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Members at the 2007 OWA Retreat at Westerbeke Ranch

Newsletter | Sep/Oct 2007

Volume 35:5
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In this issue:
Westerbeke Retreat - Marda Quon Stothers
IAWA and Sigrid's Bequest - Lisa Kleissner
OWA Annual Planning Meeting - Suzanne Stewart

Westerbeke Retreat

by Marda Quon Stothers    |    Share #64

Current Retreat Info

Sustainability: Life and Career, 2007 OWA Retreat

This year's retreat may be the largest yet with nearly fifty women gathering at Westerbeke Ranch Conference Center, the weekend of September 14th. Many women from the 1977 class from UCB Wurster Hall joined us for their 30 year anniversary reunion. Sylvia Kwan entertained us with her tales of brief survival in "Survivor" and Janet Tam returned to tell us her child is college bound.

Diane Dunlap, PhD professor from University of Oregon in Eugene, talked with us about brain research and leadership issues. My take away from her presentation is "humor is good and stress is bad" so I laughed a lot all weekend. She outlined three approaches to life's changes: first we tell ourselves to suck it up, things could be worst. Then we give ourselves permission for a time-out or whining. Then we say, okay let's figure it out. For women our frontal lobe is developed to allow us to be rational with emotion at the same time using more of the brain.

She skillfully engaged many members to give their advice and I heard from Kathleen: "don't be howling at the moon", from Lisa: "establish your own benchmarks for success", from Julia,"it's a hard world for bright women", from Judith, "I kept a job for a nice person as a value decision".

We did skits demonstrating attitude, and all sang "Row, row, row (it's work but you can find a rhythm) your (own not someone else's) boat, gently (be kind to yourself) down (down not up) the stream (life rolls along be going somewhere), merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily (four times merrily), life is but a dream (more on dreams later)" Parenthetical comments what I heard or interpreted.

We shared our stories and some projects, soaked in the hot tub, Kathleen swam, we walked the labyrinth, we did yoga, some of us got massages (thanks Lisa Kramer), and we made marbled paper (thanks Rene Yung). Our own Cammy White and her group, Con Alma ( sang and performed for us and we sang with them. We no longer hesitate to get up and dance without partners or men.

I would like here to expand "Sustainability: Life and Career", to include sustainability of our organization, the OWA. Our sharing time included the sobering and invigorating concept that two of our former members, Sigrid Rupp and Nan Crowley, left sizeable estates, both to charities. Sigrid's estate has established a prize to be administered by Wurster Hall which intends to recognize and benefit women in architecture. After a year of calls for a task force and discussion of giving a donation from our surplus we have finally generated interest and action. We have morphed our thinking to explore our own separate charitable organization with Lisa Kleissner and Lisa Kramer volunteering to help organize this effort.

Leslie Allen and Caroline SooHoo volunteered to join the 2008 Steering Committee. Darlene Jang volunteered to take my place when I resign to leave the country. Stacy Webb volunteered to shadow Suzanne Stewart to learn the newsletter editing and production. Larissa Sabsay sent around a signup sheet for interest in an OWA trip to Russia next year.

Thank you everyone who came and participated. Our organizational concept of leaders every one and a non hierarchical steering committee has bore fruit and a sustaining future. The crowning comment I heard (paraphrased) from Caroline SooHoo, when she said I liked this year's retreat most of all, because I realized I felt like I belonged. Welcome everyone, to belong if you want to.

Norwegian Council on Accessibility

by Gilda Puente-Peters    |    Share #65

The Norwegian Council on Accessibility and University of Trondheim invited me to make a presentation and share my U.S. experience with these government representatives and design professionals on Accessibility and Universal Design.

For the presentation in Oslo to the Norwegian Council on Accessibility, I was asked to present a retrospective as well as my point of view of whether the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has worked or not in the United States.

There were representatives from ten ministries who are in charge of setting the Norwegian system, codes and regulations for Accessibility and Universal Design. The gave me the opportunity to reflect on the ADA Law as civil rights and the impact it has had in achieving access for persons with disabilities in the built environment as well as making their goods, programs, services, and activities accessible.

