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Newsletter | Mar/Apr 2002

Volume 30:2
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If you would like to see corrections to this newsletter or to submit articles or suggestions for future newsletters please contact the Newsletter Editor.

In this issue:
Editor's Note - Lavina Liburd
OWA March Event - Green Buildings - Lois Scott, WEA; Lavina Liburd
Review of January Event - Yerba Buena Tower - Suzan Swabacker, OWA; Lavina Liburd

Editor's Note

by Lavina Liburd    |    Share #528

Welcome to March. Many changes are afoot as the Steering Committee shuffles roles to cope with Laura's rotation off. We'll miss you Laura! (Read Laura's note on her experience as Chair in our next issue) Also both our March and April activities are strongly focused on Sustainable Design practice. We welcome members contacting us with any anecdotes from your own practice, or any work you'd like to show which relates to this theme. Also included: plans for the 30th Anniversary Celebration, and notes on a couple of nascent projects. Happy Reading.

The New OWA Website!

 Share #529

As you can see, our new web site,, is up and running. This is just a beginning and needs your help and involvement. If you have any suggestions or complaints (or complements), Mui Ho would like to hear them. We need your help not only for feedback but also to supply content. The newsletter (which you are reading) is in need of reviews and articles which should also be submitted to Mui. Also, the photographs at the top of each page will be changed every so often to showcase the work of OWA members. If you wish to be included, send Mui a good (preferable professional) quality digital horizontal image (at least 600 x 900 pixels in size) and the pertinent information. Also we are beginning to develop member portfolios like the one here. These are public presentations as opposed to your listing in the membership directory. If you are interested in one, send the appropriate c.v., photos and captions (in digital form).

The resource page also need to be filled out with your suggestions and internet finds. etc etc.

OWA March Event - Green Buildings

by Lois Scott, WEA; Lavina Liburd    |    Share #530

A Panel Discussion

Date: Tuesday, March 12, 2002, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Location: Pacific Energy Center - 851 Howard Street, San Francisco
Between 4th and 5th, two blocks south of BART
Cost: $20.00; Full Time Students -$10.00

Many of today's building designers have begun to think about total resource efficiency when planning building and system performance. Evolving beyond their initial focus on energy savings, "green" architects now also consider issues such as water consumption, the effect of building materials on indoor air quality, and how to incorporate recycled-content materials. Our speakers draw on their residential and commercial experience to help answer key questions: Why do developers "go green?" How much market demand exists? How do developers balance profitability with sustainability and occupant comfort? Do energy savings underwrite green building design?

OWA will be co-sponsoring this event with the Women Energy Associates (WEA), the main organizers. The WEA is a non-profit organization of women energy professionals whose primary purpose is to foster the development of women in the field. Their objectives are to offer a forum for professional networking, exchange, learning about the field, and social interaction with other women energy professionals through periodic receptions with speakers. WEA board members include Julie Fitch, of the California Public Utilities Commission, and Lois Heyman Scott, of San Francisco's Department of City Planning.

Panelists for this discussion are:

Bobbie Sue Hood, FAIA, president and chief designer at Hood Miller Associates Inc. Her interest in green architecture dates back to her work with Sim Van Der Ryn in the 1970s. In recent years Ms. Hood has been involved with building codes in San Francisco, serving as President, then Vice President of the Building Inspection Commission. She is also the first woman president of the San Francisco AIA.

Sandra Mendler, AIA, a vice president and sustainable design principal at HOK San Francisco. Ms. Mendler has been actively involved with the development of a green building rating system and co-authored the HOK Guidebook to Sustainable Design.

Kim Cole is a Sales Manager for Centex Homes. Ms. Cole has specific expertise in marketing and promoting the "healthy house" and was a key member on the development committee for the Alameda County Waste Management Authority New Home Construction Green Building Guidelines.

Please fill out and return the enclosed registration form, so that we can have an idea of attendance for catering purposes. Your contribution helps to cover the cost of hosting the event. Join us for lively, informed discussion.

OWA May Event - Ono Maze Restaurant

 Share #531


Date: Tuesday, May 21st, 6.30 PM &endash; 8.30 PM
Location: 1616 N. Main Street, Walnut Creek, Ca
Cost: We will be having cocktails and/or dinner at the restaurant
Cocktails ($4-$8.) Appetizers ($3-$9) Entrees ($10 -$18)

Please join OWA member Marian Ring in an evening of "show and tell" at Ono Maze, a Pan-Asian restaurant, and her most recent design project. Come, mix business with pleasure and gather for a cocktail and appetizer and/or dinner (or have high tea) as we discuss the process of restaurant design and the use and promotion of green materials in design projects. Ono Maze recently won a City of Walnut Creek design award for "successful remodel for the year 2001" and has garnered high acclaim for it's delicious food from the SF Chronicle and Contra Costa Times.

