Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dean Sakamoto appointed to AIA National Committee

President Mickey Jacobs, FAIA, of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has appointed Dean Sakamoto, FAIA, LEED AP to serve on the 2013 Committee on Disaster Assistance. Others on this committee include Rachel M. Minnery, AIA, LEED AP of Seattle, Washington; Michael D. Lingerfelt, FAIA, LEED AP of Orlando, Florida; Gregory R. Beste, AIA of East Providence, Rhode Island; James E. Butch" Grimes, AIA of Birmingham, Alabama; and Robert W. Thiele, AIA of San Diego, California. Dean Sakamoto's interest in this area is based upon his belief "...that our communities and buildings today must not only be sustainable, but they must also incorporate resilient design strategies." Resilient design has to do with the built environment's ability to absorb the effects of predicted and unpredicted changes and impacts due to natural or human-induced events. DSA's Juliet Rice Wichman Botanical Research Center, a LEED Gold building on Kauai, Hawaii, is designed for hurricane resilience.

Superstorm Sandy Damage Observed

From November 29 to December 6, 2012, Dean Sakamoto, FAIA, LEED AP; Karl Kim, Ph.D., University of Hawaii Urban Planning Professor, who is also executive director of the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center (NDPTC); along with coastal geologist and land use law expert, Dennis Hwang, of UH Sea Grant, visited the most severely damaged areas along the New York City and New Jersey coasts to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) efforts in recovery from Hurricane Sandy. The team was hosted by Professor Ronald Shiffman, FAICP of Pratt Institute’s Graduate Center for Planning and the Environment and met with community leaders, local officials, New York City planning and design professionals, residents, building owners, and those involved in relief and recovery efforts. Coastal storm surge, flooding, and infrastructure failure were the main causes and consequences of Sandy’s impact. Sandy struck the east coast on October 29 of this year. Dean Sakamoto leads the Urban Resilience Lab at UH Planning and is the lead developer of NDPTC's HURRIPLAN, a design-based training course for hurricane resilience. HURRIPLAN will be presented at the Center for Architecture in New York City as part of its September 2013 Design For Risk and Recovery events. Dennis Hwang photo above of the remains of a home on Union Beach, NJ. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

DOCOMOMO US Hawaii Chapter Makes News

In the Honolulu Weekly cover story, "Architecture Matters Now!" author and architecture critic Curt Sanburn describes the convergence (and resurgence) of interest in the Aloha State's capital city. Sanburn cites the opening of AIA Honolulu's Center for Architecture in downtown; plans for Kakaako, a central urban industrial district which appears to be turning a corner towards its long anticipated redevelopment; and coincidentally, Dean Sakamoto's return to Honolulu and start-up of the Docomomo US Hawaii Chapter with  a team of local preservationists, designers and historians. Sakamoto is the Hawaii Chapter's founding President. Sanburn wisely states: "It’s Honolulu’s time to look back and move forward, to lovingly defend itself, embrace itself, and build itself as a blessedly unique city of the world. Whether it’s the architects at the AIA or the scholars at Docomomo, their passions and their conversations will help to forge a new Honolulu." This article appeared in the November 14, 2012 issue of the Weekly which can be found at

DSA's Modern House Honored by AIA Connecticut

The Modern House Renovation for Dr. Lauren Cohn in Woodbridge, Connecticut was the recipient of a 2012 AIA Connecticut Merit Award. A masterpiece of mid-century modern design which was originally designed by Yale architecture professor King-Lui Wu (1918-2002) for Benjamin Dupont and built in 1952. DSA's primary objective was to retain the identity and character of King-Lui Wu's architecture, yet update and improve artificial lighting and worn finishes, while "softening" the acoustics and areas of everyday activity such as the kitchen, living room and master bedroom. Lighting designers Atelier Ten and the Westmount Group, builders of the project were key collaborators. Vicky Sambunaris photo above

Other firms honored in this year's program include Pelli Clarke Pelli, Centerbrook Architects, Newman Architects, Joeb Moore and Partners, and Beinfield Architecture. 
The design jury consisted of architects Deborah Berke, FAIA, Hillary Brown, FAIA, and David Helpern, FAIA.
Jury comments:
This remodeling project keeps the spirit of the original building. The changes that were made were sympathetic and respectful to it.

For more info on this project see

2012 AIA Honolulu CSI Pacific Building and Trade Expo

Dean Sakamoto presented the concept of resilience in architectural design as it relates to the current standards of sustainability. Resilience in the built environment has to do with society’s ability to rebound or recover from widespread disruption caused by a natural or human-induced event. The first area of his talk addressed Hawaii’s vulnerability to coastal storms and how informed planning and design can prepare us for the associated hazards of high winds, heavy rains, interior flooding and coastal surge before disaster strikes. The second area coupled sustainable design and resilient mitigation strategies for commercial and institutional buildings. Dean's presentation ended with a mini-design exercise in which the audience of over 50 architects made sketches for a community safe room for a public school.