Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Construction Updates at Wardelle Street Townhouses

Viewing south at our Wardelle Street Townhouses project as buildings near completion.

Affordable housing is needed now more than ever due to the impact of COVID-19. Our Wardelle Street Townhouses project for the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority provides 57 affordable units to a market in need. Access to stable, decent, affordable, and accessible housing is essential for one's wellbeing.

Late afternoon light illuminates the west facade of Building 1.

Landscaping is in place along parts of Wardelle Street.



Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Affordable Housing Update

430 Pico Affordable Housing, Brooks + Scarpa

The impact of COVID-19 has been especially severe on low-income and those of modest economic means, and the lack of affordable housing places additional pressure on house prices and rent rates, further eroding affordability. Attaining a vibrant housing market depends heavily on whether the market can provide a broader and more affordable range of housing options for tomorrow’s households.

As reported on Habitat for Humanity’s website, based on a 2019 report:

“The latest data shows that nearly 38 million households nationwide — 31.5% of all households — are paying more than 30% of their incomes on housing. That’s 20.5 million renters and 17.3 million homeowners. This is just a slight half-percentage point drop from the previous year. Homeowners saw nearly all of the modest improvement, while a near-record share of renters — 47.4% — still face unaffordable rents. In the nation’s hottest housing market areas, those struggling with unaffordability increasingly include higher-income renters.”¹

A majority of housing being built now tends to be for the higher end of the market. The relative lack of smaller, more affordable new homes suggests that the rising costs of labor, land, and materials make it unprofitable to build for the middle market. By restricting the supply of land available for higher-density development, regulatory constraints and not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) opposition may also add to the challenges of supplying more affordable types of housing.¹

The lowest-income families are often forced to make impossible choices between shelter and food, healthcare, education, and other basic needs. This deprivation is severe, predictable, and avoidable. Access to a stable, decent, affordable, and accessible home is essential to virtually every area of a person’s life. Housing is intrinsically connected to better health outcomes, economic mobility, employment prospects, and greater opportunities for people exiting the criminal justice system.²

Here are some questions that these studies point to: 

  • How might local zoning be reformed to increase rental and for-sale supply, especially at lower price points? 
  • How do we create increased down payment assistance to access safe, affordable mortgages
  • Localities, states, and the federal government should lead the efforts to provide lasting, affordable rentals. How might subsidies be retargeted towards the lower-income, first-time homeowners, and lower-income renters?
  • What would broader access to safe credit look like?

¹The State of the Nation’s Housing 2019. Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

²The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes. March 2019. National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Sparkflight Studios Firm Profile

 


Sparkflight Studios is an award-winning, DBE-certified, woman-owned firm, based in Henderson and established in Nevada for more than 16 years. We are focused on integrating sustainable practices into civic, commercial, multifamily residential, and public art projects. We believe the keys to a successful design are effective collaboration between all parties and thoughtful consideration of its impact on the community. Our passion for art and dedication to improving our community shines through in our projects and elevates our clients’ spaces.

Link to full video here.

Friday, October 16, 2020

The Big Draw 2020

The Big Draw Festival 2020

The Big Draw is a visual literacy charity that promotes the universal language of drawing as a tool for learning, expression and invention. It’s an annual event that is held between the 1st to 31st of October. The charity leads a diverse program of advocacy, empowerment and engagement, and is the founder and driving force behind The Big Draw Festival – the world’s biggest celebration of drawing. The Big Draw manages collaborative research projects, campaigns and educational conferences on visual literacy, digital technology, and STEAM. 

The types of organizations that hold the event include museums, schools, galleries, community centers, or simply people who are enthusiastic about drawing. Follow the link here to register for an event near you!

See The Big Draw 2020 MINIMAG for full details.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Stay Home - Save Lives, pt. 2


Sparkflight Studios is open for business and committed to our community and team! Through this challenging time, we continue to use our creative resources, attention to detail, and space planning expertise to provide our clients with exceptional project delivery and thoughtful spaces.

