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Posts tagged ‘historic preservation’

Panel Discussion: Thorsen Restoration Project Course at UC Berkeley

Co-sponsored by AIA East Bay

Thursday, June 26th, 2014
Location: AIASF, 130 Sutter Street
AIA and Students Free, $10 General Admission Register Here

1.5 CES LUs

This panel is comprised of the leaders of the student-facilitated Thorsen Restoration Project course at UC Berkeley. As featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Thorsen House, built in 1909, is the last Greene and Greene arts and crafts style “ultimate bungalow” and the only one in Northern California. It is currently owned and maintained by the Sigma Phi Society and was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1978. The course aims to connect the architecture department with the residents of the Thorsen House and associated organizations to facilitate research, collaboration, and construction regarding preservation and restoration. Currently, the students are navigating through a project that restores a historic fence and adds a gate and ramp that would make the house ADA accessible for the first time.

Please bring a brown bag lunch.

About the Presenters:

Bilquis Ayar is a recent grad with a B.A. in Architecture from UC Berkeley. She has spent the past year working with students, professionals, and advisors planning and teaching the Thorsen Restoration Class, through UC Berkeley’s democratic education program. While continuing to work on the class, she is currently a Contractor Assistant aiding with visual inspections and implementing new marketing strategies. Her interests include traveling and living in different parts of the world while finding a place to swim at every stop. She was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Lauren Aguilar is a senior at UC Berkeley originally from Murrieta, CA studying Architecture and American Studies.When she isn’t in class, she interns at McCall Design Group in San Francisco. Alongside other students, professionals, and advisors she has spent the past year planning and teaching a class that conducts restoration on the Thorsen House, through UC Berkeley’s democratic education program. She plans to continue facilitating the course and finish the proposed project in the 2015 school year.

George Syrop is pursuing a degree in political science at UC Berkeley and works part-time at Berkeley’s newspaper, The Daily Californian, as its Managing Publisher. George joined the Sigma Phi Society, which resides in the Thorsen House, during his sophomore year and is the outgoing President. Brothers of the Sigma Phi Society are required to learn the architectural history and details of the Thorsen House as part of the pledge process, and work each week to maintain and restore the national historic place to its former glory.

Learning Objectives

  1. Address solutions that address and reconcile the historic construction methods with new technologies, standards, and uses while maintaining historic integrity
  2. Explore different ways to communicate and build relationships with your team and the broad audience that accompanies a project with historic merit
  3. Discuss the process and pedagogy behind the class and on preservation projects as a whole
  4. Explore Greene & Greene architecture, discuss materials used, and the process by which the house was built and then maintained.

Architecture Tour: Girls Inc.

Friday, December 13, 2013
Girls Inc, 510 16th Street, Oakland, CA 9461

$5 AIA Members; $10 Guests. Click here to register.

1.5 CES LUs

The new Girls Inc. Simpson Center for Girls is an adaptive re-use and rehabilitation of an existing 5-story, 34,000 square foot historic office building in Oakland, originally constructed in 1919. Anne Phillips Architecture (APA) worked closely with the owner to create vibrant and functional environments for its central administrative offices, program space and first of its kind resource center serving girls at risk.

The project includes a complete interior renovation, voluntary seismic retrofit, preservation of the historic terra cotta façade, new signage and a new entry to improve street presence. The project anticipates LEED certification early next year.

Join us for a tour led by Anne Phillips, AIA and Winston Win, AIA. All are welcome!

Photographs © 2013, David Wakely
Photographs © 2013, David Wakely

Berkeley Branch Libraries: A Case Study Ensemble Tour!

Come see how three architecture firms approached the same project type, same city requirements, with different solutions addressing varying needs, site conditions and project requirements. The AIA East Bay Design Tours committee has organized an architectural tours event for architects and the public. Join us on Saturday, November 2, 2013 for a tour of three recently renovated Berkeley Libraries: the North Branch, Claremont and South Branches.

