designated one of the 10 greenest schools in America. Since completion, the design has earned PA the AIA Best of the Bay Design Excellence Merit Award and the AIA CC Design Award Merit Award in 2004. These examples demonstrate PA’s “design strategy that grows naturally from a research process into a deeper understanding of place, systems, use, and the nature of materials,” Peter explains. “The experience of the building gives rise to its shape. Later, in a process we call ‘the patient search,’ these notions are gradually refined into a set of ideas that drive the design.”
creative and unique structures that are environmentally sensitive and span the gamut of business offices and school buildings; restaurants; multi-media buildings; exposition, museum, and performance spaces; residential and multi-unit housing projects; and religious buildings. An example of a recent project that Peter believes is “the firm’s best work because it successfully combines research and intuition while knitting all facets of the campus together” is an addition for San Francisco’s Lick Wilmerding High School. This 380-student, coed, college-preparatory, day school had outgrown its current shop, food service, and performing arts facilities, and had limited space available for expansion. Four other firms competed with designs sited on the lawn, a criterion Lick wanted to avoid.
Peter’s firm is currently working on an impressive array of projects, all of which incorporate innovative green building principles. In addition to carefully chosen single family houses around the state, they are working on multi-unit housing at Hunters Point in San Francisco. Their growing reputation for previous K-12 schools has led to current work with Town School, St. Paul’s Episcopal School, and, most recently, the San Francisco Friends School. They are also in Lick Wilmerding High School quad, above, and the process of designing the new San Francisco theatre entrance, left Planning+Urban Research Association (SPUR) Urban Center, a new chapel for Dominican Peter’s firm designed a 17,000-square-foot University of California, a library for the Unisubmerged building that not only preserved versity of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, campus views, but actually improved the visual a day care center for UCSF, a Federal Building image and physical connectivity on campus. re-invention for the General Services AdministraThe new building houses various state-of-the- tion (in Richland, WA), and the Grand Canyon art shops, a multi-purpose room, Mac lab, Village Interpretive Center. server space, and two conference rooms arranged around a central open court known Peter mixes all of this with his ongoing efas the Workyard. Stairs and an elevator con- forts as an adjunct professor of Architecture nect it to the new 6,000-square-foot cafeteria, at CCAC, his alma mater, which, as he says, which rises above the sunken buildings western “always brings a fresh perspective and energy extremity. The roofs of the shops are “green” to take back to my practice.” Whatever Peter sodded roofs, which add extra insulation, re- is doing, it seems to be working; in addition to duce temperature fluctuation within the build- other awards, he was named Designer of the ing, and still offer the popular lawn area for Year by Contract magazine in 2003. e other functions. The roofs of the glass shops have 900 square feet of photovoltaic solar panels installed as a means of teaching students to appreciate the benefits of solar e n e r g y. T h e s e panels are the first step to a larger alternative energy program that PA is designing for Lick: a series of windmills will be sited on the eastern edge of the campus later this year. As a result of PA’s efforts, Lick Wilmerding was Chapel for Dominican University of California Fall 2005 / Winter 2006 25