Citizen Architect – what?

For the second month in a row, we are unofficially auditioning to become a part of the architecture blogroll led by Bob Borson at Life of an Architect. This month's topic of is titled, "Citizen Architect." Bob points out that "Citizen Architect" is a bit redundant and a phrase that is heard often in the field. I don't know if it has anything to do with location, but out here in California, I don't think I've heard it quite as much (shoutout to the late Professor Sambo Mockbee). 

There's been some advice for young architects by Sir Norman Foster going around on the internets that is SO spot on:

But I hope those young bloods also take a page out of Rural Studio's book that "EVERYONE needs a shelter for the soul." Too often I see architecture school graduates infatuated with becoming Bling Bling Architect or High Profile Architect. We need to go back to basics and think about who we're serving as architects and designers and why we're doing it. If you REALLY, TRULY LOVE Architecture, then you're going to have to and want to have to serve people no matter what their budget or scale. 

So what am I doing? I've spent the past year serving my first term on the City of Palo Alto's Architecture Review Board. While this comes at a particularly critical time in the city, I was honored to be able to serve the city I grew up in with my training as an architectural professional. The board reviews mostly larger architectural projects throughout the city and we're charged with design review of all new construction, and changes and additions to commercial, industrial and multiple-family projects.

The Board's goals and purposes are to:
-Promote orderly and harmonious development of the City
-Enhance the desirability of residence or investment in the City
-Encourage the attainment of the most desirable use of land and improvements
-Enhance the desirability of living conditions upon the immediate site or in adjacent areas
-Promote visual environments which are of high aesthetic quality and variety and which, at the same time, are considerate of each other. 

I'm also passionate about the time and circumstances we're in here in the Bay Area. There is so much going on in the Silicon Valley and with Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Samsung, etc.. there is a continued need for housing. More than 75% of our projects are newly relocated families or growing families working in the tech industry. It's not by coincidence that I'm blogging on the internet using both hardware and software that runs on the engineers here in the area.