Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Smart Cities Panel at New York Center for Architecture

An impressive event at the AIA NY CFA last night on the topic of Smart Cities held in conjunction with the 2014 Integration Segment of the UN Economic and Social Council on Sustainable Urbanization at the United Nations on May 27-29. Smart Cities has to do with the utilization of open source data to enhance the functionality of city operations such as traffic, energy, crowd sourcing and disaster preparedness. AIA NY President Lance Jay Brown, FAIA, opened the event he framed within his Presidential theme "Civic Spirit: Civic Vision." Speakers pictured above (left to right) are Tom Wright, Executive Director, Regional Plan Association; Margaret O'Donoghue Castillo, AIA, LEED AP; Urs Gauchat, Dean of NJIT College of Architecture and Design; Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of, UN Habitat and former Mayor of Barcelona; H.E. Vladimir Drobnak, Vice President, UN Economic and Social Council. The speakers discussed the state of cities from global, regional and sectoral perspectives. A common consensus among the panel is that all cities must contribute to the effort of greenhouse gas reduction, plan strategically, design and build with the future in mind. Dean Sakamoto photo.

See this link to the Consortium for Sustainable Urbanism (CSU)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Excavation at Chapel-Howe Project Site

Foundation excavation has just started at the long-awaited and contested Chapel-Howe housing project in New Haven's Chapel West Special Services District. DSA is working with Beinfield Architecture who is the architect of record for this 136 unit mixed-use housing complex a block away from Yale University. RMS is the developer who faced numerous challenges from neighborhood stakeholders but prevailed and will see the project built now. Seeing this project implemented is particularly satisfying for DSA because it fulfills our recommendation for a "gateway" building for this site in our 2006 Vision and Strategic Plan for Chapel West.  DSA also helped RMS to attain the zone change and site plan approval with the City for this project and is working with Beinfield Architecture on the facade design. Dean Sakamoto photo.

See a link to the New Haven Independent story on the successful zoning hearing:

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Hawaii Children's Discovery Center Founder & Chinese Researchers Visit New Haven

Loretta Luke Yajima, the magnanimous founder and president of the Hawai`i Children's Discovery Center stopped in New Haven today. Loretta is working with the Beijing-based Children's Museum Research Center (CMRC) to plan and realize numerous children's centers throughout China. Her center in Honolulu is an incredible story: it was a former city trash incinerator converted into a place which fosters continuous creativity and multi-faceted development among island keiki (kids). Thanks to the CMRC and the Lao Niu Foundation, China's youth will will thrive in this way. This is fantastic news for the world! A visit to the Luckey Climbers workshop to check on the status of an imaginative play structure designed by Spencer Luckey and his team was the objective of her Elm City junket. Loretta was accompanied by Ni Zhang, Xuecheng Zhou and Sarah Li of the CMRC. Dean Sakamoto, pictured with Loretta above, was on the original design team of the Hawai`i's Children's Discovery Center during the early 1990s and was thrilled to help host the CMRC Team. Special thanks to Enrique Rosado of the Erwin Hauer studio. Sarah Li photo.
See these cool links:

Urban Observation
Boat and Building Cause Double Take

A sail boat is suspended against the facade of the Sanaa designed New Museum on the Bowery in New York City. This juxaposition/displacement of a watercraft and the museum building's stepped facade creates a sensation of movement. While in reality, just the sky and street life moves around this static edifice. Rock-on New Museum, you are helping us to see and look twice at you! Dean Sakamoto photo.

Check out

Working with Manuel Miranda MMP studio

Located in the creative enclave of the Bowery District in Lower Manhattan is MMP, a graphic design studio led by Manuel Miranda. Manuel is a graduate of the Yale School of Art Graphic Design Department and currently teaches there when he is not designing books, exhibitions and environmental graphics. DSA is proud to be working with MMP on its 21st Century Schools projects. Architecture without provocative graphics and intelligent splashes of color is like watching a silent black and white film. Dean Sakamoto photo.

To see samples of MMP's work see

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Native Hawaiian Community Learning Center 

DSA's renovation of the Acacia Building at the National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) at Kalaheo, Kaua`i into the Native Hawaiian Community Learning Center was captured by photographer Mariko Reed earlier this month. This project also included the renovation of the Breadfruit Institute and new education offices. This Learning Center, while small in size - approximately 2000 square feet - is large on legacy. NTBG's Headquarters and Research Campus was designed by legendary Hawaiian modern architect Vladimir Ossipoff. This building was the first of structure to be built on the campus in 1982. The late Hawai`i Senator Daniel Inouye was largely responsible for securing funding for this renovation project four years ago. Fifty years ago, Senator Inouye legislated the Congressional Charter for the Garden to be the national center for tropical botany which it continues to be today. Mariko Reed photo.

For more info on NTBG see:

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Lincoln Society on the Move

Pictured here is DSA's project to move the Lincoln Society's new Tomb to the lot next door on Chapel Street in New Haven. Really a historic two-family house built in the late 1800s, this structure is referred to as a Tomb because the Lincoln Society is a "secret society" located nearby the Yale University Campus. DSA's work involved site planning, foundation engineering, and designing a new basement level living unit for the Society's members. The relocation of this old house is being made in conjunction with the development of a 136 unit housing project at this prominent Chapel-Howe Street intersection. This site contributes to the Dwight District Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. Once realized, these two projects combined will realize a key component of DSA's Vision and Strategic Plan for the Chapel West Special Services District in 2005. Colin Caplan photo.
For more info on Chapel West see

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

archawai`i Project Reviews

Dean Sakamoto served as guest critic at two University of Hawai`i School of Architecture Final Project Reviews on May 5 and 6, 2014. On Monday, he helped to review projects for the Arch 543 Urban Design Studio taught by Judith Stilgenbauer titled Ecological Urbanism for a Resilient Ala Moana Waterfront. The next day, he participated in reviewing the work of Arch 343 Design Studio for the Waikiki 2050 project co-taught by David Rockwood, Martin Despang and Mireille Turin. As usual the student work is visionary, energetic and free of the worldly constraints we face in practice. Despite the later, the good news is that these students and their professors have Climate Change Adaptation on their minds and computer screens. Pictured above is the last student critqued during the Arch 343 Review. Dean Sakamoto photo. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Project Site Scoped Out 

Dean Sakamoto-Newman Architects JV will be designing a new 21st Century World Language Classroom Complex at Niu Valley Middle School in East Honolulu, one of Hawaii's top performing middle schools. Situated near the top of scenic Niu Valley the existing school is a classic example of mid-century modern design for the sub-tropics. The DSNA JV's charge is to design a cutting-edge high performance prototype that sets the pace for future rehabilitation of this campus and perhaps others around the 50th State. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

From the Archives

Here's a fuzzy snapshot from a family picnic at Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu sometime during the early 1960s. Visible behind the cool mid-century cars is the newly built IBM Building designed by Vladimir Ossipoff. The boy in his mother's arms (at right side) is Dean Sakamoto. Today, the IBM Building is home to Dean Sakamoto Architects' Honolulu office. How time flies!