As architects, we are always looking for tools to streamline the design process and communicate our ideas. In our current situation, we’ve turned to cyberspace for real-time client feedback, where we can share three-dimensional models and create annotated sketch overlays. Look for future posts on our digital toolkit and unique design capabilities. 

The pandemic has changed the way we conduct business. It has also had a profound impact on our physical environment and public health. At Sparkflight Studios, we can consult and create solutions for evolving business practices in your restaurant or office space. Our space planning expertise is a useful tool to reevaluate floor plans through an epidemiological lens for safety measures like social distancing. As an office, we continue to uphold safety protocols such as consulting remotely and limiting field visits for projects in construction.
  • We respectfully request that visitors to the Sparkflight Studios office wear face coverings.

  • Please address all deliveries to 1489 W Warm Springs Rd, Ste 110 Henderson, NV 89014. The available window for in-person drop-off is M-F, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm.

With warm wishes for health and wellbeing,

Sparkflight Studios

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice by MASS Design Group


Photo by © Alan Karchmer
Photo by © Alan Karchmer
Photo by © Alan Karchmer
The National Memorial to Peace and Justice is sited on six acres of land in Montgomery, Alabama and is the first national memorial to victims of lynching in the US. The structure suspends eight hundred Corten steel monuments to represent the counties in the United States where racial terror lynchings took place, each engraved with the names of its victims.

Please visit the Equal Justice Initiative to learn more about the project and EJI's efforts, as Bryan Stevenson says, "to confront the truth of our past."

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

RIP John Lewis

John Lewis, right side with folded arms
"Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble."
— Rep. John Lewis (1940-2020)

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Community Giving Campaign: NPHY & FPLV



Sparkflight’s Q2 community giving wrapped up with two local organizations that have been in operation for 20 years and more. These proven non-profits are part of our City’s economic recovery solution as we all find our way through recession and pandemic’s impact.

Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY) is providing Southern Nevada’s homeless youth with help, hope, and the support needed to rebuild their lives. Their latest effort is the Housing Expansion Campaign. It’s a response to the dire need by purchasing multifamily housing properties to shelter unaccompanied homeless youth, getting them off the streets and on a pathway to self-sufficiency and success. Donate today!

We also support Family Promise of Las Vegas whose mission is to help homeless families with children in Clark County achieve sustainable housing and independence through a compassionate community-based response. Family Promise supports family resiliency with education and applied resources. They operate programs such as:

  • Family Navigation Center
  • The Bridge Home
  • Community Partnership for Opening Doors

Check out how to get involved and contribute here!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Construction Updates at Wardelle Street Townhouses


Buildings are taking shape as framing nears completion at Wardelle Street Townhouses. Strategies for sun-shading and defensible space have become visible.
Progress in construction is underway on a bright cloudless morning at our Wardelle Street Townhouses project. The construction site is electric with sounds of nail guns, bulldozers, and dirt payloads. Sparkflight Studios is excited to report that major infrastructure is in place, and buildings have taken shape.

Wardelle Street Townhouses, located caddy-corner from the new East Las Vegas Library, consists of 12 buildings and 57 affordable apartment units for the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority.  As building progresses, we regularly conduct field investigations and consult with the Contractor to ensure design intent is met.

More construction updates to come as site improvements continue and building skin is applied!

At Building 1 (image side left), exposed exterior framing receives insulation before sheathing is applied. Wardelle Street Townhouses adheres to strict residential energy efficiency requirements and will be Enterprise Green Communities certified.
Bricklayers place another course of concrete masonry units at the east side retaining walls of the Activity Center. The pattern is stretcher bond with alternating honed and split-face blocks.
Looking north at the future central access drive, framing is nearing completion at Buildings 3 and 4. Typical building services such as fire riser and roof access are shown here at the end of Building 4 (image side right).


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Be BRAVE: A Statement from The National Organization of Minority Architects


NOMA is asking our community to take an active role in eliminating the racial biases accounting for a myriad of social, economic, and health disparities, and most importantly, resulting in the loss of human lives—black lives. NOMA was founded in Detroit by 12 black architects in 1971. Born out of the Civil Rights Movement, NOMA was formed for the purpose of minimizing the effect of racism on the architecture profession.

