Architecture and the City Festival
September 1–30, 2014
The American Institute of Architects, San Francisco chapter (AIA San Francisco) and the Center for Architecture + Design announce the 11th annual Architecture and the City festival, the nation’s largest architectural festival of its kind. Taking place in San Francisco every September, the month-long celebration features behind the scenes and walking tours, films, exhibitions, lectures and more, providing opportunities for participants to engage with the local architecture community and experience design in a myriad of ways throughout the city. The 2014 Architecture and the City festival theme, Home: My San Francisco, will examine the shifting nature of home, the different elements that contribute to its definition, and its relation to the urban fabric. Over 40 festival programs will explore the cultural richness and diversity of our local architectural and design community as well as provide a platform for conversation about our changing landscape and its implications for a city in a time of rapidly intensifying housing needs.

Gearing Up for Better, Healthier, and More Efficient Homes
September 19, 2014
The USGBC will present, Gearing Up for Better, Healthier, and More Efficient Homes, at the upcoming AltCar Expo on Friday, September 19th at 9:30am.   Designed for building & design professionals, the lecture addresses the need to erect higher performing buildings and the push towards zero net energy buildings. Panelists include:  Tim Kohut, AIA Architect, Green Dinosaur; Lena Ashby Senior Sustainability Coordinator, Green Dinosaur; and Joel Cesare, Sustainable Building Advisor, City of Santa Monica.

10th Annual KAYAK and SUP Coastal Cleanup Day Event
September 20, 2014
On Saturday, September 20, from 8:15am–1:30pm, The Bay Foundation (TBF) will host its 10th Annual Marina del Rey Kayak Cleanup Day Event as part of the greater annual Coastal Cleanup Day (CCD) which draws over 14,000 volunteers from across Los Angeles County to hundreds of events. As the longest-running kayak and SUP cleanup site, the TBF event is immensely popular each year and spaces fill up early.

San Francisco Living: Home Tours
September 20–21, 2014
AIA San Francisco and the Center for Architecture + Design are excited to announce the 12th annual San Francisco Living: Home Tours, a two-day open house event featuring a select number of modern residences. The popular weekend showcases a wide variety of architectural styles, neighborhoods and residences, including single-family homes, contemporary renovations and multi-family residences, and is the first tour series in the Bay Area to promote residential design from the architect's point of view. Throughout the weekend, tour participants can see some of the city's latest residential projects from the inside out, meet design teams, explore housing trends, and discover innovative design solutions that inspire unique San Francisco living.

Detroit Design Festival
September 23–28, 2014
Presented by the Detroit Creative Corridor Center (DC3), and supported by the Knight Foundation, the fourth-annual Detroit Design Festival spans all design disciplines and brings together commerce, culture, education, and entertainment with a full, varied program of exhibitions, openings, installations, shows, talks, open studios, fashion shows, product previews, performances and workshops.

Archtoberfest San Diego 2014
October 1–30, 2014
Archtoberfest San Diego 2014 is a collaboratively-operated initiative aimed at establishing an annual, month-long program of public events and activities pertaining to architecture, design, planning and sustainability.

Westedge Design Fair
October 16–19, 2014
The curated fair features over 150 leading and emerging, domestic and international furnishings brands. Catering to both trade and consumers, the event offers a complete experience for attendees, including panel discussions and workshops, culinary activities, custom installations, and a series of special events.

4th Annual Found L.A.
October 19, 2014
On Sunday, October 19, 2014, the non-profit L.A. Commons ( will host its 4th annual Found L.A: Festival of Neighborhoods, and its first based on a mayoral theme, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets Program. Angelenos will explore the main arteries of neighborhoods around the city, developed and not so, and meet the people in the center of activity there.

New Urbanism Film Festival
November 2014
The primary goal of the New Urbanism Film Festival is to renew the dialogue about urban planning with a broader audience. The Festival brings in movies, short films, speakers, on the topics of architecture, public health, bicycle advocacy, urban design, public transit, inner-city gardens, to name a few. 







Deadline: October 31
Show Us Your Baldwin

Deadlne: November 30
Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award
International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA)

Deadline: December 8

2015 Diversity Scholarship

Deadline: December 31
Kitchen Design Contest
Wolf and Sub-Zero 

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Industry Partners




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The FORM Questionnaire: A Conversation with Vivian Kwok

Vivian Kwok's work at MBH include a Neiman Marcus location in Walnut Creek, California. Image courtesy, MBH.

As part of our ongoing series of interviews with designers and architects, we speak to Vivian Kwok. She's a senior designer at MBH in San Franscisco, where she's worked on projects including a recent Neiman Marcus in Walnut Creek, California. An intensely private person, as you will see below, we're delighted to have her share her thoughts on architecture—and music. 

What direction do you see the profession heading?  

Today, we are seeing more technological advances which directly impact our lifestyle. If it’s through carrying your life in your pocket with your iPhone, connecting with friends and clients on social media, or even tracking down your favorite food truck; it seems that everything is mobile and everything is shared. We see this innovation in architecture as well. The process itself is more collaborative, and clients want mobility and freedom in their architecture to suit the needs of their customers or staff. We are also seeing a wave of modular architecture, which capitalizes on the industry’s ability to design with flexibility in mind. These increasing pushes for mobility and connectivity are very exciting, as they demand innovation in architectural form from the designer.