Marian Ring specializes in the design of restaurants and other public spaces. Educated at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Interior Design and Architecture, Marian opened her practice in San Francisco in 1990 and moved her business to Walnut Creek in 1998. Marian credits the work of California Women in Environmental Design (now merged with OWA) for guidance in shaping her philosophy of design which links beauty and function to the innovative use of sustainable and recycled materials. Marian has designed and managed the construction of many restaurants in San Francisco including, Ti Couz, a Breton creperie; Rohan Lounge, a hip Asian bar featuring Korean soju; and Standing Room Only, a European style deli; The Palace Cafe in Sunnyvale and now, in Walnut Creek, Ono Maze. On the drawing board is Jelly's Pier 50, a dance cafe, in San Francisco.

Join us to talk shop, see samples of new green products and spend some social time together. Please RSVP via email by May 12th.

Review of January Event - Yerba Buena Tower

by Suzan Swabacker, OWA; Lavina Liburd    |    Share #532


While not a member's project, the Steering Committee felt that the mixed-use development was of sufficient importance to the redevelopment of downtown San Francisco that it would be beneficial to arrange a tour. Guided by Connie Maxwell, Project Manager at Gary Handel and Associates, we toured the hotel lobby and bar, as well as the rooms, which featured interior design by Frank Nicholson, the condominiums above (interiors by Gary Handel and Associates), and the Sports Club designed by Gensler.

I communicated with member Suzan Swabacker via email to get her impressions of the January meeting--a tour of the Four Seasons hotel and residences in San Francisco. Although ambivalent about the building's impact on the SF skyline, Suzan was impressed by some of the clever design solutions employed in various areas of the project.

An interesting feature of the interiors of the hotel and residences was the fact that the floor assemblies were designed to meet the perimeter girders halfway through their depth rather than sitting on top in order to maximize the exposed glazing area. This resulted in a raised sill about one and a half feet wide, which was nicely detailed as a window seat, and as Suzan noted, a similar detail was nicely carried through to disguise I-beams in the walls of the hotel guest rooms. The inclusion of full height operable panels in the curtain wall was a little surprising. These panels swing outward just enough to allow ventilation without the risk of falling.

The project incorporates an older adjacent five-story building, which serves as the pedestrian entry to the Four Seasons Residences, the sales office, and houses the Architect's offices. We were told that the four-hour wall separating the old and new structures is penetrated to allow the hotel reception desk and a portion of the bar to be accommodated in the older building. However, owing to excellent detailing the transition from one structure to the other is invisible from within the space. Also impressive was the lack of noise throughout the condos and the hotel. Clearly the mechanical systems were well done and the flooring system solidly built.

The vehicular entrance to the Four Season's Hotel is, surprisingly, located on Stevenson Street--a small alley running between, and parallel to Market and Mission streets. Suzan found this a "nice way to handle traffic without being on Market Street" which would have been undesirable considering the typical congestion on this main thoroughfare.

OWA 30th Anniversary Celebration Update

 Share #533

OWA will be celebrating our 30th anniversary in the year 2003 with a range of events. Look out for details and dates of these events in future issues of our newsletter.


OWA 30th Anniversary Publication Subcommittee

The subcommittee for publication is working on a festive, commemorative booklet. It is intended to document the history and achievements of OWA, and its influence on the life of individual women, institutions and similar women's groups. To make this a collective effort, we are seeking your input and suggestions. The committee invites current and former members to submit short essays, drawings, photos, and other memorabilia expressing what OWA has meant for your lives and careers. Share with us your outstanding personal experience or memories connected with OWA. Please submit items to Danica Truchlikova (chair) by April 30, 2002.


