More Customer Kudos :)

Hi Mike, We are excited to be very nearly done with all projects. I will send a couple of pictures in a separate email but since Frank and crew just finished last week and we are just now starting to move into the space, it doesn’t look its House Beautiful best yet. We are very pleased with the space, your design, and how everything looks. … And it came in on budget.

    Thanks to both you and Dane for everything you did for us, we really appreciate the responsiveness from you both at crunch times. We can’t believe it’s over a year since we moved into this house and that we are finally more less done with it. I’ll send a few more pictures when we get the furniture moved in and curtains up. Thanks again,


from One Story to Two Story in Land Park

Antoher MFMalinowski AIA/Applied Architecture Way Second Story conversion nearing completion on Marty Way in Old Land Park. From an original 3/1 footprint we are growing a 5/3 ‘new’ old home. The clean and classic lines foretell how well the finished product will fit into the Land Park context – as if it was another 1930 cottage! Even the new master shower will show the ‘we moved up into the attic’ character. while all the amenities and energy performance are above current standards.

Homes are Hot in Sacramento Again

Home building permits jump by 55 percent in Sacramento By Hudson Sangree> Home building permits were up nearly 55 percent in the Sacramento area during the first two months of this year compared with the same period last year, according to a report by the California Homebuilding Foundation/Construction Industry Research Board. In January and February, there were 533 permits for single-family homes issued in Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer and Yolo counties, the housing industry group said late last week. That was up from 344 in January and February 2012, it said. The latest results mirror a statewide increase in building permits for single family homes. In Southern California’s Inland Empire, which experienced a boom and bust in residential construction similar to Sacramento’s, the number of permits pulled nearly doubled. Other areas of Southern California and the Bay Area also experienced dramatic increases in the rates of building permits issued. Read more here: storylink=cpy

It Takes Too Long to Hatch an Architect

Lawyer: 8 years; Doctor 10 years

Architect: 15.5 years … and counting … Why does it take so Long to hatch an Architect in the US  (far longer than in other countries)

… and … what can be done about it.


It takes too long to hatch an architect


Perhaps the ticket to sustainable change is not just a faster path, but an adjustment to focus on the core skills that are required to be licensed:  those that Protect the Public Health Safety and Welfare.

It turns out that most of the public thinks Codes and Construction knowledge are the most valuable skills of an Architect.  (AIA Research).   Perhaps we need a shift toward that realm in the focus of Architectural education …

As it turns out, the odds are not so good for that student whose prime driver is to become  the “Next Front Page Starchitect “…

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:

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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.

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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.

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Standing tall in Sacramento’s Urban Core: Globe Mill


Sacramento’s Globe Mill is Historic Adaptive Reuse that is Transit Oriented, Affordable and Green:  a tough Downtown Development that has made a difference.  Applied Architecture, Inc’s Michael F. Malinowski AIA takes a stand for Urban Infill in the November 2012 Business Journal.

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How the economy is upending young architects hopes


This article hits straight on at the disconnect between education of Architects and the realities of the profession.  I believe at the core of this problem is the fact that somewhere near 80 percent of the professors in architectural programs across the US are not licensed professionals.  

Service to society and protection of the public health safety and welfare should come back into focus as the foundation for the profession.  That, I believe, is the path toward being a trusted advisor to those who finance, develop and construct the built environment.  Increasingly, the built environment is shaped without architects; and it shows.

By Caela J. McKeever

September 25, 2012.

Asking when I knew I wanted to be an architect is like asking when I first fell in love with my husband, or the exact instant I became a Christian. There was no moment of realization, only a soothing understanding that this should be my life’s work.

But six years after graduating from college, I’m struggling to plant architectural roots as strong as marriage and faith.  My peers from the Class of 2006 are also struggling; we’re tired and overworked, our energy drained and passion diluted.

The evidence sits in my refrigerator: chevroned tall boys of Saison ale and a meticulous shortbread fruit tart, both crafted by former co-workers and classmates who initially pursued architecture only to search for fulfillment elsewhere. Photographers, typographers, bakers, bikers, and brewers are all disguised on LinkedIn and Facebook as design interns.  There’s a renaissance happening among young architects  —  and it’s not in architecture.

This June I resigned from my job at a downtown Seattle firm to focus on architectural licensure and nonfiction writing. The decision took nine months to reach, but when I finally announced my resignation to peers and co-workers, the unanimous support I received was astounding. Though I knew I wasn’t alone in my disappointment with the profession, I wanted to know more about my peers’ personal experiences than 140 Twitter characters and regular happy hours allowed. 

