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Posts tagged ‘residential’

Project Profile: The Architects Office

Claiming nearly a full story inside an existing crawlspace gives an understated ranch new life on a challenging hillside site.       

The new owner of an understated ranch house in the Oakland hills wanted something more for their home so they brought on The Architects Office to help with their vision. The client wanted more windows for better Bay views; more bedrooms to fit the whole family; to expand the kitchen so that everyone could hang out together; and to create a backyard.

Settled into a downslope overlooking Montclair Village, a quaint, commercial/retail area nestled in the Oakland Hills, the existing home featured two bedrooms and one-and-a-half baths. The location of the home had phenomenal views of the San Francisco Bay but only 15% of the walls facing that view were glazed.

The Architects Office helped the new owner discover the existing structure was full of potential and a program was developed to take advantage of views, increase floor area within the existing building mass and transform the exterior. A new layout was designed to keep living spaces adjacent to the view sides of the house, which minimized the impacts of construction on the remaining shell. From a conceptual point, this home was designed with the notion that an open-plan layout of spaces adjacent to view walls makes the space (particularly public spaces) feel larger and more expansive.

An oversized crawlspace below the lower level was also found to be big enough to build new bedrooms, a full bathroom and a playroom.

The only problem left to solve was creating enough outdoor space to recreate in. Given the existing house’s relatively small footprint on the steep site, it took some brainstorming to decide that decks were the best solution. Each level features a new deck and the lower ones feature exterior, recessed lighting.  Even better, the decks are located on the view side of the home. At the ground level, earth was terraced to provide ample space for the owner’s dog to run around.

The project recently won a Bay Area Remodeling Award and was nominated for a National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Judges Choice Award.

General Contractor: Duchin Construction
Structural: John Bailey
Fire Sprinkler: Victory Fire Protection
Photographer: Treve Johnson, Allied Member

Tiny Prefab Housing by Avava Systems

Thursday, March 2, 2017
Free AIA Members / $3 Guests
Brown Bag Lunch (BYO Lunch)
Location: AIA East Bay, 1405 Clay St., Oakland

1.5 CES LUs

SFF Host:  Maggie Maiers, AIA

Join us for a presentation from Patricia Carpentieri, AIA of Avava Systems, a prefabricated housing company in Berkeley.  She will discuss housing needs from a planning perspective and how prefab buildings can be part of the solution. Avava Systems provides high quality, sustainable homes that are assembled on site in 4-6 weeks, for a fixed price.  This requires some unique departures from conventional ideas of construction. 

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this presentation, attendees will…

  1. Be able to identify at least three new innovations to traditional building materials.
  2. Be able to state three areas of conservation that prefabricated housing can offer.
  3. Be able to state a pro and con of prefabrication regarding design and construction.
  4. Be able to state a pro and con of prefabrication regarding energy efficiency.

Tour: Blu Homes Factory & Model Village


Thursday, February 16, 2017
1245 Nimitz Ave., Vallejo, CA 94592
$5 Members & Employees of Chapter Member Firms/$10 Guests

This tour is sold out. Please request a spot on the wait list by contacting

1.5 CES LUs


Blu Homes makes modern, green, prefab houses right here in the East Bay, but not for long. This is your last chance to see assembly-line home building before they move out of state! 

During World War II the historic building that houses Blu Homes was used to manufacture submarines. Much of Mare Island was abandoned and in disrepair – including the old factory – until Blu Homes rehabilitated it to turn into their home-producing factory. The space contains several unique features which are still used today, such as cranes from 1939.

After the tour of the working factory we’ll move on to the Model Village to explore the end products.

The Arc House: A Small Miracle in Housing

a Small Firm Forum

Thursday, September 1, 2016
Free AIA Members / $3 Guests
BYO Lunch
Please click here to RSVP so we have a proper headcount.


What’s Net Zero, fire-resistant, self-sufficient, factory-built, has cutting edge technology, uses recycled and green materials, is economic, reuses grey water, harvests rain water and is SIMPLY STUNNING?  The Arc House! Built to the standards of California factory housing, these incredible 400 – 500 square foot houses live like a space twice as large. It starts with a 10 foot exposed arch beam ceiling, with flexible built-ins everywhere, and virtually, an all glass wall on the open side which brings the outside in; the effect is dramatic!

Hear the designer, Jim Gregory of Shelter Dynamics, share how The Arc House was conceived, brought to life and how it functions.archhouse

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this presentation, attendees will…

1. Learn how photovoltaic panels plus battery back-up can power the home 24 hours a day.

2. Learn how rain water is harvested and grey water is recycled on a small scale.

3. Gain an understanding of at least three energy-conserving elements of a small home.

4. See at least two space-saving innovations in boat design that can be used in small homes.

Annual Show & Tell

a Small Firm Forum Program

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Free AIA members/$3 Guests; bring your lunch.

1.5 CES LUs

For this year’s Annual Show and Tell, we are pleased to bring you three women in architecture to discuss their work and share their insight on the industry.

