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VIA is thrilled to bring our practice in planning, architecture, and transit systems design to the Bay Area. For 30 years, we have focused on creating sustainable communities, with a collaborative approach that yields meaningful solutions.

We are also pleased to announce the hire of director Jeff Stahl, AIA, who brings more than 25 years of experience, focused on transportation, commercial, housing/mixed-use, and academic projects in Northern California. Jeff joins director Kate Howe, AICP to manage our Bay Area team.

Our new office is located at 525 Brannan Street, Suite 406 in San Francisco. We look forward to bringing our passion for connected communities to California.

Help Build a Mobile Parklet!

To celebrate VIA’s office on the move, we are contributing to Out of Site Youth Arts Center’s Mobile Parklet!

Please join us today in making a donation on Crowdrise to ensure tools get into the hands of high-schoolers for a spring break devoted to community building.

http://www.crowdrise.com/YouthParklet/fundraiser/outofsite

By Kate Howe, Director + Lead Planner, VIA Architecture Originally published in the April 2014 issue of Northern News: A Publication of the Northern Section of the California Chapter of APA  

If you’ve strolled down San Francisco’s Market Street this past winter, you may have noticed something new jutting up from the sidewalk at Market and Yerba Buena Lane — a set of eight-foot-tall parabolic concrete disks positioned next to a mysterious “singing bench.” The instillation is the result of a joint project between the Yerba Buena Community Benefits District, the Exploratorium, and the City. As the first “Living Innovation Zone,” or LIZ, these paired discs are the Exploratorium’s “whispering dishes” — now a popular public exhibit for unscripted play, learning, and conversation. If you whisper into one dish, another person can hear you loud and clear at the other, 50 feet away. You might want to stop, explore, and teach someone else how to use them.

Initiated by the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation and the San Francisco Planning Department, the program is intended to create a pathway for the experimental — to activate public space, foster learning, and showcase innovation. As Jay Nath, Chief Innovation Officer for Mayor Ed Lee commented, “San Francisco is the innovation capital of the world, but you wouldn’t know it from just walking the city’s streets. We are creating a way for the City to showcase the explosion of creativity — design, arts, and technology innovations that are currently pouring out of San Francisco.”

To …

By Catherine Calvert, Director VIA Architecture

In December, the American Institute of Architects announced that its Gold Medal will be awarded to Julia Morgan in recognition of her contribution to the profession. This is the first time in the 70-year history of this award that a female architect has been chosen for the honor:

“The Board of Directors of The American Institute of Architects (AIA) voted today to posthumously award the 2014 AIA Gold Medal to Julia Morgan, FAIA, whose extensive body of work has served as an inspiration to several generations of architects.

The AIA Gold Medal, voted on annually, is considered to be the profession’s highest honor that an individual can receive. The Gold Medal honors an individual whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. Morgan’s legacy will be honored at the AIA 2014 National Convention and Design Exposition in Chicago.

Morgan, who died in 1957, won a litany of firsts she used to establish a new precedent for greatness. A building technology expert that was professionally adopted by some of the most powerful post-Gilded age patrons imaginable, Morgan practiced for nearly 50 years and designed more than 700 buildings of almost every type, including houses, churches, hotels, commercial buildings, and museums.”

See full announcement here.

In my junior year of high school at San Francisco’s University High School, I attended a talk by the author Sara Holmes Boutelle, who was in the area researching buildings designed by the architect Julia Morgan. As …

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