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Posts tagged ‘Firm Profile’

Goring & Straja: Firm Profile

Goring & Straja principals, Jim Goring, AIA and André Straja, AIA met while working in San Francisco at William Turnbull Associates in the 1980s. There they refined their core values about place, attended occasional ‘bad attitude’ lunches, and learned much as they could from Bill and their colleagues.After separately being invited to ‘graduate’ William Turnbull Associates in the 90’s, Jim and André ventured out to form independent practices.  Goring received the call one day from Straja in Milan suggesting the transnational alliance and it seemed natural to say yes.  The two branches maintain their alliance by leveraging the near 24-hour active office – sharing staff, collaborating on marketing and design efforts, and staying close to their mission statement: have fun, do good work, and stay in business.

Over the past two decades, Goring & Straja have helmed a wide range of projects. In Milan, André has grown his side of the practice by focusing on mixed-use commercial work in Italy and retail development across Europe, bringing an American model of service and a professionally driven business practice with him. In the Bay Area and across California, the firm has been involved in a variety of institutional, residential, and commercial projects, particularly finding success in the ‘wicked problem’ challenges of complex institutional clients.

In the firm’s California work, GaS embraces the eclecticism of the region’s traditions, finding that each client and community inspires a unique approach. Working with Nespresso’s Milanese concept architect in Beverly Hills to develop a flagship retail café, the team drew on the particular tradition of LA modernist architecture to support an international brand with an international style of Southern California spirit. The result is an inviting light-filled boutique and café open to the sidewalk that celebrates both the lively local promenade and the client’s quality driven brand identity.

At the Woodside Priory School in Portola Valley, Goring & Straja is in the construction phase of a science and technology wing, merging a sustainable steam punk attitude with the bucolic hillside campus. At the same campus GaS recently completed a high school classroom building which was awarded Sustainable San Mateo’s Green Building Award, and PG&E’s Savings by design recognition. Targeting net zero performance, the first year’s metrics placed the building’s energy production very well above its consumption.

Most recently, Goring & Straja was invited to create a proposal for an updated master plan for the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church campus in Orinda. Our faith community work currently includes worship space improvements at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Daly City, master planning at Sequoia Community Church in Oakland, as well as ongoing work with Valley Christian Church and Schools in Dublin.

Whether for churches or schools, retail brands or private individuals, Goring & Straja Architects approaches every project as an opportunity to enhance the spirit of a particular place, while providing clients and communities with spaces that serve, engage and delight.

WARE: Firm Profile

WARE transcends the traditional boundaries between architecture and engineering, designing buildings whose craft and detail spring from an intimate understanding of materials and fabrication.

Located in the heart of Oakland, overlooking Lake Merritt, WARE is a close-knit, integrated office, where coordination of all aspects of a project are deliberately designed into the work.

Copyright Tim Maloney, Technical Imagery Studios (Cheng Design – Designer; Ware Associates – Architect & Engineer)

WARE considers projects both as functional spaces and unique creations, developed in concert with clients’ desired performance criteria, available budget and aesthetic aspirations. From inception, each project is a collaboration with the client. The firm carefully considers all details and works with the materials, light and space, and elements of construction to infuse a client’s creative ideas with the technical innovation to make them reality. It is this human touch and scale that makes their projects enjoyable places to stop, to sit, or just to be.

WARE offers a complete and integrated range of architectural and structural engineering services. Recent clients include East Bay Regional Park District, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, City of Berkeley, and Fivepoint Development in San Francisco, as well as private developers and homeowners.

3D Printed Park Pavilion Design Model (Ware Associates – Architect & Engineer)

Cesar Rubio Photography (Ware Associates – Architect & Engineer)

Firm Profile: Cooley Architectural Corporation

Cooley Architectural Corporation (CArch) is a budding new architecture firm that was founded on May 29, 2015 and consists of three employees.  They are its CEO and founder Robert Cooley, Project Manager Ema Shahinian, and Production Manager Alexandre Silveira.  It is on a path to grow, but plans to remain a small to medium size firm with 10-30 employees.

