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This journal documents my five-week internship with Jensen Architects, a leading San Francisco design firm.















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Jensen Architects is an award-winning architecture and interiors firm based in San Francisco. They work closely with each client to thoroughly understand their needs and to develop solutions that are unique, appropriate, and poetic responses to the constraints and opportunities of the project. In all projects, extreme care is taken to conceptualize comprehensively from the general to the particular so that the end effect conveyed is one of thorough and thoughtful consideration. Numerous design awards and publications have recognized the consistent quality of the firm’s work. Jensen Architects has completed a wide variety of project types, most notably residential, educational, and cultural. They have also done work in commercial, retail, and art areas as well. The wide breadth of project types is a favorite aspect of the firm among employees. The firm is interested in a critical approach to design, engaging contemporary culture and construction techniques in search of design solutions that are elegant, cost effective, and environmentally sensitive. They have developed close working relationships with engineers, landscape architects, artists and graphic designers in the conceptualization of our projects. In our intimate involvement with the construction process, we have also developed close contacts with contractors, manufacturers, fabricators, cabinetmakers, and specialized artisans.






Jensen Architects is a Sole Proprietorship owned by Principal Mark Jensen, a licensed professional architect. The firm was established in 2007. Mark Jensen was previously a founder and principal of Jensen & Macy Architects, established in 1994. The purpose of the firm is to engage in the business of providing professional architectural services and related design. Jensen Architects is a design-oriented architecture firm located in the heart of downtown San Francisco. The firm is known for bringing an expert understanding of the techniques of our discipline to the service of the project’s requirements and ideas. This has resulted in awardwinning projects that are notable for their attention to detail and clarity of intention. The breadth of the firm’s experience includes educational and arts-related projects, custom residential, retail and commercial, and mixed-use projects of various scales. Jensen Architects recognizes that the production of high quality work demands close working relationships with many people: clients, engineers, builders, and many other active participants. The collaborative work ethos begins in the studio. Jensen Architects endeavors to be a place of work where all employees feel invested in the quality of the work and the quality of work life. Most employees have attended the California College of the Arts and have a background in architecture or art. The only California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo graduate is Mark.



MARK JENSEN principal | owner | AIA Mark Jensen is the Principal of Jensen Architects and is a licensed architect in the State of California. He received a Bachelor of Architecture from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and furthered his studies in Florence, Italy. He continued his stay in Italy working in architectural studios including Superstudio and for the noted Italian fashion designer Enrico Coveri. Upon his return to San Francisco he worked as a Project Architect in the award-winning firms of Jim Jennings and Mark Mack. He is an Adjunct Professor at the California College of the Arts and is a former Chair of the Interior Architecture Department at CCA. Mark is former Vice Chair and a current active member of the Board of Trustees at the Headlands Center for the Arts.



FRANK MERRITT associate Frank graduated from California College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. He is a licensed architect and has been with Jensen Architects for nearly 12 years. He and fellow Associate Dean Orr share a separate office from the rest of the studio yet maintain constant collaboration with other team members. Frank’s enjoyment lies in the firm’s variety of projects, noting that it has always been one of their major strengths. “We do everything from crazy retail sheds to chairs in fields.”

DEAN ORR associate Dean attended California College of the Arts and graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. He has has worked with Jensen Architects for 10 years. Sharing a more private office with Frank Merritt, Dean plays a pivotal role in all of his projects. What he most enjoys about his profession is his ability to interact with the clients and really getting to know them in the project process.



CHRIS KALOS designer | project manager Chris graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from California College of the Arts. He has been with Jensen Architects for 6 years. He has not received his license yet, but is signed up and planning to take the exams in the future. His favorite aspect of the firm is its diversity in project types. He also appreciates the studio culture and environment that makes Jensen Architects so unique.

GRETCHEN KREBS designer | project manager Gretchen graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a Communications degree. She later attended California College of the Arts, where she received her Bachelor of Interior Architecture. She has worked at Jensen Architects for 6 years and is considering taking her licensing exams in the future. She enjoys the small and informal nature of the office, which encourages continuous collaboration among staff. The small office environment, she also notes, “allows you to follow a whole project through to its entirety.�



SCOTT DAVIS designer | project manager After beginning at a junior college, Scott attended California College of the Arts and graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. He has worked with Jensen Architects for 6 years. He values Jensen Architects’ diversity of projects, mentioning that “I’ve been able to work on houses, commercial buildings, and schools. I don’t get stuck with only hospitals.”

MELISSA NORDQUIST architect | project manager | LEED AP Melissa attended Williams College as an Economics major and later graduated from Harvard University with a Master of Architecture. She is a licensed architect and also LEED accredited. She has worked with Jensen Architects for 5 years and is currently moving to Washington. Looking back, she has most enjoyed her co-workers and also being able to manage a whole project.



STEVEN HUEGLI architect | project manager Steven graduated from the Ohio State University where he received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree. Later he attended the University of California, Berkeley for graduate school. He is a licensed architect and has been with Jensen Architects for 4 years. He enjoys being able to work on a project from start to finish and seeing it through to the end, noting that the recent San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Rooftop Garden was his first opportunity to do so.