Saturday, November 2, 2013
Begins at The North Branch: 1170 The Alameda, Berkeley, CA (see below for complete schedule and addresses)
$5 AIA members, $10 Guests

Click here to register.

We encourage attendees to bike or carpool for this event. Click here for our GroupCarPool signup.

2.25 CES Lus

(c) David Wakely

(c) David Wakely

North Branch:

Led by Douglas Tom, FAIA, Tom Eliot Fisch

Architectural Resources Group in association with Tom Eliot Fisch was selected to rehabilitate and expand the Berkeley North Branch Library, a Berkeley City Landmark designed by architect James Plachek in the California Spanish style and constructed in 1936.  Maintaining the majority of its historic features, the library is a cherished centerpiece of the Solano Avenue neighborhood and the busiest of Berkeley’s four branch libraries.

The 5,000 sf one-story building was expanded with a two-story, 4,200 sf addition. The LEED Silver project restores the historic central rotunda and reading rooms, including decorative finishes and original furnishings and adds staff work areas, a teen library, a community room, accessible restroom and other support spaces in the new addition.

(c) David Wakely

South Branch:

Led by Avery Moore, AIA, Principal, Field Paoli Architects

The South Branch Library occupies a small corner lot in an active Berkeley neighborhood.  At just under 8,700 SF, the building program includes both the Main Library and the popular Tool Lending Library which first operated in a trailer on this site in 1979.


The new library is designed to open out to the community through oversized aluminum windows set in cedar siding with steel trellises overhead.  A curving tile wall along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard announces the new community room.  Drought tolerant landscaping includes a small Zen Garden visible to the adjacent Thai Buddhist Temple as well as library users.

At the center of the Main Library, a double-height browsing room brings in ample daylight and natural ventilation through operable clerestory windows. Reclaimed cypress wood arches mark entrances to individual reading rooms and an enlarged staff area.  The fully accessible library provides ample space for expanded media and book collections, new computer stations and a choice of window seat or lounge chair. It is also energy efficient and on track for LEED Gold certification.

Artwork at the South Branch include a ceramic sculpture by Stephen DeStaebler from the original 1961 library and commissioned stained glass and copper mosaic installations by Gina Dominguez.



(c) John Sutton


Led by Lauren MacColl Maass, AIA LEED AP BD+C, Associate Vice President, Gould Evans

The most recent renovation and addition re-establishes the significance of the original 1920’s structure while installing state-of-the-art equipment that brings the building into 21st century standards. The Tudor-style library in Berkeley is a cherished neighborhood center originally designed to blend in both scale and character with the homes around it. James W. Plachek, who also designed the Berkeley Central building downtown, gave the library an Old World charm still apparent today.

Opening up the 1970’s addition with a new glazed dormer introduces controlled daylight and reveals the library’s activities to the surrounding neighborhood. A clear, accessible and welcoming new entry marked by a glass canopy removes previous ambiguity to the library’s entrance. Relocation of the Service Desk facilitates better flow between the two wings of the building and a new “flex-space” in the Children’s Wing permits programs to occur without disrupting patrons reading quietly in the shelving area. New lighting, finishes and furnishings enhance the historic character of the 1920’s reading room. The project incorporates a range of sustainability measures and is certified LEED Silver.

Tour schedule:

10am: Meet at the North Branch Library:
1170 The Alameda Berkeley, CA 94707

After that, we’ll continue to the South Branch Library:
1901 Russell Street at MLK, Berkeley, CA 94703

And we’ll end with the Claremont Branch:
2940 Benvenue, Berkeley, CA 94705

**Please note that parking can be difficult in these neighborhoods. We encourage attendees to bike or carpool. If you are able to participate in a carpool, please sign-up here:

…Slated for Demolition

Wednesday, June 5, 2013
AIA East Bay, 1405 Clay Street, Oakland, CA 94612
Tickets: $10, please purchase in advance. Click here for tickets
A wine and cheese reception follows the program.