Robert earned his Bachelor of Architecture from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; his Masters of Architecture from the University of Oregon; and is a California licensed architect with over thirteen years of design experience.  In 2012, he was the project manager for the barrier removal of over 35 Whole Foods Market grocery stores in Northern California to ensure the company was providing equal access to all of their customers and meeting the requirements of the ADA.  As a result of that experience, Robert became a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) and founded CArch to provide accessibility inspections and full architectural services to commercial clients.  The CASp program was created by California Senate Bill 262 (Chapter 872, 2003) and is designed to meet the public’s need for experienced, trained, and tested individuals who can inspect buildings and sites for compliance with applicable state and federal construction-related accessibility standards.

The firm utilizes their experience on multiple types of commercial and mixed-use residential projects to specialize in universally accessible design across a broad spectrum of project types, but mainly focuses on retail, fitness, grocery, restaurant, and office spaces.  Their aim is to push the envelope of regenerative design, or architecture that regenerates our ecological, economical, and sociological environments.  They are well positioned to aid small businesses in becoming access compliant and place their clients in a position to better defend themselves against serial ADA litigation.  In addition to taking on this creed, they also have some larger projects in various phases of design and construction, and Robert has been instrumental in several LEED Gold projects in his career.

As a small practice, they are able to tailor every phase of the project to best meet their client’s needs and expectations.  The creative process of fitting architecture into existing conditions is their greatest passion, but their expertise is often called upon by other architects to ensure their plans meet the accessibility provisions in the code.  The majority of their referrals come from contractors who rely on them for their expertise in the challenging area of accessibility, along with their ability to provide clear and complete sets of plans that minimize time overruns and change orders to the client, which maximizes efficiency.

Travelex SFO Kiosk Barrier Removal, Renovation of Five Existing Stores and Design Review of Mobile Kiosk – photos by Robert Cooley

Tapout Fitness Adaptive Use TI, 6,700 sq. ft. Gym, Alameda – photos by Alexandre Silveira

Galls Tenant Improvement, 6,200 sq. ft. Wholesale Uniform Sales and Distribution Warehouse, San Francisco – photos by Alexandre Silveira

Firm Profile: Cheng+Snyder

Cheng+Snyder is an Oakland-based, multi-disciplinary design studio founded by Irene Cheng and Brett Snyder. The firm produces work at a wide range of scales, from books to buildings to everything in between. Known for their innovative iPhone app that allows users to see visionary, but unbuilt architecture (Museum of the Phantom City), the team works on self-initiated research projects as well as client-based architectural and urban design services.

Recent work includes the Sunnyside House, a stealth renovation of a Craftsman in Piedmont, #OurChangingClimate, an award winning participatory project focused on local responses to climate change, and Smart Sidewalks, a winning entry to the NYC Reinvent Payphones competition.

Irene Cheng is an architectural historian, critic, and designer. Her research focuses on the intersections of architecture, cultural history, politics, and the history of science. Her current book project, entitled “The Shape of Utopia: The Architecture of Radical Reform in Nineteenth-Century America,” explores the geometry of architectural projects affiliated with anarchist, socialist, abolitionist, free love, spiritualist, and other radical antebellum movements.

Brett Snyder is an architect and designer and an Associate Professor at The University of California Davis, where he focuses on the increasingly complex relationship between architecture and media. Prior to founding his design firm, Snyder was a project architect at Steven Holl Architects in New York.

Whether working on an architectural project, a design object, or a research venture, Cheng + Snyder believe design is a medium to provoke fresh thinking about the status quo.

Photo Credits (top to bottom): Carlos Chavarría, Brett Snyder, Beth Ferguson

Ignition Architecture: Firm Profile

Ignition Architecture is an imaginative, woman-owned design firm that’s passionate about vibrant, creative design solutions and responsive, professional service. We thrive on tailoring unique, warm and green modern designs to our residential client’s specific needs and dreams.