Please help us to get in touch with former OWA members who might be interested in celebrating with us. If you are aware of any former members who are not currently in the OWA directory, please submit names and contact information to: Inge Horton


A committee is in session to plan various venues for our 30th anniversary celebrations, and all of them, in one way or the other, need a graphic designer's input. Understandably, we would like to work with an OWA member. This is a call for graphic designers who would like to participate, and recommendations from members for graphic designers you have worked with before. Call or email Danica Truchlikova:

Member Interview - Helen Degenhardt

by Tricia Felber    |    Share #534

Helen Degenhardt is principal of HDA Architects and also a partner of JSW/D (Jacobson Silverstein Winslow Degenhardt Architects). She has been an OWA member since 1992. Ms. Degenhardt was raised and educated in Germany where she taught at a University there for two years before coming to the United States. She was employed for a time at Esherick, Homsey, Dodge and Davis, where she worked on several large projects for the University of California, luxury condominiums, and a library renovation. She has also worked on a series of projects for the San Francisco Zen Center--the new Bath House and Dining Room at Tassajara, Green's Restaurant at Fort Mason and several buildings at Green Gulch. She was also the partner in charge for the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre.

Most recently her focus has been on affordable housing and she is currently working on two such projects in the East Bay. In addition she is working with Slide Ranch, a small Environmental Education Center in Marin, helping them to evaluate the most appropriate alternative energy sources and conservation strategies for rebuilding their facilities. Ms. Degenhardt's view of sustainable architecture goes well beyond just using recycled building materials. Sustainable strategies, she believes, need to be very site specific and vary considerably from case to case. Form her perspective, creating smaller, high quality buildings that last, and minimize the amount of energy needed to operate them are some of the most crucial elements for sustainable architecture. Helen likes to work with her clients to help them to translate their vision into buildings.

Currently Helen is informally mentoring an architecture student from Malaysia who is attending UC Berkeley.

Member Interview - Joy Ohashi

by ricia Felber    |    Share #535

Architect Joy Ohashi has been at her firm, Ohashi Design Studio, for fifteen years. She and her husband Alan, also an Architect, collaborate on architecture and furniture design. Their furniture designs, primarily wood, with some upholstery, are made in Japan for Conde House, and can be seen at Showplace Square at the Design Center in San Francisco. Furniture comprises about ten percent of their work and the rest is architecture and interior design.

She and her husband have recently finished the design of a new house in Berkeley, which explores a variety of materials including corrugated siding, concrete, stucco, and teak wood. Joy incorporated a Japanese style veranda that runs the width of the house, facing the primary view from the property and overlooking the walled in garden courtyard.

Another project of Ohashi's that is currently under construction is an extensive remodel of a three-story house in San Francisco. Design features in the new interior include a double height space at the entry that is bisected by an angled, glass floored, steel bridge.

Joy has won an award from N.A.R.I., National Association of Remodeling, for her first retail renovation and was most recently published in San Francisco Magazine's April 2001 issue. This past fall she was on the panel of Designers at the San Francisco Design Center who showed their work and spoke at a fundraising benefit at the Galleria in downtown San Francisco.

Joy has indicated that she would be interested in being involved in an OWA Mentoring Program. She also finds the networking and referral aspects of participating in OWA beneficial.

Editor's Note: You may have noticed repeated questions to interviewees regarding interest in mentoring. The Steering Committee has been considering the possibility of setting up a mentoring program for students and younger professionals for some time. Please contact Tricia Felber if you would be interested in such a program.


 Share #536


CED Lecture Series Spring 2002: Joan Ockman
March 21, 2002, 7:30 PM - 8:30 PM
2050 Valley Life Sciences Building at UC Berkeley

"Architecture and the Spectaculture" Joan Ockman is the Director of Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the study of American Architecture at Columbia University where she has taught history and theory of architecture since 1985. Her essays and reviews have appeared in ANY, Journal of Architectural Historian, and Architecture as well as a number of anthologies including "Autonomy and Ideology: Positioning an Architectural Avant Grade in Northern America" and "The Sex of Architecture."


AIA National Convention and Expo
May 9 to 11, 2002
Charlotte Convention Center, Charlotte, North Carolina


SFMOMA: Perfect Acts of Architecture
March 2, 2002

Organized by the Wexner Center and curator Jeffrey Kipnis, Perfect Acts of Architecture features the work of five internationally renowned architects: Peter Eisenman, Rem Koolhaas, Daniel Libeskind, Thom Mayne, and Bernard Tschumi.


AIA / COTE: Deadline Extended to March 8
2002 Top Ten Green Buildings

Is your firm proud of a "green" building project that it's designed? The AIA's Committee on the Environment wants to recognize you! Projects may be submitted online from February 1 through March 8, so act soon!

AIA St. Louis Architectural Photography Competition
Open to all architects in the United States. Visit website to obtain information and entry form. or call 314.231.4252.

May/June 2002

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