Publications > Architectural Practice

Loma Prieta 30 Years Later

Candlestick Park in the forefront of this aerial of San Francisco, California, taken by Carol M. Highsmith

October 17, 1989, I was in my Point Richmond office talking to a client in a high rise in San Francisco. All of a sudden, he yelled, “holy shit,” and I heard crashing in the background (It was his bookcases falling over). The phone went dead. A few seconds later, it hit our building, and we all spilled out into the street.

Later, we climbed to the top of Nicholl Knob where we could see the Marina District of San Francisco burning and the collapsed section of the Bay Bridge. I thought it looked like 1906 all over again.

I was in the office at daylight the next morning when I got the call from the head of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. “How soon can you get your engineers over here?” he asked. Read More

UC Berkeley’s Women’s Faculty Club Gets a New Roof of its Own*

Photo credit: Louis H.G., (CC BY-SA 4.0), taken before the roof replacement.

Interactive Resources has a long and successful practice of providing historic preservation services. We have designed and overseen the construction of hundreds of historic rehabilitation projects. One such recent project is for the University of California, Berkeley Women’s Faculty Club, designed by architect John Galen Howard and completed in 1923. According to UC Berkeley, it is the only women’s faculty club in the nation with its own building, and was conceived and formed through the initiative of Lucy Ward Stebbins, the second Dean of Women on the Berkeley campus, who began organizing with women faculty in 1919 (at the time, women were not allowed to join the existing Faculty Club). For nearly a century, it has served as an intellectual meeting place, residence and dining facility for faculty and students. Read More

Case Study: BART Waterproofing Project Saves Tens of Millions of Gallons of Drinking Water Annually

Reverse osmosis filtration takes place during a water reclamation project at Energy Center San Francisco. Photo: Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle

From 2011 to 2016, I was project manager for Interactive Resources on a project for BART to repair extensive leaks into the BART Powell Street Station that had plagued BART for decades and had stymied continuous previous repair attempts.

The solution ultimately involved injecting urethane grout through the ceiling of the station into the soil above to create a new waterproofing system to replace, or augment, the original Bentonite system that had failed.

Our investigation revealed a complicating factor that had played a role in both exacerbating some of the leakage as well as thwarting previous attempts to repair it. It turned out that there was an ultra-high temperature steam pipe running the length of the station above the ceiling in the soil above. Despite extensive insulation and encasement in concrete, the heat was raising the temperature of the surrounding soil and could even be felt radiating through the concrete ceiling. The steam pipe was operated by NRG and supplied steam to a number of buildings bordering Market Street. Read More

Who was Frank J. Hagel?

Frank Hagel, landscape arhitecture, public

© 2018. Treve Johnson

Interactive Resources recently completed a six yearlong project for The Frank Hagel Federal Building in Richmond, California. The main tenant of this six-story structure is the Social Security Administration, and Interactive Resources was retained by the General Services Administration to investigate and report on ongoing water intrusion into the building’s basement from the plaza above. You can read about our feasibility study, final report, schematic design, construction documents and cost estimates here.

We thought it would be interesting to learn about the person whose name is on this building we’ve spent so much time studying. Surprisingly, just googling Frank Hagel doesn’t easily answer this question. Read More

Envelope Study & Improvements for UC Berkeley’s University Hall

University of California, University Hall Envelope Improvements

CC By ND

We recently completed a study for UC Berkeley’s University Hall. This seven-story tower and adjoining two-story annex at the west edge of campus, designed by the well-known west coast firm Welton Becet & Associates and constructed in 1959, originally housed the University of California Office of the President. When UCOP relocated to Oakland, University Hall became home to the campus's Visitor Center and a variety of administrative offices. Read More

In the News: PowerPlant Park in Richmond

Our cannabis industry project PowerPlant Park is poised to bring hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars in additional tax revenue for the City of Richmond, and the news media is taking notice. Read More

At the Vanguard of the Green Rush in Richmond – PowerPlant Park

PowerPlant Park, Richmond, CA, planned cannabis agricultural community and campus

CC By ND

PowerPlant Park is a planned cannabis agricultural community and campus, the first legal project of its kind in the State of California. Investors chose to locate on the Richmond shoreline for its sweeping unobstructed views of San Francisco Bay, and chose our firm for our specialization in architectural and engineering services for the cannabis industry. We are providing architectural, civil and structural engineering, and landscape architectural services for PowerPlant, Inc.’s 19+ acre community, which PowerPlant has modeled itself as a turnkey opportunity for craft growers and canna-investors.  Read More

Trends in Cannabis Dispensary Design – Blooming Organics Case Study

Pasadena JKA Dispensary Rendering

CC BY-ND

The conventional retail concept of abundance of selection, in contrast with the elegant and orderly boutique experience, is the juxtaposition of design intent in the new field of cannabis retail. Read More

City of San Carlos Youth Center Gets a Makeover

San Carlos Youth Center Remodel 2018

© 2018. Eric Rorer

After an extensive remodel by Interactive Resources, The City of San Carlos' Youth Center has reopened its doors for service to the community. The Youth Center serves more than one hundred San Carlos middle-schoolers, and is home to a wide variety of after-school activities including music programs, sports, gymnastics, summer camp, special events and facility rentals. Read More

The Unique Mix of Cannabis Dispensary Design

7 Stars Healing Center Interior Rendering

Attribution-NoDerivs CC BY ND

I think the exciting thing about how the cannabis industry has been evolving in California is that legalization has provided a new way for all players to communicate with each other and share. I think there’s plenty of room for innovation in the field (pun not intended). Read More