Founded by Veronica Hinkley Reck, AIA, in 2005, we bring two decades of know-how and award-winning spark to every project. We offer a full range of design services to the entire East Bay through our offices in downtown Alameda, and from our office in San Francisco’s lively Dogpatch neighborhood.

Our team enjoys rolling up their sleeves and diving into the design process, which encompasses a collaborative search for creative, economical, and sustainable solutions that are responsive to the client’s program and budget. We believe that good modern architecture should be inspirational to those who experience it.  We nimbly work with clients of any size, from the individual single-family homeowner to large-scale development teams.

Ignition’s projects vary widely in scope, complexity, content and type. We succeed at integrating client’s needs with contemporary issues of design, technology, and environmental awareness. Our diverse portfolio includes: affordable housing, market-rate/mixed-use multifamily projects, private single-family homes, commercial offices, retail stores, hotels, restaurants, community centers, and civic projects.

Our single-family residential portfolio includes a range of projects, from modest bathroom and kitchen remodels to larger, high-end additions and new, ground-up houses. We take pleasure in working with individual clients, creating a design that speaks to them and their unique needs, then guiding them through all phases of design and construction. We act as a resource to all our clients while navigating complex entitlements and permitting processes, as well as investigating new materials and construction methods.

At Ignition we believe that design is a team effort and a synergetic process. No matter how large or small the project is, we work closely with the client, municipalities, and project stakeholders to meet their project goals. We involve our clients at every step of the way, from concept through construction, resulting in designs that often exceed client expectations.

Ignition Architecture is certified as a small, local and emerging business (SLEB) in Alameda County, and a woman-owned, small, local business enterprise (WBE/SBE/LBE) in San Francisco. We have a wealth of experience both as Prime Architect and as Associate Architect. This flexibility in our teaming approach is particularly useful for helping our clients achieve the SBE requirements of San Francisco’s OCII and those meeting SLEB goals in Alameda County.

Ignition’s team of architects and designers are enthusiastic about good design. If you are looking for a fun group of people to enliven your small or large project, get in touch with us at Ignition Architecture.

Octavia Court HUD 811 Affordable Housing; Art Gallery, San Francisco, CA. Photo credit: Treve Johnson Photography

Clipper Residence, San Francisco, CA. Photo credit: Ignition Architecture

Monkey Bars eco-friendly childrens store, Alameda, CA. Photo credit: Ignition Architecture


Firm Profile: Studio T-Square

Studio T-Square is a full-service architecture, master planning and urban design firm based in Oakland with offices in Long Beach and Shanghai, China. Our practice is informed by our global perspective; our value is deeply rooted in an understanding of the regional demands, local context and community needs that foster the creation of sustainable development and smart growth. Our studio is committed to an open, multi-cultural environment and our practice is grounded in a multi-disciplinary, collaborative approach that reflects the ever-changing world that we live and work in.

With decades of experience both locally and internationally our work focuses on master planning, transit-oriented development, mixed use resort and commercial projects. Our diverse project experience ranges from a large scale master plan in Chengdu China to an intimate transit- oriented project in pastoral Lafayette California and from small, urban parklets to an innovative shipping container development for affordable housing. Regardless of the scale and complexity of the project, Studio T-Square’s true measure of success remains the creation of purposeful, sustainable communities, combining memorable public spaces and iconic architecture promoting civic pride and a strong sense of community.

Whether it is providing professional services to our clients, educating the public on smart growth principles, representing our noble design profession, or nurturing a young generation of design professionals, the core values of our business and practice are integrity, passion and quality. As responsible stewards of our built environment, we are dedicated to advance smart growth, transit-oriented development and sustainable design projects that are consistent with our collective efforts to address global challenges.

On behalf of our studio crew, we look forward to creating many memorable experiences, places and architecture with all our clients, partners – and our friends!

Firm Profile: Shelterwerk

“Shelter”: a position or the state of being covered and protected.

“Werk”: (derived from Old High German) a piece of art, an achievement, the result of one’s labors.

