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  • 1 May 2024 9:24 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Volume 52:2

    In this issue:

    Editor's Note - Mui Ho

    New OWA+DP website to launch - Loretta Drummond

    Recap on 2023 programs - Nazila Duran

    1973 newsletter

    Editor's Note

    by Mui Ho

    This is our last Newsletter under the website.

    I am very glad to have had an opportunity to keep our newsletter going for the last five years. It was a privilege to share our thoughts, our activities and more importantly sharing the changes of our organization.

    I have been fortunate to work on our newsletters from the beginning and intermittently for the last fifty years. I believe a newsletter not only informs members of activities and of sharing of experiences and ideas, but also as a place to record the history of the organization. I remember constructing our first newsletter in 1973, cut-and-paste on a single sheet of paper with photos, xeroxed, then folded to be mailed without an envelope to the few women architects we knew and to all architectural offices in the Bay Area. In order to make our newsletter stands out from other advertisements, we always printed it on colored paper, preferably canary yellow.

    In 2002 Bill Hocker, who had experience in creating his own sites, developed the first OWA web site and incorporated a page for each new newsletter.

    In 2005 the OWA hired a website designer to manage the site and create a database to keep track of membership and dues. While the new member registration form and dues database worked quite well, the effort to tweak it, add new pages and add new features involved costly consulting fees. It soon proved to be unsustainable for such a small organization.

    By 2006, Bill had already been working on his own database-linked websites and again took over the OWA site, creating a database-backed newsletter, forum, portfolio generator, email generator, calendar, survey form and eventually a generic page generator that allowed any administrator to create new pages for the site. The intent was always to allow Administrators and Steering Committee members to modify and update the site and carry out the digital functions needed. And the intent was also that the website be a continually added-to archive of the history of the organization while also serving as an event organizer and a showcase for the work of its members in the present. For the last two decades it has worked out fairly well. But the demand for ever more functionality and gadgets, now available with commercial web developer packages, has made it difficult to keep up. It is, perhaps, time to move on.

    A new web site is to be launched in May 1 2024 by Steering Committee member Loretta Drummond.

    New OWA+DP website to launch

    by Loretta Drummond

    Hello OWA+DP Members!

    I would like to announce that we'll be launching our new website very soon. We hope to achieve 3 main goals with the new site:

    (1) Allow Bill Hocker to take step back from being our web administrator / internet guru after 20+ years!
    (2) Save our organization money by reducing transaction fees from 3rd party applications
    (3) Automate certain processes to make Steering Committee tasks easier and to better serve our members

    The current plan is to maintain the website as an archive site so all that data isn't lost. However, it will eventually be removed from search engines, so you will eventually need to type in the full URL or use the link on the new website to access the archive. This means you won't be able to Google information on the archive site (only the new one).

    The new site is expected to launch by May 1st with a new URL address. Anyone who has paid membership dues since January 1st, 2023 will receive an email from me soon with your new login information as your profile information has already been transferred over to the new site. You will also be able to pay your annual dues and retreat fees at this new site (through Affinipay), so you will no longer have to use PayPal. We will also still accept checks in the mail for those who prefer not to pay online. If you are an existing, active member and do not receive your login and password info from me by May 1st, you can email me, Loretta Drummond

    If you haven't paid membership dues in the last 16 months, I highly encourage you to renew and re-register on the new site so you don't lose full access to our active member forums and events. Without the annual dues, it's difficult for our organization to sustain itself over the long haul.

    Lastly, I welcome any constructive feedback when the new website is ready. It will likely never be "perfect" and there may be bumps along the way through the transition, but I hope you will stick with us and continue making this a strong and supportive community for women in architecture and design!

    Kind regards,
    Loretta Drummond
    OWA Steering Committee Member

    Recap on 2023 programs

    by Nazila Duran

    In 2023 in addition to the highly successful 50th Anniversary Symposium and celebrations, OWA+DP Programs had a full year of events. We tried to make the most of the "return to normal" post Covid isolation by organizing more in-person events. Suzan Swabacker and I put out a survey on the website and tried to cater to the majority interested in tours and in person gatherings. The events consisted of:

    Architecture Tours
    Triton Museum of Art (Darlene Jang, Architect)
    SFO Harvey Milk Terminal (Nazila Duran, Program Manager)
    One Bush Street, Crown Zellerbach by SOM
    Construction Site Tours
    SFO T3 Connector Building by HOK
    Showroom Visits
    Interface Carpet Tile and Resilient Flooring - Sustainability Innovations
    Member Showcase Presentation
    Landscape Architecture (Leslie Golden, LA)
    Office Tour and Discussion
    Helmuth Obata Kassabaum (Shiva Mendez, Principal)
    Educational Zoom Seminars
    Augmented Reality by Hoverlay
    Acoustics by Salter & Assoc.
    Family Events Outdoors
    Member Potluck hosted by Gilda Puentes
    Tilden Park Picnic at Little Farm

    One of the popular and well attended events was the HOK office tour in the Zellerbach historic landmark building. I was able to organize a visit and tour of the HOK San Francisco office because I used to work there from 2008 through 2014. My close friend and colleague, Shiva Mendez, Principal at HOK and a long-time member of OWADP graciously agreed to host the event.