LINCOLN LIGHTHILL designer | project manager | LEED AP | LC Lincoln graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree while also minoring in Journalism. He later attended graduate school at California College of the Arts, where he earned his Masters of Architecture. He is LEED accredited and also a Lighting Certified professional. His favorite feature of the firm is that “we get to work on a wide range of projects.� He also values being a part of all aspects of design.



KYLE BELCHER designer Kyle graduated from California College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Architecture degree. He has been with Jensen Architects for several months now. He is beginning his Intern Development Program. His favorite aspect of the firm is its great work atmosphere and the fact that they produce good designs. He believes that “both of these make a good combination.�

ADAM TITRINGTON designer Adam attended the University of Virginia for undergraduate school and the University of Texas, Austin for graduate school. Jensen Architects recently hired him in March. He is in the process of logging Intern Development Program hours in order to become eligible for a license. So far, his favorite part about the firm has been its small size and high quality designs. He also appreciates the diversity of project types that the firm has acquired.



LIVIA FOLDES marketing | graphic design Livia recently graduated from California College of the Arts, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. She began as an intern with Jensen Architects in the summer between school years. After graduating, she has now worked with the firm for about one year. As the marketing and graphic design assistant, she handles contests, publicity, and press submittals to books and magazines. She also designs most of Jensen Architects’ presentation materials. She enjoys being in an environment where the office does great work.

JEFFREY YIP intern Jeffrey is heading into his fifth year at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo pursuing a Bachelor of Architecture degree. After participating in the San Francisco Urban Design program for school, he is now interning with Jensen Architects for the summer. He most enjoys the firm’s dedication and high regard for design and construction. He believes the staff’s commitment and passion about their work make it clear why they are such an award-winning group.



CARA CLAUSEN office manager Cara has been Jensen Architects’ office manager, librarian, and overseer for over 2 years. She attended the New England Culinary Institute and one day hopes to open her own restaurant. Even though she does not have a formal architectural education, she likes working with Jensen Architects because she appreciates being around active design. “I enjoy working with designers and architects and love seeing how design evolves over time.”

MEIGAN DADZIE bookkeeping Meigan has worked with Jensen Architects for 10 years. She received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Phoenix. As the bookkeeper and accountant for the firm, she takes care of cash management, pays bills, receives deposits, and invoicing. She also acts as a consultant to Mark and reports to him about financial matters. Her favorite part about the firm is the people—they make it a great office. She appreciates how organized and orderly the firm is as well.





PROJECT DELIVERY Jensen Architects’ small size and open studio environment encourage constant collaboration during project development. Aside from Principal Mark Jensen and the two Associates Frank Merritt and Dean Orr, there is not a clear hierarchy of staff. The rest of the designers and architects each play large roles in their respective projects, where many of them act as project managers. Therefore the designers and architects all share a relatively equal role in the design of projects. When asked who is considered a senior designer and who is not, the staff members disregard the question and answer that everyone is at the same level. The designers and architects here have quite a large amount of input, which is unusual for an architectural firm. The main designs surprisingly do not all come from Mark, although ultimately he has the final design decision. However, much of the schematic design and design development phases of projects mostly involve the designers and architects. The project teams hold meetings regularly to discuss their progress with Mark. During these design phases, the project team collaborates using their sketches, drawings, and quick digital models. In the past, Jensen Architects has not stressed physical modeling, but this year they have taken a liking to them. The client has a much easier time visualizing the project through a physical model rather than through sheets of drawings. The firm mostly uses Vectorworks for drafting and assembling sheet sets. Other media that the firm uses to communicate their ideas are FormZ, Sketchup, hand sketches, and digital renderings. Recently the firm has pinned-up several renderings from different projects. They are very intriguing to look at and encourage other staff to share their input. The unique aspect of Jensen Architects is that their project teams follow a project all the way from beginning to construction. Designers and architects alike can experience an entire project schedule, rather than only focusing on a specific phase. Many of the staff members noted that this was one of their favorite reasons about working with Jensen Architects. Construction documents are delivered through Vectorworks, a Macintosh-based Building Information Modeling software. Some of the designers and architects also use FormZ for rendering ability and attention to detail. The project team usually handles coordinating consultants and communicating their design. Each project typically has about 3-5 people working on it. Some members may have a larger role, and in those cases they would be the coordinator of external teams.

casual pin-ups around office walls





DESIGN PHILOSOPHY Jensen Architects believes in making efficient, comfortable spaces by taking a critical rather than normative approach to design. Mark Jensen believes that there lies a clarity behind materials and cladding. Intention, form, and technique are not only highly important, but they are also related to one another. Jensen Architects’ wide range of project types, such as residential, cultural, educational, and commercial, also encourages creative collaboration and new ideas in the office. Many of the staff recognize that this unique aspect of the office makes it fresh and fun. The staff at Jensen Architects are interested in the relationship between experience and information, culture and civilization, convention and innovation, and between the inside and outside. Each of their projects express a clear design intent and many have become wonderful cultural and artistic icons. The firm practices sustainability wherever possible. They also take being “green” to a new level, stressing a healthy building aspect in their projects. Jensen Architects would like their work to operate on multiple levels simultaneously, including experientially, materially, technically, economically, functionally, circumstantially, and more. They also stress that new possibilities for collaboration exist between architecture and photography, graphic design, industrial design, film, and fashion. In terms of their architecture, the firm is known for embracing materials and having a respect for construction. They are the most intrigued with how things are made. Just as their office is planned down to the smallest detail, so too are their sophisticated and clean buildings.

