Monday, August 24, 2020

Looking for a Project Architect

SIEGEL & STRAIN ARCHITECTS has an opening for a
Project Architect with 8-12 years of experience.


Siegel & Strain Architects is a vibrant, award-winning, women-owned, 20-person East Bay firm with a diverse range of projects. We are a design- and research-oriented practice with a national reputation for advancing sustainable design. We work with innovative sub-consultants and use forward-looking materials and systems. Our portfolio includes civic and educational projects, camps and retreat centers, schools, recreational buildings, custom homes and historic buildings. Our work can be viewed at www.siegelstrain.com/projects/. Current projects in design include:

  • A new visitor center for Save the Redwoods League and National Park Service.
  • Several National Park Service projects including visitor centers and historic renovations.
  • Lab, office and maintenance support facilities for a wastewater treatment plant.
  • A youth camp in southern California.
  • Civic, community and overnight camp facilities for the City of Berkeley.
  • Facilities in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
  • Environmental education facilities at a nature preserve in Sonoma County.
  • A 41-unit net-zero housing project.
  • A net-zero affordable housing building re-use project.
  • Several community-serving projects initiating construction including a new family camp near Yosemite, an entrance station at Pinnacles National Park, a camp community center in Sonoma County, and renovation of a Boys & Girls Club. We are wrapping-up construction of a new public library.
We typically work in collaborative teams of two or more people each with specific roles and responsibilities on individual projects. We are looking for a self-starting project architect to work on projects from pre-design through construction phase.

QUALIFICATIONS:
  • Minimum B. Arch.; Master of Architecture preferred
  • 8-12 years of experience in architecture offices 
  • Strong design skills
  • Ability to research and problem solve
  • Proficiency in Revit, AutoCAD, Sketch-up, Rhino and Adobe Suite 
  • Strong organizational, writing and interpersonal skills 
  • Experience preparing construction documents and details, particularly for Type V construction
  • Experience working with California building codes
  • Experience in project management and consultant coordination is a plus
  • Experience in construction administration is a plus
  • Experience on community-serving projects is a plus
  • LEED accreditation, green design experience is a plus
  • Experience working on building reuse within historic contexts is a plus 
  • Proficiency in rendering and parametric programs is a plus
  • Proficiency in energy, daylighting or similar modeling/analysis is a plus
  • Licensure or progress toward licensure is a plus
Salary is commensurate with experience. Benefits include nine paid holidays, paid time off, FSA, health insurance, professional development allowance, testing reimbursement, transit reimbursement, and 401(k) plan.

HOW TO APPLY:
Please e-mail cover letter, resume, references and work samples. 
Format: PDF format required. No compressed files please.
Subject line: Project Architect

NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

SIPArt!

Shelter-in-Place Art (SIPArt)

by Karen Richards, Associate Principal


On March 13, our school closed at noon and our family entered California's shelter-in-place order. We struggled with balancing full-time work, full-time homeschool, full-time parents, and full-time companionship. One outlet that has brought an escape to our family is doing art together. When we thought the SIP would only last three weeks, we focued on sidewalk chalk. Sevan (5th grade), Oliver (kindergarten) and I made a world of mythic creatures and a scene from Plants vs Zombies.



Once we realized we were in for the long haul (and were tired of cleaning the chlk that tracked through the house), I got out my art supplies buried deep in the basement with price tags dating back as far as 1995. We embarked on a weekly family art class. Our amazing Kensington Elementary School art teacher, Winoka Turin, provided weekly videos of mixed media art projects that all ages and experience levels could do.














As we transitioned to summer camp mode, we kept the tradition alive with projects sleuthed out from YouTube.























Last month we felt compelled to return to sidewalk chalk and a history lesson on Juneteenth.


There is a calm of togetherness that we have found from these art projects in the middle of the mess and chaos of the times that make me happy to SIP with these amazing people.



