Urban Landscape, San Francisco, California

Nihonmachi Terrace is a high density Japanese senior housing complex in San Francisco Japan Center. The existing courtyard consisted of a lawn and a few trees that provided open space for the tenants and visitors. Kwan Design Architect (in association with Robert La Rocca Landscape Architect) revitalizes the courtyard in response to Japanese garden design principals, natural features and sustainable design solutions. The new courtyard included rock garden with raked gravel, pathways and wooden bridges over a dry creek, plants indigenous to the mountains, water scriptural feature, community vegetable garden, windbreak elements and gathering opportunities.

Rotunda House, Millbrae, California

This project is located within the 65 CNEL Aircraft Noise Footprints based upon the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) 1983 CNEL Noise Exposure Map.  If the properties within this map is constructed after Jan. 1st 1983, or is renovated at a cost equal to 25% or more of the current market value of the home, it must be insulated against aircraft noise to meet FAA noise insulation program standards.  This means that the windows must have a Sound Transmission Class (or STC) rating of 35.  A typical interior wall with one layer of 1/2″ gypsum board on each side of wood stud at 16” on center has an STC of approximately 33.

The window manufacturer we selected cannot provide STC 35 certification as a whole window assembly but the glass itself will perform the STC rating of 30 – 35.  We explained the situation with the building official and were able to obtain approval with the glass specification.

See here for list of homes in the noise exposure area.

The Clarendon house, San Francisco, California

The Clarendon house is a 25 foot wide zero lot line property situated on the northern slope of Twin Peaks. The back of the house slopes down and has views from Golden Gate Bridge to downtown and the Bay Bridge. In an effort to preserve these views for the neighboring properties, the expansion was created below the existing house. The program required a 3 bedroom house with large living areas and contemporary style.

The design process was not the “traditional project delivery process” where the owner hires an architect to prepare drawings, then the owner hires a general contractor to bid and build the project. The traditional process creates communication problems and has higher chance of cost increase during construction. In the “traditional project delivery process”, the architect and contractor boundaries are more restricted.

Clarendon was designed under an “integrated project delivery process” where the owner requires a level of sophistication and a willingness to get involved. Contractor and suppliers were appointed from the beginning. The architect issued drawings in a collaborative relationship with the owner, contractor and suppliers. Decisions are made when they need to be made to eliminate redundant work. Contractor and suppliers are able to share their knowledge and expertise when it is most valuable in the design process.