JENSEN | 21 photo: Mark Jensen’s office wall







The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s rooftop garden is an open-air gallery defined

by the intersection of sculpture, space and light. The entire back wall of the museum’s top floor is removed, allowing a seamless connection from gallery to garden. A large panoramic window at this new opening offers an elevated view to the garden, presenting it like a landscape painting inside the gallery. A glazed long-span bridge links the Museum to a garden pavilion that in turn opens out to the garden through large sliding glass panels. Surrounding the garden, lichencovered lava-stone walls hide the city and frame the sky, providing an oasis for art in the midst of downtown San Francisco.





CALIFORNIA COLLEGE OF THE ARTS San Francisco, California Graduate Center: August 2007 | 30,000 SF Graduate Studios: September 2003 | 12,367 SF Graduate Center ( left ):

The fencing is the facade for this expansion to the Graduate Studies Campus at the

California College of the Arts. Expanded aluminum mesh forms an open scrim-like wall at the street’s edge. Behind the mesh skin are two pre-engineered steel buildings that house sixty-eight individual artist studios, classrooms, administrative offices and exhibit spaces. The open space between the buildings forms a courtyard with shade trees and outdoor workshops. Graduate Studios ( below ):

A 10,000 square foot, wood-framed warehouse is creatively and economically transformed

into new facilities for the growing Graduate Studies Program at the California College of the Arts. Along with seismic and accessibility upgrades to the building, its exterior is entirely re-clad in corrugated cement-board with a continuous clerestory of corrugated twin-wall polycarbonate. A mobile shipping container in the exterior courtyard houses new prefabricated restrooms, allowing the interior space to be devoted entirely to thirty-two individual light-filled artist studios.





KOKORIS RESIDENCE San Francisco, California July 2007 4,349 SF

An existing hillside home is transformed with the addition of a re-imagined contemporary

front porch. Floating concrete steps lead to the cantilevered cast-in-place concrete porch, which hovers above a new waterfall and tiled reflecting pool. The pool, lined with artisan ceramic tile in shimmering shades of blue, creates a dramatic transition from city street to residential interior. A vitrine-like, all-glass, entry vestibule leads to an automatic sliding translucent door, which slowly opens to reveal panoramic views of the city below.





TURNER DUCKWORTH OFFICES San Francisco, California July 2005 4,836 SF

A two-story warehouse building in historic Jackson Square is home to this graphic design

firm’s San Francisco branch office. The warehouse’s existing concrete shell and wood-framed roof were stripped clean, left exposed, and painted a uniform off-white. Bright, translucent red punctuates this luminous space in a series of dramatic, glass-clad rooms and structural details. The project’s focal point is a heroically cantilevered glass meeting table that floats over a glass floor allowing light into the basement below. The existing brick front façade was painted black and white, referencing the storefronts of London where the firm maintains their satellite office.











2010 AIA San Francisco Design Awards Honor Award for Excellence in Architecture American Institute of Architects, San Francisco Chapter ( SF MoMA Rooftop Garden )

San Francisco Chronicle, 5.2010 “An Education in Renovation: As he sells rehabbed home, owner shares his lessons” ( Kokoris Residence )

2010 AIA San Francisco Design Awards Merit Award for Excellence in Architecture American Institute of Architects, San Francisco Chapter ( Walden Studios )

Los Angeles Times, 5.2010 “The Presidio in San Francisco Installs Animal Habitat Art Project” ( Presidio Habitats )

American Architecture Awards 2009 Best New U.S. Building and Urban Designs for 2009 ( CCA Graduate Center )

Architect, 11.2009 “Sculpture Garden Bridge” ( SF MoMA Rooftop Garden )

California Construction Best of 2009 Awards Award of Merit - Cultural California Construction Magazine ( SF MoMA Rooftop Garden )

San Francisco Magazine, 9.2009 “Shape Shifting” ( SF MoMA Rooftop Garden )

2009 AIA California Council Design Awards Merit Award for Design American Institute of Architects, California Council ( SF MoMA Rooftop Garden ) 2009 AIA San Francisco Design Awards Special Achievement Award for Slow Food Nation designers American Institute of Architects ( Slow Food Nation Welcome Pavilion ) 2009 Residential Architect Design Awards Grand Award for Architectural Design Detail Residential Architect Magazine ( Kokoris Residence )

7x7, 6.2009 “Best Garden Party” ( SF MoMA Rooftop Garden) Dwell, 6.2009 “Houses We Love” ( Kokoris Residence ) The New York Times Magazine, 5.2009 “Museum of Modern Eats” ( SF MoMA Rooftop Garden ) 60 Minutes, 5.2009 “The Mother of Slow Food” ( Slow Food Nation Welcome Pavilion )





