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Pawderosa Ranch Announces Dog Daycare Project

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Pawderosa Ranch, “The Best Dog Daycare and Overnight Lodging in San Antonio,” has announced the project we have been designing here at SYNCRO Architecture Studio. Initially, we conducted a feasibility study to determine the site’s redevelopment potential and have subsequently completed rezoning, re-platting and zoning variance request services. We are currently in design development phase.

An existing “ranch” theme provides rustic inspiration for a regional contemporary architectural solution. Sustainable design is part of the client’s home-away-from-home-for-your-dog business formula. Western Red Cedar, epoxy flooring, log struts and digitally designed and fabricated steel plate connectors and decorative fencing are working together to bring high-tech and low-tech together into a functional fusion. High-performing, low-maintenance, and sanitary surfaces are being developed by the design team for seamless integration in the design concept.


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Ferra International – Conceptual Phase Feasibility Services

Existing warehouse and transition to Coffee and Cacao Roasting, Cafe, Women-Owned Import/Export Business Training Center.

Existing warehouse and transition to Coffee and Cacao Roasting, Cafe, Women-Owned Import/Export Business Training Center.

Click on the Image Above for the Project Gallery


The owners of this local coffee roasting company with global commerce hired SYNCRO to assist in planning for a new location, to be determined, near downtown San Antonio. A preliminary program and estimate of probable floor and site areas was developed upon which a budget can be formed.
Bogle sketched experiential concepts while simultaneously using building information modeling, or BIM, for parametrically generating a programmatic analysis model and visualizations. By providing both spatial and qualitative visualizations (hand sketches) along with the quantitative information (complete building program diagrams), clients are enabled to make sound decisions on prioritization of improvements.
An existing warehouse facility has been the subject for conceptual phase feasibility services provided by SYNCRO.

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Treasure Hill Residence – Part 3 – “a moment becomes a movement”

Press release announcing proposed changes to city's demolition procedures.  Councilman Roberto Treviño proposes changes to the city's code enforcement procedures and policy to reduce demolitions of buildings like this historic home.

Press release announcing proposed changes to city’s demolition procedures. Councilman Roberto Treviño proposes changes to the city’s code enforcement procedures and policy to reduce demolitions of buildings like this historic home.


The community effort to save this Treasure Hill residence from demolition (#SaveMiguelsHouse) has inspired our city council representative to propose changes to the City of San Antonio policies and processes. The changes are intended to slow the enforcement process for long-time residents, veterans and the elderly, and reduce demolitions. Additionally, it could lead to better-educated Building Standards Board members that participate in code enforcement procedures. A press conference was held at the house to announce the proposed changes, and I would like to thank Councilman Roberto Treviño for his work on behalf of our client’s case. Thanks also go to Vianna Davila of the Express-News and Page Graham of the Rivard report for their coverage of this continuing story. See links in the right-hand column on this page.

Another exciting development is that we filed an application for landmark designation of the house on the same day. Here’s some of the history we found for this prominent site overlooking the San Pedro Springs and downtown San Antonio.

• (February 2, 1906)
Treasure Hill Plat filed for record, owned and subdivided by Adams, Kirkpatrick, and Nicholson (J.E. Adams, J.H. Kirkpatrick, and B.F. Nicholson). Includes Lot 21, Block 1, N.C.B. 3030 (now 1123 W. French Pl.). Nicholson releases several properties within plat to Adams and Kirkpatrick. However, Lot 21, Block 1 is not mentioned in these deeds.

• (1907)
Various properties within N.C.B. 3030, including Lot 18, Block 1, (now 1135 W. French), sold by B.F. Nicholson to one T.E. Hawkins. Deed for Lot 21, Block 1 not found.

• (1908-1911)
Various properties within N.C.B. 3030, again including Lot 18, Block 1, (now 1135 W. French), sold by T.E. Hawkins and wife G.L. to one G.B. Hawkins. Deed for Lot 21, Block 1 not found.

• (March 21, 1912)
Ten properties, including Lots 18 and 21 of Block 1, N.C.B. 3030, sold by G.B. Mitchell and wife L.E. to one J.S. McNeel, (James), a prominent real estate figure in town at the time. The following year’s directory lists the house at 1123 W. French Pl. as owned by J.S. and Emma McNeel.

• (1916)
A widowed Emma McNeel, wife of J.S. Sr., retains ownership of 1123 W. French Pl.

• (1922-1923)
The house at 1123 W. French is listed as owned by William P McNeel, City Fire Marshall and son of J.S. Sr. One Kathryn McNeel is also listed as an owner, and is assumed to be his wife. Emma McNeel is listed as a renter at this time.

