Services

We Specialize in Pre-School Design.

Pre-Schools are the coolest type of projects to work on.  I have noticed throughout the years that they bring this special enthusiasm in Clients, City Planners, Inspectors, Neighbors, Designers, Consultants, Contractors, Teachers, Parents, and most of all Kids.  We enjoy designing these fun spaces very much, and we love enhancing the school experience for children.  We have completed a considerable number of pre-school projects, with great success. If you plan to develop a pre-school project, we can help you achieve this task.

We have generated a Pre-school Design System Guideline that is available only to those who plan operating pre-school facilities. Pre-schools are regulated by State, City or County jurisdictions.

Service Phases:

Pre-Design

The State regulatory requirements are something that you, as a future owner, will need to become familiar with and follow procedures including some criteria that specific to pre-schools.  We will guide you through the entire design and approval process at both the City and/or County Jurisdiction levels. Once you identify the property, we can begin working with you. The projects can be classified into two basic types of work:

  • New Construction – “from scratch,” so to speak
  • Tenant Improvements – working within Existing Building – leased or owner-occupied space.
Approvals

The scope of approvals for a New Construction project is guided by Planning Department requirements (Planning Code) that often include Public Hearings.  Such processes can take time and expenditure. It is very important to research Planning Department Requirements prior to any design work, which we undertake on each pre-school project.

The scope of approvals for Tenant Improvements  is also guided by the Planning Department (Planning Code) requirements.  It is important to research Planning Department requirements prior to any design work. Tenant Improvements do not impact the neighborhood as much as New Construction, therefore the approval process is shorter and less involved.  Playgrounds are of the utmost importance,  so before leasing tenant space or purchasing the space, it is mandatory to secure adequate open area for the required playground adjacent to the future pre-school.

Design

A typical project would require the following process:  Pre-School function needs to be simple and logical.  Access to outdoors, parking as well as access for emergency personel is of utmost importance.  Another important aspect of pre-school design is security.  Access to the facility and children area need to be well-defined, simple to monitor, and safe.

We have designed several pre-schools of various types and guided our clients through the process successfully. Completed projects are functional, in bright colors, where children and teachers enjoy to spend time.  Playgrounds are functional, fun to be places for kids and set in simple but pretty landscaping.

Adaptive Reuse

What is Adaptive Reuse?

  • Home Remodels.
  • Home Additions.
  • Adaptations of Commercial Buildings to other than original uses.
  • Tenant Improvements.
Adaptive Reuse Project Approach

Adaptive reuse projects are a bit more complex than New Construction. When considering such project type, we need to include not only the new area under consideration but also surrounding areas, whether building, landscaping, other improvements or neighbors, as part of the overall approach. To begin the project, careful study of existing condition is necessary to be able to tie new and existing together into a well functioning product.

Our Guideline for Adaptive Reuse outlines in detail all steps necessary to prepare design documentation.

Highlights
  • Zoning and Building Requirements provide parameters for the project.
  • Client’s Program serves as a foundation for the design.
  • Existing context is important and is used as canvas for the building expression.
  • New area must seamlessly intertwine with the existing area. To do that, existing construction needs to be carefully studied to insure proper fit and tie between both conditions.
  • Functional product is achieved through application of Modern Design principles, for both interior and exterior.
  • Interaction with the client via 3D drawings and modeling for greater understanding of the concept and solutions.
  • Budgeting criteria for the project from its outset, through utilization of Contractors’ knowledge base.
  • Incorporation of the IPD (Integrated Project Delivery) process as soon as the concept is created.
  • Elimination of inaccuracies in the project documentation through use of the BIM (Building Information Modeling) Technology.
  • Client’s active involvement on the project is essential throughout design duration.
  • Solution to client’s requirements, either resulting from several alternates combined into one or developed from the favorite one into a final solution to the project program.
  • Our expertise in Adaptive Reuse allows clients to achieve functional product.

Green Architecture

Rice Straw Bale and Recycled Steel Sustainable System designed by Marek Stoklosa, AIA (Mark Stoklosa Architect, Inc.)

What is Green Architecture?

It is a design for projects that are constructed with the use of recyclable and sustainable materials. The goal here is to conserve resources and energy. In California, this process is regulated by the requirements of the CalGreen Code. Buildings worldwide consume about 40% of all energy produced. Some building materials only exist in finite quantities. Others are produced with a tremendous energy output. Many of the materials are produced/explored with an adverse impact on the natural environment.

Why Go Green?

We are not advocating a total return to a horse and buggy here. We have a rational approach to Green Architecture, sustainability, and conservation of resources. We understand that clean water and clean air are important to everybody. At the same time, progress needs to continue, to create prosperity and to improve the quality of life for future generations. We can not just stop exploration of some of the resources “cold turkey”, but while we use them, we can look for ways to conserve and find alternates in a rational way. We are stewards of the Earth and our environment; therefore, we need to inhabit it wisely and responsibly.

How Does It Work?

It became obvious to me that the best way to produce Green Architecture was to work with materials that are recyclable or are the by-products of other industries. By-products of agriculture, for instance, can be used in many building processes.

We found that niche because there was a need for such solutions, and we developed an expertise in Green Architecture Design by creating a Sustainable System comprised of recycled steel and rice straw bales.

Our encounter with Green Architecture begun in 1995 on a housing project, long before Sustainable Design was popular (a “religion” to some or a hip buzzword to others.)

Rice Straw Bale is a by-product of the rice harvest. Rice Straw Bale is comprised of Rice Straw, baled by a machine. There is a rich history of various straw baling processes. In California, as well as other states, straw burning is prohibited to prevent air pollution. Because of this farmers found themselves in a dilemma, specially Rice Growers. Rice straw is composed mostly of Silica, therefore it can not be used as animal feed. It does not decompose….But with rice being second largest cereal produced in the world (USA is third largest producer), the amount of straw accumulation becomes a staggering problem. Therefore using Rice Straw in building envelopes is a fantastic solution to the storage problem and thanks to its qualities it can withstand demands of building industry as well as time. The straw bales come in two sizes 36″x12″ x 16″ and 48″ x 16″ x 24″. Supply of Rice Straw Bales is constant and will continue as long as humans consume Rice.

Recycled Steel – All steel used in construction (in the USA) is recycled. For instance recycling five cars allows to frame an average house. In yearly terms, by Recycling Steel, we save enough energy to power 18 million homes. Process of recycling Steel is way less expensive and energy demanding than manufacturing it from iron ore. Steel can be recycled infinitely.

Rice Straw Bale and Recycled Steel System highlights
  • The System saves up to 80% on energy costs in buildings
  • The Construction Cost is less than conventional Wood Frame Construction.
  • Time of construction is usually cut in half.
  • Air Conditioning demand is very low – HVAC units are hardly used (insulating value of the straw bale wall is R-54).
  • Recycled Steel as a Structural Element, provides superior Seismic Resistance and Load Bearing Capacity.
  • Resistance to insects and rot. Rice Straw does not decay in moist conditions due to its silica content. Insects do not eat it nor inhabit it, and steel is not edible to insects either.
  • Rice Straw Bales only smolder when exposed to fire even for as long as two hours. Rice Straw Bales as part of wall construction, in combination with other materials, forms a fire-protective assembly.
  • Rice Straw Bales are separated from exterior cladding, which minimizes any intrusion of moisture from outside.
  • System accepts any type of exterior and interior finishes.
  • Can be built in Rural and Urban areas.
  • It is applicable to pretty much all building types.
  • Does not conflict with the requirements of current Building Codes.
  • We incorporate reasonable elements of Sustainable Design into all of our Projects.