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Newsletter | Sep/Oct 2017

Volume 45:5
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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:
Note from the Editor - Rebecca Friedberg
First Four Female AA Students - Submitted by Wendy Bertrand

Note from the Editor

by Rebecca Friedberg    |    Share #1225

Hello, dear OWA+DP family!

It's been a few months, and SO much has happened! People have a lot to share and I am honored to release this latest newsletter. There were some incredibly cool events over the summer, and then, of course, our always epic annual retreat! Please note the upcoming talks, meetings, and the holiday party!

Read on...

2017 Retreat in Photos

 Share #1219

Photo by Hannah Chatham

The retreat in photos. Do you have more to share? Reflections on the Retreat? Send them in so they can be included in the next and final newsletter of the year!

Photo by Hana Mori Böttger

Photo by Hana Mori Böttger

Photo by Hannah Chatham

Photo by Hannah Chatham

Photo by Hana Mori Böttger

Photo by Hannah Chatham

First Four Female AA Students

by Submitted by Wendy Bertrand    |    Share #1217

"Women as architects by a woman student" (W. Ryle), The Architectural Association Journal, March 1918, page 108: the page shows silhouettes of the four first female AA students. Courtesy AA Library.

AA XX 100: AA Women in Architecture 1917-2017
International conference, book and exhibition
October 7–December 9, 2017

Conference: Women & Architecture in Context 1917-2017: November 2–4
Paul Mellon Centre, London, WC1B 3JA

Architectural Association School of Architecture
36 Bedford Square
London WC1B 3ES

This autumn sees the launch of AA XX 100: Celebrating 100 Years of Women at the Architectural Association. The project marks the centenary of the first intake of the school’s women students in 1917 and takes the form of an exhibition, accompanying book and culminates in a three-day international conference.

AA XX 100 represents the work of AA women, its graduates and teachers, who are among the most important architects and designers, educators and historians of the 20th-21st century; some are celebrated: Dame Zaha Hadid, Amanda Levete, Farshid Moussavi and Patty Hopkins, and many others unrecognised.

International Conference: AA XX 100: AA Women and Architecture in Context 1917-2017 (November 2-4, 2017)
The international conference AA Women in Context 1917-2017 takes place November 2–4 at the Paul Mellon Centre, London and includes presentations, panel discussions, distinguished keynotes, and an open jury. It will not only celebrate the centenary of women at the AA but also provide a platform to discuss the themes of diversity, collaboration, and what gender means today, in order to promote change across the discipline and move forward to the future.

Speakers include AA School Interim Director Samantha Hardingham and AA Council Past President and co-founder of dRMM Sadie Morgan, Architect Elsie Owusu OBE, as well as a discussion between the collaborative practices Matrix, Muf and Australian collective Parlour.

To purchase your tickets and see the full programme please visit:

Exhibition: AA XX 100: AA Women in Architecture 1917-2017
Celebrating the history, global reach, ambition and influence of AA-trained women, this free-to-visit exhibition includes paintings, drawings and models by the likes of Dame Zaha Hadid, Amanda Levete, Julia Barfield and Patty Hopkins. Archival material and historic photographs shine light on the life of women at the AA since 1917 as well as the AA XX 100 Oral History Project—which offers an interactive collection of interviews with esteemed AA alumnae. The exhibition is designed by the architect and AA Council Past President, Eva Jiricna and the architect, Georgina Papathanasiou.

Book: AA Women in Architecture 1917-2017
Published by AA Publications and edited by Dr. Lynne Walker and Dr. Elizabeth Darling, the accompanying book considers the period from 1917-2017, offering an historical account of women at the AA and their subsequent work in architecture, design and education in Britain and the wider world. It includes original essays by academics, architects and writers, and a rich panoply of visual archival material.

AA Interim Director Samantha Hardingham said of the project "With AA XX 100 we wanted to highlight the impact the AA’s women students have had on the quality of architecture in Britain and the world over the last one hundred years. I’m immensely proud to be a former AA student, to work amongst so many incredibly talented women and men, and now have the privilege to be the first female director of the AA at this historic moment. Though much has changed since 1917, there is much that this work can do to inspire and inform future generations of women in architectural education, the profession and industry. I hope this project fires the imagination of all to continue to push boundaries both as women and architects.”

