Monte Vista Montessori School Master Plan

New front gate and fence.   Artistic metal panel fence design concept to illustrate the potential for this fabrication technique.

New front gate and fence. Artistic metal panel fence design concept to illustrate the potential for this fabrication technique.

SYNCRO Architecture Studio was commissioned by the Monte Vista Montessori School to prepare a Conceptual Master Plan for the campus. A school master plan is needed to provide a long-term vision for facility planning and a rationale for several specific improvements needed in the near future. This early stage, broad brush-stroke exercise has identified areas of opportunity and of deficiency. Interior and exterior spaces and features have been analyzed. Multiple improvement projects have been identified and conceptually explored by SYNCRO in the master plan for their potential contribution to the school’s mission. Along with conceptual design of improvements, estimates of their future cost to the school is being documented in the report.

The school was formed in 2008 and moved into this late mid-century building, a former residence for convalescing nuns, with minimal construction. Not surprisingly, one of the findings of our evaluation is the potential for a much more efficient use of the building’s interior. SYNCRO conducted an accessibility survey which will yield suggestions for improvements to facilitate accessibility for the disabled.

Improvements expected to be enacted upon in an initial phase of construction include new perimeter fencing, new exterior doors and an improved drop-off/pick-up area in front of the main entry. SYNCRO provided regulatory agency coordination services including working with the Monte Vista Architectural Review Committee and gaining regulatory approval from the City of San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation for the fencing improvements.

SYNCRO Architecture Studio proposed an artistic metal panel fence utilizing digital design and digital fabrication to convey a sense of creativity and discovery embodied in the Montessori method. Additionally, we proposed to facilitate a series of visioning sessions to develop themes for the artwork and imagery. By utilizing a digital design and manufacturing workflow, unique panels can be economically produced using computer-numeric-controlled (CNC) tools. The illustrations shown here are conjectural and intended only to demonstrate the concept and illustrate some of the possibilities of this design and fabrication technology.

Independent School Conceptual Master Plan
San Antonio, Texas
Design/Completion: 2012 / –
1,820 square foot addition

Project Design Team & Consultants:
Architectural team: David Bogle, R.A., AIA, Juan Aguirre, Charles Dickson


Open floor plans – San Antonio E-N

Outdoor Rooms Sketch

Outdoor Rooms: Deck, Treehouse, Covered Patio

I was interviewed by Jennifer Hiller for her article for the Express-News and was pleased to see it run with my conceptual design sketch for a series of outdoor rooms I proposed as additions to a house. There are three areas to extend the interior kitchen and breakfast rooms: a covered porch, a mulch-floored room with a tree house above for the kids, and an open deck with built-in seating. Also published with the article is a photograph of the open plan kitchen of the Holland Avenue Residence.

Please view the article on-line or see excerpts below.

Multiuse rooms, open floor plans among trends – San Antonio Express-News – By Jennifer Hiller: November 8, 2013

Home design has gotten practical and wandered outside.

Outdoor living areas and no-nonsense spaces such as home offices and mudrooms are among the most popular trends in home design, according to the latest survey from the American Institute of Architects.

Kermit Baker, chief economist with the AIA and senior research fellow at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, said post-recession design dollars are being directed toward practical rooms that people use the most, such as great rooms and master bedrooms, or mudrooms where families can stash shoes and backpacks. Low-maintenance or energy-efficient features are popular, as are things such as docking stations for phones.

“During the boom it was about technology-intense media rooms and wine cellars and sort of froufrou areas in the home that you didn’t really need,” Baker said. “Now it’s really much more about lifestyle and more multipurpose spaces. Homes have gotten smaller and you need multifunction rooms. Mudrooms and home offices are very practical. You can telecommute or consult between jobs, or work at home part time.”

Other practical features trending in home design: tankless water heaters, recycled materials, water-saving features, extra insulation, ramps and elevators, storm-resistant design, automated lighting and first-floor master bedrooms. Additions or alterations to existing homes are popular.