Established in 2009, Shelterwerk is a creative collaboration headed by architect Heather Sanders, AIA and interior designer, Lisa Wai, IIDA. Lisa grew up and received her degree in the Midwest, while Heather, a California native, completed the bulk of her education in Oregon. Both relocated to the San Francisco Bay area, and became colleagues and friends while working in other firms, eventually opening Shelterwerk in Oakland several years later.

“Our services include integrated architectural and interior design services for both commercial and residential projects. Programming, space planning, tenant improvements, and selection/acquisition of furnishings describe some of our offerings to commercial organization. On the residential front, we take on anything from bathroom and kitchen remodels, additions, conversions of existing spaces to secondary units, as well as ground-up construction. We are also a resource for entitlements and permit expediting services. We work throughout the Bay Area and beyond: past and current projects cover Monterey, the South Bay and Peninsula, San Francisco, North and East Bay as well as the Sierra Foothills and Tahoe area.

We are down-to-earth, approachable advocates for the people we work with, attempting to create spaces that are a reflection of who they are, and not who we are. We see our role as educators, empowering our clients with a knowledge that allows them to make informed decisions about their projects that are appropriate for their budgets and objectives. We don’t limit ourselves to doing business with humans, and have been known to occasionally take on canine and feline clientele.

Shelterwerk strives to achieve a level of social responsibility in their practice, working with groups like Satellite Affordable Housing Association, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development, Pivot Learning, and Project Commotion among others in the housing, education, and health realms. For these clients, we offer our design services at a discounted rate, or occasionally pro bono, dependingon the level of need and the magnitude of their challenges in their respective communities. We are also registered on, subscribing to the belief that the benefits of good design should be within reach for all.

Shelterwerk likes to see itself somewhere in the middle of whimsical experimentation and exacting precision in their approach and craft. We believe our product reflects a thoroughness and care, and while we understand that that requires a lot of hard work and intelligence, laughter and a lightheartedness should be part of the equation. The very definition of our name requires that we embrace the poignant and the banal of any structure or space, and that we make something beautiful, memorable, and meaningful out of it.”

Firm Profile: Hilliard Architects

Traumatic Brain Injury Center, Martinez VA

Hilliard Architects is a multi-focus architecture firm with a building science background who believes that great projects are built on great relationships. Our expertise, technical background and exceptional client relationships make us a great choice – and a pleasure to work with.

Based in downtown Oakland, Hilliard Architects is always looking for creative solutions. From bringing in a drone to inspect a deteriorating exterior, designing a brain trauma center to feel more like a modern gym, and stopping waterproofing nightmares – we enjoy thinking outside the box. We foster our client relationships because we believe that good communication and working together will always yield better and more innovative solutions.

Hilliard Architects supports a unique skill-set through building science: coordinating the disciplines of architecture, engineering and construction technology. We are investigative problem solvers and we’re hands-on. Our continuous learning of building codes, materials, components, systems, structures and sustainability helps optimize building performance.

Working with Revit as our BIM tool, we’re able to collaborate with all project team members to help keep projects running smoothly and avoid costly mistakes.

If accessibility is a concern, our lead architect Mike Hilliard, AIA is CASp certified (California Certified Access Specialist), making him an expert in the latest CA OSHPD requirements.

If you’re looking for a team that produces great work through a hands-on, win-win working relationship, consider Hilliard Architects.

Photos: Hilliard Architects

Traumatic Brain Center, Martinez, VA

Library, Lycée Français de San Francisco

Firm Profile: Catamount Design

In a world that demands increasing specialization, architecture called out to Alex Korn, AIA as a field where the ability to understand systems and peoples’ needs was required. Architecture requires understanding the whole and creating a built solution to meet a clients needs, using design to integrate a solution. Alex Korn founded Catamount Design as a one-person firm in Berkeley in 1999. This was after working as an architect in Seattle for the previous decade and graduating from the University Oregon in 1989. He came to architecture after undergraduate degrees in Fine Arts and English Literature. He writes:

Over the years we have had to the opportunity to work on a variety of new structures as well as additions and remodels from cabins and camp buildings in Vermont to a straw-bale home in Mendocino, from a nightclub in Oakland to an extension of a 1940s Harwell Hamilton Harris home in the Berkeley Hills. What defines our practice most is the variety of our clients and their needs. I think this reflects in part the diversity of the Bay Area as well as our goal of understanding the needs and tastes of our clients. Good design is about much more than style and we strive to bring it to each of our projects. Most of our work is in Northern California but we have projects across the country.