About the Presenters:

Alexandra Odabachian has practiced architecture in the Bay Area since 1997, and will present slides of her work and life. Her work-to-date has consisted of residential remodels, additions, new structure as well as light commercial work.  She strives to infuse each project with order and beauty and to create better connections between building and site.  Along with work images, she will show influential photos from her travels and childhood in Beirut.

Tasha Leverette and Ariella Granett, AIA are two representatives from the Oakland firm Gyroscope, Inc. Gyroscope’s mission is to design learning environments that provide value for children, families and communities. “We specialize in museums, libraries, learning gardens and other cultural institutions. As architects of learning environments, we encounter some unusual challenges like designing a giant, ADA accessible “Hawks Nest” amidst a small grove of towering live oaks, creating an art installation to activate an entry courtyard at a museum or designing a three-story erupting volcano that sits within a 8,400-gallon fresh water tank to be explored by ROV’s. Whatever the challenge, our approach to creative problem-solving, out-of-the-box thinking and a can-do attitude is what keeps our architecture-trained staff (as well as the structural and MEP consultants we work with) energized and engaged.”

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this presentation, attendees will…

  1.  Be able to identify a variety of service niches for small firms.
  1. State three ways small firms juggle design, client needs and business realities.
  1. Establish new creative strategies and methods for staying motivated.
  1.  List three ways one’s cultural and physical surroundings may inform our work for more creative solutions.


Beat the Code: Title 24 Energy Code and Multifamily Buildings

a California Multi-Family New Homes program

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


California regulators have set a policy goal that by 2020 all residential buildings built in California will be designed to “Zero Net Energy” standards. The challenges are substantial, especially for multifamily architects and designers. In this 90-minute learning lunch you will learn what the goal means, how it is being achieved, and how to address challenges specific to multifamily building energy design.

About the presenters:

Gina Rodda is a principal at Gabel Associates. She has been in the energy modeling field since 1991, through the course of seven California building energy code cycles. In addition to providing residential and non-residential energy calculations for a variety of building types throughout California, she leads full day trainings, hosts various webinars and holds the following certifications: Certified Energy Analyst (CEA), Certified Energy Plans Examiner (CEPE) and LEED Accredited Professional (AP).

Matt Christie is a Senior Project Manager with TRC Energy Services working on PG&E’s California Multi-Family New Homes and Multi-Family Upgrade Program. Matt has a depth of experience designing and managing utility incentive programs across the residential market sector, including design of the California Advances Homes Program (CAHP). His program design approach focuses on whole-building energy use and Zero Net Energy initiatives.

Learning objectives:
By the end of this program, attendees will be able to:

1) Explain the goals of California’s Energy Code: Title 24, part 6.
2) Understand the minimum prescriptive requirements in the 2013 Energy Code and how beating them can help with LEED certification and qualifying for tax credits.
3) Identify major components of the building and where it’s easy or impossible to exceed code in multifamily buildings.
4) Employ strategies to enable them to exceed 2013 Energy Code and move towards designing Zero Net Energy buildings.

Bay Traditions

a monthly program

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Click here for Early bird tickets: Free for registrations by July 27
$10 in advance/$15 at the door
Reception sponsored by ArcSource

AIA East Bay explores the 20th century history of residential design in preparation for the fifth annual Home Tours on August 8th. We’re pleased to host local authors and experts Lucia Howard and David Weinstein, who will discuss the heritage and traditions of Bay Area residential architecture. From Bernard Maybeck and John Hudson Thomas to Roger Lee and Donald Olsen–the residences designed by these architects have created a rich neighborhood tapestry that can only be seen in the East Bay. How has their work and others inspired contemporary architects and created a rebirth of interest in the Bay Tradition?

About the Presenters

David Weinstein

Dave Weinstein is a longtime El Cerrito author and journalist whose books include“Signature Architects of the San Francisco Bay Area,” “It Came from Berkeley: How Berkeley Changed the World,”  the text for “Berkeley Rocks: Building With Nature,” and “Where the Sewage Hits the Sea.” He’s features editor for CA Modern, the magazine and website of the Eichler Network. He’s leader of El Cerrito Trail Trekkers and Friends of the Cerrito Theater, vice president of the El Cerrito Historical Society, and a member of the city’s Environmental Quality Committee.

Lucia Howard

Lucia Howard is an architect, author and educator.  Her award-winning firm Ace Architects was founded over 30 years ago in Oakland with partner and husband David Weingarten.  They have written two books focused on California architectural history. Ranch Houses (2009) and Shingle Style (2013) were both published by Rizzoli Press. Their home, Rancho Diablo, was featured in the AIA East Bay’s 2013 Home Tours.


The Mid-Century Makeover by Studio Bergtraun, AIA, Architects can be seen as part of our August 8, 2015 Home Tours. (Treve Johnson Photography)

Project Profile: Nino Residence

Nino Residence by Jace Architecture

By Jace Architecture

Situated 300ft above sea level at the top of Bernal Heights in San Francisco, the Nino Residence commands panoramic views north across the Bay and east toward the Berkeley/Oakland hills. The existing property is an historic cottage datedto 1890, centered in a 70ft deep lot with limited front and rear yards. The new program required a new master bedroom suite, study/guest room, entertainment space, and exterior deck with direct garden access. These requirements necessitated altering both front and rear facades. These facades are thus conceived as partial screens to complement the historic
fabric, permitting old and new to be seen jointly.

