When hands are full - find more hands: SF Chapter meeting

When hands are full - find more hands: SF Chapter meeting

  • by Architecture for Humanity
  • Apr 05, 2013
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The San Francisco Chapter held their monthly chapter meeting Wednesday night at 695 Minna in SOMA (@AFH_HQ).

On the agenda was a recap of Structures for Inclusion; project updates; announcements on resiliency and the upcoming AIA Architecture and the City festival; and a note to young practitioners on calling yourself an architect. Through the meeting you got a palpable sense of momentum with this team of young designers - and hope to see all their current efforts get built and help improve communities.

Twenty people showed up for this meeting - about half of them coming for the first time, from all corners of the design world, curious about that Architecture for Humanity was up to in and around SF, and eager to get involved.

Following is a recap of the meeting and the variety of projects the Chapter is currently engaged with.

I. Structures for Inclusion?

Garrett Jacobs, chapter director and Outreach Coordinator at headquarters, presented his experience the previous week at the University of Minnesota for the Structures for Inclusion 13 design conference.

He remarked how a lot of interesting discussions arose, and wondered what encompassed design for the "public's interest." Some of the shwag seemed over the top - like custom tote bags or the hard-to-read clear plastic name badges - and some of it indispensable, like the org & opportunity index at the back of the conference program (ISSUU).

The interdisciplinary nature of the conference was a delightful surprise, and the SEED Awards were an inspiration. Nominees in attendance were not only the designers but community representatives. Nice.

Our own Kate Stohr sat on a panel on fundraising - her main discussion points were how to assign value to pro bono services, and the various metrics developed to try to quantify what we do.

II. Project Updates

The directors tally projects underway and taking off. Some of the recent additions are looking for more volunteer support - and the directors quickly assembled sign-up sheets at the snack bar for newcomers to join a project on their first visit. Quite alluring...

Portola Pocket Park. The 1 Burrows pocket park has broken ground, to transform a former dumping ground into a neighborhood asset and relaxation spot.
Excelsior Kiosk. Reenvisioning a blighted newsstand, the kiosk recently supported design options for public comment, and 350 votes were garnered.
The Excelsior Neighborhood Library wants to redo its Mission Street facade. All project needs are met for now - but keep an eye out for a build day at the end of the Summer.
Youth UpRising, East Oakland. Two projects, actually. A youth-empowering economic development program. One: café interior redesign. Two: a garden for the center, reclaiming an old Safeway parking lot.
Performing Stars, Marin City. In a pocket of low income in wealthy Marin County, this is a much-needed remodel of a community performing and arts space. Project needed volunteers and conscripted a crew by the end of the night.
Carriage House renovation, Marin City. Owners want it to become job training center and transitional residence. Team took as-built measurements the previous weekend.
Floating Doctors Floating Clinic. Project on hold while client is in Panama.
Kadampa Meditation Center, Mission, undergoing feasibility study by the Chapter to make the building a more viable place to take a break from the streets - more accessible facade, a cafe, a parklet?
One of only four shelters in San Francisco wants to transform their small yard into a garden and play space for kids. Talks have started.

III. Architecture in the City Festival

With the theme of (un)Built, AIA SF's annual celebration of the city's architecture will this September nod to the future and past visions never realized. Great opportunity for the Chapter's resiliency team to propose a concept for prosperity, growth and abundance post-disaster. They'll hear back by May 1 if their proposal is accepted.

IV. California Architects Practice Act

Wherein Matt reminds attendees that to be an architect in California is more than just having a license - it's also passing the California supplemental exam. So by no means should you call yourself an architect unless the State of California says you're one!

In some cases projects can proceed without having architect-stamped drawings - these are good opportunities for younger members to carry something through.

V. Refreshments

At which point the meeting adjourns, people break out into groups, sign up for projects, or enjoy some of the snacks the Chapter has provided for the meeting. There was a decent amount of enthusiasm in the air, and some of the project needs seem to have been resolved on the spot.


Check out the San Francisco Chapter on Twitter @AFH_SF and on Facebook.