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One of many beautiful walls created by Orit Yanai

Newsletter | Jan/Feb 2005

Volume 33:1
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In this issue:
Greenbuild goes to Portland - Alexandra Vondeling

Do We Have Your Email Address?

 Share #397

If you would like to receive OWA event announcements by email, please email Hana Mori with your email address or to update our records.

Earth Plaster Wall Finishes: Demonstration

by Orit Yanai    |    Share #398

DATE: Tuesday, 15 February 2005
TIME: 6:30 pm
PLACE: At the studio of Orit Yanai
Hunter's Point Artists' Shipyard, Bldg 117
San Francisco, CA 94118

Our February meeting will be at Orit's studio, which she uses as a show room for her different Interior Wall Finishes.

The presentation will include a display of different wall finishes with a strong emphasize on a new non-toxic product from New Mexico: Earth Plaster. Orit will demonstrate the application of this lovely clay and talk about its wonderful advantages.

In the past year, Orit has been studying color in order to become a professional Color Consultant and she will talk about the importance of understanding the 'power of color' and how she helps her clients choose color for their homes, inside and outside.

Orit first started to work as a 'regular' house painter when she first arrived in San Francisco, 14 years ago, and over the years developed a small business, which specializes in Special Effects in Painting. While trying to find a healthier product for herself as well as for her clients, she came across Earth Plaster and went to New Mexico to study its application. All of her jobs in the near past and present are with this product, and she is hoping to develop in this direction with her future business.

Additionally, we may have a special demonstration and presentaion on the Cobbing Technique: building with mud and rocks.

Directions will be sent by e-mail before the event.

Greenbuild goes to Portland

by Alexandra Vondeling    |    Share #399

This November I attended the US Green Building Council's (USGBC) third Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Portland, Oregon. The USGBC is the organization responsible for developing the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) guidelines.

The magazine, FAST Company, recently listed LEED as the number 6 business trend of 2005. There are currently 1500 LEED certified projects and 19,000 LEED accredited professionals. In four years the number of local Greenbuilding Chapters has grown from 6 to 42. This trend was certainly evident at the conference as the increase in interest and attendance was staggering. In it's first year the attendance was approximately 1500 attendees, while the second year was over 3000 and this year the latest number for attendees was over 7000!

The conference had several different components: keynote speakers, seminar series, an exhibit hall, LEED workshops, green building tours, a poster exhibit / competition and of course lots of opportunities for networking and socializing such as dinners and receptions.

The keynote speakers were inspiring visionaries: Glenn Murcutt and Paul Dolan. Glenn Murcutt, an Australian architect and Pritzker winner, has long been practicing climate and landscape informed design with incredible attention to detail, material usage, integrated, innovative solar shading and natural ventilation. He ardently explained much of his work with the aboriginal population of Australia and how that has directly informed his work along with his love of the Australian natural environment. Paul Dolan, winemaker and former President of Fetzer Vineyards, who spoke about sustainable business practices and how he transitioned Fetzer's business after tasting one of the organic grapes from his vineyard. It was quite impressive to see how one step can lead to the next, from partial organic vineyards, to all organic, to recycled labels with soy ink, to a green winery building and even to providing additional social services for his workers such as English classes.

The individual seminars were organized into various categories, such as master speakers, commercial buildings, institutional buildings, residential buildings, economics and finance, and cross border issues, each having concurrent sessions. There were so many great options it was hard to choose! Discussion of "integrated design", collaborative design and goal building from the project's inception, was a common theme.

One of the master speakers I elected to hear was Bob Berkebile, principal of BNIM Architects and founding chairman of the AIA's National Committee on the Environment. He spoke eloquently on integrated design and moving buildings and communities beyond LEED solutions toward restorative and spiritual design. Another frequent discussion topic was the cost of building green. The common perception is that green building costs more. Several sessions set about to debunk this notion both through anecdotes and statistical studies. It was exciting to hear the hard evidence to use with one's own clients and to see developer's jumping on board. Who else is more concerned with the bottom line? One particularly inspirational developer who spoke was Jonathon Rose, President of Rose Companies who has worked extensively in low-income urban neighborhoods in New York City. His discussion exemplified how the built environment can so directly improve environmental, social and community problems.