Should preservation groups be allowed to stop demolition of a beloved Neutra house? Should planning commissions approve the demolition of an iconic structure for redevelopment? If a building is architecturally important–and only 12 years old–can it be destroyed for expansion purposes?

KQED host Michael Krasny leads a moderated discussion–and lively debate–addressing property rights, preservation, and the impact of architecture on our communities.


Biff’s Coffee Shop, Oakland, CA

Panelists Include:
David Trachtenberg, AIA, Trachtenberg Architects
Patrick Kennedy, Panoramic Interests
Michael Buhler, Executive Director, SF Architectural Heritage
Mark McClure, California Capital & Investment Group
Kelley Kahn, Economic and Workforce Development Director, City of Oakland.

Keep the discussion going with wine and cheese after the program!

Biff's Coffee Shop, Present

Biff’s Coffee Shop, Present

Click here for details about Biff’s Coffee Shop.

Sponsored in part by:



Oakland’s Uptown District: An Exemplary Tale of Urban Infill and Reuse

Wednesday, April 24, 2013
5:30-8pm Includes a wine & cheese networking reception after the presentation.
1.5 CES LUs
Cost: $15 AIA Members and Employees of Chapter Member Firms; $21 Non-members

Click here to register

Infill development and the reuse of landmark buildings are vital — not only for revitalizing urban places but also to create more sustainable transit-oriented regions. To move from idea to reality, however, infill and reuse must overcome enormous physical design and political challenges.

Oakland’s Uptown district offers an extraordinary example of how infill and reuse can be brought about through urban design, new architecture, historic restoration, and community decision making.

On April 24, a special program of presentations and panel discussion will consider factors critical to Uptown’s success. Please join the AIA East Bay in hearing from four design and planning professionals who played pivotal roles:

Peter Calthorpe (Calthorpe Associates) developed the Uptown district masterplan. Calthorpe will describe the challenges of high-density transit-oriented development, and how infill and reuse are essential for environmental sustainability.

Michael Pyatok, FAIA (Pyatok Architects) was instrumental in the discussions surrounding the development of affordable housing in the Uptown district. Since starting his practice in 1984, Mike has designed more than 35,000 units of affordable housing in California, Washington,and Arizona, as well as master planning communities in Hawaii, the Philippines,and Malaysia.

Kurt Schindler, FAIA (ELS Architecture) was the lead architect for the historic restoration of the Fox Theater. Schindler will describe how restoration and reuse were promoted to revitalize the Uptown district and the special design challenges presented by such projects.

Ernie Vasquez, AIA (MVE Architecture) was the lead architect for Uptown’s new residential fabric. Vasquez will explain design strategies that allowed Uptown to deliver enhanced livability, context-sensitive aesthetics, and high urban densities.

Matthew Taecker, Assoc. AIA (Taecker Planning and Design), an urban designer and planner with thirty years of urban revitalization and infill experience, will serve as moderator.

Design Tour: Riggers Loft & Rosie the Riveter Visitors Center

Saturday, April 13, 2013
10am-12:30pm, tour is followed by an optional no-host lunch at Assemble.
Location: 1337 Canal Blvd  Richmond, CA 94804
1.5 CES LUs

Cost: $5 AIA members and Chapter Firm Employees; $10 guests. Click here to register.

Rosie the Riveter Visitors Center, Wong Logan Architects

AIA East Bay is pleased to announce a special tour of two rehabbed historic buildings in Richmond’s World War II Rosie the Riveter National Historic Park: The Riggers Loft and Visitors’ Center.

The Riggers Loft was constructed as part of Richmond Shipyard Number Three, one of the four shipyards constructed in Richmond between 1941 and 1942 as part of the effort to provide ships for the war effort. The Riggers Loft, which also housed the Sheet Metal Shop and Paint Shop, was one of the ancillary buildings that provided support to the prefabrication and assembly of the ships in the adjacent graving yards.