• (1924-1930)
1123 W. French is listed as owned by Frank and Angelina Liberto. Frank is president of Frank Liberto & Co., a wholesale grocer and roaster of peanuts and coffee.

• (1931-1937)
Home owned by Andrew and Stella Mae Dilworth. Andrew Dilworth is a partner of Thomson, Dilworth, and Marshall Title and Trust, and is vice president of Union Title & Trust Co.

• (1938-1939)
The house at 1123 W. French is rented to one Marion A Olson and wife Martha. Marion is a lawyer at the Frost National Bank Building.

• (1940-1947)
1123 W. French is rented once again by Orvis E Meador and wife Mildred. Orvis works as a dentist in the Nix Professional Building.

• (1948-1958)
In 1948 William J Lytle is listed as owner of the house at 1123 W. French Pl. At that time, one Hortense E is also listed at said property. In 1958 one Mrs. Susan Lytle, named widow of William J, is listed as owner of the house.

• (1959)
The house at 1123 W. French Pl. is listed as vacant for the first time since its plat.

• (1960-1966)
Solomon Sfair and wife Hasna are listed as owners of 1123 W. French. There is little occupational information regarding Solomon Sfair listed in the respective city directories. According to Miguel Calzada, current owner, the Sfair family owned the “Navy Club” downtown San Antonio, a 24-hour club of some notoriety.

• (1967-
Vincente and Francisca Calzada are listed as renters of the home. Later in 1970, Miguel and Guadalupe’s names are included in the directory.

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In ‘Birdman,’ The Crossroads plays itself



The Crossroads was a classic New York City project – turn-of-the-century tenement apartment buildings; a stone’s throw from Times Square; client-tenants mixed across all lines of income, ethnicity, age and interests; publicly funded; private ownership; gut-remodel; selective historic restoration; excavation into Manhattan Schist; contemporary design solutions; etc.

The building has been in the movies a few times, now; and much like the nearby St. James Theatre featured in the article quoted below, The Crossroads plays itself, just more anonymously. A while back my clients got in touch and let me know a film was being made there with Michael Keaton. I may not have been a Michael Keaton fan, but I certainly am moved by some of director Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s work. Now I’m looking forward to this one, and seeing an old friend on West 43rd Street.

The building has now been used for film locations 3 times: 2006 – a Lindsay Lohan film titled, “Just My Luck”; 2014 – the Michael Keaton film, “Birdman”; and just last month, an HBO film with a working title of, “Bluff”.

The film production crews especially like the ADA-compliant exterior ramp. Camera operators can back up the ramp while filming a walking actor from an angle not usually open for such a shot. The ramp was designed to get from the sidewalk up to the stoop entrance. Another, interior ramp in the lobby continues the rise to the existing first-floor level and a new elevator.

Below, it is shown staged for the filming with all manner of signage in the windows.

All dressed up for the filming with commercial signage in the windows.

All dressed up for the filming with commercial signage in the windows. Note the set’s traffic light (this is in the middle of the block.)

Reminiscing about the project led me to some “lost New York” photos I took before demolition, as well as construction photos I took after the interiors had been removed. Scroll down below the St. James Theatre article blockquote to see a few of these.

"Birdman," the latest movie from director Alejandro González Iñárritu, is generating significant awards buzz for its comeback leading man, Michael Keaton, and a supporting cast that includes Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Amy Ryan and Naomi Watts.

One of the movie’s key stars won’t be found in its final credit roll, however.

A Broadway house with a storied history, the St. James Theatre plays itself in the movie’s plot about a has-been action star (Keaton) and his attempt at career resuscitation through a vanity stage adaptation of Raymond Carver’s "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love."

The action of "Birdman" takes place almost entirely in and around the St. James, which is located in prime Broadway territory on 44th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues.

Shooting took place over 30 days in April and May of 2013.

One of the existing kitchens with bathtub in the kitchen before the project removals began.  Photo by David Bogle.

One of the existing kitchens with bathtub in the kitchen before the project removals began. Photo by David Bogle with Pierre-Olivier Milanini.

Existing light well space between the two, typical 1890's apartment buildings.  The stair core for each building has a wide double-hung window opening onto these.   Laundry line hardware pulley just outside the kitchen window from which this photo was taken before construction began.  Photo by David Bogle.

Existing light well space between the two, typical 1890’s apartment buildings. The stair core for each building has a wide double-hung window opening onto these. On the right, a laundry-line hardware pulley is just outside the kitchen window from which this photo was taken before construction began. Photo by David Bogle with Pierre-Olivier Milanini.

Leveling tops of existing, new and repaired joists.

Leveling tops of existing, new and repaired joists. Photo by David Bogle.

