Friday, December 21, 2012

Eco Home Fair revisited

As the year closes, here are some thoughts on living lightly from last year's Eco Home Fair...

As always, Anne Johnson, AIA is here to answer questions and provide brief consultations for greening your home and office with sustainable architectural strategies. We would love to visit with you anytime!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Public Housing Transformations

Since March of this year, we’ve been working with the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority to upgrade some single-family properties to comply with UFAS/ADA and local codes.  Click here to see where we started.

It’s been rewarding to know that individuals with disabilities will enjoy a better quality of life with their families in homes designed to accommodate them.

Take a look at these before/after transformations to see the incredible change. Contact us any time if you’re interested in learning more about the process, or what we can do to assist you with property upgrades.

Read more about our public housing projects by clicking here and scrolling down...

MC Mojave Construction is the contractor.
Before & After photos by Henri Sagalow Photography

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Greening Our Office: Part 3

Our green office status is an ever-evolving process.  It’s fun and challenging to discover new ways to create more sustainability and reduce waste.

We have taken our inspiration from the Harvard University Office for Sustainability (HUOS), which created Leaf level checklists for “Green Office” recognition for its colleges and departments.  The concepts and procedures can be adapted by any size business to develop practices that reduce office resource consumption while boosting the bottom line in small and large ways. 

At Anne Johnson, AIA, we are currently pursuing HUOS Leaf Three, which incorporates reviewing all actions from Leafs One and Two to keep us on track.  To participate at Leaf Three level, we have updated our employee manual to include information about our office environmental policies and goals.  We have also established a composting program in our office as part of our commitment to sustainability.  Routinely, we revisit our commitment to reduce, reuse, and recycle and celebrate the savings realized through all the small changes we have made as a “Green Office.”  See our previous steps here...

[1. Energy]
We are incorporating cost-free, passive heating and cooling with window blind manipulation and operable windows.  We are using smart power strips to more effectively reduce electricity consumption during standby modes, and also turn off electronic devices overnight.

[2. Recycling]
Our E-waste is collected for recycling including CFLs, batteries, cell phones and inkjet printer cartridges.  We deliver our large electronic waste, such as computers, laptops, and printers, to established recycling programs at Best Buy and the Blind Center of Nevada.

[3. Waste Reduction]
We are reducing page margins whenever possible to decrease the length of printed documents, as well as printing on both sides of sheets.  Also, internally, we print on the second side of previously used sheets from a permanent paper tray.

[4. Events & Meetings]
We provide condiments, seasonings, and beverages (including filtered water) in bulk to reduce waste.

[5. Kitchens & Breakrooms]
We have reusable mugs, dishware, and utensils for staff and visitors.

[6. Purchasing]
We purchase envelopes, post-it notes, and other paper products with 30% or more recycled content.

Read more about how our process has evolved here…

Friday, September 21, 2012

PARK(ing) Day today - reclaim urban space!

This year, the third annual Las Vegas PARK(ing) day is being coordinated by Green Jelly, COLABlv and the Nevada Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (NASLA) and is held in the 18b Arts District on September 21, 2012 from 4:00PM to 10:00PM.  The nearest address is Artifice at 1025 S. First Street, by South Main and Charleston Boulevard.

18b is just south of downtown Las Vegas in an area bounded by Commerce Street, Hoover Avenue, Fourth Street and Las Vegas Boulevard (at Charleston) and Colorado Avenue. You can find out more about its restaurants, galleries and businesses on their website.

The manifesto is "Reclaim your city" and the method is transforming one metered parking space into a park setting for a day.

Check out the downtown 18b Arts District, enjoy a little public green space, and engage in the discussion about how urban space is allocated.  The Downtown Backyard Project (DBP) kick-off is tonight and will extend the dialogue beyond this one-day event.

Per the groups' press release, "the 9’ by 18’ wide space will be transformed into a mini-urban park complete with sod benches, an interactive wall, trees and plants to bring a much needed green space to the downtown area."  Visitors will have the option to leave comments and participate in a survey for the Downtown Backyard Project.

