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Posts tagged ‘Member Profile’

Len Freeman, Assoc. AIA: Member Profile

Len Freeman, Assoc. AIA is a 2011 graduate of the University of Texas, Arlington where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in architecture.  As a current member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Board as well as new associate member of the American Institute of Architects, Freeman is on his way as he pursues licensure­­­­­.

Freeman comes from a rigorous academic background that began while attending Oakland Technical High School’s engineering academy in Oakland, which influenced his professional career. With the knowledge he learned, he progressed into his undergraduate studies.  It was not until undergrad that he faced great challenges – sleepless days, nights, months and years that tested his loyalty to his profession. Nevertheless, his dedication allowed him to prevail and he blossomed into the strong critical thinker that he is today. His unique pattern of thought lives between space and anti-space.

He has worked on a variety of project types including, K-12, higher education, residential, commercial and retail architecture. The diversity in project types has helped Freeman grow personally and professionally within the realm of design. In his past role as a project leader, he learned how technology affects project work flows. He also managed the production standards development, while handling construction schedules, budgets, agency requirements. He did all this while performing a variety of tasks involving schematic design and construction administration.

Freeman works as a senior project coordinator for BRW Architects in San Francisco. There he focuses on a variety of municipal, civic and fire station tenant innovation projects. While working with these various projects throughout California and Texas, he upholds the company’s values and commitment to client service. Freeman is unwavering, independent and jumps hurdles without batting an eye. His demeanor remains very calm and professional under pressure and he continues to have fun throughout this evolving world of architecture. My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.  -Mya Angelou

Mercedes E. Harris, Assoc. AIA: Member Profile

In May 2017, I was one of fifteen students to graduate from Oklahoma State University with a professional degree in architecture. Today, I am a long way from home as I work towards a Masters of Urban Design from the University of California, Berkeley. The events that led me to the East Bay, in hindsight, are straight forward enough.

After my third year, I received my first internship designing public schools at a firm in Dallas. The next summer I spent time in Wichita with a firm that specialized in healthcare facilities. Architecture was plan A up until that point – if I didn’t enjoy the field or I flunked out, there was no backup plan. That was until my last two years of school, when I began to read books and watch films about urban design. I took Oklahoma State’s final undergraduate studio, which delved deep into urban issues. I thought I had enjoyed architecture more than anything, but I soon realized I had been working at the wrong scale. Urban Design became my new passion.

Outside of studio, I enjoyed many opportunities on-campus and in the community. I was a Girl Scout troop leader for three and a half years, volunteered at many community events, working mainly with children, and ultimately completed five hundred hours of community service during my ungraduated career. My campus position as a Career Paraprofessional in the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology (CEAT) was to prepare other students to build their own careers. I’ve been trained in resume building, mock interviews, job search techniques, corresponding with professionals, etc. During my last three semesters, I worked with fellow architecture students to redevelop the student chapter of Construction Specifications Institute (CSI). I also worked with a group of five students to envision the Honors College Student Association (HCSA). When I passed the presidency along, HCSA had over 80 members and $1000 in group-raised funding. CSI, similarly, saw a tripled membership and $600 in group-raised funding.

Upon graduation, I briefly returned to Dallas to work for WRA Architects, the firm where I had my first internship opportunity. I still do contract work for them, writing a type of shorthand specifications. I look forward to my year at UC Berkeley and my time in the East Bay, as well as for whatever comes next.

Rebecca Ivans Amato: Living and Designing With Purpose

A Member Profile

Her first foray into design began in her childhood bedroom in Lakewood, Colorado. Rebecca Amato spent hours rearranging the furniture in the room she shared with her two sisters, attempting to realize a version of the modernist home she admired on The Brady Bunch.

Fast forward a few decades and Rebecca Amato is still rearranging–and creating. Her visionary designs have reimagined historic San Francisco Victorians, Berkeley bungalows, and turn-of-the-last-century industrial warehouses into vibrant and distinctive spaces. Now principal architect and owner of Amato Architecture, a company she started in 2002, Amato employs a team of five designers who help her turn every project into a unique environment configured for the way people want to enjoy life.

After graduating from the Environmental Design program in 1988 from the University of Colorado in Boulder, Rebecca’s career almost immediately took on a cosmopolitan flair. She moved to San Francisco where she worked for Huntsman Associates on commercial interiors. Then, after obtaining her architecture license in 1995, she pursued an opportunity to work in the Chitwan jungle in Nepal for 3 months. An 18-month exploration of Southeast Asia followed, including a design stint for Bangkok-based Woods Bagot.