One of the most fun days of Construction Administration - observation of the existing joists - all 4 floors worth.

One of the most fun days of Construction Administration – observation of the existing joists – all 4 floors worth. Photo by David Bogle.


Click Here to view The Crossroads project gallery

Archives

Olmos Park Colonial Residence Transformation



This project for Renaissance Interests, LLc, transformed an existing 1918 colonial house into a spacious residence with an open-plan living, dining and kitchen/family room. The design solution preserves and restores the original exterior of this colonial residence, yet it also includes a one-story addition with a ground-level master suite opening onto a screened porch overlooking the backyard. The tall volume of the master bedroom captures natural light with east-facing clerestory windows.

The colonial residence transformation was a gut-remodel which enabled complete, new electrical and plumbing infrastructure, up-to-date insulation and envelope upgrades to provide modern comfort and efficiencies while maintaining the original historic character. New HVAC systems were designed to separately zone levels, provide energy conservation and efficient utilization of building spaces.

Services provided by SYNCRO Architecture Studio included all phases of design and documentation for approvals and contract negotiations. Structural engineering services were included and provided by Lawrence Calvetti. Construction administration services were provided by SYNCRO.


Private Residence
Olmos Park, Texas
Design/Completion: 2013/2014
1,150 square foot addition (including porch and deck)
existing wood and fiber-cement exterior, galvalume standing-seam metal roof, fiberglass insulation, restored existing and new clad wood windows with low-e insulated glazing.

Project Design Team & Consultants:
Architectural team: David Bogle, R.A., AIA, Robert Casas
Structural Engineering: Calvetti Associates
Photography: Marisa White, as noted. All others by David Bogle.

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Treasure Hill Residence – Part 2

Treasure Hill Residence workday gathering.  December 13, 2014.

Treasure Hill Residence workday gathering. December 13, 2014.


This week, more news coverage of the neighborhood effort to Save Miguel’s House (see Part 1) came out in theRivardReport (online) and in the San Antonio Express-News. It centered around the volunteer work day organized by Bob Comeaux, and it was nicely covered by two neighbors, authors Jessica Belasco in the San Antonio Express-News article and Page Graham of The Rivard Report in #SaveMiguelsHome – The Work Begins. The work day was a success thanks to approximately 50 persons who came to help.

Click here for the Express-News article on SYNCROSTUDIO which appeared on the front page of Monday’s paper (in case you don’t have a subscription to read it at The Express-News website.)

1906 Treasure Hill Plat

1906 Treasure Hill Plat

We’re calling this project Treasure Hill Residence, after the original name of the subdivision created in 1906. Legend had it the early Spanish explorers hid treasure here, but the name has been overshadowed by “Beacon Hill” which abuts this property on the north and is the current name for the whole neighborhood. The elusive treasure, however, is being mined today in the trove of neighbors and folks from all over the city generously donating to the cause. E-mail Bob Comeaux at bobtheunionguy “at” aol “dot” com if you want to find out more about how you can help.

Detail of 1911 map showing Treasure Hill Residence and outbuildings.

Detail of 1911 Sanborn map showing Treasure Hill Residence and outbuildings near Blanco City Road.

Archives

The Human Face of Gentrification

Contemplating the possibilities if he could move back into his home of 50 years.

Contemplating the possibilities if he could move back into his home of 50 years.


Thanks to Page Graham at the Rivard Report for covering this story and using my photographs. This spacious, one-story home has stood here on “Treasure Hill” since prior to 1911 overlooking the San Pedro Springs Park valley and downtown San Antonio beyond from its south east facing front porch. We were asked by neighbor Bob Comeaux to help the owner, pro bono, to determine if it can be saved from demolition. After a quick walk-through it was obvious to me and our team that there could be no good reason to tear this virtually all-original house down.
100 year old house in need of repairs.  View of the front from the southeast.

100 year old house in need of repairs. View of the front from the southeast.


I am looking forward to working on design of the selective renovation soon. Currently, we’ve just completed the Repair Scope of Work developed with the assistance of our structural engineering consultant, Patrick Sparks, P.E., of Sparks Engineering Incorporated.
Interior of the front room, south east corner.  This is where everyone slept in the summer time, before air conditioning.

Interior of the front room, south east corner. This is where everyone slept in the summer time, before air conditioning.


Fundraising is underway, and the greatest news of today is that Donna Bertolacci, of D.B. Home Repair completed her proposal for the repairs and is donating her time, overhead and profit! A very generous proposition from a great homebuilder and her team who I just had the pleasure of working with on the Olmos Park Residence. Please contact Bob Comeaux, bobtheunionguy@aol.com, if you can contribute.