PARK(ing) Day started as an "open-source" event in 2005 by Rebar, a San Francisco-based interdisciplinary studio.   Learn more about National Parking Day on the Rebar website.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Design Tools - Olioboard

We've recently discovered this amazing tool which allows designers to compile color and furniture boards with a click of the mouse.  This fun tool is called the "Olioboard".  It allows us to quickly communicate our inspirations and design directions with clients.  They can try it themselves too.

For my first Olioboard project, I gathered furniture and color pieces to create a traditional space.  A mid-tone color palette was the start of my inspiration, then the furniture came in to play.  When I think of traditional, three words come to mind - calm, orderly, and comforting.  Furniture pieces match, tables have ornate details or chunky baluster legs, sofas and living chairs are upholstered, classic moldings and trims are used on walls, wall covering with a subtle print, draped window coverings, and a large detailed area rug is used to tie to look together.

Explore the Olioboard site to discover some of the endless possibilities for creating your perfect retreat!  When you're ready for some professional design services, we're here to take that journey with you.  Call or email us for an initial consultation and let's get started!

Rochelle Aquino, Designer

Friday, August 24, 2012

Las Vegas Design Week - Think about it!

Something exciting is happening in Columbus, Ohio.  Yes, Ohio.  It's a week-long public celebration of design September 27 to October 5.  Events leading up to it have been gelling for months, and the inspiration has been building for years.   Architect Mike Bongiorno, his wife Sarah, and a number of energetic designer-types, seized the opportunity of the city's bicentennial celebration to make Design Week 2012 happen.

Events include:
CBUS Ideabook Exhibit and Opening Reception
DesignRolls: Architectural Bike Tour
Fueling the Creative Economy: Columbus as a Design Incubato
KSA Lecture Featuring Julie Snow, Julie Snow Architects
AIA Columbus Design Awards
Built in Cbus Launch Party
The Center's 2nd Annual Celebration
idUS Space

Imagine a similar event in Las Vegas!  A series of interactive, conversation-starting, diverse activities that raise awareness of the impact of all design modalities in our region: graphic, landscape, product, interior, fashion, architecture, advertising, art, etc.

Check out the story and events here.

Note: After spending ten years in Columbus, Anne considers it a second home, and is thrilled to see it receiving national attention for its long present design scene.  On a personal note, she enjoyed many coffees and book discussions with Mike and the gang at Nine.  Go Columbus!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Winchester Cultural Center: Dance Studio Room Addition

Next month, construction launches on an approximately 1,400 SF Dance Studio Room addition to the Winchester Cultural Center.  This center has cultivated the arts and beautiful desert gardens for decades.  It’s been an honor and pleasure to work with Patrick Gaffey, center director, and the talented instructors, in designing this great addition for the arts.  It’s our aspiration that this dance studio addition will inspire community members of all ages to continue to advance their talents.

The inspiration for the dance studio was taking the outdoor atmosphere indoors.  Inside the dance studio, a decorative tree sculpture with shelving serves as a “pride wall” and welcomes students.  This tree motif, echoed on the natural linoleum entrance floor and walls, enlivens and energizes both place and participants.  Easily accessed cubbies provide quick transition from daily routine into the class setting.  Alcoves on the east and west walls serve multiple purposes for the dance studio: storage, seating, acoustics, and daylighting.  An acoustical bi-fold door separates the shared storage area from the dance studio.

The dance studio is enhanced with energy efficient tubular skylights, acoustic ceiling, acoustic panels, adjustable ballet barres, glassless mirrors, resilient sprung floor for the dance surface, and new signage.  The new sound system is state of the art audio with mixer, wireless microphone receiver, and a solid-state recorder enhances the functionality of the studio, and is all designed to hide within a tilt-out cabinet.  Large windows provide daylighting, and natural ventilation.  Customizable thermal settings and wall-mounted electric fans give the dancers additional control over their comfort.