Her next job at HOK in San Francisco sent her to Beijing and Hong Kong to work on large hotel projects. Desiring to work outside the corporate environment, Rebecca next joined IN:SITE Design Build Association to gain project management skills and lead large design projects in a smaller team environment.

After starting a family in 2003 and then designing a 1,200 square foot addition to her own residence, Rebecca gained insight into the needs and unique tribulations of a family attempting to overhaul their home. Her residential work often includes repurposed space and multi-use options (such as a residential conversion of a storage room into a laundry/music/guest room) or imaginative build-outs like a children’s play-loft above adjacent bedroom closets. A redesigned, unique kitchen with inside/outside bar access will be on display September 23-24, 2017 during the Rockridge neighborhood Kitchen Tour.

One outstanding example of Amato’s commercial work is The Pearl, a recently completed, exclusive event space in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco. A steel crane system across the ceiling of the former boiler factory was fixed in place to structurally support a new rooftop deck, then utilized below to house event lighting while also functioning as a decorative planter. A spin-off of that project is a marquee event space (now under construction) in Oakland’s Jack London Square featuring the United Beerworks brewery, also designed by Amato Architecture.

A favorite of Rebecca’s projects that is also currently under construction is a new two-level, modern vacation home on the beach in Maui, outside of Lahaina. “It doesn’t get much better when you get to travel to Hawaii with your family to see one of your projects under construction,” Rebecca said. “I really do feel I am living the life I dreamed where travel, family and my design passion all come together!”

Member Profile: Juta Cinco, Assoc. AIA

In 2006 I moved to the Northeast for the first time, to attend Harvard Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I graduated with an MArch I degree in 2010. The intense demands of school were alleviated by the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series in 2007 and the Boston Celtics the NBA championship in 2008. What luck, right?

I moved to San Francisco shortly after graduating and lived in the city from 2010-2014. Although it was the tail end of the recession, I was fortunate to find not only jobs but great mentors along the way. The late Ken Kao, from Kao Design Group, was the first. His thoughtfulness and intelligence guided my path into the professional world of architecture. Following KDG, steps of growth involved working with Byron Kuth and Elizabeth Ranieri at Kuth/Ranieri Architects. I learned a tremendous amount from them, especially about the rigor involved in creating solutions to design problems. I tested this rigor at Studios Architecture with a team led by Tom Yee and Jerry Griffin (and Justin Glover later). Our four-year collaboration resulted in the recently opened Shanghai International Dance Center. This was my first lead design work, focusing on the main building’s lobby and auditorium. Also a first, since 1954, was the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series in 2010. They followed with two more championships during the time I lived in the city, one in 2012 and another in 2014. Is this really happening?

Capping the decade have been two more career opportunities. First, a BIM consulting
company called Modulus Consulting, led by Peter Michealson, provided an opportunity for me to
explore BIM management using the most up-to-date technology. They think a couple of steps
ahead. The second opportunity is my current job with Mark Cavagnero Associates. I have held
their work up on a pedestal since moving to the Bay Area.

My wife, daughter and I now reside in Oakland. We settled here in late 2014. We love
the city and are proud to call it home. The city returned the favor when the Golden State
Warriors won the NBA Championships in 2015. And, as we all know, they just recently claimed
another one. This is really happening.

I am looking forward to the next decade. I am excited to see what I can learn from and
contribute to the Mark Cavagnero team. And, now that Oakland is home, I root for the yellow
and green to clinch a major league title.

Matthew Cortez, Assoc. AIA: Member Profile

Matthew Cortez, Assoc. AIA grew up in California’s Central Coast and its natural beauty gave him an appreciation for harmony and design. His mother, a seamstress by trade, instilled in Matthew and his siblings the value of using your own hands to create. This started Matthew’s desire to achieve a career in a creative field. He graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor’s of Architecture in 2009.  Since then his career has been anything but traditional.

After he graduated, Matthew began his post-university career working in real estate, coordinating the preparation and sale of residential property.  In 2012, Matthew began working in the construction industry as an estimator and project control manager.  His experience in this part of the building process has given him valuable insight into bidding and budgeting processes as well as project management and tracking. This experience in construction management allows Matthew to quickly understand impacts to overall project cost and completion time.

