Remodeling is not an easy path

The ViewRail Stair is partially complete … and plywood marks the location of the giant back glass doors to come
The floating stair will keep the house far more open and airy than it was before
The view from the expanded and totally redone master suite is one of the big payoffs Lakeside is sweet!

It’s quite the journey to do a ‘whole house remodel’ … but the big return is to enjoy the final space, views, and character. This transformation will take a very dated cut up home that was originally a series of boxes with windows and open things up very dramatically. South Sacramento, contractor Josh Hermann; design by Applied Architecture Inc, MF Malinowski FAIA

Globe Mill 12 Year Milestone

It’s so hard to believe it was 12 years ago we completed the iconic Globe Mill project, saving an abandoned industrial complex on the edge of Downtown Sacramento for loft and senior housing. A once in a lifetime experience in so many ways … and how much has changed since then.

Rest in peace Ali Youssefi


On behalf of the California Preservation Foundation’s Board of Trustees, we are pleased to inform you that the The Bel Vue was selected to receive a 2020 Preservation Design Award in the Rehabilitation category.  We congratulate you and the project team for your outstanding work and your dedication to historic preservation.  We received more than 50 nominations this year, a record for CPF and evidence of the many successful projects throughout the state.

The award will be presented at the California Preservation Awards, to be held online on October 21, 2020, as part of a month-long celebration with a focus on the eighteen winning projects. We are excited to announce a new format and scope for the awards, including a series of educational webinars, an online Preservation Expo, and a movie night to complement the formal awards ceremony. In the last six months, CPF’s online programming has attracted thousands of visitors from across the U.S. and fourteen countries. With that in mind, all of the California Preservation Awards programs will be open to the public via Zoom and Facebook LIVE, further expanding the audience for historic preservation and creating larger impacts in wider communities. 

The California Preservation Awards showcase the best in historic preservation, recognizing achievements in architecture, history, design, and engineering. The The Bel Vue is an excellent example of this, and we are thrilled to recognize your work. Please review and submit the important forms listed in the attached document so CPF can give you and your team the recognition you deserve during the awards presentation.

Your exemplary contribution to the preservation of California’s rich and diverse historic resources will be recognized during our festive events, on our website, and on our social media streams

We look forward to seeing you live online before an international audience on October 21st!  Congratulations!

Our latest ADU in midtown

A former small ‘storefront’ that was added decades ago didn’t find much interest from office users – but in a new incarnation as a spiffy, stylish and small living Accessory Dwelling – it was rented immediately. The S Street location is the site of some other Accessory Dwellings we are currently working on – the word is getting out that these small independent units have people eager to move in!

A few words from Mike about that Civic Engagement bug …

Service to the Profession & Community Spotlight: Mike Malinowski, FAIA


The Chapter’s Civic Engagement Team (CET) are shining a spotlight, and building a repository of profiles, that celebrate the dedicated AIA Central Valley members who positively influence the profession and their communities through advocacy and volunteerism. Kudos to these individuals for creating “inspiration through action.” We hope they will inspire YOU to serve!

Do you know of an AIA member worthy of recognition? Please contact the CET via the Chapter office:


Applied Architecture Inc.

How does your career trajectory include service to society and the profession, and what sustains your continued engagement?

After 40 years of running what I consider a boutique architectural practice, it’s hard to remember how I first caught the “service to society” bug – but it’s definitely part of my DNA. I can’t imagine not having a half dozen or more ‘projects’ that stretch out to the boundaries of the profession, my community, my country, my planet. Current service includes AIA National Center for Leadership, Architecture 2030 (new edition of the Zero Code for California); the ICC IEBC Code Committee, the Streamline Institute non profit behind the PASS permit streamlining program (President and founder), AIA CA consulting focused on Climate Action through Code and Regulatory Change; major efforts include bringing the ZeroCode into Cal Green; expanding the California Existing Building Code to include all three compliance paths with huge embodied carbon savings; mentoring – and learning from – my staff, and … well, you get the idea 

Is there a specific time that you felt your contributions made an impact and/or when your skills as an architect made a difference?

Once the habit develops, architecture seems to extend to include all human issues, and all of architecture takes on a ‘service to society’ focus. The potential for one person to make a difference is enormous, opportunities are relentless, and the only persistent obstacle is the length of a day.

Was there a specific person who “nudged” you to become involved?