Pre-construction at the Riggers Loft

Tour leaders at the Riggers Loft:

Alan Dreyfuss, AIA, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Historic Architect and Project Manager

Kelly Cobeen, WJE, Structural Engineer

Bob Alten, Alten Construction

Michael Williams, Port of Richmond, Project Manager

Tour leader at the Rosie the Riveter Visitors’ Center: Marcy Wong, Marcy Wong Donn Logan Architects.

Pre-construction at the Riggers Loft





Workshop: 16th Street Train Station

Friday, April 5, 2013
Iron Horse Building at Central Station, 1801 14th St, Oakland, CA 94607

Free; all are welcome.

Image by NeitherFanboy at

On behalf of the research group from the University of Notre Dame, we invite members
of our community for a case study of our neighborhood’s dilapidated 16th Street Train Station.

The Objective:
Historical research and architectural survey for restoration and revitalization of the historic 16th Street Station.
The Project:
Historic architecture faculty and students from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana will conduct on-site research from April 4th through April 8th. The team specializes in historical preservation of buildings including large scale projects such as the Roman Forum in Italy. This project is sponsored by the University of Notre Dame and highly encourages participation from members of the community for their input and vision.

The project will be a case study and the documentation may be used by the owner for their future plans. This undertaking will greatly improve the image of our neighborhood and grow the awareness of this unique landmark we inherit. The project is supported by Bridge Housing (the current ownership) and RAILS (Restoration Association for Improving the Landmark 16 St. Station).
Meeting room
Iron Horse Building at Central Station, 1801 14th St, Oakland, CA 94607
April 5 at 6:30 pm.
Please feel free to forward this invitation to all those who might be interested in attending this event.

Historic Preservation Committee

Our January meeting will take place Thursday, January 10 at noon at AIA East Bay.  We’ll review what we discussed last time and continue to plan a noon discussion and other possible programs and tours.

Click here for an article which summarizes panel discussions from the annual symposium of the International Council on Monuments and Sites held in June 2011 which relate to our topic.

RSVP: Email Sidney Sweeney or Betsy Yost, AIA

Historic Preservation Committee October Meeting

Thursday, October 11
All are welcome!

The Historic Preservation Committee invites you to take part in a discussion and open presentation regarding Additions to Historic Buildings.

If you would like to share some images with the group, please bring them on a flash drive.

Some topics to consider for presentation:

  • interpreting historic character defining features into quality contemporary architecture
  • regulations regarding additions to historic buildings
  • projects you have worked on and how comparing them to other similar projects
  • historic buildings that have had more than one additions in a variety of styles, and a range of aesthetic “success”
  • examples of outside of the USA
  • categories such as “facadism” and seamless facades
  • design approaches that would not be allowed in the USA due to the approach of the National Park Service
  • compare differing approaches, perhaps one US and one foreign, to a similar problem

You need not make a presentation to participate in the discussion! Please RSVP to for room set-up.

Questions? Please email Betsy Yost, AIA, chair, or

September Historic Preservation Meeting

Thursday, September 12

Free and all are welcome.


From Betsy Yost, AIA, Chair:

At our last meeting, we decided that everyone would bring images of one or two additions to historic buildings to the September meeting in order to begin a discussion on this topic.  Please bring enough images to show the addition and how it relates to the historic building.  The images should be on a flash drive and we will project them on the screen.

Our intent is to prepare for a lunch session on this topic, hoping to attract others who haven’t been normally involved with the Historic Preservation Committee.  We thought we would start with a couple of sessions in which our group would sort through various ideas on the topic.  Also, we have an upcoming program in which Charles Bucher, AIA will discuss a paper he wrote about discovering the age of buildings through analysis of basic construction materials.

I’m excited about the topic and I hope everyone will bring images of a favorite project, or ones that you don’t consider successful.

Questions? Call Sidney Sweeney at 510/464-3600 or email