Blog

  • Re-Envisioning a Suburban Mall in Marin

    Suburbs and cities everywhere face the challenge of what to do with malls and shopping centers that have been hit hard by COVID-19, the departure of department store anchors, and the rise of online shopping. One example close to home is Northgate Mall in San Rafael, which opened in the 1960s and currently has a Macy’s and a Kohl’s as its anchors. A third anchor, Sears, closed its doors here in 2018. About a year later, Costco proposed taking over the site with a massive three-story big box store and 30 Costco fuel pumps.

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  • Covid-19 Adaptation Projects

    Covid-19 has challenged all of us to re-evaluate our relationship to shared interior spaces. Some of our clients have had to adapt their facilities to modify their operations. For two of our clients, SFO and The Bay School, we have developed solutions to meet their immediate needs with an eye towards enhancing their long-term operational goals. Below is a sample of these Covid-response projects.

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  • A Conversation with Our New Associates

    Kuth Ranieri Architects has promoted architects Rob Marcalow and Juno Song to associates. Rob is the firm’s East Coast studio director for the Boston regional office. Since joining in 2018, he’s worked on everything from a daycare center to San Francisco International Airport. Juno came to Kuth Ranieri in 2015 and has had a hand in a number of the firm’s projects at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), ranging from the new Harvey Milk Terminal 1 to the “Big Room” co-location office for the entire Terminal 1 team. 

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  • A Nurturing Place for Infants at Palcare

    In the Bay Area, the scarcity and high expense of childcare has posed a significant challenge to families already struggling with the cost of living. One provider, Burlingame-based Palcare Childcare, has been making a difference since the early 1990s. Palcare offers childcare programs with flexible scheduling—not only during the day but also well into the evening—for families of children ranging from three months to five years old.

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  • Voids to Frame the View

    Today, the Black Lava Fields is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland. There is an existing visitor’s center, a simple building made up of container modules that house a gift shop and café. The Bee Breeders, architecture competition organizers, held this design competition to replace the existing building with a structure more worthy of this amazing environment.

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  • Stepping into a Book to Visit the Dentist

    Going to the dentist can be a scary experience for children. For the Division of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of California, San Francisco, providing affordable services to the children of the city’s low-income families is about investing in the community. So when it came time to renovate the clinic’s home base at the Parnassus Campus, our clients asked us to transform the space so it could offer a private practice–quality experience, both for the comfort of patients and pride of staff and students—despite some difficult constraints the existing building posed.

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  • Learning from History to Design Equitable Spaces

    We regularly incorporate Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines into our work, but I never realized that ADA legislation was a result of years of protests by hundreds of social rights activists. I had only learned about the 504 Sit-In after a friend of mine named Natalie Fung posted about it on social media. Natalie was organizing a protest for people with disabilities in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

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  • A Golden Opportunity for San Franciscos Mission Bay-The Chase Center

    A few years ago, we received a call from Gensler, the global architecture firm selected to design the interior of Chase Center: the new waterfront home for the Golden State Warriors. Gensler needed a small business enterprise to join their team to design the lobbies and eventually, the Esplanade of the center. We of course leaped at the opportunity to help create the new home for our beloved team.

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  • All in the Details-Small Home Renovation with Big Results

    It happens to most parents: the kids grow up, move out of the house, get jobs, and start families of their own. And when they come home to visit for a few days or weeks, they don’t always fit in their old childhood bedrooms—especially once they start bringing their own children.

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  • Only Connect-Memorializing Harvey Milks Dynamic Life and Legacy

    Since our firm’s inception, we have been involved in three memorials to Harvey Milk. Milk, a civil rights and human rights activist, made history as California’s first openly gay elected official when he joined the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in the late 1970s. He was slain eleven months later, but his legacy lives on. All three of the memorials we created are part of infrastructure projects, which is no accident. Like infrastructure, Harvey Milk was all about connecting.

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  • Revising the Midcentury Suburban Ranch House

    In the Bay Area, a number of clients have been asking us to revamp modest midcentury suburban ranch houses. Built …

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  • Clover-Shelter for Regrowth

    In the fall of 2017, one of our clients lost their house to the Santa Rosa wildfires. Not long after, they asked us to drive up from San Francisco and talk about designing a new house on the same site. The landscape was eerie, all ashes and chimneys and bent, burnt, broken things.

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  • Refreshing Balboa Pool for the 21st Century

    Designed by architect Frederick H. Reimers and opened in San Francisco’s Balboa Park in 1956, Balboa Pool is a classic example of the International Style, with its flat roof, scored concrete-clad exterior walls, bands of metal-framed windows, minimal ornamentation, and semicircular ramp leading to the entryway. After more than a half-century, however, normal wear and tear had taken its toll, chlorine had eaten away at the steel windows, and the structure needed a seismic upgrade.

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  • Balboa Pool Grand Reopening

    On February 23rd we ventured to Balboa Park to celebrate the reopening of the Balboa Pool, a project we have …

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  • Designing the First Ever Mobile Grain Mill

    Grain mills seem to be just a remnant of the past, a reminder of the way things used to be done. The cumbersome equipment used to turn wheat berries into flour has been virtually forgotten, until recently. The non-profit organization, Honoré Farm and Mill, based in Marin County, California, worked with Kuth Ranieri Architects to envision the country’s first-ever mobile wheat and grain mill.

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  • Urban Nature- Reconceptualizing San Francisco Public Restrooms and Kiosks

    In the mid-1990s, the San Francisco Department of Public Works contracted with the French outdoor advertising company JCDecaux to provide two dozen accessible, self-cleaning public restrooms to be scattered throughout the city’s sidewalks in areas with high foot traffic. Along with them came 114 advertising kiosks. Both restrooms and kiosks resembled their counterparts in Paris, with Art Nouveau curves and gold accents. They may have added a necessary function to the streetscape, but aesthetically, they didn’t have anything in particular to do with San Francisco.

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  • Building a Green Practice

    As I started strategizing about how to take our firm’s commitment to sustainability and green design to the next level, I came up against a Catch-22 situation. It’s similar to the one architects face when branching out to pursue new building types: you need to demonstrate experience with a particular project type in order to get projects of that type. Only through project participation do we build the specific skills that constitute “experience.”

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  • Remaking a Roller Coaster into a Home for Birds at Lion Mountain

    We’ve completed a number of unusual adaptive use projects—repurposing a storefront for the GLBT History Museum, converting a historic 1880s stone vinegar factory into offices for a nonprofit foundation, and remaking an industrial shed into a bunkhouse for artists. But we never expected we’d be asked to turn a roller coaster into an aviary.

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  • Beyond LEED-Achieving True Sustainability

    When people in the building industry think of sustainability, they think of LEED. But LEED is first and foremost a rating system. It was developed to push the industry incrementally toward more environmentally friendly strategies. It doesn’t envision the ideal that we all need to be striving for. What would a truly sustainable building look like?

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  • San Francisco International Airport-The Big Idea Behind the Big Room at Terminal 1

    A Conversation with Michael McGroarty, Ophelia Wilkins, and Ethen Wood
    Q: Before we get into talking about the Big Room and what it is, let’s talk about the project it was built for.

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