AA XX 100 sees the culmination of a collaboration between the AA and leading architectural historians Dr. Elizabeth Darling (Oxford Brookes University) and Dr. Lynne Walker (Institute of Historical Research, University of London), the editors of the book, curators of the exhibition and co-organisers of the conference. Together they have led over four years of research, talks and initiatives by women academics and students.


 Share #1213


Annual Business Meeting + Elections

The Annual Business Meeting and Steering Committee Elections is coming up on Wednesday, November 8, 2017.

We will review the budget from this past year, pass the new budget and hold elections for new steering committee members. Food and drink provided.

Time: 6pm

MH Architects
2325 3rd Street, Studio 426,
San Francisco, CA 94107



The realtor and residential designer, Loni Gray, will speak about The Accessory Dwelling Law and collective living.

Architects will share their process of design, permitting and/or construction and pricing of a few ADU projects. Each Planning and Building Dept. has developed slightly different guidelines on how to implement the CA mandate for ADU's to be allowed in all jurisdictions that went into effect in Jan. 2017.

From real-life, local experience, a few Architects will share the extra steps these kinds of projects require before and after the new ADU regulations were mandated in all jurisdictions in CA.

The event will take place on Tuesday November 14, 6:00-8:00 PM at the Rockridge Library (5366 College Avenue, Oakland 94618).

As place-makers and creators of our dwellings, we have a direct impact on how well our communities fare. And as women, we can bring a unique eye, mind and heart to nurturing today's real families and their real needs.

* Can we come to the table without assumptions about how to house
people, and grow beyond the cultural assumption and expectations?
* Can we use the needs of today's families to drive new design?
* Is it time for a new American Dream of housing, and what might
that look like?
* How can we use existing laws and policy to advantage, and do
meaningful work?

Loni Gray will talk about her champion clients and what they've taught her about how they want to live. She will explain how she uses existing policy and works to create financing and acceptance for new housing forms. Loni began in the 80's redesigning and rehabbing small condemned homes. During the recession she transformed single family housing into collaborative living environments, while also advocating for better shared housing policy. Loni looks across many industries for solutions.

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10th, 4-7pm

OWADP Holiday Party

Gilda's House
1076 Arlington Blvd
El Cerrito, CA 94530

Time: 4-7pm

Please join us for the OWADP 2017 Holiday Celebration! Check back soon for additional information.

OWADP 2017 Steering Committee: Carol, Conyee, Cynthia, Hannah, Helen, Rebecca and Spring

Welcome New Members!

 Share #1209

Welcome New Members! We can't wait to get to know you better!

Jessemy Harris
Lauren Jordan
Roseanne Knight
Fumiko Docker
Claudia Falconer
Shannon Ellis
Robert Hemphill
Kathy Scott
Nastaran Mousavi
Glenda Flaim
Nigel Lewis

Join the OWA+DP Steering Committee!

 Share #1215

Join the Steering Committee!! It is a great opportunity to work with other members to guide the organization for the next two years, develop new programs, decide how we participate in the broader community, get to know new members and work together to use our resources effectively to carry out our mission.

The Steering Committee is composed of at least 7 OWADP members who each serve two-year terms. Each year there is an election for three or four Steering Committee members to fill the vacancies of the three or four Steering Committee members rotating off the committee. The duties of the Steering Committee include:

Meet at least bi-monthly to plan and implement activities and programs.
Plan and coordinate 6 event meetings, two of which include the annual meeting and the December Holiday gathering. Attend the annual transition meeting for old and new steering committee members.
Foster networking opportunities with introductions, suggestions, and writing of newsletter articles.

Each member takes responsibility for at least one major task area. You can read what these roles are here:

If you are interested, please let us know by replying to this email and preparing a one paragraph biography and one paragraph statement of why you would like to serve on committee.

Final nominations will be made at the Business meeting on:
Wednesday November 8, 2017
at 6:30-9:30 pm
at 2325 3rd Street, Studio 426, San Francisco 94107.