What buildings inspire you? 

Growing up, one was the Sydney Opera House. As a visual person, I was drawn to the poetic, sculptural architecture of the building, and its incredible use of geometry to create a beautiful performance space. I was inspired by the fact that it was immediately recognizable, an icon known around the world, based not only on its location and importance to the people, but also on its architecture.  

Another place is Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute in San Diego. My appreciation of this building is not only the clean lines and the simple materials that stand the test of time, but also the experience of being in the space. Kahn created an incredible experiential environment, where one walks through the built space into a breathtaking plaza that opens onto the water. This is a structure that uses the surroundings and the coastline in a way that complements and enhances its natural beauty, rather than imposing architecture over the environment.

Recently, I have been fascinated by Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia Cathedral. I am so struck by the fact that it is still under construction today, and that Gaudi had the faith to start a building that would need to be finished by technologies not yet invented. It is an incredible monument to the continuing evolution of architecture, and a beautiful example of architecture as an evolving and living structure.

Where else do you find inspiration?

I grew up playing classical music, so I often find inspiration and reflection in music. Listening to the rhythmic, melodic patterns in the composition of classical music is beautiful and calming to me . . . a great emotional outlet. Additionally, I love nature; forests and ocean beaches are incredible spaces that allow me to relax and think.

Courtesy MBHWhat are your three favorite objects? 

My violin: Through all the years having played the violin, a hobby passed down from my dad, it has become almost like a companion in life, your trusted instrument or voice to channel your emotions. Unfortunately, it has been several years now since I’ve last touched my violin, but I do wish one day soon to be able to pick it back up, to share this passion with the next generation of my family.

My camera: I love taking photos, although these days I take a lot of iPhone photos, because it’s so convenient to use.

My triple insulated stainless steel EcoVessel water bottle! I know it’s strange, but this thing is amazing. I carry it everywhere with me. I love coming back to the car after a long hike baking in the heat and having water that’s still ice cold! 

Who are some of your favorite young architects?

Not necessarily “young,” but I really admire the work of Tod Williams and Billie Tsien; the thoughtfulness behind the materials they use and forms they construct are inspiring. I love the American Folk Museum and was so sad to hear that it may be demolished. As a Cal alum, I enjoy experiencing the majestic UC Berkeley East Asian Library, where their design not only elegantly balanced a mix of materials (stone, concrete, wood, bronze and other metals), but also integrated the use of natural light throughout.

Another favorite is Maya Lin. Although she’s in her 50s now, I think that in my mind she will forever be preserved at the age when she designed the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial. She was such an important role model to me growing up, as a young Asian woman who challenged everyone’s assumption of who could create a timeless war memorial during a very heated period in history.

Another is Thomas Heatherwick. He came to my attention when he designed the UK Pavillion for the expo in China. His whimsical “Seed Pavilion” had such incredible artistry and naturally inspired design. I recently looked him up and saw that he also designed the flower petal Cauldron for the London Summer Olympic Games! I remember watching in awe during the opening ceremony, the convergence of the separate flames representing each nation into one unified flame, symbolizing the Olympic spirit of peace and togetherness.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be (a location or specific structure)?

I love living close to the ocean, so I’m happy that the Bay Area is my home. Although it’s a little bit cliché, I would love to live in the paradise of Kaua’i. The natural beauty and the ocean are incredible there, and I find it very peaceful.

A decade from now, what trends will be cringeworthy?

There’s no specific designing trend that jumps to mind. I suppose that I dislike faux-material like the decorative exterior foam insulation that is on some buildings now. I like it when designs stay true to the material, rather than finding synthetic substitutes. 

What currents trends will stand the test of time?

The movement towards sustainable green design is gaining more and more momentum. I think that in the future it will become normalized and standard in our industry to build sustainably. As peoples’ impact on the earth becomes increasingly severe, we are going to have to develop more innovative ways of creating green and sustainable buildings.

Color—yes or no?

Yes! There is so much personality in color; it makes people happy.

What are you reading?

I just started Sheryl Sandburg’s Lean In. She’s a very inspiring figure for women, and I’m excited to read it.

What are you wearing? 

Blue jeans, a persimmon colored shirt, a flyaway grey sweater, and a floral scarf that my sister gave me.

What are you eating? 

I’m really bad at eating breakfast, but this morning I had some of those Trader Joe’s coconut chips.

Do you listen to music while you're working?

Yes, when I can, but as I manage more projects, I have to be aware of what is going on around me. If I need to focus in, I like to listen to soundtracks. Joe Hisaishi is one of my favorite classical soundtrack composers—he’s done Nausicaa and Spirited Away among many.

Are you a sketcher or a computer person? 

A mix of them both. If I’m generating ideas, I begin by sketching to draw from any inspiration and to look at the big picture. However, a computer allows you to get into the details, and so much of our work is technologically focused these days.

Social media—yes or no? 

Yes, I use social media to keep in touch with friends and to keep up on the news. However, I am a very private person, and try to minimize what I publish about myself on the internet.



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