I had suspicions about why some of my fellow interns had recently abandoned the profession, and why many others were growing weary trying to stay in it. A gulf stretched between the projects of the office world and the projects of our college days. The legal responsibilities of a licensed architect are to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of a building’s occupants, but during our five years as students we were taught that architecture was more than this — we were responsible for creating spaces that provided for people’s physical and emotional well being. We were builders, artists, and humanitarians, entrusted with listening to, observing, and assimilating the culture around us into engaging, thriving, magical places.

Our self-chosen senior thesis topics, the culmination of our architectural educations, were small windows into our souls. Those projects may not have been designed with real-world constraints, but they symbolized an emotional connection to something —   music, travel, cultural heritage, sustainability, humanitarianism —   that we felt should be inherent in any project but was missing from the ones we now found ourselves working on into the bleak hours of the morning.

This gap between what we yearned for architecture to be and what it really was, I believed, was the seed of our disenchantment with the profession, and our impetus for leaving it. 

Inspired by professional surveys regarding the future of architecture, I created my own survey and asked approximately 100 design interns to reflect on their senior thesis projects and subsequent professional experiences.

Over the next few weeks I received 35 responses from 2006/2007 graduates from Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Manhattan, Honolulu, and Abu Dhabi. My theory was partially correct, but not in the way I expected: a lack of respect, for both design integrity and individual effort, was the biggest origin of disappointment. Like me, many were dismayed by a lackluster passion and conviction for good design, and perhaps even more so, the fragility of workplace humanity in the industry — both in the treatment of others and in how we ourselves were treated.

“In a way, when I left college, the one thing I never experienced before, nor did I anticipate, was such massive segregation and pigeonholing,” said one 2007 Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo graduate. “I never expected to be made to feel so useless and to question myself as much as I have, for what seems like no reason at all.”

“I feel underutilized, underpaid, underappreciated, undervalued, and invisible most of the time,” replied one co-worker.  Three weeks later she left the profession. 

A University of Idaho graduate lamented, “My experience over the last 2-3 years has really made me question this profession, and my role in it.” Later he admitted, “I need to ignite my passion for architecture again.”

Like architectural alumni before us, the Class of 2006 was introduced to a seemingly arbitrary world of unrealistic deadlines, exhausting work hours, and underwhelming pay after graduation. Our school years in studio prepared us for some late nights, and we expected to be at the bottom of the design ladder initially. But we found sunsets at the office implementing last-minute design changes were the rule rather than the exception, and the recession kept us at the bottom much longer than we hoped by preventing new graduates from taking our place. Even then, some experiences were extreme; for those who headed to the East Coast after graduation, working on high-profile, high-design projects meant working for free for months in the hopes they would eventually be hired as paid employees.

After reading my peers’ responses and examining my own feelings towards my recent departure, I found myself asking this question: in order to be considered successful — worthy even — in the eyes of the profession, must architecture’s roots be deeper than marriage and faith?

In a 2003 Seattle Post-Intelligencer piece about young architectural firms in Seattle, journalist and architect Sheri Olson observed, “Even in a profession that tends to eat its young  —   with soul-crushing internships and expensive licensing exams — we have far fewer than normal up-and-coming architects.”

This professional cannibalism is devastating, not only to our generation, but previous generations who experienced the same detrimental cycle — and who now either suffer from post-licensure amnesia, or simply have no desire or reason to look back at the mountain they climbed and question its steep ascent.

Olson’s second observation is just as acute today as it was 10 years ago; in addition to exam fees as burdensome as they were in 2003, study material is expensive and difficult to acquire if not provided by your employer. Though popular culture tends to erroneously portray typical architects as upper-middle-class, these expenses are difficult to accommodate for young interns on beginning salaries.

Many responders admitted that, compared to their mindset upon graduation, licensure isn’t a top priority anymore. While being a licensed architect is a prerequisite to owning your own practice, and can be an asset at small firms, there is little financial or professional incentive to become licensed while working at large firms, which often have well-developed processes in place that involve select licensed individuals signing drawings for the entire company.

It doesn’t help that the organization administering the licensure maze, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, is, according to one of my peers, “about as responsive as a corpse.” The proprietary software created specifically for the exams and distributed on the NCARB website is only usable on outdated computers (both my Mac laptop and Dell desktop computer are not compatible), and given that the exam is entirely digital, the expected four to six weeks gestation period for each exam’s results is agonizingly slow (thankfully, however, I received my first exam’s results in two weeks).

It would be easy to blame superiors and a faceless bureaucracy for our frustrations and subsequent flight, but we should share some of the blame.

The problem is exacerbated by a generational gap in communication and expectation, and in order for change to happen, we need to practice the same level of collaboration that we expect from our leaders.  Our class entered the profession with high expectations for ourselves and our anticipated opportunities, and when they weren’t met, we felt slighted, swindled, snubbed.  After experiencing a workplace form of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief, we stopped caring and became indignant.  This produced two scenarios: caring so little as to produce mediocre work, or caring so little as to abandon the profession entirely.

