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Category Archives: Architecture

Social Impact Focused PUBLIC Journal released Second Issue

public journal, issue 2, public interest design, humanitarian design

The team at PUBLIC Journal proudly released the second issue of this wonderful magazine focused on all the good that designers are doing around the world. ConsciousBuild co-founder, and PUBLIC’s EIC, Andrew Goodwin, described this issue brilliantly in his letter to the readers:

As Samuel Mockbee once said, “architecture has to be greater than just architecture. It has to address social values, as well as technical and aesthetic values.” This second issue of PUBLIC Journal meets Mockbee’s challenge head on. Our contributors have brought together a group of stories that examine how architecture and the process of design can change lives – sometimes for years to come. We examine how Jensen Architects’ SHED in Healdsburg, Calif. tells the story of how re-imaging the space for the Grange movement can help breath life into small towns. Two projects from two different universities (Tulane and Virginia Tech) help to illustrate how teaching the next generation of change-makers is essential for the future of architecture. We also take a trip across the pond, yet again, to Africa, where we see how a project can help to bring economy and social sustainability to a community in need.

Please download the PUBLIC App or order a subscription online. Individual issues are also available online!


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Building Foundations for the Future: RWANDA


Some of the pro-bono clients of ConsciousBuild’s unique business model are beginning to bear fruit, and we felt it was necessary to illustrate the model again – as well as the results!

ConsciousBuild believes that all people deserve good design in this world, even if they can’t afford it. That is why our business model operates so that we can set aside some of the profit from our clients in order to work on  pro-bono and non-profit projects each year. Last year, we found that we dedicated 3.2% of our profit and time to pro-bono projects. One of those projects is the Sunzu Library in Rwanda.

The Sunzu Library is a community project for the Sunzu Village in the Northern Province of Rwanda. This region is known to be home to some of the poorest and most under-educated people in Rwanda. The owner of the property reached out to Journeyman International (our sister non-profit design organization), and had an idea of how to promote change throughout this region. His idea was to build a “library”, which could also be used as a women’s center, a community meeting room, and a library for children. Our staff at ConsciousBuild teamed with two SLO-based structural engineers (Michel Kalin of MKSE, and Dove Daniel of Cannon) in order to provide working construction drawings for the client, and over the past year the client has began to build the library with a volunteer workforce. Just recently the walls went up!

If you want to learn more about how you can contribute to this kind of work, or if you have a project that may be perfect for our team, please contact us at Even your custom home project here in California can have a huge impact on populations half a world away through ConsciousBuild’s pro bono commitment!


+ Andrew C. Goodwin, AIA, LEED AP
Photo Credits: Dan Klinck




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PUBLIC Journal Is Coming!


Folks clear out your bookshelves and charge your smart phones, because this Tuesday, May 6th, a new design journal is hitting the newsstands and app stores! PUBLIC Journal is a new quarterly publication that will blow your mind and provide that fuzzy warm feeling inside with thought provoking articles about Public Interest Design. It is the intersection between the world of architecture and the voices of activism, exposing those who provide good design for the people who need it most but often don’t receive it. Lets face it – conscious designers making noteworthy impacts are needed more than ever. This is why a group of humanitarians in the fields of architecture, environmental design, and public policy came together to form PUBLIC.

PUBLIC Journal will truly be about the content and will have limited but long term partnerships with like-minded advertisers. The bulk of the journal will be entirely focused on the projects; featuring exceptional photography paired with the highest degree of analytical writing done by the industry’s most forward thinking and talented journalists. Today’s Public Interest Design movement deserves to be exposed and talked about. Through PUBLIC Journal, professionals, universities, corporations, and global citizens will now have a noteworthy journal to satisfy their humanitarian cravings.

PUBLIC Journal will debut its first Spring Issue this Tuesday, May 6th. It will be available in print through a subscription base, and hopefully will be on newsstands later in the year. The easiest way to access PUBLIC is digitally through our mobile apps in Apple Newsstand, Google Play, and Amazon.

Like PUBLIC on Facebook and Follow PUBLIC on Twitter and automatically get entered into a drawing to win a FREE issue!

+M. Farid Shahid


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Shigeru Ban, 2014 Pritzker Prize Laureate

Cardboard Cathedral, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2013 
Photo by Stephen Goodenough

Architect: Shigeru Ban

Cardboard Cathedral, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2013
Photo by Stephen Goodenough

Back in 1979 the Pritzker family established The Pritzker Architecture Prize using funds from their Hyatt Foundation. The Pritzker Prize is awarded annually to one living architect for significant achievement. It is referred to as the most prestigious award an architect can receive in their lifetime. If chosen, the architect receives $100,000, a bronze medallion, and a ceremony at an architecturally significant site. Some past winners have been Jean Nouvel, Thom Mayne, Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, and many more.

