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Newsletter | May/Jun 2006

Volume 34:3
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In this issue:
OWA Mentorship Mixer - Cynthia Wang

Nan Croley (1939-2006)

 Share #291

We are very sad to have to announce the recent passing of OWA member Nan Croley, architect with John Matthews Architects in San Mateo. Nan lived in San Francisco since 1983 with a summer home in Gasquet, California on the Smith River.

Nan served on the Organization of Women Architects Steering Committee for the first time in 1985 -1986, and more recently has been an active organizer of the OWA Retreats. She supported the ballet, theater and environmental causes, and especially appreciated the work of the Sierra Club.

Nan died of heart failure at her San Francisco home on March 23, 2006. She is survived by her cousin, Thomas Croley and family of Cleveland, Ohio where she grew up and many Bay Area and OWA friends who will miss her greatly.

A gathering to celebrate her life will be held on Sunday May 7th from 2-5pm at the Sausalito Yacht Club, a place Nan liked to go. There is no street address for the Yacht Club. It is located next to the Golden Gate Ferry Landing in Sausalito.

Please share your thoughts and memories of Nan with us during the afternoon.

RSVP: Wendy Bertrand by May 4

Architectural Tour of the de Young Museum

 Share #320

Friday, June 23 April 2006

Patricia M. Lacson, de Young Administrator

5:00-5:30 PM: Purchase museum entry tickets, $10. No additional tour charge
5:30 PM: Tour starts

de Young Museum
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive in Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA
Tour will start at the Wilsey Court, main gathering space on the first floor


The OWA is delighted to coordinate an architectural tour of the new de Young Museum specifically for our May program. One of the tour guides will be Patricia Lacson, a de Young administrator whose specialty is the architecture and operations of the museum. The museum stays open until 8:45 and runs special events on Friday nights which participants are free to enjoy after the tour.

About the de Young

Founded in 1895 in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, the de Young Museum has been an integral part of the cultural fabric of the city and a cherished destination for millions of residents and visitors to the region for over 100 years.

On October 15, 2005, the de Young Museum re-opened in a state-of-the-art new facility that integrates art, architecture and the natural landscape in one multi-faceted destination that will inspire audiences from around the world. Designed by the renowned Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron and Fong & Chan Architects in San Francisc and built by Swinerton Builders, the new 293,000 sf de Young provides San Francisco with a landmark art museum to showcase the museum's priceless collections of American art from the 17th through the 20th centuries, and art of the native Americas, Africa, and the Pacific.

About the Building Construction

Constructed of warm, natural materials including copper, stone, wood and glass, the new de Young will blend with and complement its natural surroundings. Ribbons of windows will erase the boundary between the museum interior and the lush natural environment outside, and four public entrances will segue naturally from the park's pathways, welcoming visitors from all directions.

The building's dramatic copper facade will be perforated and textured to replicate the impression made by light filtering through a tree canopy, creating an artistic abstraction on the exterior of the museum that resonates with the de Young's tree-filled park setting. The building's copper skin, chosen for its changeable quality through oxidation, will assume a rich patina over time that will blend gracefully with the surrounding natural environment.

The northeast corner of the building features a 144-foot education tower that gently spirals from the ground floor and aligns at the top with the grid formed by the streets of the Richmond and Sunset neighborhoods surrounding the park. A public observation floor will offer panoramic views of the entire Bay Area.

Garden as viewed from tower

About the Landscape Design

The outdoor environment of the new de Young, designed by Walter Hood, of Hood Design in Oakland features a public sculpture garden and terrace beneath a cantilevered roof; a children's garden; and landscaping that creates an organic link between the building and the surrounding environment on all four sides. The landscape design integrates historic elements from the old de Young--including the sphinx sculptures, the Pool of Enchantment, and the original palm trees--as well as sandstone, redwood, ferns and other plants and materials relevant to the site, creating a museum that will be permeable, open and inviting to the public.

About the architectural guide, Patricia Lacson

Appointed in July 2005, Ms. Lacson is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the de Young Museum, located in Golden Gate Park. She was also responsible for the planning of all non-art aspects that were critical to the successful, on-time opening of the museum in October 2005.

Associated with the Fine Arts Museums since 1992, Ms. Lacson was the Project Manager for the rebuilding of the de Young Museum. She was also the Project Manager for the renovation, expansion and seismic upgrade of the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park which reopened to the public in 1995.

Ms. Lacson received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan in 1982. She is a member of the International Association of Museum Facility Administrators and SPUR.


Parking is available in the new Music Concourse Garage. Access to the north entrance of the Music Concourse Parking is from Fulton St. at 10th Ave. Access to the south entrance is at Concourse Dr. and Martin Luther King Dr. inside the park.

North Beach Citizens: A Neighborhood Model to End Homelessness

by Janet Crane    |    Share #324

Six years ago, Francis Ford Coppola and friends met to develop his idea: how North Beach should care for its homeless neighbors.