Our practice has changed and evolved over the years with a mix of residential construction, commercial TIs and small commercial design. Right before the Great Recession we were growing rapidly with mixed- use commercial developments and a number of condominium projects and multiple residential projects on the boards. The commercial projects went the way of the economy leaving us only the residential. Luckily in 2009, we had the opportunity to acquire a building in Berkeley through a commercial client which we developed into a nine unit office building. It now houses our office and a eclectic group of tenants. With the return of the economy we are growing again with multiple residential and commercial projects on the boards and in construction. In 2016 we were awarded accommodation for the rebuild of the 1924 Barret house in Berkeley the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association (BAHA).

For us, architecture is a field where our specialization is to be a “generalist” in the best sense – to understand a wide variety of topics and interests and to bring all those into a coherent project. Space and how we inhabit it effects all those who pass through it. The world today is about specialization, which affects architecture. However, it remains a profession where ideas, design and people can be brought together rather than divide.

Firm Profile: Taecker Planning and Design

firm4Taecker Planning and Design is a small innovative firm focused on revitalizing urban centers and corridors through pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented growth. Planned right, urban centers and corridors create more sustainable cities and regions – where resources are used efficiently and personal car use is just one way to get there. Designed right, urban centers and corridors create great places to live, work, and play – where people are able to meet most of their needs easily on foot or by transit.

Urban centers and corridors can leverage numerous benefits, but they also present great challenges at many levels. Matt Taecker (AIA, AICP) launched his firm to address such challenges with a combination of urban design, policy making and stakeholder engagement. The firm integrates a continuum of services, from concept-level visioning and schematics, to project entitlements and implementation strategies.firm3

Mixed Use Centers. Taecker developed Berkeley’s award-winning Downtown Area Plan, Downtown Street Improvement Plan, and is developing a circulation and urban design element for Fairfax California’s Town Center Plan. Taecker’s master plans also include mixed-use new-urban centers in suburban locations.

Livable Transit Corridors. Taecker coauthored seminal research on what makes corridors more livable, including methods, tools and strategies for getting there. Published by the Transportation Research Board, ”Livable Transit Corridors: Methods, Metrics and Strategies,” encourage complete and integrated corridors with a full complement of livability opportunities.

firm1Catalyst Projects. Taecker obtained entitlements for Downtown Berkeley’s new high-rise hotel. The project effectively navigated through Berkeley’s design review, regulatory, community and political process. Catalyst projects also include the innovative design of streets and public open spaces, such as BAMPFA’s shared street on Addison, which proposes a large mixed-mode plaza facing BAMPFA’s outdoor media screen.

Matt Taecker enjoys the freedom that comes with having a small firm. He is involved in several organizations on a variety of issues. He leads AIAEB’s “Regional and Urban Design” forum and serves on its board. He chairs California Planning Roundtable’s project: “Overcoming Obstacles to Infill.” He is working with Downtown Berkeley Association and Bike East Bay to create a continuous multi-use Shattuck-Adeline Greenway through Berkeley, Oakland and Emeryville, and linking directly to the Bay Bridge. He is also engaged in masterplanning the Northbrae Community Church campus, so it can serve the community more effectively. Taecker’s office is in downtown Berkeley, where he enjoys village-like connections with colleagues from his days working for the City of Berkeley and with Calthorpe Associates. Matt commutes by bicycle from his home in North Berkeley – a pleasant 10-minute ride. firm2