It was just announced a few weeks ago that the 2014 laureate of The Pritzker Architecture Prize is Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. After looking through his portfolio of work you will notice his elegant attention to detail and craft. One of the reasons he was chosen by the jury this year is for his inventive and resourceful design process regardless of who his client is. Ban has done work for high end private clients as well as humanitarian organizations. For twenty years he has travelled to natural disaster sites around the world to work with local citizens and provide them with low-cost and dignified design & construction solutions.

Shigeru Ban is quoted in saying, “Receiving this prize is a great honor, and with it, I must be careful. I must continue to listen to the people I work for, in my private residential commissions and in my disaster relief work. I see this prize as encouragement for me to keep doing what I am doing — not to change what I am doing, but to grow.“

One aspect of Ban’s work I would like to highlight is his innovative use of cardboard paper tubes. You can see them being used as columns, beams, and as walls when grouped together. These tubes are usually available locally and are easy to transport and build with. Ban says his Japanese upbringing has led him to design with as little waste as possible.

When announcing this year’s laureate, Tom Pritzker said, “Shigeru Ban’s commitment to humanitarian causes through his disaster relief work is an example for all. Innovation is not limited by building type and compassion is not limited by budget. Shigeru has made our world a better place.”

I encourage you to learn more about Shigeru Ban by visiting his website, Lastly, this year’s award ceremony will take place on June 13th, 2014 at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You can stream it live by visiting

+ M. Farid Shahid
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The Architectural 3D Printing Revolution!

During his visit to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, The 3D Print Canal House was presented to United States’ President Barack Obama by the Mayor of Amsterdam Eberhard van der Laan.
Image: During his visit to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, The 3D Print Canal House was presented to President Barack Obama by the Mayor of Amsterdam Eberhard van der Laan.
About 3D Printing

Believe it or not, 3D printing has been around since 1984 when inventor Chuck Hull built the world’s first working model. However, it took until the start of the 21st century for this technology to truly take off. Latest estimates from Wohlers Associates states that the market for 3D printing in 2012 was worth $2.2 Billion worldwide, which was a 29% increase from the year prior.

When compared to traditional machining techniques that rely on subtraction methods of removing material by cutting and drilling, 3D printing has an advantage of using an additive methods by printing virtually any shape. Although the most common materials used to print are thermoplastics, some printers can also print edible materials, rubber, clay, porcelain, titanium, aluminium, stainless steel, paper, and photopolymer. Currently, 3D printing is being implemented in industries  ranging from architecture & construction, aerospace & military, fashion, and more.

3D Print Canal House: Amsterdam (The Netherlands) | DUS Architects

For the past few weeks thousands of people in Amsterdam have been visiting the site of what is being called the “World’s First 3D Printed House”. Known as the 3D Printed Canal House, this site is an exhibition for 3D Printing Architecture. The innovative company behind this project is the Dutch firm DUS Architects. DUS Architects specializes in Public Architecture that consciously influences our daily life.

There is nothing conventional about the construction of this house! The entire design of this house is thoroughly modeled using state of the art computer software. Afterwards, each room assembly is printed on site separately, and put together like giant Lego pieces. The material being used for this house is a biological plastic containing 75% plant oil and reinforced with microfibers. The building assemblies are being printed in a honeycomb lattice shape that acts as a structural element, and is later filled with lightweight concrete for insulation and additional strength.

The most fascinating aspect of this type of construction is that the ornamentation, exterior facade, structure, and inner facade are all printed as one solid piece. This is definitely one of the most optimal forms of systems integration. In this wall assembly you will find construction connections, cables, pipes, wiring, and more. The result is a seamless and streamlined look.

Enjoy this video for more information on the 3D Print Canal House, and if you’re in the area anytime soon tickets are only €2,50!

The Future of 3D Printing

As costs of 3D printing are dropping every year the possibilities with this technology are endless. The goal for many of the 3D printer manufacturers is for each household to someday own a domestic 3D printer. This will enable the general public to 3D print common household items from an open source database. For example, if you run out of forks for a dinner party there is no need to drive to the store, because you can print your own in minutes. I am not sure when this will become a reality, but it sure is exciting to see projects like the house in Amsterdam being built.

What are your thoughts on the future of 3D printing? Send us your ideas in the comments below!