MONDAY | 5 . 3 . 2010 I have eagerly been waiting to begin my internship. Today was my first day with Jensen Architects. The morning started with a weekly Monday staff meeting, where everyone met in the conference room to discuss the projects’ status and progress. I was chosen to work on a new kiosk for Blue Bottle Coffee Company in Civic Center Plaza. When principal Mark Jensen described the project’s scope, I became instantly interested in the idea. Blue Bottle Coffee Company, as Mark put it, “are artisanal roasters catering to the hip crowd.” Blue Bottle is headquartered in Oakland and has four other cafes in San Francisco. They are looking to expand to Civic Center Plaza across the street from City Hall. After the staff meeting, Mark and designer Gretchen Krebs met with me and went over the project in more depth. They gave me several sketches of initial design concepts and asked me to make small study models of the kiosk. These models would help decide on the overall form of the small, eight-foot by ten-foot structure. The most intriguing designs we went over were transformative forms, where walls folded up to create awnings and folded back down to secure the building during off hours. Other interesting ideas were literal forms of the business – such as a coffee roaster or a blue bottle. We were meeting with the client on Friday and hoped to have about 20 study models to show him. Right now it was about the quantity over quality of the study models. Having a great interest in model-making, I took on the project with plenty of enthusiasm. I had lunch with Adam Titrington, who was just hired last week. Jensen Architects, unlike a lot of firms we visited in the city, is actually seeing a steady amount of work and needed another employee. Adam was fortunate enough to be selected out of a group of about 200 applicants. He was just as new to Jensen’s office as I was. That afternoon I went down Market Street to Flax Art store to buy some modeling materials. I started by making study models of most of Mark’s sketches. I really enjoyed reading into his sketches and seeing the way he designed. It was also exciting to put his two-dimensional sketches into a three-dimensional model form. By the end of the day, I had made six fun study models out of chipboard. It had been a fulfilling day.


Mark’s preliminary sketches


TUESDAY | 5 . 4 . 2010 I continued to produce several study models for the Blue Bottle Coffee Company kiosk. Many of the models I was making had components that slid, folded, or moved. The kiosk had to be flexible for different weather conditions and times of day. During the day, it could be fully opened and cover a seating area, but at night it had be locked up and safe from vandalism and homeless people. I explored Blue Bottle’s history and looked at the layout and style of their other store locations. Even though the client wanted a unique store design for Civic Center Plaza, it was very helpful to see the equipment and the look of the existing cafes. I even grabbed a notepad from the copy room and started sketching other ideas for the building’s form. I used some of Mark and Gretchen’s ideas and also did further research on the Internet. I was amazed at the things that other designers were doing with prefabricated or modular building materials. The coffee kiosk’s small size made it appropriate to look into shipping containers, silos, and other pre-made objects to use as the shell.

Early study models

During the last hour of the work day, the office threw a happy hour for me and Adam because we were new hires. It was a fun, casual way to meet everyone in the office who I did not get a chance to talk with yet. Everyone was very friendly and the whole event made me realize how personable this office was.

WEDNESDAY | 5 . 5 . 2010 With about 13 study models already done, I was asked by Mark and Gretchen to also make a site model of Civic Center Plaza. I put together a site map and after some calculations decided to build the site model at 1/64” scale. At this scale, it was an ideal size that allowed me to show the buildings surrounding the plaza. Luckily, the office had some leftover foamcore and museum board that I used for the model, saving me a trip to the art supply store.

Some of my “transformers” sketches



Both my computer workstation and my model-making area are ideally located in the center of the office. It has been great to experience the daily activities of an architectural firm around me. Since there are a lot of projects, there are constantly architects conferring with others, calls made to clients and consultants, and meetings with clients in the conference room. I am taking in all of the experience just by sitting, sketching, and modeling. People walking by my desk will often look at the models I am working on, pick them up, and play around with them. They might not have any idea about the project, but they are instantly drawn to the models and discuss them with me. It is exciting to see how people become intrigued in something as simple as a chipboard model.

THURSDAY | 5 . 6 . 2010 This morning before work I stopped by Blue Bottle Coffee Company’s kiosk in Hayes Valley. I wanted to physically see the layout of the shop and see how it operated. I was pleasantly surprised to see a cute little garage-space with delicious, strong coffee. I also took note of some of their branding ideas and how they displayed their products. Today I was determined to finish the site model of Civic Center Plaza. Being only a day away from meeting with the client, Mark and Gretchen felt it would be helpful to show the relationship of the kiosk to the surrounding context and its proximity to City Hall. I had just about finished the site model, and I was proud of myself for finishing it in such a short amount of time. I went back to making more study models of the coffee kiosk. I thought back to my visit to the kiosk in the morning and sketched some designs from what I saw. I had a strange idea of making the entire building the shape of a coffee bean bag. I drew it and then built it. It looked intriguing, but maybe it would be taken as a joke instead of a serious coffee establishment. Gretchen checked in with me to talk about the progress. She also said that the client meeting would have to be pushed back to the following Monday. It was sort of a relief because I felt that I could produce some more refined models with that extra time.



