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Newsletter | Mar/Apr 2003

Volume 31:2
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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 - Mui Ho
Recap of February Meeting - Wendy Bertrand

Editor's Note

by Mui Ho    |    Share #476

How about sending us some sketches or photographs to be used in our newsletter as fillers.

Do not forget to renew your membership for 2003!!!!!!

OWA Program - Tuesday 22 April 2003

by Janet Crane    |    Share #477

6:30 pm Tour of Clift Hotel, 495 Geary St., S.F.

Before Ian Schrager arrived on the lodging scene during the mid 1980's, hotels could be homey or posh but they were rarely innovative or entertaining. Ian Schrager, former owner of the Palladium and Studio 54 in New York, and his partner Steve Rubell, collaborated with Andree Puttman, the distinguished French interior designer, on their first art hotel, Morgans, in Manhattan. They called it a "boutique", not only because the rooms were small but because the service was customized to their clientele. The Royalton and Paramount followed, starting a relationship between Ian Schrager and the French designer Philippe Starck that has transformed the hospitality industry. Schrager recreated the lobby as theater. His hotels' restaurants and bars draw local residents as well as guests.

The Clift Hotel catered to a clientele with loyalty spanning many decades. The Redwood Room, the Clift's illustrious bar, was one of Herb Caen's favorite spots for a quiet lunch or after work drink. The Architect was George Applegarth, former Associate of Bernard Maybeck. Among his later San Francisco commissions were the Palace of the Legion of Honor and the Spreckles Mansion.

The Clift was designed in 1913 in the Italian Renaissance style for $1,000,000. In 1924, the hotel expanded considerably, adding three more floors and a second wing on Geary Street. The renovation added 240 rooms for a total of 540 rooms and required significant interior alterations.

When Schrager purchased the Clift Hotel, the hotel itself had become dowdy and its original lobby had been redecorated and reduced in size. Philippe Starck set new the character with his design for the décor, furniture and light fixtures. His first sketch showed a 20 foot tall alcove in a cubic lobby with a ghostly figure in relief on the back wall, an image that has been created in the final project.

Our firm, Freebairn-Smith and Crane, collaborated with Philippe Starck and the very talented facilities group at Ian Schrager Hotels for over three years to complete the renovation. The building remained open until its completion in July 2001.

We look forward to showing you around the Hotel on April 22nd.

The address of the Clift is 495 Geary Street between Mason and Jones. It is two blocks west of Union Square and is walking distance from Powell Street BART (take Cable Car up to California and walk up to the top of Nob Hill) Parking is available at the Sutter/Stockton Garage or in the garage below Union Square.

After the tour, we can have a drink in the Redwood Room and catch a bite to eat in the neighborhood. A visit to the newly renovated Union Square could conclude the evening.

Update on 30th Anniversary Celebration

by Kathleen Cruise    |    Share #478

Fund Raising

In support of the OWA's 30th anniversary celebration activities this year, Kathleen Cruise and Janet Crane are coordinating a fundraising campaign. To attract sponsors and donors a solicitations were sent to members, friends and vendors. The donations and contributions are tax deductible and will be recognized in event programs. The events include the Gala Dinner, Saturday March 8 at Casa de la Vista, Treasure Island; an OWA Bay to Breakers runners group May 25; a trip to Ecuador June 19; the symposium Towards an Engaged Architecture, Saturday September 13 in Wurster Hall, UCB; and the anniversary retreat at the Westerbeke Ranch September 19-21. As of two weeks into the fundraising campaign, we have collected $3,500 toward our $10,000 goal.

Please help recognize the achievement of OWA in supporting women in the design professions since 1973 with your participation and financial support. Join the contributors, or attract other contributors so that we can have celebrations worthy of three decades of success, and so that we may make the celebrations accessible to all. Mail checks payable to OWA 30th Celebration to P.O. Box 10078 Berkeley CA 94709. Thank you for your support! We look forward to seeing you at the events.

30th Anniversary Bay to Breakers Run

by Mignon O'Young    |    Share #479

Date: 18 May 2003, Sunday Start Time: 8:00 am

Start training now! OWA members, friends and families will be participating as a group in this year's San Francisco Bay to Breakers, the race that was born in 1912 and has attracted more and more people each year. We'll have both a running group and a walking group. Have fun with your OWA friends! There will be water stops and first aid stations, and plenty of people to cheer us on.

Our sub-committee has yet to start brainstorming on how we can identify ourselves as a group yet walk comfortably without bumping into each other. The sub-committee will meet in March and those of you who signed up on the volunteer sign up lists will be contacted soon for the meeting.

Race Distance: 12K / 7.46 miles

Starting Point: Howard & Spear Streets Starting Point for

Race Course: Up Market Street to Golden Gate Park

Registration: Adults $27 before 4/15/03 and $32 before 5/15/03. Kids under 18 $22 before 4/15/03 and $32 before 5/15/03. . For further information and to register : go to

Registered people will receive: runner number bib and T-shirt after the race. Post -race festival with ffod and entertainment in Golden Gate Park.

Race benefits:The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center, Junior Achievement of the Bay Area and Community Education Services

OWA potential meeting point at the BOW and ARROW sculpture on the Embarcadero at 9am. For further information please contact Mignon O'Young at 510-652-7176 .