+ M. Farid Shahid

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“If You Build It”-Film Review

This past week was the 20th anniversary of the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival. All week long dozens of world class films were shown throughout the county at every film venue you can imagine. This year Journeyman International and ConsciousBuild Inc. proudly sponsored the viewing of If You Build It at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The film, “follows designer-activists Emily Pilloton and Matthew Miller to rural Bertie County, the poorest in North Carolina, where they work with local high school students to help transform both their community and their lives. Living on credit and grant money and fighting a change-resistant school board, Pilloton and Miller lead their students through a year-long, full-scale design and build project that does much more than just teach basic construction skills: it shows ten teenagers the power of design-thinking to re-invent not just their town but their own sense of what’s possible” (

#1 - Emily Pilloton with Studio H students CJ Robertson and Stevie Mizelle. From IF YOU BUILD IT, a Long Shot Factory Release 2013_small

Emily Pilloton with Studio H students CJ Robertson and Stevie Mizelle. From IF YOU BUILD IT, a Long Shot Factory Release 2013

#10 - The completed Windsor Farmers Market at dusk. From IF YOU BUILD IT, a Long Shot Factory Release 2013. Courtesy of Brad Feinknopf_small

The completed Windsor Farmers Market at dusk. From IF YOU BUILD IT, a Long Shot Factory Release 2013. Courtesy of Brad Feinknopf.


This documentary is a slam dunk in my opinion! The high-end production quality, witty humor, and captivating story line will keep you in your seat for the entire 95 minutes. The film starts off by introducing rural Bertie County and the high school students it will follow. The film maker depicts the town as this degrading sinkhole that has no future outlook for its youth. The current working class is barely making it and all the youth are leaving town with every opportunity they get. Emily and Matt arrive to change all that and to instill hope for their town by motivating a group of high school students to build a community center.

After completing this film I was completely astonished with what high school students could achieve with a little support and guidance. At first, most of the students resisted and didn’t want to be in the program. However, after completing some smaller projects they realized how rewarding design can be. Towards the end of the two years each and every student had grown tremendously in their character, skills, and passion for Bertie County. If you are passionate about design & community then this is a must see film for you!

Official Trailer:

Panel Discussion:

After the film had ended,  Journeyman International and ConsciousBuild hosted a special panel discussion to share what public interest design meant to them. The audience was mostly SLO County residents that were non-students, which was very useful in creating a dynamic discussion. Most of the questions were centered around how Journeyman operates and what their current projects consisted of. I think the discussion was important, because it allowed the audience to meet professionals in their own community who are doing projects similar to what If You Build It had depicted. Public Interest Design is steadily growing each year, with many companies devoting a portion of their time and profit towards improving communities in need all over the world. Journeyman International is working hard every day to put San Luis Obispo on the map as a leader in public interest design and community based architecture in an international capability. To learn more visit


Panel discussion followed by the film. Left to right: Matthew Linden, Daniel Wiens, Stephanie Fellows, and Andrew Goodwin.

+ M. Farid Shahid
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Code Crackers!

As most of us were waking up from our New Years Eve parties, the California Building Code was up bright and early ready for its new changes. As of January 1st, 2014, we have to follow the 2013 Edition of California Building Standards Codes. Since the code is issued on a triennial basis, everyone was using the 2010 California Building Code before the new changes. The new code updates are slightly more stringent in order to be on track for the major goal of being zero tnt energy by the year 2020 for residential and 2030 for all commercial. A Zero Net Energy building produces as much energy as it consumes in one year. This can easily be achieved by designing a building to the highest energy efficiency standards and then supplementing it with energy production on site (solar panels, wind turbines, hydro-electric, etc.).

Here is an updated list of the 12 part 2013 California Building Standards Code:

Part 1 Administrative Code
Part 2 California Building Code (CBC)
Part 2.5 California Residential Code (CRC)
Part 3 California Electrical Code (CEC)
Part 4 California Mechanical Code (CMC)
Part 5 California Plumbing Code (CPC)
Part 6 California Energy Code
Part 7 (Currently Vacant)
Part 8 California Historical Building Code
Part 9 California Fire Code (CFC)
Part 10 California Existing Building Code
Part 11 California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen)
Part 12 California Referenced Standards Code

As difficult and challenging building codes may be, they are crucial to the safety and well-being of the general public. Imagine a world where on a daily basis, you were uncertain if the ceiling was going to fall down, or if the stairs would collapse. Building codes provide everyone with a safe and level playing field that protects all building end users. This is why architects are so valuable in an ever changing world of new technologies, changing building codes, and an evolving environment. Architects, engineers, builders, and the like are at the forefront of these changes. We are committed to enhance the built environment around us, and to make our communities a better place to live in.

Lastly, I would like to end this post by introducing you to the Architecture 2030 Challenge. The 2030 challenge is like a pact that the industry’s leading professionals are making in order to reduce the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing our emissions is the key to addressing our planet’s climate change. By the year 2030, our goal is to be carbon-neutral by emitting zero fossil fuel greenhouse gases to operate.