I was also asked by architect Steven Huegli to put together a packet of images and information on the Museum of Modern Art Rooftop Garden for the Cal Poly students’ case study project. In putting together these papers, I saw photos, drawings, and competition boards for the project. I was really excited when I saw Mark’s sketches and diagrams of the project. I always think it is interesting to see an architect’s way of thinking and simply the way they draw. This was a small assignment for Steven, but I really love the project itself and seeing the behind-the-scenes work was just as amazing.

FRIDAY | 5 . 7 . 2010 In the morning I met with Mark and Gretchen to talk about the progress of the models. I was relieved that I was on the right track. Mark drew some designs during the meeting and asked me to explore more angular forms and fewer boxes. I understood where he was going and agreed that the form should be more intriguing. I was glad the meeting with the client was pushed back to Monday because it gave me the entire day to explore the new designs Mark just drew. Today the office was especially busy with meetings in the conference room. Several clients visited and checked in on projects. Some architects were constantly reprinting plans and checking them with Mark. It seemed like a busy day, but that is great news for the firm’s business.



MONDAY | 5 . 10 . 2010 This morning the office held its weekly staff meeting. In addition to working on the coffee kiosk, I was also asked by designer Lincoln Lighthill to make some computer renderings of a new Children’s Day School near Mission Dolores. I eagerly accepted that new assignment, but since it was raining I would have to photograph the site another day. I also attended a meeting with Blue Bottle Coffee Company’s founder, James Freeman. Gretchen, Dean Orr, and I presented Mark’s sketches and my study and site models I had built the past week. I was really glad to see that James was intrigued by the models. He picked all of them up, opened and closed the folding doors, and talked in depth about the ones he was interested in. I was also pleasantly surprised at how intuitive James was in the architectural aspects of his new coffee kiosk. He had previously worked with Jensen Architects in designing a cafe in the Museum of Modern Art’s rooftop pavilion. We received a lot of positive and constructive feedback from James. We have another meeting scheduled in two weeks. After the meeting, I spoke with Gretchen about the project’s progress. She advised me to make more refined study models of the forms that we discussed in the meeting. She had also drawn up a floor plan and some more sketches which were very helpful in creating new forms. I built three new models that expressed aspects that James was looking for. I plan to do several more tomorrow.


TUESDAY | 5 . 11 . 2010 I continued to make study models out of chipboard that incorporated ideas from the meeting yesterday. As James put it during the meeting, “I love that it is so simple,” referring to the box-like forms of some of my study models. These could easily be constructed out of pre-fabricated modules such as shipping containers. Many of the study models were boxes with an extruded side, either an angled roof for solar-angled photovoltaic panels or an angled side for a more inviting entry.




WEDNESDAY | 5 . 12 . 2010 Every time I built another study model, I came up with new ideas for my next ones. Whether I angled walls differently or shaped the roof in another way, I was continually inspired to do other things. I set up a meeting with Mark and Gretchen for tomorrow, so I had to start narrowing the options down to a few winning forms. After eating lunch at Chipotle, for fun I decided to use their menu as my model material. The three study models I made with the paper-like material came out really well. Some of my co-workers complimented them and enjoyed the text on the skin. I later reverted back to chipboard to build more studies of Mark’s and Gretchen’s sketches so I could show them tomorrow.

THURSDAY | 5 . 13 . 2010 Today I met with Mark and Gretchen to discuss the progress of the Blue Bottle kiosk project. Mark had drawn some more sketches and asked me to explore forms similar to an A-frame structure. I was also shown some precedent studies and projects that had creatively used an A-frame. We agreed A-frame structures might have the wrong connotation of a taco hut or teepee; the client does not want that. However, in looking at the previous precedents we found that when the materials and construction were done well enough, the projects turned out really well. Mark also asked me to move away from the chipboard study models I had worked on and begin modeling more realistically to represent glass, wood, and steel. Since it was too late in the day to visit a store and buy supplies, I continued to make rough chipboard models that I could use as templates. It was easier to refine the chipboard models and then build the higher quality models with plastic, wood, and metal.



FRIDAY | 5 . 14 . 2010 I went to Arch, the architectural supply store in Potrero Hill, to buy materials to make my next phase of models. I bought some really great materials that could represent different types of glass and skin. When I was in Potrero Hill I also visited California College of the Arts to view the graduates’ thesis projects. Jensen Architects has played a large role in shaping the look of California College of the Arts, designing both the Graduate Center and the Graduate Studios. I explored their buildings and admired their use of materials, especially the expanded metal mesh and corrugated polycarbonate walls. Although it was cloudy, I could imagine the wonderful play of light in the buildings on a sunny day or at night. When I got back to the office, I experimented with layering my newly bought materials to create new ideas for skins. Some skins incorporated two layers of laminated glass surrounding a layer of steel mesh or photovoltaic panels. The possibilities seemed endless with the materials I was using. Gretchen looked at the new materials and really liked some of the combinations of transparent and translucent layers. Shifting away from chipboard and to modeling more realistic materials, I had a lot to look forward to next week.