The comfortable and inviting interior is enhanced by carefully selected exterior elements.  The high Dance Studio massing creates a bookend effect and integrates with the Auditorium at the opposite end of the classroom spine, and its interior space is perfect for a dancer’s flying lift.

For outside masonry walls we specified Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) increasing the R-value from 1.7 to 13.  The roof has two-ply insulation for an R-value of 30 versus 20.  These wall and roof insulation systems exceed minimum code requirements and result in less demand for interior heating and cooling, adding to the sustainability of the project.  The cold rolled, corrugated, weathered steel at the exterior of alcove saddlebags drew inspiration from the Flamingo Wash trailhead arch and art.  This material is 100% recyclable and is up to 30% recycled or post consumer materials.

Desert landscaping integrates with the established gardens.  A drip irrigation system is also designed to accommodate future gardens planned by the Friends of Winchester.

This $500K project for Clark County brings Wright Engineers, KJE Consulting Engineers, and Sound Design International together with our team at Anne Johnson, AIA.  Kety Allred is RPM's Design and Construction Administrator for the project.  Contract for construction awarded to Pesavento Construction.

Perspective Sketches of Dance Studio

Rendering of Dance Studio

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Solstice Solarbration

Art by Adriann Helton
Get out and enjoy the first annual Solarbration this evening.  It's an arts and energy festival for Southern Nevada.  Held this year at Henderson's downtown plaza off Water Street, it will always be on June 21 for the summer solstice.  The Conservation District of Southern Nevada is hosting this outreach event, and there are many local sponsors, including Solar NV and Natural Awakenings.

Vendors at this FREE event include face-painting, energy efficiency experts, hybrid and electric vehicles, and of course food!

Per the Conservation District of Southern Nevada, proceeds will be used to commission a solar-powered public art project.

Put it on your calendars for next year!

Like it on facebook.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Accessibility Creates Livability for Five Houses

Along with meeting requirements to comply with UFAS/ADA and local codes, our design work is mindful of a special livable quality of life essential to the success of the remodel of five Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority (SNRHA) properties.

Accessibility for occupant-mobility begins with street side landscaping that is navigable and inviting. Our design work for these five scattered sites in Henderson and Las Vegas includes re-grading and concrete work, full exterior repairs and painting, full interior finishes, replacement of kitchen and bath fixtures and cabinetry, as well as provision of hard-wired smoke detectors and audio/visual doorbell alert systems for the hearing impaired. 

The design chosen for the interior includes soft and neutral colors creating a cozy atmosphere. Neutral beiges are selected for the flooring and wall treatment, while warm chestnut stains and deep brown laminates finish the cabinetry and countertops. The transfer showers are covered in wall to wall tile, and each house is complete with a fully accessible bathroom with horizontal and vertical grab bars and shower seats. These modifications will enhance the daily lives of future occupants and add value to each property and the neighborhoods surrounding them.

We are pleased to be working with Ted Otokiti and Amparo Gamazo at SNRHA, KJE ConsultingEngineers, TJK Consulting Engineers, Petty Engineering, and Mendenhall Smith Structural Engineers for the remodel and revitalization of these five properties.

Read more about accessibility solutions for property management groups... 

Color board for interior design at the homes.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

What is a LEED Accredited Professional?

To back up a bit, LEED is a third-party certification process for energy efficient and "green" building.  It stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.  LEED AP stands for LEED Accredited Professional, and is someone who has undertaken extensive training and continues to gain experience and knowledge in the field of sustainable building.

According to the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) website, "The Credential Maintenance Program (CMP) is the process by which LEED APs with specialty and LEED Green Associates renew their LEED credentials every two years through continuing education.  The renewal process allows LEED professionals to continue developing professionally within the field of green building, enhancing their resumes and improving job performance. It continues rewarding hard work while renewing the credential holder’s commitment to green building and sustainability."

