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. 

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.

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. 

"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,, 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 

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


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.