California College of the Arts Graduate Center, by Jensen Architects



MONDAY | 5 . 17 . 2010 During our weekly staff meeting, we brought the office up to date on the Blue Bottle Coffee Company project’s status. Because I would have a lot of work to do involving the kiosk, I was pulled from the Children’s Day School renderings assignment. It was slightly disappointing, but on the other hand I would have a larger role in seeing the coffee kiosk through to completion. I was also scheduled to present a pin-up of the Blue Bottle project during lunch to the entire office on Friday. That sounded intimidating, given that I do not have final plans or models yet. I would have to work hard to put together a good presentation at the end of the week. Later that day I met with Mark and Gretchen and showed them the new materials I made from last Friday. They were intrigued with the numerous possibilities in layered skins and told me I was on the right track. Since we had come to a few decisions about the overall form, I was asked to move away from physical study models and begin modeling the kiosk on Sketchup. I have worked with Sketchup for years and was fairly confident in getting the kiosk built digitally and rendering it in a few days. I switched from my model making station to my computer workstation and began drawing several iterations on Sketchup. I managed to get one made, but I am still deciding on the materials for it.



TUESDAY | 5 . 18 . 2010 Today I worked on the computer for the entire day; this was a first, as I have previously been going between the computer and model-making. I worked in Sketchup and modeled as many possible iterations of the Blue Bottle Coffee kiosk as time would allow. In addition to different building forms, I also experimented with different textures and materials. James Freeman, the client, seemed very intrigued with perforated metal or mesh from our last meeting. I explored different combinations of metals, woods, and glass as the kiosk’s skin. Some of the more successful models became almost transparent on the sides, to allow clear sight lines from City Hall to the rows of trees in Civic Center Plaza. Mark noted that he would like to see the kiosk rendered in the day and at night, where it had the opportunity to glow like a beacon. Both Mark and Gretchen gave me plenty of examples of interesting skins and arrays of light. We found several manufacturers of solar generating materials and are going to try and schedule a consultation with their representatives. Ideally the manufacturer would even be willing to sponsor the project by providing their materials at a lower cost. Even though some options might be over the client’s budget, they would look very impressive on this kiosk project.

WEDNESDAY | 5 . 19 . 2010 In the morning I had a brief meeting with Mark and Gretchen regarding the progress of the Blue Bottle project. Mark looked at the renderings that I had done so far and recommended that I steer toward more ethereal renderings that express the mood and lighting conditions. After looking around the office at other renderings of past projects, I fully understood what Mark meant. My renderings were far too specific for early schematic design.


digital rendering was too detailed


I went back to Sketchup and continued to work with a new approach to the renderings. I experimented with lighting, texture, and transparency for each digital model. I would like to render each option in both the day and night to show the kiosk’s transformation. Rendering images took up a lot of time. I felt unproductive sometimes because Sketchup was rendering and I could not use any other programs at that time. I took my digital models home with me to finish rendering them overnight so that I could show Mark and Gretchen my progress tomorrow.

THURDAY | 5 . 20 . 2010 After a fairly long night of rendering the Sketchup models, I showed up to work with some completed images. I was satisfied with the way they turned out. I printed the renderings to show to Gretchen and Mark. They told me that I was on the right track and gave me more advice on what to render next. I was advised to look more at perforated and translucent materials. I felt proud when Mark commented on one of them being “cool”. Today flew by very quickly because I was using both my laptop and my work computer to render different models simultaneously. Again, I took my Sketchup models home and will render more images tonight. I am giving a pin-up presentation to the office during lunch tomorrow and my co-workers probably expect a lot out of me.



FRIDAY | 5 . 21 . 2010 Today was my lunchtime pin-up presentation to the office. I had worked very hard in getting the Blue Bottle kiosk renderings to look right. I tried to print both a night and day rendering for each form and material option. In my opinion, the prints came out really well. I do not think I could have managed to do better in the few days I had worked on it. Gretchen periodically checked in with me and asked me to make small edits to the renderings. Changing anything on Photoshop was immensely easier than having to render the Sketchup model again, which consistently took several hours. In the hours leading up to lunch today, I worked furiously on my work computer and laptop to render and edit the images. Before the pin-up, I assembled my printed renderings next to my desk, and my co-workers would often take a sneak peek at them. Gretchen helped me pin up the renderings, along with the floor plan, section, and elevation that she drafted. Overall, our pin-up had a respectable amount of development, helped by my many study models, the site model of Civic Center Plaza, and images of precedents. After eating the catered lunch, Gretchen presented the Blue Bottle project to the rest of the office. She did a great job at going through each form and discussing its advantages and decisions that led to it. Mark also discussed his ideas of the kiosk and had his favorite forms. This pin-up was a fantastic, open environment where anyone could comment on the project. Some people posed great questions that would require us to do further research and planning. Others had new ideas about the form. In a way I was glad I did not have to present to the office. I personally did not talk to the client nor did I know about logistical challenges to the project. Even though I did not say much during the presentation, I hoped my models and renderings spoke for themselves. I was really excited when I received several compliments on my models; Mark even played around with one model, holding it for several minutes and rotating it. This informal pinup helped us prepare for our meeting with James Freeman on Monday. I have to tweak some details on the forms and materials, but overall I was very happy with the way today went.