Once you get really engaged in leadership you find yourself immersed in a pool filled with inspirational, action oriented, supportive and dynamic people … and that leads to a nudge a minute at times!

Sometimes little moves can help Streamline cities

Sacramento’s Plan reporting system allows architects to sign up for ‘update messages’ – but when they arrive, they only reference a internally set ‘code’- not the project address, name or other identifying information. This creates a lot of additional work to determine which notice affects ‘which job’. An email request from MF Malinowski FAIA to the building official resulted in an update to the City in just a couple of weeks – an example of how small moves and help with Streamlining for everyone.

Climate Action via Code Change

Typical building code development unfolds over a long time frame extending over years. WHile this deliberate process allows both for thorough vetting and keeping the pace of change manangeable for the very many stakeholders who work with the code, it’s doesn’t work well for response to acute problems. We will need to look at codes in a new way based on the climate emergency that is unfolding before our eyes.

“We’re in a Climate Damn Emergency” Gov Gavin Newsom

Midtown Sacramento a Great Place for Accessory Dwelling

Can you imagine behind your private and spacious backyard: an ‘owner’ full 2 car garage with attached shop and home brewery, and a separate private ‘tenant’ garage to accompany a 1200 sq ft 2 bedroom 2 bath apartment with a private balcony, pop out glassy eating nook, spacious master suite, great room with island kitchen and entertainment wall … taking shape through Applied Architecture, the ADU experts for Midtown Sacramento

The Alley Side with private tenant access
The Backyard with ‘drive through’ owner access; shop and home brewery. Windows on this side are ‘blanked’ so owner has a beautiful facade and at the same time full backyard security and privacy

National Park Service Approval

We got word today that the National Park Service has approved the Bel-Vue historic rehabilitation project for the federal Historic Tax Credits!  Another one added to Applied Architecture’s 100% success rate for technical Secretary of Interior Standard / ‘Part 3’ Final Approvals.    

xSubject: Bel Vue Apartments, Part 3 decision


July 8, 2020


PROPERTY: The Bel Vue Apartments, 1117-1123 8th Street, Sacramento, Los Angeles, CA






The National Park Service (NPS) has reviewed your Historic Preservation Certification Applications – Part 3- Request for Certification of Completed Work for the property cited above and has determined that the completed rehabilitation meets the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.    


Due to the ongoing public health emergency, NPS Technical Preservation Services staff are currently teleworking from home. This notice of decision is a copy solely for notice to the applicant. An officially signed application decision (dated July 6, 2020) will be mailed to you as soon as possible, but please anticipate that there may be up to a 1-to-2-week delay.



Antonio Aguilar

Historical Architect

Technical Preservation Services

National Park Service

Urban Infill Housing taking shape in Curtis Park

Two mirror image homes taking shape right now in Curtis park – on tiny 40 x 40 parcels.  This is urban infill in action!  These are four bedroom 3 bath with 2 car attached garages, a bit more than 2000 sq ft each in liveable area.  The rendering shows where we’re headed with an Applied Architecture transitional design motif. 


Different Distinctive Personal

When faced with great loss, recovery – back to the way things were before – is the first strategy that may come to mind once the brain is working again. But recovery can be more than that. When a family lost their Santa Rosa home a couple of years ago, they realized that they could rebuild ‘different’ – distinctive, and personal. Their recent comments, one year after moving in: We just passed our first anniversary in the house. It has been a very difficult year, for various reasons, but the house is a true source of comfort and pleasure for us. We love it, from design to quality construction. Rarely does a week go by that someone does not come up to us and tell us how much they love our house, from neighbors to complete strangers … Applied Architecture was thrilled to help bring a fresh design perspective to this still unfolding story.

Urban Infill Housing taking shape in Curtis Park

Two mirror image homes taking shape right now in Curtis park – on tiny 40 x 40 parcels.  This is urban infill in action!  These are four bedroom 3 bath with 2 car attached garages, a bit more than 2000 sq ft each in liveable area.  The rendering shows where we’re headed with an Applied Architecture transitional design motif. 

Applied Architecture – Best Residential Architect : again !!

From: []
Sent: Tuesday, May 05, 2020 7:00 AM
To: Applied Architecture Inc
Subject: Your 2020 Review as Top 3 Residential Architects by Three Best Rated® 👍

APPLIED ARCHITECTURE INC 2550 X Street (Corner of 26th and X) ,
Sacramento, CA 95818   Congratulations!  You are now listed as one of the Top 3 Residential architects in Sacramento, CA. We would like to Thank You for providing consistent high-quality service in your area of business. Our review team either approved or updated your business listing using our rigorous 50-Point Inspection which includes everything from checking reputation, history, complaints, ratings, satisfaction, nearness, trust, cost and general excellence.