September Symposium Planning

by Mui Ho    |    Share #480

Date : 13 September 2003

The symposium is only six months away. All speakers have been asked to develop presentations loosely structured around the title "Toward an Engaged Architecture" We have developed a series of topics to be considered which we presented in the form of a letter to the participants:

Dear [Symposium Participant],
The OWA celebration plans proceed apace, with some distress about another possible war. We are working on publicity for the symposium, and would like to finalize the title before mid-March. We are also seriously considering publication of the papers, either through a press, or through OWA itself, as a memento of our 30th Anniversary. If we pursue publication, is it realistic to request your final draft three weeks after the symposium?

After much thought and discussion, we have chosen the following title: "Towards an Engaged Architecture." This title has been chosen to avoid being typecast by buzz-words such as modern, urbanist, green, and so forth, and also to give you latitude to formulate your thoughts and titles for your presentations.
Is architecture relevant today? Over the last thirty years, Architecture has been marginalized to theoretical debates within elite architecture schools, or is traded like any commercial commodity of our global economy. At best, through imaginative and novel designs, it has come to embody the artistic aims of cultural foundations, or the charitable branches of multinational corporations. At worst, through uncritical solutions and processes driven by economics, it has failed to improve the environmental and social conditions of our lives in any appreciable way.

For our discussion, please prepare illustrated analyses of recent engaged and relevant architecture (from the last 50 years), by both women and men. Regional or international in stature, we would like to review and appreciate successful examples of architecture and urban design that may serve as models to designers in the future. Consider the different domains of engagement, pedagogy, urban planning practice, design practice, and architectural theory, and reflect on their unique and distinctive potentials.

Finally, can we create a road map for an engaged architecture for the 21st century? Can we infuse architecture, once again, with a sense of urgency, and a social responsibility at the local, urban, and global scale? What are the forms of engagement for urban citizenship in the contemporary world? Will local action and global action demand different sets of faculties and design approaches? We believe that the call for an engaged architecture presupposes a new relationship between architect and community. It is our charge to revisit and redefine, if necessary, our roles as architects and educators in the 21st century, and to examine how we can realize a new agenda for architecture through our work as citizens of the world.

Symposium Program

 Share #481

We will be meeting all day starting with 8:30am registration. There will be a morning session and an afternoon session with a lunch break. A reception is planned for all participants right after the end of the afternoon session. There will be a book table featuring publications by our speakers and UC women faculty all day in the lobby

We will end the day with a quiet dinner with our speakers. Due to limited space those interested are asked to send their deposit of $40 to OWA on a first come first served basis.

A meeting of symposium committee is scheduled for late March. Please contact Mui Ho if you are interested in participating.

OWA Anniversary Retreat

by Janet Crane    |    Share #482

Date : 19 to 21 Sept 2003

The 30th Anniversary Retreat will take place at our beloved Westerbeke Ranch in Sonoma County from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon September 19 &endash; 21 2003. In addition and by popular demand, we have reserved space at Westerbeke on Thursday evening for those who would like to take an extra unstructured day to relax in Westerbeke's peaceful setting.

This year's program will include an extended opportunity for participants to share their interests (work or other passions) with the group, to celebrate 30 years of shared experience. We are also planning, as an art project, to create a labyrinth for Westerbeke to commemorate our many memorable retreats.

In this anniversary year we are expecting a somewhat larger group than in other years. Accommodation in Westerbeke's cabins is limited to 51 people. Unlimited indoor "camping" is available in either the tank meditation room or our meeting room. (Sleeping in camper vans is allowed but Sonoma County does not permit Westerbeke to offer tent camping.) The retreat costs $300 for cabin accommodation and $250 for indoor camping. Priority for cabin space will be given to those who can stay the full weekend.

Reservations for cabin accommodation will be on a first come first served basis. If you would like to join us this year, email Janet Crane. Please let us know if you can join us for Thursday night as well as the weekend. We will keep a reservation list pending our formal mailing of reservation forms in April. For those who sign up after the cabins are spoken for, hotel accommodation nearby can be booked. If a scholarship would be helpful, please let us know.

Recap of February Meeting

by Wendy Bertrand    |    Share #483

On February 11, 2003, OWA members and guests enjoyed the program: Interior Wall Art and Design with Studio Artist Tricia Felber. Her home in Point Richmond has become a showroom, as she has plastered wall after wall with intense pigments. Within her home she maintains a small studio where she stores equipment and materials, and experiments with new colors and techniques. Some of the walls she has re-finished are coated with wax for easy cleaning. The upstairs bathroom was a deep gray with an elegant wispy texture, while downstairs she has achieved a rich red.

She spoke briefly on the potential of plaster finishes in interior design. She presented photographs of some larger projects, many the result of architects' referrals.

While demonstrating the Venetian plastering process, Tricia answered trade questions and explained her particular method. Venetian plaster utilizes many layers of thin coats of paint to achieve unique characteristics of depth and texture. She noted that while paint gets darker as it dries, plaster gets lighter. She spoke at length about materials and pigments, with some emphasis on her preference for Benjamin Moore colors. The preparation of the wall surface for plaster is a significant factor in the cost of this finish system..

An enjoyable, informational event. Thanks Tricia.
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