Those who vocalized their frustrations in an attempt to remain engaged either battled for success or let disappointment build until they reached a breaking point. At different times in my career, I have been an example of both the former and latter cases.   And like us, future generations of young interns will suffer the same rollercoaster if ours does not attempt to close the gap.

A few weeks after architect Andrew Maynard’s ArchDaily article highlighting the profession’s dreadful work/life balance reputation and employee exploitation in architectural office culture began spreading like a welcome fungus across the Facebook pages of my peers, I found myself discussing the merits, rather than the pitfalls, of a design education with a 2005 University of Oregon graduate at a recent Bellevue College lecture.  “I think what architecture school really did,” he reflected, “is teach me how to think.”

Those who have left the field have no regrets about initially pursuing an architectural education even after the recession forced many laid-off interns to consider a career change earlier than they may have initially considered. But in order to maintain the health of the profession, a fundamental change in how young interns are integrated into the design environment, and in how they apply their education, needs to occur.

This idea is nothing new. The early 2000’s saw a resurgence of interest in the issues and rights of architectural interns locally and nationally, but the conversation faded with the onset of the recession. Thankfully ,the analytical, observational and cultural skills imparted by our architectural education created a sharp, versatile, empathetic group of individuals that can change our communities  —  whether by buildings, beer, or baked goods. I hope my peers and I persevere through this renaissance with our architectural passion intact. Eventually it will be our turn to lead, mentor, and collaborate with young architects wading into the profession. And if we’ve missed our opportunity to create change from the bottom-up, we must challenge ourselves to glance back at those old and worn mountain trails, and to implement change from the top-down.

But there’s hope. Another trait my generation happens to share, for better or worse, is stubborn determination.

“For all my cynicism,” wrote that earlier 2007 Cal Poly grad, “I believe there is a good side to architecture.” 

Caela J. McKeever is an architectural graduate of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and recently completed the nonfiction certificate program at the University of Washington. After working on large East and West Coast retail projects for six years, she is currently pursuing architectural licensure and projects concerning architectural humanities, interior architecture, and design for children. She can be reached through

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New APA Case Study features Applied Architecture’s Galt Place Project

Using a Wood Podium can help a mixed use multifamily project meet both budget and environmental goals.  

On behalf of Woodworks Michael F. Malinowski AIA has presented an analysis of his wood podium design for recently completed Galt Place around the country: Seattle, Portland, LA, Washington DC, Atlanta, Charlotte, Boston and more.  Now the APA is releasing a Case Study report on this topic that features Applied Architecture’s Galt Place along with Oceano, a wood podium design by Architects Orange.

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Applied Architecture Open House: October 26th! Part of the AIA Central Valley Architectural Fesitival

Come visit our studio open house as part of the October AIACV Architecture Festival.  

In the quirky open,  20 foot  high skylit  interior under the glitter covered dome you will find an inside/out fish pond,  color shifting LED floor lighting,  bamboo planters  made from  construction debris ,  and an eclectic  composition of art , Ikea cross  mixed parts  and pieces ,  exposed metal , concrete,  steel  and wood.   Really

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East Sacramento new home comes to life

Move in day for our east sacramento clients has come … they were so gracious as to host a party for the many who helped them get to success including subcontractors, their families, and friends and neighbors.   Thanks right back to you, Ed and Kathleen! 

It was heartwarming to a note of thanks addressed to the architect, interior designer, and contractor that included this line  “You three – Mike, Pamela and Valentin –are the "godparents" of our new home.  Blushing now ….

A light filled and spacious house on a 40 x 100 foot parcel; all done for a lot less than $200 psf including fees permits and landscape … including the latest green sustainable features such as non-vented roof of closed cell foam; instant hot water and central vacuum; bamboo and no voc carpeting; led lighting throughout.   I call that a ‘hat trick’!

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Capitol Lofts Project Tax Credit finacing approved today! After more than a decade in the works, this adventure is finally going forward!

At 2pm this afternoon the Tax Credit Financing for the Capitol Lofts project was approved by the State Tax Credit Allocation Committee.  Less than half the projects – all scoring ‘maximum points’ in the CTAC vetting process – were funded due to limited resources.

This site on R Street between 11th and 12th has been stalled on the ‘launch pad’ for development for nearly a decade an a half.  As the previous development efforts had been stymied, in December of 2011, CFY Development Inc led by Cyrus Youssefi and his son Ali teamed with Michael F. Malinowski’s Applied Architecture Inc and attorney Pat Sabelhaus to take a fresh look at this landmark site.  This is the same development team behind the award winning Globe Mills and Historic Hotel Stockton historic adaptive reuse projects.