Our firm principal's specialty is a LEED AP since 2006 and actively worked with the USGBC certifications and training since 2001.  She maintained the additional LEED AP BD+C credential through 2018.  Per the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) website, "The LEED AP BD+C credential provides a standard for professionals participating in the design and construction phases of high-performance, healthful, durable, affordable and environmentally sound commercial, institutional, and high-rise residential buildings.  The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) created this specialty credential to denote practical knowledge of the Green Building Design + Construction LEED rating systems: LEED for New Construction, LEED for Schools and LEED for Core & Shell.You can search for us and other credentialed professionals here…

Monday, April 9, 2012

Energy-Saving Challenge To Love

Opower, in partnership with Facebook and NRDC, has established a social energy app that allows you to see how your energy use stacks up against friends and homes across the US.  Join groups and discover how you can save even more. This leadership challenge provides a path for everyone to be a winner with individual energy savings and positive results for the very air we breathe.

Opower partnered with their first utility client in 2007 from a rented desk in San Francisco. Their purpose is to engage the millions of people who are in the dark about their energy use. “Our product platform now reaches more than 10 million homes in North America. Together with our clients and their customers, we're saving energy, saving money, and helping reduce global carbon emissions.”

Get started now on Opower.  You can also try a home comparison without connecting to Facebook at the same link.  After your first pass, make sure to click the "Update home information" button for the most accurate data.

Read more about how social networks are being used to encourage greener behavior on

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rochelle Aquino, Designer

Anne Johnson, AIA architecture and graphics studio is pleased to have Rochelle Aquino on board and actively engaged in multiple ongoing projects.   Rochelle is a versatile designer with a background in education and healthcare administration.  Her design skills encompass graphic and interior design, and work experience includes interfacing with small business and the broad perspective of the ASID Design Salon at World Market Center.

A graduate of The Art Institute of Las Vegas, Aquino completed a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design, a CIDA Accredited institution.  Her sketching, rendering, and 3D modeling skills are being used in the Winchester Cultural Center - Dance Studio addition currently in studio, while her ArchiCAD technology skills have aided our work on the Lewis Building.  Aquino is drawing on her space planning, sustainable materials, and color theory specialties for input on the remodeling of five scattered SNRHA houses.  Her enthusiasm, creativity, and appreciation of good design make her a great team member.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Books to Buzz About

Recently a few intriguing books have come to our attention, and we're more than happy to share!

David Owen, a writer for the New Yorker, has released a thoughtful book with a lengthy title--The Conundrum: How Scientific Innovation, Increased Efficiency, and Good Intentions Can Make Our Energy and Climate Problems Worse.  Bloomberg Businessweek's review sums it up as "[Owen's] catalogs the parodoxes of living green, including why driving a Prius may just make things worse."

The more efficient an activity gets, the more people do it, canceling out environmental benefits. Illustration by Alex Nabaum 

Climate Change and Cities
Explore the link between city organization and greenhouse gas emissions with the newly published Climate Change and Cities: First Assessment Report (ARC3).  Edited by top names in the field the report speaks to city leaders as "first responders" to climate change.  Their position is that while cities are documented to produce upwards of 40% of greenhouse gases--up to 80% by some estimates, they may also be powerful incubators for timely and effective adaptation.  For both citizens and design professionals, it's enlightening to take a peek at the data and recommendations that are being digested by policymakers around the world.

Cynthia Rozenweig, with NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, is one of the editors and suggests that city management at the macro scale, and business entities at the micro scale, are both positioned to more ably respond to accelerating changes than ponderous national and international governments.

According to a recent article on, "Rosenzweig says climate risk poses at least three major challenges to cities and business: risk framing (in both mitigation and adaptation); adaptive capacity and strategy; institutional management and structure.  Essentially, at multiple scales we must assess risk, figure out how to address it, and implement management strategies.  This commonsense approach will become even more crucial as urban populations are ballooning.

WK book