Archetype Blog

Archetype is a blog about the world of architecture from the eyes of the Barcelon Jang Architecture team. 

Is Everyone a Designer in San Francisco?

Probably. Every street fair has more handcrafted jewelry than you have time for. Your Lyft driver is a chef or musician. A DIY potted succulent arrangement or airplant ensemble is created every few minutes at Flora Grubb. Friends are writers, photographers, and artists. Family members self-publish photo books at Blurb or Costco. Millennials have at least one website or blog. If you’re not a designer, you know one.  

At Barcelon Jang Architecture, our Designers have been talking about San Francisco Design Week, a series of events beginning tonight. While their daily activities at our office primarily involve working with our Architects on the Construction Administration of affordable housing, they studied and practice design in their private lives. We invited them to showcase their creations and could see how their personalities are reflected in their choices.

Nayive Kalkach: “The project was to create a piece of furniture for Shiro Schwarz, a couple of musicians who wanted to transport their instruments inside a suitcase that could turn into a table to use at their performances.”

Hsiaochi Chang: A business promotional gift, this memo paper holder was designed as five pieces that ship flat unassembled and snap together easily by the recipient. No glue necessary. Autocad was used to draw. A laser cutter used temperature to control the depth of the cuts. The holes were then hand cut for the punch.  

Melanie Tam: “The light up vanity was inspired by a vintage suitcase. I wanted to create a vanity where you would be able to store your makeup and have amazing lighting while you were doing your makeup.” Two coats of paint and sanding produced the rustic look. “I also included LED lighting around the mirror to create more depth and a focal point to the whole design.”

Yihung Chang: After two months of studying the grains and mechanics of woodworking, knots in the wood for this walnut chair provided a lesson learned and a redesign challenge. Avoiding the knots for a better aesthetic, a panel originally designed for the seat was used for the arm. 

What Earth Day Means for Building Designers

Three designers at Barcelon Jang Architecture became LEED Green Associates over the past two months. 

A credential issued by the U.S. Green Building Council, a LEED Green Associate signifies that the holder has a documented, up-to-date understanding of the most current green building principles and practices, and is committed to his or her professional future. 

"LEED accreditation represents a socially and environmentally conscious message. It encompasses the current evolution of our industry,” said Michelle Miller. Nayive Kalkach believes that as a designer, she has a responsibility to propose projects that protect the environment and enhance the well-being of building users. Ariel Chang sees being a LEED Green Associate as the first step in helping her understand more about sustainability and spread the idea of sustainability.

Recycled PET bottles used for the construction of the EcoARK building in Taipei.

Recycled PET bottles used for the construction of the EcoARK building in Taipei.

Their favorite sustainability features used in the design of buildings:

  • Sustainable MaterialsAriel says, “I love to see how people use salvaged materials and materials with recycled content into their new designs. Used resources embody history, which accentuates the beauty of contrast.” Her favorite example is EcoARK in Taipei, Taiwan, constructed in 2010 for the Taipei International Flora Exposition and made from 1.52 million recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles. The transparent bottles bring in the natural light, and combine with solar energy use and LED lights. A spray system throughout the building reduces the temperature inside.“ 
  • Adaptive Reuseredesigning an old building for a purpose other than which it was built. “I love a challenge, solving the problems of today’s built environment using yesterday’s structures,” Michelle says. “Existing structures are abundant. It makes sense both environmentally and economically to utilize old or abandoned buildings in new designs. With adaptive reuse, we are honoring the history of our built environment while conserving resources.” The Exploratorium and The Ferry Building are her favorite local examples.
  • Daylightingilluminating buildings by placing windows, openings or reflective surfaces to naturally provide indoor lighting. “It really improves the productivity and the sense of well-being for the users,” says Nayive, who points to the Monkseaton School in northern England as a good example of how daylighting can change the energy level of people within the building. 
Daylighting examples

Daylighting examples

Read more about the USGBC LEED Green Associate

Get tips from Nayive about how to study for the exam.