And even people with large budgets are spending it in a focused way, Baker said. “It’s not just, ‘I have some extra money to spend on my home,’” Baker said.

Architect David Bogle of Syncro Architecture Studio, said many clients want to renovate existing homes, whether it’s one they already live in or one they’re purchasing, and may take their time.

“The goal is to transform it over a period of years. They want a master plan like an institution would do for the long-range planning of their home,” Bogle said. “I think people are getting smarter about the built environment, and it translates to their homes.”

Smaller square footage means design must focus on the most heavily used parts of the home. “It’s an optimization of what is important,” Bogle said. “That’s where the expense and the space goes.”

Including outdoor living areas as “rooms” of the house is one way to extend the home and take advantage of the yard — and the budget.

“The idea is that through affordable and ordinary, inexpensive, everyday materials you can achieve great things through design,” Bogle said.


Bogle recently did a conceptual drawing of a townhome project for a developer who wants to target empty nesters. All the townhomes would have elevators — which would make it easier to age-in-place (another design trend) — installed or as an option.



Cultural Landscape of San Antonio’s Westside

Claudia Guerra has been analyzing the cultural landscape and spirit of place on San Antonio’s Westside. Recently she applied to the Graham Foundation for a grant to further her research. SYNCRO architecture studio has agreed to finance a portion of the study and lend support with some supplies and a mapping exercise. Linked here, by the cover, above, and in the right-hand column, is the photo essay distilled from her academic paper presented at the National Council of Chicano and Chicana Studies in March 2013.


Urban Residence

Comprehensive architectural and engineering services were provided for the design and construction of an adaptive reuse of a landmark 1887 row house in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill Historic District.  Restoration of original features, functional space planning and state-of-the-art building technologies harmonize in a custom home tailored for a family.  This 16’ – 9” wide property Continue reading


Holland Avenue Residence

Holland Avenue Residence - San Antonio, Texas
Click on the image above to view the Project Gallery.

The hallmark of this private residence is the philosophy that good, contemporary design should be affordable.  Attention to design combined with use of economical construction means and materials enabled a tight budget to create a unique energy-efficient home that fits the owner’s down-sizing lifestyle.  Continue reading


Always B Ranch – Residence

Bogle provided complete architectural and structural design services including construction administration for this rural retreat on 10 acres. Site design included layout for separate garage, workshop and outdoor amenities.

The home is sited to engage the natural landscape, nestled below a bluff and facing Continue reading


The Berkeley Carroll School Performance Space

The upper school’s advanced drama, dance and music programs were in need of a safe, comfortable performance space.  Additionally, the school was in need of a room for large lectures.  SYNCRO, with theater consultant Fisher Dachs Associates, proposed a flexible environment to satisfy these diverse requirements.

SYNCRO provided comprehensive architectural and engineering design services for the transformation of the turn-of-the-century auditorium into a state-of-the-art studio theater Continue reading


The Berkeley Carroll School

The Berkeley Carroll School is an independent, college-preparatory day school providing coeducational programs for children in prekindergarten through grade 12. Chartered by New York state in 1886, Berkeley Carroll is one of the oldest independent schools in New York City and has three campuses in historic Park Slope Brooklyn. From 2000 – 2008 they retained SYNCRO architecture studio for more than 15 projects over 7 years. Continue reading


The Crossroads – Affordable Housing

Through an innovative New York City program the tenants of these two 1890s tenement apartment buildings in the Times Square District of Manhattan formed an association —The Crossroads— to take ownership of these city-owned buildings.

SYNCRO worked with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development program to provide comprehensive architectural and engineering design services for the client from planning through construction administration. Continue reading


Environmental Laboratory

This competition-winning, sustainable solution was selected by the leadership of CPSE along with the environmental lab user-group.  Comprehensive architectural and engineering services were provided under Bogle’s design direction.

The footprint is both compact, yet elongated along the east-west axis.  This orientation maximizes natural ventilation and natural daylighting potential.  Continue reading