Please join us!!
OWADP 2017 Steering Committee
Hannah, Helen, Conyee, Spring, Rebecca, Cynthia and Carol

Outstanding! Building Tour of LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired

by Inge Horton and Wendy Bertrand    |    Share #1211

Central Stair, photo by Inge Horton

May 9, 2017

For many years, I had walked by the former location of the LightHouse for the Blind on Van Ness Avenue but never stopped to visit the facility. Thus, I was very interested in seeing the new LightHouse at 1155 Market Street, a building I was familiar with because it housed several City agencies which I had visited.

I arrived a little early and explored the surrounding neighborhood. This node of Mid- Market Street is one of the more pleasant ones with a variety of activities taking place such as the Civic Center Farmers Market on Wednesdays, the fountain of the UN Plaza, the Orpheum Theatre, the Main Public Library, and just west of 1155 Market Street, a huge, unattractive housing development which is not yet completed and will have a row of stores along Market Street. Further west on the south side of Market Street is the historic Hotel Whitcomb, the new Dolby headquarters, and, beyond 9th Street, the Twitter headquarters in the old Art Deco Furniture Mart – all attracting people of different ages and backgrounds.

At 1155 Market Street, the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired occupies the upper three floors and offers a variety of state-of-the-art services to its clients in a rich and bright environment: on-site optometry exam rooms; a retail store selling adaptive technology devices; training rooms for hands-on learning of Braille and other skills; a training kitchen for learning low-vision cooking techniques; a large multi-purpose room for LightHouse and community events; administrative offices; audio and video recording facilities and eleven dorm rooms where up to twenty-nine clients can stay on-site for immersive training and community-building. The large windows allow fascinating views of the Civic Center with the dome of City Hall and downtown.

We learned that people tend to think that they get a Seeing Eye dog when their sight fails; however, training is required for the many adjustments to daily life. These services are provided in the LightHouse. The lower floors are rented by City Departments and supply rental income which, in addition to a generous bequest by Donald Sirkin and other donations, is used to pay for the 2015 acquisition of the LightHouse Building and its upkeep.

What impressed me the most were the results from the tremendous attention to detail. Whether it was the concrete floors in the hallways allowing a blind client to hear if somebody is approaching, the colorful felt covered panels in the meeting rooms reducing the noise, metal rings low near the floors to secure the leashes of guide dogs, hooks high up on the walls for hanging up the white guide canes when not needed during meetings, or art projects for tactile enjoyment everything was carefully planned. Experts in tactile graphic design even developed the building plans so that the project could be discussed in non-visual communication by everybody.

This tour was a visibly outstanding lesson in design. One reason was that Chris Downey, president of the LightHouse Board of Directors, is also an architect and a thoughtful consultant of environments for blind persons and is blind himself. He was present for the tour and explained the many design concerns brought forward during the renovation. He touched on the character of the space to be lively and bright and requiring some code changes to be negotiated with the City for the special needs of the blind users. Time was taken to specially design the stair handrails for a sturdy, welcoming handshake. Even the counter tops were notched to catch the guide canes when standing in front of the counters. It was such a wonderful lesson in how to go about designing, no matter what kind of a facility you might be planning for. As Mr. Downey said “many small caring design decisions accumulated to make this the lively facility we wanted it to be, as people often have misinformed ideas about how blind people feel in a space.”

Katy Perrings Hawkins of Mark Cavagnero Associates, project manager of this 13 million dollar renovation project, was the envy of us all. The tour highlighted the wonderful example of carefully designed architecture, where the collaboration with the client is very helpful in setting the standards for architectural excellence. She did an outstanding job. On leaving, Wendy Bertrand encouraged Katy to write up her experiences working on the project to share with the profession. Not only was the tour architecturally outstanding but it introduced many of us to social stigmas and myths about loss of sight. The lighting design in this project is unique.

We hope that readers of this article will appreciate the importance of scheduling a variety of OWADP events, highlighting different aspects of architecture and the design professions we work so closely with.

By Inge Horton (first part) in collaboration with Wendy Bertrand (second part).

Willows in the Wind: A Parent Support Group for Parents of Struggling Teens

by Suzan Swabacker    |    Share #1210

Here’s a question for you. Name 3 things that cause you stress right now.
Most of us would grumble about the travel time/stress to get to and from our jobs. We’d complain about the incredible cost of living in the Bay Area. Lastly, most of us would state that we work too many hours and designers don’t get paid enough. These problems probably don’t keep us awake at night. Now consider a problem that does keep us awake: parents with teens who are unmanageable.