POSTSCRIPT

Life in a Quaranteam

video by Michaelle Stikich McGaraghan

Joining with two other families in our neighborhood, we formed our own Quaranteam. We restricted physical contact with people outside of our group. We shared resources, shopping and childcare so that we could all continue working. Here is a link to a video made by Michaelle Stikich McGaraghan over the course of several weeks.

Monday, May 11, 2020

The presents we get for being a bit less productive

By Marjorie Smith, Associate Principal



I have been shocked at the natural world’s immediate gifts to us for being just a bit less productive and busy in the last few months. 

For starters, there are the four monarch butterfly chrysalises dangling from my front porch. While my neighbor has been growing milkweed for years, we have never seen the larvae or chrysalises. Why this year? Did the milkweed put out a bit more nutrition with the cleaner air and a bit more care from its now underemployed tender? Was the larvae’s journey across our driveway, from milkweed to porch, more successful because we now rarely use the car? Have chrysalises been forming on our porch for years and we were too busy to notice?

And then there are the song sparrows outside my desk window, alighting from the hibiscus. They are so loud that colleagues on conference calls also enjoy their song. Did they always create such a beautiful cacophony? Are they thriving with less noise and air pollution? Or is the change only me — do I tune-in now that there is less distraction?

And how about the red valerian absolutely blanketing the Albany Bulb. I don’t remember ever seeing so much green and wildflowers at this park that my sweetie loves for its playful impromptu artwork — before, I always lobbied instead for trails in the hills with “more nature.” 

And we hominids have also been contributing to the joy: sidewalk chalk art, murals on boarded-up store fronts, and the paper maché basketball players at Grove Park’s closed hoops. No commission, no buyers, and no sellers for this art. The unauthorized installation at the Berkeley park was a gift to the community from an artist who wanted to invigorate the space with a surrogate for the all-day movement that recently filled our urban landscape.

Of course, such gifts are not a new phenomenon, nor is the appreciation of being quiet and still. I am suddenly paying attention, but the wonders that I’ve just noticed have long been stewarded with care and attention. My neighbor has been tending that milkweed, in a narrow trough of soil, for years. Save the Bay ensured that the Bay edge, where the Albany Bulb sits, was not completely filled and developed in the sixties and seventies. During the nineties and aughts, unremunerated artists transformed the Bulb’s concrete construction debris with their whimsical creations.

While we talk a lot about going back to “normal”, I do not want to go back to blinding productivity. I find it easy to question the best way to go about building a world that makes more space for natural processes and our own appreciation of them. Was red valerian, a non-native, the right thing to plant at the Bulb? When you are reclaiming a garbage pile, does this matter? Was it right to evict the informal artist residents from the Bulb to increase public park access? Yet, despite all of the doubts, I am certain that we must apply ourselves to the big goal of making more space for nature, art, and whimsy and we must take the time to see and listen to these phenomena. And, this means that we may simply be less productive.




Monday, May 4, 2020

View from the rear [home office] window

by Amanda Knowles, AIA, LEEP AP




For the first few weeks of shelter-in-place, my work station was haphazard – the kitchen counter during breakfast, the dining room table when my husband was taking a call in the kitchen, the living room floor next to my daughter’s puzzle-in-progress. When it became clear that things were not going back to “normal” anytime soon, we started looking at our back porch through new eyes. The back porch had long been used as a depository for muddy shoes, folded strollers, boxes that needed to be broken down for the recycling. But now, we noticed, it had so much more potential! A desk on the back porch would have a view to the giant oak and buckeye trees, the small daylit creek in our neighbors’ yard, and filtered daylight. And so, over a weekend, two small desks were set up looking out to the lovely view we had only just discovered from our own back porch.

Sitting at our new desks, the view past our laptop screens captured our attention – swooping birds of many varieties made their appearance throughout the day. Some were easily identifiable (your standard crow, Steller’s and Scrub Jays, a hovering hummingbird). But other birds required us novice bird watchers to break out our bird books: The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America and Birds of Berkeley by Oliver James.