The most important field on our website is the Unique description of the businesses, which has written to appeal to potential customers. Here is the blurb ” Applied Architecture Inc is one of the architectural firms in Sacramento. Mike has been active in the American Institute of Architects for over thirty-five years. They are a passionate and professional team and crafting design solutions that apply archite…”

For a full description check the link here

Three Best Rated® was created with a simple goal to find you the top 3 local businesses, professionals, restaurants, health care providers, etc., in your city. We display only businesses that are verified by our team since customers deserve only the best.

That’s not all… Businesses do not pay us to list them ever. You do not pay us for the listing at any time. We believe that local businesses provide better and personal services locally. Local businesses know your city better since they live there too. Our policy is free to list because if you can pay to list, then is it really the best business?

It has been an honour and a pleasure to work with you. Share this exciting news!

Melinda Crawford,
    “Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.”- Harold Kushner

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”- Colin Powell

“There’s constant reinvention: how you do business, how you deal with customers.” – Indra Nooyi

“If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.”- Steve Jobs


Notes from Carbon Positive 2020

Los Angeles March 2,3,4 2020 Michael F. Malinowski FAIA

Notes from the 2020 Carbon Positive Conference

The 2020 Carbon Positive Conference at the Intercontinental in downtown LA was well attended with hundreds of architects, activists, and experts from all over the world sharing insights, information and strategy. As Covid19 shifted handshakes to fist and elbow bumps, the urgency of climate action was palpable and constant. Over the three days, I found the speakers uniformly expert and compelling; the topics spanning the breadth and depth of the crisis ahead that calls us to action.

A sampling from my notes and scribbles:

“As an organization, we’ve pivoted and are addressing Climate Action as both a FOCUS and a FRAMEWORK to guide our efforts. We’re weaving this important issue into everything we do …” Debra Gerod FAIA AIACA President

The climate crisis is daunting, but it is also a call to action … a reminder of the fundamental duty of architects to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. There is no greater threat, and therefore no greater opportunity to do what we do best …”


“Don’t ask what will happen. Be what happens” … quoting historian and activist Rebecca Solnit Jane Frederick, FAIA                                      AIA 2020 President

“The most powerful instrument for change on the planet … is the stroke of a designer’s pen”

Ed Mazria FAIA Founder Architecture 2030

“A 0.2% difference in the loan rate from one bank for a green construction loan was enough incentive to influence the carbon outcome and shift the marketplace”

(referencing the margin supported by the innovative and comprehensive EDGE software developed by IFC and used worldwide

Paeshant Kapoor IFC at the World Bank Group

Forest provide 73% of the mitigation from natural climate solutions.

Mark Wishnie, Nature Conservancy

‘Using timber actually incentivizes forest stewardship. For every tree cut in north America, three trees are planted” Referencing the carbon sequestration benefits of Mass Timber

Jennifer Cover Woodworks

“Growing up, who would have thought we’d be attending a conference about saving the world”

Ned Cramer Architect Magazine

“Natural Gas is the number one driver of climate change.”

methane is 84 times more potent than CO2 for climate degradation, and gas leaks from the distribution system are endemic, averaging one leak per mile in Boston for example

Panama Barthomay, Building Decarbonization Coalition

“.. the way we now typically design large buildings, they become uninhabitable when disconnected from fossil fuels” … “most building that will be here in 2050 are here right now”… “lets do what MASS Design does in Africa right here: love the buildings we have”

Carl Elefante FAIA Quinn Evans

“We need new disruptors … Business as usual is killing us …

It’s both system change and personal change. We must all rebel. Being professional does not mean being indifferent…

2030 is the new 2050 …

COV19 shows what an emergency response looks like …

We are in the midst of a mass extinction of our own making”

Farhana Yamin Track 0

Remove Less    reuse buildings must be prioritized over demolition fix broken things, buildings, places to keep embodied carbon investments intact

My takeaway outline of Climate Action for this architect

Remove Less    reuse buildings must be prioritized over demolition fix broken things, buildings, places to keep embodied carbon investments intact

Move Less develop further the many robust tools we have to allow virtual meetings, to avoid the carbon costs of flying and transit

Use Less increase efficiency of our building and fabrication process to eliminate waste)

Emit Less learn to make the smart carbon choices; research and apply the growing body of tools and resources that can support daily climate action in practice


I decided to make my ‘airport to downtown’ connection ‘low carbon’ … and found the biggest challenge was simple wayfinding (thank goodness for cellphone google). Once I figured out which bus would get me to the subway, I was kind of shocked that I was the only passenger on a huge cranky old hauler that got me to the Red Line. From there it was easy.