Lunchtime pin-up to the staff

WEEK THREE Friday lunchtime pin-up of Blue Bottle Civic Center



MONDAY | 5 . 24 . 2010 This morning I had to prepare for the Blue Bottle Coffee meeting with the client James Freeman. After the staff meeting, I had to print all of the renderings and photos that I had compiled over the weekend. I felt under pressure, but it was sort of exhilarating knowing that I had a strict deadline. After the lunchtime pin-up to the office on Friday, I took some suggestions and improved the look of my model renderings. As I printed them this morning, I could tell they looked better and were more of what Mark wanted. James Freeman did not show up to the meeting this morning, but one of his colleagues attended. I did not get to sit in during the meeting, but Gretchen and Mark said that speaking with the Blue Bottle client gave them very helpful information about the project’s technical aspects. After all, we had to fit marine batteries, water storage tanks, sewage tanks, water heaters, photovoltaic panels, and other large objects into the small kiosk. Mark noted that after the meeting, he realized that the project had more infrastructural challenges than he predicted. Later that day I caught up with Gretchen and Mark to discuss further revisions to the kiosk’s design. I was given some new sketches and ideas about materials and form. We also discussed some detailed ideas for the skin, including solar glass, perforated metal, and translucent glass. For some of the more technologically advanced materials, we are planning on meeting with some consultants to inquire about the feasibility and cost. I went back to digital modeling on Sketchup and rendered new images with the new ideas.



TUESDAY | 5 . 25 . 2010 Having printed everything I worked on for yesterday’s meeting, I felt relatively more relaxed knowing I did not have an impending deadline in the next few days. I took the time to test different shapes and materials for the coffee kiosk. I rendered several of these ideas as well. Later that afternoon, Mark told me that James Freeman would be coming in the afternoon to meet with him. Just like yesterday, I then rushed to print and render everything I had, trying to meet the deadline. Unfortunately, I did not have time to render the most revised version of Mark’s sketch. I felt very embarrassed in printing renderings that were not my best work. Personally I did not even want to print them because they were not ready to be shown to the client. However, I printed everything I had and turned it in for Mark and Gretchen to show to James during the meeting. Even though I had missed the deadline for the afternoon meeting, I still felt that I had an unfulfilled task. I continued to render higher quality images so that later I could show my better work. I will try not to get caught up in that type of situation again. Later that day, a product representative from Windorsky Steel Windows and Doors visited the firm. He presented very interesting window and door technologies that allowed the exterior to be clean-looking, without showing mullions. The windows could be opened in all sorts of directions. The product representative also showed a few videos of the operable windows and doors. In my opinion, they were very sleek. But when I heard how much the windows cost—around $200 per square foot—I was shocked. I do not have too much knowledge about actual costs of building materials, but this was definitely eyeopening for me. Several of my co-workers seemed very interested in using these windows and doors in their own projects. I suppose if the client is wealthy enough and wants the cleanest look possible, these Windorsky products would be an ideal choice.



WEDNESDAY | 5 . 26 . 2010 I had been given some feedback from the client meeting with James Freeman, so I had things to tweak on the Sketchup models. Gretchen did tell me that James really appreciated the rendered images. I was very elated to hear that the client even took home some of the images. For a client, renderings seem more intriguing than drafted floor plans and elevations. I had hoped that my rendered prints helped James be closer to visualizing his kiosk in Civic Center Plaza. Everyone in the office has been very busy—they are constantly meeting clients in the conference room, attending meetings outside of the office, making phone calls, or amending construction documents on the computer. That long list of current projects is a testament to Jensen Architects’ quality and client satisfaction, which keeps them busy in spite of the rocky economy. Today Gretchen seemed especially busy, so I did not want to bother her. I suppose that because I had been rushing to render and print these last few days, today felt more relaxed. I was able to work on my computer at an easier pace, yet still accomplish my goals.

THURSDAY | 5 . 27 . 2010 Today I continued to work on different options for the Blue Bottle Coffee Company kiosk. On Sketchup, I experimented with changing the materials, transparency, and the overall form. I rendered each of these different iterations. When the model was especially good looking, I used Photoshop to insert the rendered building onto the streetscape of Civic Center Plaza, adding entourage elements. My co-worker Kyle Belcher, who sits next to me, noted that the renderings from Sketchup and Podium came out looking too much like a video game. I completely agreed, especially after seeing examples of renderings pinned on the walls around the office. Another co-worker, Steven Huegli, looked at some of my rendered images and did not especially like the kiosk. He noted that it just was not his style, but it might work in Civic Center Plaza. I was feeling a little disappointed after those comments, but I used it as helpful advice in making my next set of renderings look more realistic.




Gretchen also asked me to edit the sections and elevations of the kiosk on Vectorworks. I had quite a few frustrating hours working on Vectorworks, having only used Autocad and Revit in the past. At the end of the day, however, I began to get the hang of things.

