degree of responsiveness to our clients.  Achieving excellent architecture for them within reasonable and predictable budget and schedule expectations is more than a goal – it is the cornerstone of our business and the key to success.

Educating our clients is critical to what to do – as both a learning organization and as client educators.  Both of these values help expand the design possibilities for our clients in an age when complex and changing technology and demographics — along with a variety of sociological factors — affect the way people work, study and interact.  These elements are studied in advance to understand how a building should function as well as so that it will continue to be relevant and stand the test of time.

The firm encourages all members to be involved with the community and giving back in the form they choose.  The principals are active members of the Vacaville and Fairfield-Suisun Rotary Clubs and local chambers of commerce.

Alexander Jermyn Architecture: Firm Profile

Alexander Jermyn Architecture has developed a diverse body of work including residential, cultural and commercial projects. The approach to each design problem is with an artistic and technical rigor guided by a commitment to craft in architecture. The work addresses the fundamental problems of space, proportion, light and materials, and their intrinsic properties within architecture. The intensive research for each project guides the design process in lieu of following a stylistic agenda, striving for an architecture from which multiple readings emerge, exploring the associations of program and space, material and detail, complexity and simplicity.

Mendocino Residence (rendering by architect).

The small size and diverse skills of the design team allow the practice to work closely and intensively with clients to provide thoughtful, economical and lasting solutions. The collaborative dialogue between architect, client, and contractor is a core tenet from inception to completion for all work. The meticulous attention to concept and detail guides and refines the design process towards a solution which is architecturally, socially, and contextually coherent. The practice oversees all projects from their conception through construction and collaborates closely with the contractors and artisans who build them. The practice provides full architectural design, construction administration, planning and zoning analysis, as well as interior design services.

The firm was chosen as a Design Vanguard by Architectural Record in 2016, an award for the best emerging architects from around the world. It has also received awards from the AIA and Architecture Magazine.

KT Residence.  Photograph by Robert Vente.

Forward. Photographs by Jeremy Bitterman.


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

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

Firm Profile: Barry & Wynn Architects, Inc.

Barry and Wynn Architects, Inc. is a design studio offering residential, commercial, historic renovation, recreational and civic architectural services throughout Northern California. We value the diversity of our clientele and project types, delivering timeless and unique solutions with attention to detail, effective use of materials, and a passion for design.

Based in Danville, we are committed to contributing a positive and lasting impact on the fabric of our community, where Blair Barry’s family roots date to 1954. He has served on Danville’s Heritage Resource Commission, Planning Commission, and Design Review Board. Early in his career, he saw the value in building what he designed, and obtained his contractor’s license. Blair’s nearly three decades of construction experience helps guide each architectural project with an eye toward constructability. Blair and partner Steven Wynn, a Santa Barbara native, have collaborated for over fifteen years. Together, they have completed a deep portfolio of award-winning work.

Our custom residential work includes new homes, remodels and additions of all sizes. The Diablo Residence pictured here displays a classic California cottage style of shingle and gable roofs. Window walls capture views of the 18th green, while expansive verandahs embrace warm summer nights.

The contemporary Alamo cabana pictured here offers a change of pace, introducing a modern element to a traditional California ranch home. The large shed roof and clerestory windows define this glass pavilion. A clean, flat roof ties the house and BBQ seating to the cabana. Shade and shadow are a must during our hot Contra Costa summers.

Mountain architecture serves as a satisfying counterpoint to our urban and suburban work, with custom home and ranch projects in the Tahoe-Truckee region, and even a full log home overlooking Priest Lake in Idaho. The exchange of ideas, materials and detailing between our urban and mountain projects strengthens both areas of work.

Our commercial work includes office, retail, restaurant, civic, and mixed use development. Commercial and mixed use projects underway include a major addition for Danville’s Town Offices, a new downtown Pleasant Hill restaurant, and the redevelopment of the 1930’s era Xavier Building in downtown Danville. The existing ground floor of the Xavier Building will remain retail, with its historic façade on Hartz Avenue. At the rear, as seen in the rendering pictured here, a contemporary glass façade will extend to the new butterfly roof of our 1,700 square foot second story addition – Barry and Wynn’s new home, anticipated for late 2018 – an exciting time for our firm.

Giving back to our community, we proudly support the work of Operation Dignity, which provides housing services for homeless veterans. We are also engaged with the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, spearheading a new archives storage facility.