“The air in our nation is thick with a profound sense of grief and despair. Our collective air is so very thick that it is literally hard to breathe,” said Kimberly Dowdell, NOMA national president, in the statement. “We struggle to grasp for air as we all navigate a global pandemic coupled with the deadly and pervasive virus called racism that has plagued America for over four centuries.”

Today, NOMA is calling on its members and the broader professional community to condemn racism in light of the recent tragedies, including the murder of George Floyd, and many other black men and women, who lost their lives due to the hatred sparked by racism.

“Our existing mission is to champion diversity within the design professions by promoting the excellence, community engagement, and professional development of our members,” Dowdell said. “While these issues remain important to us, we acknowledge those words feel hollow in times such as this. Unfortunately, these trying times of racial unrest occur too frequently. While the recalibration of our mission has been in the works for quite some time, our national board has voted to enact NOMA’s new mission statement, effective immediately.”

The new mission statement is as follows:

“NOMA’s mission, rooted in a rich legacy of activism, is to empower our local chapters and membership to foster justice and equity in communities of color through outreach, community advocacy, professional development, and design excellence.”


Friday, May 22, 2020

Memorial Day 2020

Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
With fullness of gratitude, we honor in quiet remembrance the brave men and women who served. Wishing you a beautiful Memorial Day weekend.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Sparkflight Studios is DBE and SBE Recertified!


As part of Nevada’s Unified Certification Program (UCP), Sparkflight Studios is recertified as both a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Small Business Enterprise (SBE) with the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT). Yes, that’s quite a lot of acronyms! So what does it mean?

The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program “is all about securing equal opportunity in business. Funded through the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the program helps businesses classified as small, woman-owned, or disadvantaged to compete in a fair environment right alongside larger corporations”. (NDOT DBE website)

Sparkflight Studios is grateful to be a recertified vendor with NDOT. We bring our extensive expertise in architectural design and construction to every project. Our abilities can contribute in other ways outside of a traditional architecture firm, such as unique signage or large-format graphics and public art-- including workshops, environmental furniture, presentation, and design diagram graphics. Our ‘WATER STREET DISTRICT’ signage project is one example that combines technology, art, and transportation. See here for more details.

Our registration is NV20942793NUCP and our commodity codes are:

NAICS 541310 / SIC 8712 Architectural Services
NAICS 541430 / SIC 7336 Graphic Design Services
NAICS 541490 / SIC 7389 Other specialized design services

Download our capability statement here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

50 Years: Earth Day 2020

Vote Earth!
Earth Day reminds us every year: hope lives in you and me. It is the place where we first see things as they are, loving the world as it is. It is in this truth-telling that we offer our good intentions for the earth and all our neighbors. It is there we discover joy in the struggle to create good. Sparkflight Studios is finding opportunities in this unique time. We are driving and polluting much less, celebrating time with family, and activating our senses in the rich outdoors.

On this 50th anniversary, Earth Day has a digital presence, or “Digital Acts of Green.” Follow this link to “Vote Earth” and find your voice of hope for a better tomorrow.

  • Vote Earth
  • Volunteer
  • Create Your Own Act of Green

Make every day Earth Day with daily action!

Friday, April 10, 2020

On The Boards

Framing has begun on our Wardelle Street Townhouses project!

Now that spring is here, we are finding joy in the blue skies and emerging flora. It is a treat to get outside and into the field during this beautiful weather! Our construction projects continue to roll forward despite the current crisis. During site visits, just as in the workplace, we are strictly following OSHA health and safety prevention measures, including maintaining safe distancing and limiting group sizes as much as possible.

Despite the heaviness of the current situation, we are excited to report projects that are on the boards for Sparkflight Studios: Wardelle Street Townhouses, Pinto Campus Social Services Training Room, and Government Center Reroofing and Sealant Replacement. These projects are all in the construction phase!