The program’s aim was to be energy efficient and environmentally sensitive beginning with the notion of renovation and preservation, capitalizing and embellishing upon inherent qualities existing within the residence. As the residence is situated within a dense neighborhood fabric, the owner has the availability to walk or to take public transportation to access all basic services. The hilltop location also allows for unobstructed views and a high sense of privacy as no neighbor immediately occupies the same plane of vision. By embellishing upon such features with a modern, clean, and simple design, the residence provides the best of both worlds: an active, urban lifestyle that is also serene and close to nature.

Nino Residence by Jace Architecture

Little financial and spatial resources were dedicated to the accommodation of a car, with an allowance for a driveway only for means of basic convenience and as required per code to alleviate burden on public streets. Further, by retaining the historic fabric of the home the architect saved material, limiting waste, and preserving a sense of San Francisco’s cultural heritage.

The small spaces within were conceived of as multi-functionale, and can be either partitioned for privacy or opened to create grander arrangements. The living room is not only a social space, but also part entry and part music studio. Similarly, the adjoined dining, kitchen and guest room overlap and weave together for expanded views and cross ventilation. The one-story front addition is both an enclosed habitable interior space and an open, exterior roof deck. The home is a layered procession of spaces – views, light, and ventilation extend continuously from front to rear.

Design Team: Jace Levinson, AIA, Kim Ngo, Gordon Popadiuk
Structural Engineer: Bernard Huang
Mechanical/Electrical Engineer: Zigas Engineers
General Contractor: Tapia Construction & Restoration
Photographers: Muffy Kibbey, Mark Luthringer

Nino Residence by Jace Architecture

The Wonders of Residential LED Lighting

a Small Firm Forum

Thursday, February 5, 2015
Free AIA Members/$3 Guests. Open to All.

1.5 CES LUs

Host: Alex Bergtraun, AIA

The variety of architectural grade lighting solutions available to designers, installers, home and business owners is limited only by their imagination.
Here is our opportunity to discuss together with an in-house product specialist the array of possibilities and issues of LED strip lighting, color temperature, the meaning of CRI, RGB color manipulation, and the variety of dimming possibilities available.

We will cover product specification, space needs for the various components of a system including its drivers and light element types and sizes.

Our presenter intends to also allow ample time for Q&A as well!

About the Presenter

Naomi Turrentine, Elemental LED: Naomi is the Marketing Director for Elemental LED lighting Co. in Emeryville and with the ever-increasing demand for the LED technology she has experienced firsthand the meteoric rise of quality and the capabilities of LED lighting solutions for architectural problem solving. Naomi is a UC Davis grad and has been at Elemental LED for the past 7 years.

Learning Objectives

1. Learn the many benefits of using LED lighting for a variety of applications in residential projects, new and remodel.
2. Learn what components need to be accounted for spatially in the designing of an LED Lighting layout including the various dimmer types and lighting approaches that can be combined for a blended ambient, area and task lighting.
3. Learn the flexibility LED lighting design provides in coping with the latest Title 24 requirements.
4. Understand more fully how color rendition is translated into LED CRI and Color Temperature for various residential projects.

Project Profile: Fremont Custom Home

James P. Gibbon, AIA

This is a custom home designed for the Singh family on Vista Grande in Fremont, CA. It was completed in late 2011 and occupied in early 2012. It is designed to accommodate three or four generations of family members in the Indian tradition of each generation taking care of its elders in the home. There are two master bedrooms and six regular bedrooms, each with its own bathroom and walk-in closet. The home includes a double grand staircase at the entry. There is also a rear stairway that provides access to the three levels of the house, including a four car garage. The home includes an elevator, two laundry rooms, home office, study, full service pantry and prayer room. There are fully covered balconies on the main and upper story, positioned at strategic locations around the home to provide sheltered exterior living space.

The home is two stories high, located above the basement garage. It includes 10,200 sq. ft. of living space with 1,300 sq. ft. of garage. It is located on a 24,000 sq. ft. narrow cross sloped site. The entrance is oriented to the north. It is designed in a modern Mediterranean style, characteristic of many homes in Fremont. The design of the home was developed to meet the request of the family for ample living space. It also complied with the dictates of the site constraints and the design criteria of the City of Fremont’s hillside ordinance.

Says the architect, James Gibbon, AIA, “I have designed over 50 custom homes in Fremont. The Singh home represents one of various architectural styles I have used in the area. During my architectural career, I have designed more than 500 custom homes and over 1,000 projects. Most have been residential in nature from bay windows to five-story condominiums as well as large housing subdivisions.”

Architect – James P Gibbon, AIA
Structural Engineer –Keshmen Consult Inc
Civil Engineer –Alexander and Associates Inc
Soils Engineering – Terrasearch, Inc
Title 24 – Tri-Valley Title 24
General Contractor: Leyden Construction

James P. Gibbon, AIA