There are thousands of teens and young adults in the Bay Area who struggle with depression, anxiety, ADHD and low self-esteem. Many of these issues manifest through isolation, cutting, bullying, suicide attempts, gaming, anorexia. Many of these young people get hooked on marijuana, alcohol, video games, heavier drugs, or the internet. The parents are frantic. The first thing that parents attempt to do is engage with the school. Some schools are “getting it” but most pretend not to see the school’s part in the problem. Instead, the issues and solutions are the responsibility of the parents. In fairness to our schools, many teachers are dealing with overwhelming issues in the classroom. One disruptive kid or one kid sleeping in the back of the room should not impinge on their peers. Instead, remove the student.

The outcome? Sooner or later these youth usually stop going to school.
While some parents and relatives are naïve in thinking that “teens are like this, I was like that;” others recognize that the time of parental influence is fleeing quickly. A child magically becomes an adult at age 18 and no parent can force a child to go to school. Indeed, a whole industry of educational consultants, residential therapeutic centers (RTC), therapeutic boarding schools (TBS), and wilderness therapy programs have arisen over the past 20 years. These programs center around the teen. Who helps the parents?

Willows in the Wind does. Willows provides safe space for parents to come and talk, “unload”, share information with other parents, and start to learn that the only person they can change is themselves. Teen trauma is color-blind, socioeconomic-blind, and age-blind. Teen trauma occurs with adopted kids, foster kids, biological kids, and grandkids. Willows is a non-profit organization based in the Bay Area for over 10 years. Meetings are in San Rafael, Los Altos, and Oakland once a month.

First and foremost is the topic of shame which families have to deal with, usually before and during treatment. Who in the highly successful Bay Area wants to admit they have a child who won’t leave the house, or who runs away? The purpose of the organization is to provide support to those in caught an underground society no one else wants to acknowledge. Typically, it’s the mothers who show up at Willows meetings but progress is faster when dads show up as well.

Why write about Willows in a design professionals newsletter? Because you may benefit from going to Willows. Because we also seek donations and a permanent office space in order to extend our reach to other parents. Because someday we hope to create a video that we can take into classrooms all over California to raise awareness about struggling teens. As the saying goes: we are not alone, nor should you be. If you have further questions you can contact me at (650) 743-1989 or Jan Rao at (650) 868-1988,


Suzan Swabacker
Architect. Board member Willows in the Wind

Uncross Your Fingers Indemnity Relief For Design Professionals!

by Sharon Sanner Muir    |    Share #1208

The California State Assembly passed Senate Bill 496 (SB-496) which sought to lessen the burden of indemnity provisions and the dreaded immediate duty to defend in public and private contracts involving design professionals. On Friday April 28, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law.

SB-496 modifies Civil Code section 2782.8, adding protections to private contracts entered into by design professionals after January 1, 2018. Importantly, SB-496 limits the "duty to defend" to the comparative fault of the professional in private and public contracts. Civil Code section 2782.8 previously applied to public contracts entered into by design professionals with public agencies, excluding state agencies as defined in the statute. SB-496 places private contracts and public contracts with non-state agencies on equal footing.

The practical implications of SB-496 are extremely beneficial to design professionals, especially those working primarily in the private sector. For all private contracts entered into by a design professional prior to January 1, 2018 (meaning those contracts without the protections of SB-496) which contain a provision requiring the professional to indemnify and/or defend their client, the design professional could have to pay for all of their client's attorneys' fees and costs by virtue of being sued, even if the professional was ultimately found to be negligent-free by the trier of fact. For private and applicable public contracts entered into after January 1, 2018, with the added protections of SB-496, if the design professional is found to be 25% at fault, then the law provides that they would only be liable for 25% of the attorneys' fees and costs of a party seeking contractual indemnity and defense reimbursement. If found to be 0% at fault, the professional would not be responsible for any attorneys' fees or costs of their client.

We have taken a significant step forward in making contracts between design professionals and owners in California both fair and insurable. This law demands more equitable risk-sharing according to fault apportionment regarding indemnity issues.