Here is a good example of a Net Zero Energy project in Georgia. To learn more, click the link below for the full article.


Via Jetson Green


+M. Farid Shahid




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“…Lose Yourself In The Service of Others”




Our firm is dedicated to giving back to the communities in which we work, and we make sure our clients know that their projects help to make other humanitarian design work possible around the world. This past year ConsciousBuild, Inc made a significant difference for many non-profit and NGO’s around the world by donating 3.8% of our time to help provide design and consulting services pro bono. Many of our staff members even went above and beyond by helping outside of the office with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Journeyman International, and Architecture for Humanity. Thank you ConsciousBuild Staff and ConsciousBuild Clients for making such a huge difference for thousands around the world! Here is a list of some of the projects that we donated our time towards in 2013:

1) Sunzu Village Library, Sunzu Village, Rwanda – Made possible by Private Donor

2) Ofelen Lakey Orphanage, Kenscoff, Haiti – Child Hope International

3) Kili Centre Orphanage, Tanzania – Kili Centre

4) RED Studio, San Luis Obispo (teaching and designing) – Journeyman International

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Mahatma Gandhi 

+ Andrew C. Goodwin, AIA, LEED AP
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January Brings New Things!

With a new year comes new things! ConsciousBuild, Inc. has been busy building up our Development Division, and we are not only welcoming a new principal in Adam Melhuse, but we are also welcoming a new development in Atascadero, California. We will touch upon the new development in a later Blog, so for now let’s introduce another part to our Team at ConsciousBuild!


ConsciousBuild, Inc. is proud to welcome team member Brandon Silva of BC Silva Construction.  Brandon brings his keen eye, reliability, and 15 years of remodeling experience to complete your next environmentally responsible remodel.  Getting the Design and Construction Team of a Project involved at the very start of your next project is one of our main objectives at ConsciousBuild, Inc.  Using this collaborative project delivery model is a strategy we employ to significantly reduce design-build costs.

Brandon has worked extensively on the Central Coast including numerous repeat customers.  With 15 years of remodeling experience Brandon is aware of the value of patience and understanding that is necessary to make your dream a reality.  He is a great listener and will help to ensure the team makes any project truly yours.  Brandon will provide you with a free estimate that often times comes as close to the end price as possible in this ever changing market.  And with ConsciousBuild being a design-build team, any necessary changes will be made collaboratively.

Creating a strong network of designers and builders is vital to the success of creating an environmentallyeconomically, and socially responsible building.  We are thrilled to collaborate with BC Silva Construction and to partake in their expansion!

ConsciousBuild will be bringing project management, architectural design, interior design, and “green building” consulting to BC Silva Construction’s services – as BC Silva will bring more Construction Management to our team! As a Construction Manager, Brandon will oversee all subcontractors on the site, ensuring punctual and consistent high quality work is performed at all times.

Punctual, consistent high quality work and a pleasure to work with.

Conscientious, funny, intelligent, and a pleasure to work with.

Our team has already begun to bring renovation and remodel project’s to the Central Coast, so get in touch with us today to learn how ConsciousBuild can help redefine your home for your life!

ConsciousBuild, BC Silva Construction, Brandon Silva

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Evolution of Small Spaces

After spending two weeks in Europe, and living the small apartment lifestyle, I have concluded that the recent movement in American cities of small, efficiently-sized apartments is a great progression for the our society. From New York City to San Francisco, American cities are passing laws allowing smaller sized apartments to pass code in urban settings. This movement is allowing the re-urbanization of our many cities to take place at a more sustainable level. Studio apartments and single occupant efficiency units have been creatively designed by today’s architects to reinvent the use of space for things such as storage, sleeping, and entertaining. Convertible built-in furniture sets are also being designed and purchased from coast-to-coast. These are low-cost, affordable, and sustainable options in order to accommodate the growing migration of Americans to cities – which globally is estimated to lead to 7-out-of-10 people living in cities by 2050.

What this ultimately means is that architects need to continue to be thoughtful in their attempt to redesign apartment buildings in cities across the US. ConsciousBuild has been dedicated to this movement for many years now, and more of our clients are asking for these spaces. What is more impressive is that clients that are not in large metropolitan cities are asking for innovative solutions to their spatial problems, too. Homes in San Luis Obispo do not need to sprawl just because there is more land available – and more and more clients understand this! Sustainability means also looking at leaving the undisturbed land alone!

Contact ConsciousBuild today to get a low-cost design done for your existing, new or remodeled home. We can give you the design and set you up with the construction team today.


+ Andrew C. Goodwin

Small Apartments


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