Although quite a bit of progress has been achieved in the United States since the passage of the ADA, the process has not been so simple and easy. Design professionals and the construction industry had to deal with a complex set of Federal and State codes and regulations, which in some cases are conflicting and continue to be developed and will do so for years to come. The slow and lengthy code development and adoption process. The fact that the ADA is an un-funded mandate that imposes a financial burden on public entities and private businesses. The lack of an effective enforcing system at the Federal and State level that has forced people with disabilities to use the courts to force public entities and private businesses to comply with the law. The lack of formal education of design professionals on this subject that has resulted I in the creation of many facilities that are not quite accessible and nor usable by persons with disabilities.

Interesting discussions took place regarding a system like in the United States that has both prescriptive (codes and regulations) and performance standard (ADA statues-civil rights). The tendency in Norway is to set a system based more on performance standard, not to limit the creativity of design solutions and product development. This system is based on aggressive educational program starting with the students of architecture and related design professions to the rest of the construction industry. The drawback of not having prescriptive requirements, in my opinion, is not being able to take advantage of all the research that goes behind each code requirement hand in hand with the understanding of ergonomics and needs of people with disabilities.

In Trondheim, I gave two presentations; one on Outdoor Accessibility and Universal Design and another in Building Accessibility and Universal Design. The audience composed of architects, planners, landscape architects, and interior designers who were all enrolled in a postgraduate specialization on Universal Design were really impressed with the vas level of detail and development achieved in the U.S.

This was a wonderful experience for me to be invited to share my knowledge and at the same time exchange ideas and approaches to this field in continual development. By looking at the built environment in Norway, and in many other parts of the world where the environment is still less accessible than in the U.S., I concluded that yes, the ADA has worked despite all the glitches and things one could have done different in an ideal world.

IAWA and Sigrid's Bequest

by Lisa Kleissner    |    Share #66

Dear Fellow OWA Members:

At our recent gathering in Sonoma, I shared the story of Lucy Berman and my efforts to come to an agreement with the IAWA and Virginia Tech (VT) regarding Sigrid's generous bequest of $1,000,000. Lucy and I were named co-trustees of Sigrid's estate when she died 3 years ago. Lucy and I worked with Donna Dunay and several attorneys representing VT for almost 3 years to develop an agreement which in the end VT would not sign. That agreement is attached to this e-mail. We were left with no other choice than to return to the probate court and ask to have the IAWA removed from the list of beneficiaries.

The court agreed with us and VT has chosen not to contest the ruling. However, Sigrid, in anticipation of providing this bequest to the IAWA, made the IAWA the beneficiary of an IRA account that has a balance of approximately $323,000. Because the IRA was not part of the trust, and not subject to the ruling of the probate court, it will go to the IAWA. The money will be transferred to the IAWA shortly. We are concerned that these funds will end up in the Virginia Tech Foundation and the IAWA may not have any say as to how these funds are used.

We believe that a letter from you could make a significant difference in how the IAWA and VT manage these funds to benefit the IAWA. So we are asking you to please write a letter to the president of Virginia Tech, Charles Steger, and to the president of the IAWA Board, Donna Dunay, asking them to do the right thing and sign this agreement showing their commitment to honor Sigrid's bequest intentions. Following are their e-mail addresses:

Charles Steger
Donna Dunay, President, IAWA Board

We would appreciate being copied on any letters.
Thank you for your help.

Lisa Kleissner and Lucy Berman Trustees,
Sigrid Lorenzen Rupp Trust

Photos from Retreat

 Share #67

Dear OWA Retreaters:

I've posted photos from the Westerbeke OWA retreat on
a website that I'm trying out. Here's the link.

The best way to view all 92 photos is thru the
"slideshow". You can download files from the website,
print right off the website (right click a photo after
double clicking to enlarge) or you can print thru
their services. I'm going to leave the photos on the
website until November 1, since I'm limited on file
size for now.

It was fun meeting you all. Hope the good times
continue. Row, row, row your boat........