Both books are now featured in our back porch office, and we’re getting better and better at spotting and naming birds as they fly by our window. Alas, our cell phone cameras do not do these birds justice, so the images below are captured from Oliver James’ beautiful book.




Black Phoebe (top left); California Towhee (top right)
Oak Titmouse (bottom left); Bushtit (bottom right)







Black Phoebe: The most frequent visitor to our backyard, these tiny birds perch on our back fence, until suddenly they swoop up into the air and dive bomb down on some unsuspecting bug mid-flight, before returning to their perch for more quiet introspection.

California Towhee: Another common bird in the yard, and much bolder than the Phoebe, these Towhees don’t bother to fly away when we open the window, or our dog wanders outside, or the sewer construction starts up on the street. We appreciate their dedication to putting on a show for us each day.

Oak Titmouse: Often hopping along our shed roof, and darting in and out of the oak tree just above, these little birds provide a noisy addition to the yard, making an appearance when most other activity has died down.

Bushtit: This little guy made his appearance not out our office window, but at our bedroom window, where we found him sitting in a smoke bush and pecking diligently at his own reflection in the window. Usually these birds travel in groups, so we suspect he was trying to convince his reflection to move on to the next shrub with the crowd. While we have not seen him again, his bold appearance seemed worthy of a mention. 

Cooper’s Hawk: A thrilling discovery for the whole family was when we discovered a hawk nesting in our neighbor’s redwood tree. We don’t see this hawk as often as we hear it’s “kee! kee!” call, which our 2-year-old daughter easily identifies.

Working from home has its challenges, but I will always appreciate this opportunity to sit still in the place I live, watching the birds fly by as the days shift around me.



Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Home, Cooking

By Jonah Merris, Associate AIA


Perhaps it’s because meals happen three times a day, or because my kitchen is the one room which has not become part of my quarantine home office, but I’ve fully embraced home cooking as the silver lining of our present condition. It’s a form of self-care, a social event, and a tangible creative practice that contrasts wonderfully with my increasingly virtual reality. What’s more, I like to think that we’re all improving as cooks together: more resourceful, more experimental, more sanitary.

So, for those who now live in their kitchens, or for those who need some inspiration, I thought I’d offer some of my favorite home cooking discoveries from the past 6+ weeks. There are recipes, of course, but also video to watch and podcasts to listen to. 

RECIPES
Party-for-Two Pozole - Recipe
For you and your quarantine companion (Spouse? Roommate? Doesn’t matter who as long as they love pork as much as you.) This is a celebratory stew is best cooked on Sunday evening. I cut it in half and had very special lunches for a week. Pickled red onions are a must.

Weeknight Chickpea Pancakes - Recipe
Everyone has hoarded more than enough legumes, right? I recently used chickpea flour to make socca for the first time, and am convinced these vegetarian (and vegan) savory pancakes (think crepes) are the healthier alternative to pantry pasta. The formula is simple: pancake + legumes + greens + creamy/acidic sauce.

What’s Better Than Brown Butter Cookies? - Recipe
These were made when there was still all-purpose flour on the shelves and are so good you may have to break out the flour you’re rationing. We all deserve an indulgence right now.

SHOWS / FILM
Ugly Delicious
Season 2 came out right before the start of quarantine and is a wonderful humanist take on food/travel shows. It’s about food, but mostly about the people, cultures, and history behind cuisine. Armchair travel you can feel good about.

Taco Chronicles
If you can embrace the surrealist narrator who speaks as “the taco,” this mini-series is a fascinating dive into the culinary traditions of Mexico. The “Canasta” episode on basket tacos is a particularly wonderful reminder of the power food has to unite us.

Julie & Julia
Oddly pertinent for our current moment. A writer cooks her way through the iconic manual for home cooks and documents the journey for a virtual audience. 

PODCASTS
"Home Cooking" with Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway
Chock full of helpful advice and inspiration for regular folks. Plenty of laughs and puns.