****** ***** ***** *****

Sharon Sanner Muir represents design professionals throughout the Bay area. Sharon has been a member of OWADP since 2013. Her office, with Collins Collins Muir + Stewart, is in Oakland at 1999 Harrison Street, Suite 1700 Tel: 510.844.5100

Nothing contained in this article should be considered legal advice. Anyone who reads this article should consult with an attorney before acting on anything contained in this or any other article on legal matters, as facts and circumstances will vary from case to case.

Galen Cranz Nominated Speaker at Univ of Illinois

 Share #1218

Galen Cranz was the student-nominated speaker at the Department Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she lectured on "Re-naturalizing the City" on October 20, 2017. Very cool! Congrats, Galen!

EAMES at ODC: January 2018

by Kristin Damrow    |    Share #1214

This is a letter of interest from the Artistic Director of Kristin Darrow & Co, a San Francisco-based dance company. I include it as it may interest some OWA+DP members to speak with her about our understanding and thoughts on Ray and Charles Eames.


Hello. I am the Artistic Director of Kristin Damrow & Company, a contemporary dance company based here in here in San Francisco.

I came across the OWA as I was researching for the company's next home season. On January 25-27, 2018 Kristin Damrow & Company will present EAMES at ODC Theater in the Mission. We are excited to introduce a new piece that celebrates two of the most iconic visionaries of our time: Ray and Charles Eames. This dance will tell the story about a wife and husband who strived to build an equitable partnership on top of their marriage, against the odds and expectations of their time. Five performers will explore Ray and Charles’s relationship, art, and the societal dynamics that shaped their lives.

Specifically, I find Ray's work very inspiring. She challenged the confines of her role as mother, homemaker, and wife. From behind the scenes, she paved the way for future women designers to be heard and recognized. I am reminded of Ray’s story more than fifty years later, as the fight for gender equality continues for so many women today.

As I am in the midst of creating this new work, it would be incredible to connect with some designers and architects at the OWA to gain their insight on Ray's influence to the deign world and the struggles that they might face today with gender equality.

I look forward to hearing from you!


Past Event: July 29th: Saturday Coffee and Chat

 Share #1212

OWADP member Kriss Raupach shared her experiences of living in Saudi Arabia for two years while teaching English to women.

Mui Ho graciously hosted the event at her home on Saturday, July 29th.

Past Event: July 11th: Engaging youth: empowering future architects, planners and designers!

 Share #1207

On a summer evening in July, OWA+DP members gathered at CCA/Oakland for inspiring presentations by organizations that work with future architects, designers, artist, thinkers and leader.

The OWADP July program featured three organizations that work with young people in ways that empower them to become agents of change within their communities and encourage them to follow their dreams to become artists, architects, designers and/or planners. The session were hosted at CCA's Oakland campus and introduced by Shalini Agrawal, Director of CCA's Center for Art + Public Life.

Joining the panel were:

Deb McCoy, Executive Director and Founder of the Center for Cities and Schools at UC Berkeley.

The Center for Cities and School's Y-Plan program is an award-winning and highly successful educational strategy that engages youth in urban planning and empowers them to create change in their communities.

Kali Gordon, Lead Faculty for Architecture at Youth Art Exchange

Youth Art Exchange brings San Francisco public high school students together with professional artists and designers to spark shared creative practice and to support young people to become thinkers, artists, designers and leaders.

Sharla Sullivan of the A.C.E. Mentor program

With a mission 'to engage, excite and enlighten high school students to pursue careers in architecture, engineering, and construction', A.C.E. Mentor now reaches over 8,000 high school students every year. A number of OWADP members have participated as A.C.E. mentors over the years and this year OWADP awarded a scholarship an excellent female graduate of the program who will begin undergraduate studies in architecture this year.

The panel discussion was followed by a reception during which members and their guests were invited to mingle and share their ideas for innovation.

Passing of Cory Kutsenkow

by John Young    |    Share #1216

With her participation in the 1974 OWA West Coast Design Conference, I am sharing the sad news of the passing of F. Corrine Kutsenkow, on October 21, 2017, in Rocklin, California, a few days short of her 90th birthday.
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