The concept funded today includes 116 units of rental housing, which range from studio mezzanine lofts to three bedroom 2 bath family sized apartments; both affordable and market rate rents.  There will also be over 14,000 sq ft of streetfront retail.  The historic six story warehouse is brought back to life; supplemented with new construction on the adjacent ‘pit’ that combines two levels of parking with a multi story 60 ft high new building wrapped in brick.  

An ‘art’ theme flows through the project that ties it to the emerging Arts District of the R Street corridor.  At the heart of the project – where the National Register qualified historic building meets the new lofts – is a large terrace covered with a Japanese maple forest, illuminated at night with firefly lighting that will be quietly mesmerizing.


The design was presented to the public on June 11th to a very positive reception; a synopis of the presentation is on the CADA website.  

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Hello R Street Friends,

Today was a big day for R Street!   CADA is excited to announce that earlier today the Capitol Lofts project (CADA Warehouse), located at 11th and R Streets, was award $18 Million in low-income housing tax credits.   The federal tax credits will allow the Capitol Lofts to move forward and start construction within the next seven months.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The Capitol Lofts project is finally going to happen!  

Next spring, CADA’s development partners, CFY Development and Holliday Development,  will be begin constructing  116 mixed-income housing units and 13,000 square feet of commercial retail space.  The construction will be completed in the spring of 2015.   When finished, you will see a mixed-use, transited-oriented, brownfield, historic adaptive rehab, and infill development project that will continue the transformation of R Street’s Historic District that began with the streetscape project completed earlier this year.  

CADA, CFY Development and Holliday Development, could not be happier to be in this position after so many years.  We want to thank all of you that have supported and championed this project over the years.  As many of you know, the journey to get to this point has been full of bumps and twists, but now we can finally see the end.    We are very happy to share this news with you and hope you are too.   

See you at the groundbreaking next year!  


Todd Leon

R Street Development Manager

Capitol Area Development Authority (CADA)

1522 14th Street

Sacramento, CA 95814

PH:  916-323-1272

Cell: 916-508-4272





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R Street Loft Project Continues to Move Forward!


More key steps forward for the R Street Art Lofts are falling into place !!!

116 living units (from studio mezzanine lofts to 3 bedroom 2 bath apartments) street front retail, art studios!  Over 200,000 sq ft urban infill with both historic adaptive reuse and new construction!    

  • The State Historic Preservation Office recommends approval of National Register listing of the Historic six story warehouse ! This is a key step forward in the historic tax credit approval process – thanks to our historic consultant Paula Boghosian and SHPO for the quick step time!

  • The State Tax Credit Allocation Committee has listed the project in the Funding Queue for Affordable Housing Tax Credits!  A stellar performance by CFY’s Cyrus and Ali Youssefi working with attorney Pat Sabelhaus and the team!  

Within weeks we expect the next major piece to this puzzle should be falling into place with issuance of the Housing Tax Credits!  In the meantime, we are continuing our full court press forward on this adventure.  

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The Greenest Building is Old

Recent research has found that the greenest building is an Existing Building – probably historic – saved, and retrofitted for energy efficiency.  Using what we have is smarter and more sustainable than tearing down and building new.  No surprise there – but surprised to see it the subject of an article in Building Magazine!  



What is the Greenest Building?

It’s not necessarily a new, ultra-modern skyscraper – in fact, the greenest building may already be in your portfolio.

By Janelle Penny

The concept of the “greenest building” conjures up thoughts of new, sustainably designed buildings with huge alternative energy installations, cutting-edge mechanical and lighting systems, and expansive on-site recycling programs.

But as a new report by the Preservation Green Lab (part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation) posits, the greenest building may not be a brand-new, eco-friendly structure. In fact, it’s more likely to be an existing building that’s been repaired, brought up to code, and retrofitted with energy-efficient systems.

Whether you’re starting an adaptive reuse project or simply modernizing an older building, the process starts the same way – making sure the extensive renovation is more beneficial than just demolishing the old building and starting over from scratch. In addition to the possible financial incentive, the reuse project should offer an expected carbon footprint lower than what would be emitted from a new construction project. It should also require a smaller scope of work than erecting a new building, even though extensive remodeling is likely needed.


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Family Forest Estate for Sale: High Sierra Retreat

Curious?   18.5 acres, abuts Lake Spaulding campground and boat launch.  3 miles off I80 at 5200 ft elevation.  Year round access, creek, rustic historic cabin, power and phone.  On the historic Emigrant Trail.  Merchantable Timber estimated at 400,000 board feet.

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Capitol Lofts Project Open House

We had a great turn out for the open house presentation of the R Street Art Loft project.  Mike did the obligatory arm waving, never once losing his hat!  Funding is inching ahead; the green light should be just a few weeks away.


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