FRIDAY | 5 . 28 . 2010 My street renderings were coming out fairly well. It took a lot of trial and error in order to get the rendered model to fit seamlessly into the landscape of Civic Center Plaza. I experimented with having the background be less saturated or more transparent than the kiosk. Some of my co-workers appreciated that in some images, the kiosk stood out as the focus. Others really liked my use of light-colored silhouettes as entourage. Kyle, who sits next to me, was working on renderings for the Children’s Day School. He was doing very similar work, rendering the building in Sketchup and inserting it into photos of the background context. It was very helpful to see what he was doing, getting ideas for my next rendering. I even learned a few new tools on Photoshop that were valuable to making renderings. The weather was great today, so I visited the site across from City Hall to take photos to use in my renderings. When I was at the site, I could visualize the location of the kiosk, its relationship to City Hall, and all of the customers it would attract in the area. On pleasant sunny days, the location in the plaza could not be beat, especially with tables and chairs among the lines of sycamore trees. After visiting their kiosk in Hayes Valley and store in the Ferry Building, I realized that Blue Bottle Coffee was extremely popular and had a large and loyal fan-base. It has been an interesting shift in my scope of work at Jensen Architects. In the first weeks I had been working exclusively at the model-making station, cutting and gluing materials. Now I am at my computer the entire day, working on Sketchup, Photoshop, and Vectorworks. At the end of the day, I met with Mark and showed him my progress in the renderings and forms. He gave me further direction in my tasks for the next few days. He was really excited about some of the renderings, especially those with context such as City Hall. I was proud of myself for working hard this week.





TUESDAY | 6 . 1 . 2010 Jensen Architects held a weekly staff meeting today. In addition to the Blue Bottle Coffee Company kiosk, I was also assigned to a residential project that Mark and Lincoln would discuss further. I wanted to see the kiosk project through to the end, but it would be favorable to be able to work on another project as well. Gretchen and Mark also let me know that a consultant from Affinity Solar would be visiting the office today to consult them on the Blue Bottle’s solar power feasibility. I was to print out a few renderings and sections of the project so that they could show the consultant what they were considering designing. I worked on the computer during the day and made revisions to the renderings that I showed Mark last Friday. I also printed out some revised images for the Mark and Gretchen’s meeting with the solar consultant. The kiosk renderings have become more detailed than ever before. Mark showed me some perforated metal samples and asked me to look into using those exact dimensioned materials. We are still deciding where to store the infrastructure of the kiosk, such as the batteries, water storage tanks, and water heaters. It will be a challenge to accommodate these large objects into some part of the building. Until we resolve that, I will continue to render the kiosk from set angles and make slight changes in the texture, opacity, and form.

10'-9" 10'-0"
































WEDNESDAY | 6 . 2 . 2010 The office was busy as usual today, so I mostly worked on my own. Many of my Sketchup models were becoming very developed and rendered very well. I researched several different styles of perforated metal and experimented with using each one as the kiosk’s skin. With small changes in the perforations, for example from half an inch in diameter to one inch in diameter, there were large changes in the structure’s overall look. I began to realize that the skin was a pivotal element that controlled light filtration and sight lights across the plaza. I was continuing to use real photographs as backgrounds for my renderings. Seeing the kiosk in Civic Center Plaza made it all the more fulfilling. I cannot wait until the real one is constructed. Later that day Mark and I had a discussion in his office regarding my internship. After a few weeks of considering it, Mark had finally offered to hire me as a summer intern. He noted that there was plenty of work at the office and that they could always use the extra assistance. I immediately accepted the offer enthusiastically. I was thrilled with my internship experience thus far and felt honored to continue working with Jensen Architects. Participating in the San Francisco Urban Design program has given me opportunities that I would have never thought possible.



THURSDAY | 6 . 3 . 2010 Although my internship was nearing its end, I had fortunately been hired to continue as a summer intern. Most of the office has heard about my summer internship, and they graciously congratulated me and were happy to continue working with me. As part of my journal content, I was almost finished interviewing each of the employees at Jensen Architects. Learning about their background, college education, and their passion in architecture really helped in getting to know all of my co-workers. Everyone had good reasons for enjoying Jensen Architects—many of them loved the variety of projects, the people, and the small firm environment. These were all great reasons why I enjoyed working here as well. Cara Clausen, the office manager, let me know that I had to complete a time sheet for working in May. She showed me how to record my work hours and describe what I did during those hours for the project. I also met with Gretchen and discussed her meeting with the solar energy consultant. She gave me cut sheets of the photovoltaic panels and asked me to start using those exact panels in my Sketchup models. She also showed me the equipment necessary to power and charge the photovoltaic panels. The equipment was not as bulky as I expected. It was a compact set of chargers and batteries that could be placed under the counters or behind the kiosk. This information was very helpful in revising my models and accommodating the new equipment into sections, elevations, and floor plans. After work, the office went to a happy hour at a local bar in celebration of Melissa Nordquist’s last days at the office. This was a great time to get to know the other employees outside of the office. Everyone was a lot more relaxed, not under pressure or having to meet deadlines. It was also bittersweet for most of them, having worked with Melissa for several years and now having to say goodbye. These five weeks of working have really flown by. Only one more day left at my internship…



A happy hour it was - bye Melissa!




Jensen Journal  

Documenting a five-week design internship with Jensen Architects, an award-winning design firm in San Francisco, California.

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