Conclusion: no extra time, and savings in carbon and cash … and another move toward a personal ‘new normal’ of everyday climate action.

MF Malinowski FAIA  March 6 2020

Kudos from a customer: warms the heart

Hi Mike,

…. I was very pleased to work with Joe Montalvo and his team of tradesmen.  I credit him with the way costs were contained; they ended  up being very close to the estimates and allowances we assembled last July.  There were surprises and complications along the way of course, but we worked together to solve problems.  There is one more inspection and Joe won’t call for it until fans are installed in the crawlspace as specified.  The cost of the project came out to be very close to your estimate of nearly a year ago, when initial discussions were leading up to actual drawings and specifications.


The remodel has improved the look of the house immensely.  The reconfigured interior space is great, and we really like the Velux skylights you recommended.  I will soon have new furniture and then the space can begin to feel like home again.  The patio is especially terrific.  Reorienting it along the long axis of the house, under the new trusses has made a huge difference in function and appearance. 


Many thanks for getting us to this point.  The house is a better fit now, and we should have many good years to enjoy it.



Container Architecture in an Urban setting

Container architecture is a trendy modality that is gaining traction.  When driven to consider this motif strictly by ‘low budget’ the results can be disasterous.  There are emerging examples of how this design specialty can add an edgy vibe in a low density environment, even in a ‘quasi urban’ setting.   


Ideally, infill development has design details that contribute to a neighborhood’s economic vitality. Examples include high quality materials, permanent landscaping, creative and innovative use of light, color, and form; massing which is compatible with the existing streetscape, and thoughtful provisions for such mundance necessities as utilities, trash, security, and ‘eyes on the street’ at all hours. 


Using Containers in architecture is a new and evolving motif that can in theory achieve desired goals, but the highest degree of design experience talent and resources are required to do so with this modality as compared to more conventional development. A well thought out design whether using containers or not adds stability, visual appeal, economic vitality and beauty in façade and landscape treatment.  

Here is an example of a container ‘restaurant’ structure that is in downtown Carlsbad.  In it’s context, I believe this has been a successful installation.  Part of the story is that the container motif helped avoid any excavation on this former gas station occupied parcel with serious ground contamination that prevented excavation.  Landscape consisted of stabilized decomposed granite and artificial turf, with wrought iron fencing.  There are probably other examples of how this design challenge has been ‘pulled off ‘ – along with I’m afraid many examples of attempts which have been less than successful. 


For an example of what would be a visual disaster in a similar urban location, here is a different example of a ‘container art gallery’.  While this project has won design awards – it works only in its suburban setting as a temporary installation space.  In an urban setting it would have been a visual disaster.  The interiors are lovely – but this composition is not so friendly on the exterior.  More here:

Posted via email from Applied Architecture StudioNews

Design Studies for a new Second Story

Another Land Park Transformation taking shape: From One story to Two.  Sustainability includes making better use of small homes on small parcels to accommodate the needs of modern families.  In the traditional close in neighborhoods of Sacramento like Land Park and East Sacramento, respecting the neighborhood includes respecting the traditional context.

Posted via email from Applied Architecture StudioNews

AIA Retreat for 2013

Bob Chase AIA, incoming AIACV President, gathered the incoming board and others for a four hour Board Retreat on Friday the 18th .  This was an intense and lively session laying out AIACV vision for creating value for its members in 2013 and beyond. 


The meeting began with an update on the National AIA Repositioning initiative presented by Michael F. Malinowski AIA.  Mike is one of three architects from California that serve on the National Board; and he is a member of AIA’s Repositioning Committee. 


A major announcement is expected in March at the Grassroots Conference in Washington DC:  A roadmap for action to address the opportunities and disconnects that have come to light in the year- long data gathering effort that touched over 30,000 architects, clients, and the public.

Posted via email from Applied Architecture StudioNews