At Wardelle Street Townhouses, post-tensioned structural slabs have emerged as building footprints are taking shape. This project is a new 57-unit affordable housing complex for the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority.
At Clark County Social Services Pinto Campus, Sparkflight Studios has designed a new training facility complete with A/V equipment upgrades, all new furniture and finishes, and an operable partition wall for divided training. This project is projected to begin construction this spring.
At Clark County Government Center, we steal a moment to enjoy the view as we oversee a major re-roofing and sealant replacement job.





Friday, March 27, 2020

Stay Home - Save Lives

Sparkflight Studios in virtual mode!
Though we find ourselves in challenging times, we are reminded of all the beautiful ways in which we honor one another. Washing our hands and covering our sneezes have become small acts of kindness. We are growing resilient in our steadfast ways to help one another. Here at Sparkflight Studios, we too are doing our part to slow the spread of the virus. 

As the construction industry is an essential part of infrastructure and services, we will remain open for business. Rest assured that the Sparkflight team is working safely from home, meeting regularly as a team, and all our projects are continuing to move forward. We are quite tech-savvy, so it is almost business as usual. We can consult remotely if and when the need arises.

In the sincere effort to responsibly bring our services to you, we have enacted the following protocols to avoid any unnecessary complications or disruptions:

  • We respectfully request access to the Sparkflight Studios office to be limited to employees only.
  • Please address all deliveries to 1489 W Warm Springs Rd, Ste 110 Henderson, NV 89014. The available window for in-person drop-off is M-F, 10 am - 1 pm.
  • Field visits for projects in construction are limited. We have encouraged any employee who feels sick to self-isolate. We will maintain safe distances of 6 feet apart or more. Groups of participants will not exceed 10 and will be as small as possible.
  • Project meetings will be held virtually whenever possible.
Our commitment remains to fully support you with our intense listening and problem-solving, combined with our creative spark. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. 

With the situation changing shape daily, uncertainty and anxiety can be a close companion. For anyone who is affected with COVID-19 in a personal way, our thoughts are with you. We send you and your community warm wishes of health, healing, and safety.

Sparkflight Studios

Monday, January 20, 2020

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

"I Have a Dream" 1963

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."


- MLK Strength to Love, 1963


For reflection...
Equal Justice Initiative
Community Remembrance Project
Bryan Stevenson, creator

Community Remembrance Project

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Maxxing the Mix


The Parks at Walter Reed
Our mission at Sparkflight Studios is to "design for humans," to create spaces for our neighbors that produce positive social impact. To that end, we are actively pursuing and passionate about mixed-use, multi-family affordable housing projects. These types of projects encompass what it means to truly design for the betterment of our communities. By developing an area that is a self-sustaining business and residential destination not totally reliant on cars/parking for its clientele, we are providing much-needed affordable housing while supporting economic development by bringing businesses a built-in customer base.

These projects are starting to be built across the country, with promising results. According to the Multi-Housing News website: "Developers from market-rate to affordable housing are identifying ways to create mixed-income and mixed-use developments that promote diversity, equity and integration." One such project is the redevelopment of the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. to The Parks at Walter Reed, a $1 billion mixed-use, 66-acre project. While these types of projects come with their challenges, real estate developers are starting to see the social and economic benefits of developing multi-income communities.

Recently, Anne Johnson participated in the 2019 AIA Blueprint for Better Housing to design a mixed-use site to solve housing needs in our community. In October, she led her group to present a project that not only addressed the affordable housing and economic development needs of the area, but it took it to the next level to fully maximize its potential for an enduring and valuable contribution. It did this by designing with the "triple bottom line" of sustainability in mind: people, planet, and profit. The project envisioned sustainability strategies that would produce solar energy, allow the development to grow its own food, reuse its gray water, and encourage public transit, among others. 

Creating healthy, efficient, and regenerative spaces that give more than they take and create a positive impact on the human and natural systems that interact with them are the principles of the International Living Future Institute's Living Building Challenge, a certification program for designing to make the world a better place. Living Buildings are resilient, self-sufficient, and serve as teaching tools and sources of inspiration. As sustainability is a core value for Sparkflight Studios, pursuing this certification for our projects is a natural step up for our team and one we encourage others to pursue as well.

To read more about mixed-income, mixed-use communities, click here.