    HOK is located on the 2nd and 3rd floors of One Bush Plaza, San Francisco formerly the Crown Zellerbach Headquarters Building which is now a Historic Landmark. I seized this opportunity to also give a talk about the Zellerbach building designed by Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill, as I was familiar with it having also worked at SOM in New York prior to moving to the Bay Area.

    We gathered in the lobby of the building and here is a brief history of the building and its architecture:

    The Crown Zellerbach Building

    Built in 1959 as the headquarters of the Crown Zellerbach Paper company, it was the first International Style curtain-wall tower to be built in San Francisco and has claimed a prominent position in the downtown urbanscape. This complex includes an office tower and adjacent low-rise pavilion, arranged in an intricately designed plaza much akin to an Ikebana arrangement.

    Occupying one-third of the triangular site, the offices are in a 20-story glass-skinned tower with a blue-green tint alternating and darker green spandrel glass framed by thin aluminum mullions supported on green granite piers The glass tower is connected to a service tower clad in hand-laid Italian mosaic. The one-story building occupying the northeast corner of the plaza is designed to resemble a daisy printer wheel signifying the paper company.

    An excellent example of International Style the project is precise in every detail on the exterior and interior. The term was coined by Philip Johnson who curated "International Exhibition of Modern Architecture" at MOMA in New York City in 1932. Johnson and Hitchcock defined it as encompassing three elements: expression of volume rather than mass, emphasis on balance rather than preconceived symmetry, and expulsion of applied ornament.

    Crown Zellerbach was initially designed by Walter Netsch of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. It is often compared to the Lever House in New York City; however, it is rather the twin of the Inland Steel Building in Chicago. Netsch had left San Francisco to design the building in Chicago at which point Chuck Basset took over and completed the project.

    The projects consist of an open floorplan with perimeter columns, given all the columns are on the outside edge of the floor plate. Both buildings have a separate service tower but at the Inland Steel Building, Netsch pulled out the columns entirely, making the floor plate perfectly unobstructed.

    In 2003 I was in charge of the restoration of the Air Force Academy Chapel also by Walter Netsch and later the Inland Steel Building. I came to learn Walter Netsch's ideas fairly well especially by reading his oral biography. My team's efforts through an Integrated Design Process with the Owner and Contractor achieved an innovative and cost-effective design approved by the historic preservation office achieving 2 LEED Platinum certification for both the building shell and core and for the interiors.

    The structural framework is made of rigid steel trusses with wide span steel decking. The structure cantilevers beyond the centerline of the columns at both ends. An 8-foot-thick reinforced concrete foundation slab on grade, located approximately 45 feet below street level, distributes the column load over its entire surface.

    A significant factor in the siting of the building was to place the service tower
    towards Market Street due to the fact that at the time of its construction and for that matter for many years thereafter Market Street was in somewhat of a decrepit condition. The main entrance to the building is via a sculptural concrete bridge from Bush Street onto an elevated travertine plinth floating above the sunken plaza. The glass lobby transparent on all sides connects to the elevator lobby via a glass enclosed corridor.

    As a registered San Francisco historic landmark, in addition to the building exterior, certain interior features of the original 1959 building must also be preserved. One such feature is the lobby's "special luminous ceiling" (as it was labeled in original architectural drawings). Made of acrylic cylinders and black aluminum plates the lights cover the entire surface of the ceiling spanning 1675 square feet, fully illuminating the lobby.

    The Japanese-influenced landscape was designed by Bassett. A sunken plaza inlaid with dark grey river rock and slate surfaces, and undulating gardens and pathways with sloped planting areas surround the buildings. A sequence of broad, curving limestone steps leads up to Market Street. In the concept sketches, the plaza was drawn as a water-filled moat.

    There are 2 significant sculptures commissioned for the building. One is the beautiful Woman in Bronze by Marcello Mascherini situated on the travertine plinth to the east of the glass lobby visible from inside and from the street. The other is the geometric fountain against the western edge of the sunken plaza by David Tolerton.

    My connection to the Crown Zellerbach Building is the fact that I worked in that building at HOK for almost 6 years. I was lucky enough to have had my desk against the east wall on the 10th floor with the view of Market street and then later on the opposite side of the building, but this time on the 2nd floor overlooking the sunken plaza and the Tolerton Fountain. I used to like to walk through the garden coming and going to Montgomery BART Station. At lunch, if I ever had time to get away, I used to go over the bridge towards Bush Street and then northward to choose one of the many eateries. I have enjoyed the different ways I have interacted with these sister buildings.

    If you would like to see corrections to this newsletter or to submit articles or suggestions for future newsletters please contact the Newsletter Editor.

The OWA+DP Newsletter Archive (1973 - 2024) can be found HERE

OWA+DP is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. 

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