Comeaux sums up the situation best by saying, “How can we help the Miguels of the world, as opposed to tearing down their houses?”

Looks like that is what we’re figuring out. How to filter the gentrification process so it allows residents stability if they want it, and mobility if that’s their choice.

More on this story in Treasure Hill Residence – Part 2.

via Save Miguel's Home: The Human Face of Gentrification by Page Graham for the Rivard Report.

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HemisFair art projects are kid-size

San Antonio Express-News article image:  Hemisfair Art projects are kid-sized

San Antonio Express-News article image: Hemisfair Art projects are kid-sized

The “Yanaguanna Gardens” (a working title for what was first called “play escape”) was covered in the Express-News regarding the civic art being planned for this phase of the redevelopment of San Antonio’s 1968 Hemisfair Park. They also mentioned that Karen Mahaffy, one of the artists, consulted me on her art project; though they did not illustrate with her art proposal. I wrote a little bit about collaborating with Karen and with artist Jen Koshbin for her piece at the planned Yanaguanna Gardens in this post.

Mahaffy studied archival photographs of the homes located in the area and worked with architect David Bogle to create accurate proportions. In addition to the perforated side walls, the playhouse will feature a cutout porch and roof inspired by the leafy canopy of pecan trees.

Click here to read the full article on syncrostudio.com.

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Civic Art – Design Optimization Consulting

Artist Karen Mahaffy is one of several artists commissioned by Public Art San Antonio (PASA) to create civic art works for the Hemisfair Yanaguana Gardens (formerly Play Escape). David Bogle, of SYNCRO, is collaborating with and assisting Mahaffy and another of the artists with their projects by providing informal critiques as well as design optimization services.

Mahaffy has been inspired by the site’s history for her project. Once a prosperous neighborhood on the edge of downtown with a wide variety of homes, the area was targeted for “urban renewal” and became the site for the 1968 Hemisfair. Widely expected to become a downtown university campus by planners of the original Hemisfair Park, it has remained underutilized and largely derelict for most of the four decades since. Mahaffy is seizing her opportunity to tell some of this history through a re-creation of a house that was razed on this site for the 1968 Hemisfair. A diminutive, transparent structure will suggest the lost neighborhood of humble homes.

From historic Sanborn maps, newspaper articles and photographic documentation, a number of specific houses that were razed have been analyzed by the artist for information and inspiration. Mahaffy often works with paper and historic decorative patterns. For this project, damask patterns that were popular at the time of the historic homes construction are being explored for use on the walls.

SYNCRO proposed for this project a workflow of digital design and digital fabrication techniques to optimize the transfer of the artist’s patterns into custom-patterned perforated metal panel roofs and walls. SYNCRO was commissioned by the artist for schematic phase design services intended to provide confidence that the scope, budget and material qualities align with each other to ensure a successful outcome.

Design optimization consulting is provided to assist artists with development of their concept toward appropriate material and fabrication technologies. Consulting services can encompass ergonomics, public space design, universal (accessible) design, cost considerations, material sciences, weathering, finishes and structural design. Bringing fabrication technology and construction knowledge into a project early will not only support an artist’s design concept, but will enhance the design process with the confidence that the budget, scope and quality are aligned for a successful project.


Civic Art Project by Artist Karen Mahaffy
Design / Completion: 2014 / 2015
Yanaguana Gardens, Hemisfair Park
San Antonio, Texas

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Monte Vista Addition


This Monte Vista addition transformed a modest, prairie style residence in San Antonio’s Monte Vista historic district into a more livable home for a growing family and provided the owners with a new master bedroom retreat. The design solution created a new master bedroom suite opening onto a wood deck overlooking the backyard. The tall volume of the addition provides a “dramatic reveal” and complements the existing horizontality of the residence while capturing natural light with clerestory windows and enabling the display of large wall-mounted art. A custom steel and wood alternating tread stair leads to a new attic storage loft.

Services provided by SYNCRO Architecture Studio included all phases of design and documentation for review and approval by the Monte Vista Historical Association’s Architectural Review Committee, and presentation to the City of San Antonio’s Historic Design and Review Commission. Structural engineering and architectural construction administration were provided by SYNCRO and our team of consulting engineers. Relocation of electrical service and HVAC system components were required allowing upgrades for energy conservation and efficient utilization of outdoor spaces.


Private Residence
San Antonio, Texas
Design/Completion: 2007/2008
1,820 square foot addition
stucco exterior, galvalume standing-seam metal roof, bead-board overhangs, fiberglass insulation, wood windows with low-e insulated glazing.

Project Design Team & Consultants:
Architectural team: David Bogle, R.A., AIA, Eric Polocek
Structural Engineering: SWStructural, Inc.