Interactive Resources’ Cannabis Facility Design Expertise featured in October Issue of Professional Services Management Journal

Expansive New High Tech Cannabis Grow Facilities as a Trend

New High Tech Cannabis Grow Facility, Richmond, CA, light industrial, Architectural Design, structural engineering services

Attribution-NoDerivs CC BY ND

A modern cannabis facility design that combines the best of the new generation of growers and highly experienced architects. Read More

Cannabis Facility Design

CC BY ND

Interactive Resources was an early entrant into and is a leading provider of architectural and engineering services for the cannabis industry. Our firm’s specialization in this sector has deepened with the legalization of recreational marijuana in California, and we are involved in projects for large and small indoor cultivation activities, large-scale greenhouse projects, industrial-scale grow facilities, distribution centers, manufacturing facilities, dispensaries, and processing facilities. Read More

When Arts Education and Architecture Intersect

626 Quinan Street Historic Building Exterior

CC BY-ND

It is especially rewarding when a project leads to a lasting collaboration. In 2014, Interactive Resources provided schematic design, planning, design development and entitlements for a historic home project at 656 Quinan Street in Pinole, which involved raising an Italianate-style cottage constructed circa 1900 in order to provide office space below the residence. Today, the ground level is home to The Quinan Street Project (QSP), a nonprofit organization that provides visual and performing arts education to children in Contra Costa County and to public elementary schools in the West Contra Costa Unified School District. Read More

DGS, FMD Bay & Northern Area Architectural Retainer Services

We are happy to announce that State of California, Department of General Services (DGS), Facilities Management Division (FMD) selected Interactive Resources to provide architectural and engineering services for the Bay and Northern California regions. The FMD is comprised of the former Building and Property Management Branch and the Direct Construction Unit. FMD is tasked with ensuring the ongoing maintenance and management of several state-owned buildings. Read More

Window and Door Design and Installation Guide

Nystrom Elementary School

Nystrom Elementary School CC-ND

This post explores basic information on the design, specifying and installing doors and windows. Techniques for installation of “punched” windows and doors have been evolving continually over the last two decades. For many years, the accepted standard involved four strips of flexible flashing integrated with a nailing fin and the water resistive barrier (WRB) at the window perimeter. This concept was easy to understand and implement because the window fins, the flashings and the WRB were typically all in the same plane. It is amazing, however, that so many designers and builders were still able to get it wrong. Read More

Plaza Deck Design Primer

Plaza Design, Frank Hagel Federal Building

Plaza Design, Frank Hagel Federal Building CC BY-ND

This primer points out key issues for designing and constructing a successful plaza deck system. A plaza deck is a walking surface, which sometimes can accommodate vehicles, typically waterproofed to protect the underlying structure and/or occupied spaces below. Common surface treatments include concrete, ceramic tile, stone or other paving material, usually with a bi-level drain used to accept both surface run-off and water at the waterproofing membrane level. Structural substrates are commonly wood or concrete. Read More

Westcon Tribune

Avoid litigation and achieve better design and construction

Avoid litigation and achieve better design and construction, photo credit Joe Gratz. CC-ND

Architects and engineers become defendants in construction defect litigation because of allegations that they breached the standard of care – that is, they practiced in a negligent manner that caused or contributed to a construction defect that resulted in damage to someone. Tom Butt's presentation at the Westcon symposium included remarks about construction litigation in general, the design professional’s standard of care, using standards to avoid litigation and achieve better design and construction, and tips to avoid waterproofing failures. Read More

Limiting Construction Failure Losses – A Challenge for the Insurance Industry

A primer on construction failures. Why do they occur? How is the insurance industry affected? Building failure litigation - who is responsible? Read More

American Institute of Architects California Chapter Proposes Changes to Certificate of Merit Law

American Institute of Architects

American Institute of Architects, CC-ND

The American Institute of Architects California Chapter (AIACC) is pursuing an amendment to either the Senate or Assembly Judiciary Committee Omnibus bills that would modify the process for certificates of merit in litigation involving design professionals. Read More

The Practice of Architecture in California and Architectural Negligence

In litigation, the determination of architectural negligence, or malpractice as it is commonly known, has to be evidenced by testimony of expert witnesses. In assessing whether or not an architect conformed to the "standard of care," an expert witness must consider whether or not the architect used ordinary care and skill, that is, what a reasonably prudent architect would do in the same community and in a given time frame given the same or similar circumstances. Read More

Architect Disciplined for Designing a Flat Deck

Although the debate over substrate slope in protected membrane roofs may continue, a recent disciplinary action by the California board of Architectural Examiners seems to have ended any debate over surface slope. Read More

Architects Required To Use Written Contracts for Architectural Services

Photo by William S. Farrow CC-ND

Photo by William S. Farrow CC-ND

A summary of the California State Law requiring written contracts for architectural services. Read More

WESTCON Roster Provides List of Bay Area Construction Consultants

WESTCON Construction Consultants Association website provides list of Bay Area construction industry consultants specializing in forensic, diagnostic, and repair services. Read More

ICBO Reports Now Available On-line Free

How to obtain up to date ICBO and other evaluation agency reports instantly on line at no cost. Read More

New Code Opinion Service Offered by ICBO

For the first time, the International Conference of Building Official (ICBO) is offering to the non-building official members of ICBO the opinion service that heretofore has been available only to member building officials of public agencies. Read More