Portland, with its emphasis on smart urban planning, public transportation planning for the future and incentives for sustainable building was the perfect city for a green building conference. The tours definitely took advantage of what the city and region have to offer as built examples. The free trolley in the urban downtown made getting around a snap and the city was great for exploring on one's own. One of the tours was a biking tour of green buildings. That tour proved to be so popular I was unable to participate! The urban walking tour that I did take involved three LEED projects in the Pearl District, a rapidly redeveloping mixed used warehouse district. The projects included the Balfour-Guthrie building, an architecture firm, owned and remodeled by the architects; the Gold certified Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center which is owned and occupied by Ecotrust, a nonprofit focused on forestry, salmon fishing and native American issues; and lastly the Brewery Blocks, which was comprised of five-blocks of mixed-use development, part of which use to be Henry Weinhard's Brewery. Once again, it was encouraging to see such a sizable LEED project completed profitably and successfully by a large development company, Gerding / Edlen Development.

In what little free time we had between seminars, attendees could wander through the enormous exhibit hall and peruse all the booths of green products and consultants; products included waterless urinals, tankless water heaters, insulation made from blue jeans, counters made from recycled glass, and green roof systems to name just a few.

The two and half days were engaging, inspiring and definitely exhausting! It made you think more profoundly about how one can make socially and environmentally responsible choices that impact both one's own work and personal life. As designers we can lead and inform our clients and really influence the built environment and its impacts on the environment. Won't it be wonderful when, one day, the LEED point system becomes redundant, as designing sustainably becomes second nature.

To learn more about the USGBC and the Greenbuild conferences go to and Next year's conference will be in Atlanta.

Join the OWA Yahoo Group

 Share #400

Steering committee members have set up a yahoo group for OWA members. The value of this emailing structure is the ability to reach the entire OWA membership with one email&emdash;ask a question, solicit help, find someone working on a similar issue as you, use it as an on-line bulletin-board. It's an easy way to communicate and circulate information.

If you're interested in joining, please contact Hana Mori.

Your Dues are Due

 Share #401

Don't forget to mail in your dues. The annual term for OWA membership runs from February 1st to January 31st of the following year. 2005 dues are due.

Julia Morgan Birthday Party: January 20, 2005

 Share #402

The Alameda County Historical Society, the Berkeley City Club, and the Landmark Heritage Foundation invite you to a Julia Morgan Birthday and 75th Berkeley City Club Building Anniversary. Dress up in 1920's style (optional), sip tea, listen to music, meet Julia Morgan (a.k.a. Betty Marvin), tour the building, order a cocktail, and browse the silent auction.

Thursday, January 20, 2005
4:00 p.m. &endash; 9:00p.m.
Berkeley City Club
2315 Durant Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94710

Reserve before January 15: $15, $25 at the door
To reserve send check, payable to:
2315 Durant Ave #306
Berkeley, CA 94704

Dinner by Reservation in the BCC Dining Room
5:30 &endash; 7:00 p.m.: call 510.848.7800

For more details call 510.883.9710

Documenting the Dammed

 Share #403

A photography exhibition documenting the cultural landscapes that are disappearing due to the construction of the Three Gorges Dam in China.

by Pauline G Shu

November 6, 2004 to February 3, 2005
San Francisco Main Library
100 Larkin Street
Chinese Center, Third Floor

Sponsored by the San Francisco Public Library ( and the International Rivers Network (

Meeting General Information

 Share #404

Participation in the OWA meetings requests a $3 donation from members and a $5 donation for non-members unless otherwise noted on the calendar.

Annual Meeting and Holiday Benefit Party

 Share #405

Both events drew numerous participants: 25 at the annual meeting and 35 at the holiday party. It's wonderful to see so many interested members having a good time. Following are some photos of these OWA gatherings in 2004.

Graphic designer Yukari Yamano attended both the annual meeting and the holiday party, and recorded the events with the following photos. Thank you Yukari!

Some of the attendees at the Annual meeting at Mimi Malayan's home.

Mui Ho and Marda Stothers catch up.

Our gracious hostess, Kathleen Cruise.

Some of the many gifts for Hamilton House.

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