"The Dave Chang Show" with Dave Chang
Specifically, the “Too Small to Fail” series which deals with the effect of coronavirus on the restaurant industry. Much heartfelt discussion of the plight of those who feed us every day.

"Bon Appétit Foodcast" with Adam Rappaport et al.
A magazine brand that has fully embraced digital content (YouTube series, Instagram feed, podcast) and done so by targeting home cooks. Start with the “Rice” episodes (there are now five) for a celebration of the pantry staple.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Facing the Challenge

By Ege Yener, Designer


Indeed, we are going through difficult and challenging times. Sheltering in place and working remotely has been a challenge for many companies, working professionals in a variety of industries, and students. However, the challenges and difficulties that our healthcare professionals face is beyond imagination. 

I became inspired by our healthcare workers’ dedication, the way that they face physical and mental challenges of this coronavirus pandemic. I wanted to find a way to help our healthcare professionals with more than social distancing, so my friend at Los Angeles SCI-Arc, Burak Celik, Asya Nur Celik (no relation) and I started producing visors as a secondary layer of protection by using our 3D printers.

We have reached out to local communities, alma maters and student groups. In San Francisco, I joined forces with CCA alumni Madeline Cunningham, CCA’s Lab Manager Zoe McCloskey, and other alumni, staff and faculty, to assemble a team that is growing daily. So far, our team has over 70 people who are collaborating in this effort in both San Francisco and Los Angeles.

On our website, ppeSF.org, we are able to receive secure donations to help pay for supplies and other necessary costs, and also to provide instructions on the steps and measures to take in the process of 3D printing face shield visors.

Nurse receives face shields at UCSF.
A nurse receives the face shields at UCSF.
Jane Gitschier, a UCSF Professor Emeritus, helped us connect with UCSF and clarify the protocols for donating masks. We were proud to deliver our first batch of face shields to UCSF on Sunday, April 16. We will be printing and delivering more masks in the coming days and weeks and reach out to local health care centers who are in need of personal protective equipment. We are very honored to serve our healthcare professionals. 

For the first batch of face shield production, I was a part of the sanitation team. My wife Tugce Aktekin and I went to an established safe house location provided by our friends, Utku Akcok and Brigit Cvetich, located in the Sunset district. We sanitized and packaged the 3D-printed face shields following the recommended cleaning protocol (hydrogen peroxide is used to clean the 3D-printed visors and plastic shields).


Face shields delivered to UCSF on April 16 by UCSF Professor Emeritus Jane Gitschier, PhD.
Our very first productive weekend was filled with happiness and joy in support of our heroes-in-the-field by using the best of our abilities and skills. I am proud to be part of this amazing team and will continue my dedication to grow the team and deliver more masks to our health professionals here in the Bay Area. 

Besides providing face shields to our healthcare professionals, I believe small organizations like ours will inspire more people to join, contribute and create an awareness in the eyes of larger companies to get involved in the production and delivery of the protective equipment that is needed.  

If you have a 3D printer and can put it to good use, or if you want to help in this effort in any way, please visit our website at ppesf.org. 

Please stay safe and healthy! 

To read more about the regional collaborative effort visit:

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Fast Forward to Fridays

by Susi Marzuola, Principal


Gotta give it to the young architects and designers of Team S&S. These kids are resilient!

They adapted to their new work situation without a blink. Granted it’s familiar, their at-home work environments, and, sure, there have been a couple techno-glitches. So maybe a few blinks. But only a few and not for long, all handled with good nature and patience. 

Zoom? Boom! No problem. GTM, Cisco Webex, Google Docs, Microsoft Team, Sharefile, Smartsheets, Slack, a new VPN? Bring it. Utilization hasn’t dropped. Production hasn’t dropped. Attention to clients, projects and detail hasn’t dropped. If an exponential increase in email volume is a measure of good communication, then we’re on FIRE! (Gotta work on that. Ideas, anyone?)