Walking to his office, Francis began to recognize the men and women sleeping in Washington Square and panhandling on Columbus Avenue. He thought that the neighborhood could support the homeless in regaining control of their lives and finding housing.

After a year of strategizing, North Beach Citizens (NBC) was founded, an executive director hired, a small office rented near the center of North Beach and a group of volunteers mobilized. NBC's motto: helping the homeless help themselves, one person at a time.

In 2004 I was invited to join the Board of Directors. Having designed a homeless shelter and transitional housing for 60 women for the St. Anthony Foundation, and having volunteered in their dining room, I had spent time with their homeless clients. But it was exciting to tackle these problems in a more personal, neighborhood based setting. NBC's concept is to work one on one with each "citizen" who is willing to become a member. NBC will help each person access whatever services or resources they need, be it government benefits, id cards, health care, clothing, showers, contacts with family, detox programs and, most importantly of all, housing.

Each citizen's path to homelessness is unique but there are common themes. The average age is 40's, 50's and older. More than 3/4 of members are men. Mental health problems are the most common cause, followed by drugs and alcohol. Multiple personal misfortunes – illness, loss of family or a job can land people on the streets. The city provides many resources to help these people, but managing the process is a challenge for the housed and healthy, never mind the homeless.

NBC's 1200 s.f. storefront office is a single large open space, with a private office for the executive director, a restroom and a utility sink where members often wash. Hot coffee and a crock-pot of stew are always available, as are emergency stocks of food and clothes. A small patio out back offers modest gardening opportunities. An 800 phone number allows messages to be sent and received; there are three donated new computers to provide internet access, letter and resume writing, and basic training.

The office is open to all members mornings from 9-12 Monday to Friday. In the afternoons, the executive director and her now full-time assistant work one on one with the citizens, help them with paperwork, accompany them to appointments, advocate for them with government agencies, and help them progress to their goals.

The success stories are heartwarming. Masa, one of the first citizens, Japanese born, became drug addicted. Francis offered him a sandwich one day as Masa sat in Washington Square and suggested he drop by NBC. After many months of recovery, Masa is now clean, housed, and attends San Francisco State University. He mentors other citizens and is a valuable volunteer.

When I first met Ray, I thought he was a new board member. He lives in the new public housing "North Beach Place" and attends school. But four months before I met him he lived under the 280 freeway for seven years. He was mugged in Berkeley, suffered brain damage, lost his job and had no family.

Not all stories end so well. Moses was a drug addict with serious depression. He was stabilized for periods and housed in SRO hotels, but those hotels have no support services. He jumped out of a window and was in a coma for many months in Laguna Honda Hospital. He is now out of a coma but will never be able to care for himself.

With the help of a highly productive board of 12 and many volunteers, NBC has found permanent housing for 50 people in the last 2 years, saving the city literally two million dollars in the emergency services that normally are the services of last resort for the homeless. NBC's annual budget is $275,000, raised entirely from private donations.

NBC is an inspiring model and two neighborhoods are considering opening comparable centers. Working on these issues may not be architecture in the traditional sense but it has everything to do with creating homes.

OWA Mentorship Mixer

by Cynthia Wang    |    Share #325

For all of you interested in the newly formed OWA Mentorship Program, the OWA will be hosting a Mentorship Mixer on May 23rd at 6:30pm. The mixer will serve as an opportunity to pair up with either a mentor/mentee, network, learn more about your field through OWA members of similar industries and just learn more about the program. Please come attend the mixer to meet potential mentors and other mentees. It is not required to have completed the interest form previously circulated. The forms will be available at the mixer to facilitate the matching process.

By attending the mixer, you are not obligated to become a mentor/mentee. If you might be interested and have any questions regarding the program, we encourage members to attend. The location will be announced in an upcoming email.

Special Thanks

 Share #326

We would like to extend a special thanks to Ryan McCormack, fiancee of Steering Committee member, Elaine Hsieh, for all his dedicated hard work for a significantly discounted fee on updating the website and integrating the member database. It will help signifgantly streamline our work as well as providing additional information to members.

Steering Committee

 Share #327

We are still actively recruiting for an additional members to the Steering Committee, particularly to fill the seat being vacated by Hana Mori whose responsibilities include OWA website and email coordinating. We recently lost one of our newest members, Cynthia Wang, who moved to LA to accept a position at Steven Ehrlich Architects. We wish her all the best in her new endeavor!

If you or someone you know of would be interested in helping plan and coordinate the OWA, please contact any of the listed steering committee members below. In addition, to the bi-monthly organization meetings, members meet every other month to plan and discuss OWA events.


 Share #328

Please remember to mark your calendars for this year's upcoming retreat in September (see calendar for details). More information to follow in the next newsletter.

OWA Yahoo Group

 Share #329

The OWA offers access to a list serve for posting announcements and requesting information at the OWA Yahoo group. If you are not already in the Yahoo group, send an email indicating the email address you want to use, to .If you are already in the yahoo group, simply write your email to and it will reach everyone in the group. Once you are registered your, access does not expire. You do however, need to keep it current with your current email address.
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