Joanne Chow Winship

Hello from Women in Architecture

 Share #68

Fellow Women In Architecture:

Charlotte and I wanted to pick the brains of other women who are founding groups across the nation. Charlotte had made a proposal to the AIA National Convention to host a topic on founding new Women in Architecture committees in communities that don't have them yet. Unfortunately, they didn't pick up our topic. Are any of your chapters possibly presenting a topic at the next convention? Are any
of you attending and interested in getting together?

San Diego Women In Architecture may be new, but we have gotten a great response from our local ladies (over 100 on our mailing list already), great attendance at our events, and incredible support from our local AIA chapter. We hope that can start to build our network nationally and learn from all of you and at the same time offer our support to you.

Please feel free to email or call me anytime- I look forward to the opportunity to work with you!


Kerry Bauer
Vice-Chair, WIA, San Diego
(619) 846-0578 (And Charlotte Lantz, Chair)

OWA Annual Planning Meeting

by Suzanne Stewart    |    Share #69

We had a good turnout (probably twice the attendance from last year) for the October 2nd Annual Planning Meeting here in Berkeley. Thank you to all the OWA members for their interest and time in contributing to the organization by attending this important meeting.

We discussed the Event Calendar for 2008 and the most popular events are the tours. So we are looking into tours of the Bancroft Library, Academy of Sciences, ILM, Federal Building in SF, and more. Members: if you know of a new building you'd like to tour and have a contact there the SC would be delighted to know about it and if viable organize a tour.

Other topics of interest for presentations are: OWA Health Insurance Q & A with the insurance representatives; another panel presentation on Women in Architecture, sub-title to be determined; Money and investment presentation: "How to start a 401k", a trip to Moscow! There is great enthusiasm for all the above. We'd love to hear comments and suggestions from all our members.

Lisa Kramer and Lisa Kleissner are going to work on the idea of an philanthropic foundation or arm of OWA and the merits of making an annual donation or not. Caroline Soohoo has agreed to be the liaison to the Steering Committee.

A while back a grad student at Virginia Tech did her research paper on OWA. Lisa Kramer offered to contact her for a presentation.

Margaret Goglia is going to spearhead organizing and completing the OWA archives.

We are looking for OWA members to profile in the newsletter. This may be a long time member, a founding member or a new member. Regardless of the length of time with OWA the idea is to get to know each other a little more in depth. It can be a full profile or a short bit on a recent project that was just completed.

Lastly, please feel free and welcome to email me your triumphs and successes with or without photos. There is always room in the newsletter to acknowledge our members' completed projects be it interior or exterior environments, landscapes, lighting, art, writings, etc. Don't be shy.

California Building Code 2007

by Judith Rodden    |    Share #70

One of the topics discussed at the October 2nd OWA annual planning meeting was regarding the 2007 California Building Code. For those interested please see the following message. Additional information can be found at Registration is required by October 10th.

Don't Miss the Upcoming Lecture on Preparing for the 2007 California Building Code (6.5 HSWs)

Friday October 12 or
Tuesday November 6
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
99 Grove Street, Larkin Hall
San Francisco

This course will help users apply the 2007 California Building Code (CBC) by introducing fundamental concepts of the 2006 International Building Code (IBC) as well as key California State amendments adopted by the Building Standards Commission. Participants will learn amended standards which cover HCD-1, HCD-2, and SFM provisions. This course will cover several significant changes between the current UBC-based code and the 2007 CBC, including: Height & Area as it will be applied in California,Fire Walls, Fire Barriers, Fire Partitions, Smoke Barriers & Smoke Partitions, Automatic fire sprinklers, and Egress systems. The seminar will be focused on Chapters 1-10 of the 2007 California Building Code, with
a particular emphasis on chapters 5, 7, 9 & 10. (Please note that Energy Conservation, Disabled Access and OSHPD regulations are outside the scope of this course).

*Jointly sponsored by AIA San Francisco and the San Francisco Department of Building

OWA Calendar Sep/Oct 2007

 Share #71

See complete 2007 calendar here.

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