Siegel & Strain plays baby picture game

Then there’s our virtual happy hour, organized by a couple of these resilienteers who have a seemingly endless supply of creative GTM party games. Everyone shows up with a smile and a bit of news on Friday afternoon to mark the close of another blur of a week. We check in, we share a laugh, we grow closer. 

We are grateful that we’ve all remained healthy and engaged while physically distant; grateful for your creative workarounds and for pushing out of your comfort zones; grateful for 3D-printed PPE components for healthcare workers; grateful that you're helping parents, family and friends; grateful for your continued commitment to a cleaner environment and a socially-just humanity; and grateful for your positive attitudes during these most unusual times. 

You shine. 

Monday, April 6, 2020

Walkabout

by Charlotte Hutton, Architect


designed by Frank Lloyd Wright


I've been working remotely and sheltering-in-place with my family on the Central Coast of California. On Saturday it was sunny so I went with my family to pick up coffee from the window at Sally Loo's Cafe, close to the San Luis Obispo Train Station. From there we walked around the neighborhood, keeping a good 6' distance from the few people who were likewise enjoying the sunshine, and looked at all the stately Victorian homes and Craftsman bungalows that line the street in that neighborhood. 

Right before crossing San Luis Obispo Creek, which divides the residential neighborhood from the commercial downtown, we stumbled on the beautiful local gem of the Kundert Medical Clinic. Located at the corner of Santa Rosa Street and Pacific Street, the Kundert Medical Clinic was built in 1956 and designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. One of his last works, it is easily identified for its red brick exterior and patterned windows that appear to mimic the rolling hills of the area. I was able to snap a few pictures. Check them out!

designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Lemons. Lots of them.

by Nancy Malone, Principal


It’s safe to say that working full-time at home is and isn’t what I thought it would be. As I suspected, I think about food and eating quite a lot – what other distractions are there? But I also thought I would have more time to cook and, in truth, I don’t. 

My family’s house is located adjacent to a popular walking path that connects one street to another. A day or so before we were ordered to shelter-in-place, it crossed my mind that I should harvest some of our bounty of Meyer lemons and leave them near the path to share with passersby. Well, I didn’t get to that and, at this point, I don’t think anyone would take them. Instead, we’ve spent the last two weeks putting lemons in everything – anything that’s not too time consuming. Vegan “Caesar” dressing. Tahini sauce. Lemon broccoli. Lemony quinoa salad. Lemon in still water, lemon in sparkling water. With a spark of inspiration and energy, my husband even made marmalade. One thing we haven’t made is lemonade; it just seems a bit trite at the moment.

“Pantry” recipes are all over the media right now, and here is one of my lemony favorites that we doubled the other day:

Chickpeas in Olive Oil and Lemon
From The Illustrated Quick Cook

3 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
14 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (it’s tastier with home cooked if you have them)
Juice of ½ lemon
Zest of 1 lemon
Handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Step 1: Heat the oil in a sauté pan, add the garlic and chickpeas, and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, zest and parsley, then cook over medium heat of an additional 2 minutes.

Step 2: Remove from heat and season. Serve hot, warm or cold with a splash of olive oil.

Next up: I am thinking of trying a recipe for a Meyer lemon shrub. Maybe with rosemary, which also resides in great bounty just outside my door.


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

CarbonPositive '20 Conference & Expo

March 2-4, 2020 | Los Angeles, CA

Hosted by Architecture 2030 and Hanley Woods



by Henry Siegel, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C, Principal

The International Conference and Expo provided a “how-to” for rapidly implementing a carbon positive future through mainstream global planning and building design, practice and policy. Sessions, speakers and exhibitors showcased innovative construction and building materials, advanced technologies, design and planning tools, and practices and policies that dramatically reduce urban development, building sector, and embodied carbon emissions to deliver rapid and pragmatic results.

Ed Mazria, the founder of Architecture 2030, kicked off the CarbonPositive '20 Conference by simultaneously looking forward and backward.