Although the positions Matthew held early in his career were disconnected from the design process and focused on the business side of construction, he has always found a way to express his creativity.  While Matthew was in high school, he developed a passion for woodworking. In his spare time, he can be found in his woodshop designing and producing small furniture items and other home decor for a small business he owns and manages.  Matthew has developed and fostered a keen ability to visualize the end design, and develop a creative approach to produce outstanding results.

Matthew is currently pursuing his architectural license. He works with Past the Gate, a general builder and design/build firm, specializing in landscape construction and associated small remodels.   The firm’s design team combines expertise in landscape architecture, architecture and technical construction methodology to ensure each design meets the client’s specific spatial and budgetary needs.

Member Profile: Jack Herbert, AIA

Jack Herbert, AIA, DBIA, is a construction manager for Swinerton Builders who has both practiced architecture and worked as a general contractor and now assists owners in the design and construction of their projects. Jack’s objective is to provide the best design solutions within the limits of an owner’s budget constraints and in drawing on the combined strength of a collaborative team of owner, architect and contractor to accomplish this objective.

“I’ve really enjoyed projects where an Integrated Project Delivery approach draws on the strengths of all partners concurrently to achieve a higher level of design in a collaborative rather than adversarial process.”

Having been in the role of architect, contractor and owner Jack recognizes the experiences of all parties and understands what they each need to achieve success. Jack works to build consensus among the team and to challenge all parties to find ways to make their partners successful.

Jack studied architecture at the University of Illinois and at UC Berkeley and began his career as a design architect working at SOM in San Francisco.

“SOM was an amazing training ground with incredible projects, leadership and talent…..some of my best lifetime friendships were forged in the studio.”

After a few years Jack moved to a smaller firm with the intent to broaden his experience. He learned more about construction, including construction documents, at an entirely different level of intensity from that of the design studio.

“I was always trying to expand my experience across the design and construction industry, always trying to understand not only the complexities of the architectural profession but to understand the mindset of the owner and the contractor.”

After practicing architecture in both large and medium firms and running his own small firm, Jack decided to explore how he could contribute his experience somewhere else. Jack joined Swinerton in 2005 and moved to Swinerton Management & Construction in 2009 where he works as an owner’s representative and construction manager. There, Jack manages large higher-education and courthouse projects for public owners using IPD delivery methods including CMAR and design build.

Member Profile: David Green, AIA

David Green, AIA

David Green, AIA is a building enclosure consultant specializing in curtain wall, glazing, and cladding systems. He is an associate principal at the Emeryville office of Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. (WJE), a nation-wide architecture and engineering consulting firm. Collaborating with talented architects, David designs, details and oversees the construction of building envelope systems for various building types, including high-rise hotels and residences, museums, retail storefronts, universities and office buildings. David works closely with architects to turn their facade concepts into reality while meeting an ever-increasing array of performance criteria. He brings his expertise and enthusiasm for facades to each step of the process, whether it’s sketching corner details on tracing paper during a meeting with an architect, running structural calculations to size mullions, or conducting water testing on a construction site.

In addition to consulting on new construction, David also works on the recladding of existing buildings and conducts forensic investigations of building envelope failures, such as glass breakage or water leakage. His current projects include a custom mullionless glazing system for the renovation of Moffitt Library at UC Berkeley, an undulating, curved glass curtain wall for Anaha, a 40-story residential tower in Honolulu, a faceted, steel-framed curtain wall system and triangulated roof for the NVIDIA corporate headquarters in Santa Clara and a new terra cotta facade for Uptown Station, the renovation of the former Capwell’s/Sears building in downtown Oakland.

Prior to joining WJE nine years ago, David was a senior associate at Handel Architects, where he served as both a project manager and an in-house cladding consultant. Before that, he was an exterior wall consultant with R.A. Heintges & Associates in New York City, where he gained valuable experience working on a variety of complex building enclosure systems. An Oakland native, David holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of Environmental Design at U.C. Berkeley, and a master’s in architecture from Columbia University.

After being a member of the AIA San Francisco chapter for over ten years, he looks forward to his continued involvement with the AIA here in the East Bay.

Member Profile: Nicole Stine, Assoc. AIA

Nicole Stine, Assoc. AIA

My journey into architecture began in my hometown of Yakima, Washington. My father, who is an accountant by trade, showed me the drawing board he had used to draft our house. He told me stories of setting up the board on the plane tray tables to pass time while traveling for business. Seeing and feeling the hatch-pattern of lines engraved into the wood gave my lifelong habit of doodling a purpose. This introduction gave me insight into design and opened my eyes to a potential career in architecture. Following high school graduation, I pursued my bachelor’s degree in architecture at the University of Idaho. I took a detour the summer before graduation and studied abroad in Rome. I then completed my education at Montana State University, where I received my master’s degree.

During my time in academia, I realized that my love for architecture runs deeper than just design. It is instead rooted in a desire to problem solve. As a big sister, I have been solving my brother’s problems since he was born. He may refer to my problem solving as “Nicole, my bossy older sister,” but deep down I am sure he considers it helpful. As a Girl Scout through elementary, middle and high school I helped come up with solutions to sell the most boxes of Girl Scout cookies, being named top salesman multiple years in a row. As a college student I juggled school assignments, campus participation and managed a group of 96 women as chapter president of my sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta.

As a post grad, thirsty for professional experience, I jumped into a summer internship with The KPA Group in Oakland. I spent the summer with other interns, working alongside architects and structural engineers, giving me a taste of the design challenges and engineering of solutions that lay in my future. My success that summer led to a job offer, giving me the opportunity to call the Bay Area home. The KPA Group has relocated to Pleasanton where I now manage the production of marketing materials, collaborate with fellow designers to produce construction documents and handle critical client design problems on a daily basis.

Outside of the office I am in pursuit of my license. I am constantly in search of the next best coffee shop to spend my day working through flash cards and practice tests.  I am fortunate to have found a career that allows me to practice my love for problem solving, but still tests my knowledge of design. Architecture is a lifelong passion, one to which I have just opened the door.

Member Profile: Sriram Ramakrishnan, Assoc. AIA

Sriram Ramakrishnan, Assoc. AIA graduated with a B.Arch from the National Institute of Technology in Tiruchirappalli, India with a University Gold medal in 2012. He worked for a couple of years for Larsen & Toubro, a multinational design build company. His work primarily consisted of designing corporate offices for Fortune 500 clients. He first came to the U.S. in 2014 to pursue M.Arch from Ohio State University, with a prestigious university fellowship. In 2015, he secured a graduate associateship instituted by AIA Columbus in collaboration with Ohio State University. His final academic project at Ohio State was titled “2050AD-Net Zero Housing” and was published in Archiprix “2017 World’s Best Thesis Projects” along with projects from over 80 countries. His was voted “Participant’s Favorite” by finalists around the world. The project studied the future of architecture in an energy-scarce environment. He graduated with M.Arch in May 2016 and started working for Architectural Dimensions as an intern in August. Sriram is a licensed architect in India and is currently completing AXP/IDP hours and preparing for the ARE exams to get licensed in U.S. in the next few years. He has a strong sense of design development, BIM modeling and LEED design.

Sriram perceives architecture as a tool for creating social, cultural and economic change. His favorite architects include Louis Kahn, Rem Koolhaas and Zaha Hahid. His hobbies include traveling, art and music.

Member Profile: Rex Crabb, Assoc. AIA

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Rex Crabb, Assoc. AIA

Rex Crabb is a recent graduate of U.C. Berkeley’s M.Arch program who now works at Woods Bagot. His experiences so far have led him to seek to bridge the worlds of architecture as art and construction. After Rex graduated from Reed College in 2012 with a B.A. in Chinese Literature, he worked at Hammer and Hand, Inc., a high-end residential passive house contractor based in Portland and Seattle. At first he worked in the field reclaiming and recycling demolished materials. Then he worked in the contractor’s office, helping to manage the documentation of projects and request bids from subcontractors.

From 2013-2016, Rex attended the M.Arch program at Berkeley, with projects that combined conceptual speculation and intensive use of digital fabrication. In one project for a sustainable, low-carbon lamppost intended for rural communities in India, he developed a system of 3D printed joints for bending-active lattice bamboo structures that would support a solar panel and an LED light.

During a summer internship with McCall Design Group in San Francisco, Rex and his partners Kasra Yazdanbakhsh and Mariela Levy designed a chicken coop for the non-profit community resilience organization, the Sweetwater Foundation in Chicago. After graduating from Berkeley, Rex has launched his professional career at Woods Bagot. As his experience as a Graduate Student Instructor inspired him to continue teaching, he now works as an instructor at Berkeley as well.