Looking forward, Ed reported that it is now projected that we will build 2.4 trillion square feet of buildings worldwide between now and 2060. That is doubling the amount of square footage worldwide today! If we want to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees (C) we need to be far more aggressive about our carbon emission reduction goals – achieving a 65% reduction by 2030, and achieving carbon neutrality by 2040 rather than 2050.

Looking backward, there is encouraging news that we can build on to achieve these aggressive goals – proof that emissions and growth are “decoupling:” economic and population growth continues on an upward trend worldwide while energy use and emissions are going down. For example, from 1995 to 2005:
  • GDP grew by nearly 44%
  • Floor area by 23%
  • Energy use and emissions both increased by 20%.

From 2005 to 2019 that trend changed:
  • GDP grew by 26%
  • Floor area increased by 18%
  • Energy use decreased by nearly 2%
  • Emissions decreased by 21%.

Ed also addressed existing buildings, not just new construction. In most US cities 2% of the buildings -- the taller buildings in downtowns -- are responsible for between 45% to 50% of all building CO2 emissions for their cities. He presented policy ideas to incentivize and later require that these large buildings upgrade their performance quickly.

And finally, he addressed embodied carbon, noting that the embodied carbon of the core and shell of new buildings, not counting interior finishes and furniture, account for 11% of global emissions. Over the next 10 years, embodied emissions for new buildings will account for 75% of their total emissions, and he noted that as operating efficiency improves, embodied carbon will become a bigger and bigger problem. We need to reduce embodied carbon in buildings on the same schedule -- 65% by 2030, and 0% by 2040. Those are very challenging targets. Much of the rest of the conference focused on specific strategies for reducing embodied carbon -- reusing buildings and materials, improving material efficiency and building with materials that sequester carbon.

Monday, March 9, 2020

We are hiring!

SIEGEL & STRAIN ARCHITECTS currently has an opening for a Project Manager.

Siegel & Strain Architects is a vibrant, award-winning, 21-person East Bay firm with a diverse range of projects. We are a design- and research-oriented practice with a national reputation for advancing sustainable design. We work with innovative sub-consultants and use forward-looking materials and systems. Our portfolio includes civic and educational projects, camps and retreat centers, schools, recreational buildings, custom homes and historic buildings. Our work can be viewed at www.siegelstrain.com. Current projects in design include:
  • A new visitor center for Save the Redwoods League and National Park Service.
  • Several National Park Service projects.
  • A girl scout camp Innovation Center.
  • Support facilities for a wastewater treatment plant.
  • A youth camp in Southern California.
  • Civic and community facilities for the City of Berkeley.
  • Facilities at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.
  • Several community-serving projects under construction including a new library, a camp community center, a new family camp, and renovation of a Boys & Girls Club.
We typically work in collaborative teams of two or more people each with specific roles and responsibilities on individual projects. We are looking for a self-starting project architect/manager to work on projects from pre-design through construction. 

Qualifications:
  • Minimum B. Arch.; Master of Architecture preferred
  • 10+ years of experience in architecture offices
  • Strong design skills
  • Ability to research and problem solve
  • Proficiency in Revit, AutoCAD, Sketch-up, Rhino and Adobe Suite
  • Strong organizational, writing and interpersonal skills
  • Experience preparing construction documents and details, particularly for Type V construction 
  • Experience working with California building codes
  • Experience in project management and consultant coordination
  • Experience in construction administration
  • Experience on community-serving projects is a plus
  • LEED accreditation, green design experience is a plus
  • Experience working on historic buildings is a plus
  • Proficiency in rendering and parametric programs is a plus
  • Proficiency in energy, daylighting or similar modeling/analysis is a plus
  • Licensure required
Salary is commensurate with experience. Benefits include health insurance, paid vacation and retirement contributions.

How to Apply:
Please e-mail cover letter, resume, references and work samples.
Format: PDF format required. No compressed files please.
Address to: resume@siegelstrain.com
Subject line: Project Manager
  NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE