architecture blog

Modative Architecture Summer 2013 Announcements

Posted by Summer Carrillo on Thu, Aug 29, 2013 @ 13:08 PM

We are happy to announce that Modative is growing up! With nine new architecture projects this year, we felt it was time to take the next step and award some promotions. Krystal Návar, one of Modative’s earliest employees, is now a seasoned project manager. We’d like to thank Krystal for steering multiple projects in the office and raising a little one without even breaking a sweat. We’re also excited to announce Jesus Fernandez has accepted a new role as project manager and seems to be enjoying it. Lastly, it’s about time we officially introduce our newest employees: Katherine, Summer, Allison + Shaun. Modative is now officially a team of ten (plus two office dogs).

 

modative architect firm staff designers office bw

 photo by Ivonne Maria Photography 

  

Tags: los angeles architects, Announcements, Organization, Architectual Practice, Architecture Experience, culver city, modern architecture firm, staff, people, employees, designers, modative office

Modative Job Opening: Junior Architecture Position in Los Angeles

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Tue, Aug 21, 2012 @ 09:08 AM

We've had a busy year here at Modative and it's time to add to our team. If this looks like the position for you, please apply. If you think someone you know may be interested, please pass it along.

modative architecture job 2012

What you'll be working on

You'll be working under a project manager on design and construction documents (using ArchiCAD) on a few modern residential projects in the Los Angeles Area. You will gain extensive hands-on experience in what it takes to put a modern building together. This is a full-time position (40 hours/week), but is temporary, lasting about six months. If the project load in our office was to remain the same, this position could become a permanent position.

Mandatory Qualifications

1. Must have ArchiCAD (not AutoCAD) experience and be ready to be productive using this software from day one. Our office is currently using ArchiCAD 15 & 16.

2. Degree in architecture
3. One to three years of professional experience in the architecture field using ArchiCAD for construction documents.
4. Only persons currently residing in and able to legally work in the US will be considered. No international applicants for this position please.

This is a a very focused position. Applications not meeting the outlined criteria will be disregarded. Since this position is temporary and needs to be filled quickly, preference will be given candidates currently residing in the Los Angeles area or those able to relocate very quickly and on a short-term basis.

How to apply

Send us a resume, portfolio and whatever else makes you look good to info@modative.com . We're too busy at this time to take calls on this position. Please keep your email attachment sizes reasonable (under 5 MB or send us a link to download).
To avoid spam, and test of your ability to follow directions, please include "Modative Junior Position" in the subject line.

Schedule

Applications will be accepted until 11:59pm PST on Monday, 08.27.12. Applicants must be available for an in-person interview on either 08.30.12, 08.31.12 or 09.04.12. The job will start the week of 09.10.12.

Click here to see this job posting on our site.

Tags: Los Angeles, los angeles architects, Announcements, Architectual Practice, Architecture Experience, architecture job search

Modative Architecture Welcomes Krystal Návar to the Team

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 @ 10:06 AM

2011 has been quite a year here at Modative. After utilizing our "be cheap" and "start and stay small" philosophy to get through the tough architecture/real estate market of the last few years, 2011 has required us to make a change.

After an increase in projects this year, we found ourselves very busy and in need of some help. While exciting, the thought of expanding was a bit unnerving, because while Modative is a business, it's also a bit like a family. The three Modative principals have known each other for over 15 years. This level of trust allows for complete honesty amongst the group - a key ingredient to design and business success.

So, when the time came to expand, we decided against a big search, but rather to keep the "family" connection going by bringing on Christian's wife, Krystal Návar. Krystal's well-rounded architecture experience fit well with our needs. Besides, Krystal already felt like part of the Modative team. She has shot photos of our projects and has been our blog editor since its' inception. Nothing has been posted on this blog without her prior review. While she will continue in this editorial role, I'm happy to announce that Krystal will also be authoring blog posts starting immediately. Since she's a better writer than the rest of us combined, we're excited to have her help on the blog.

We thought a great intro post would be for Krystal to document the design process of a new single family residence we've been working on since her arrival here about a month ago. This blog post will be up later this week. In the meantime, feel free to check out Krystal's profile on our website.

Krystal Navar @ Modative Architecture

Welcome to the team Krystal!

Tags: website update, Announcements, Organization, Architectual Practice, Architecture Experience, employment

Modative Build, Inc: Summer 2011 Internship

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Tue, Jun 7, 2011 @ 15:06 PM

A Better Way to Build

Modative was founded in 2006 with the goal of making modern design more affordable. Since then, we have been an architecture-only firm -- until last year when we formed a separate construction company called Modative Build, Inc. to provide our clients with an alternative to the traditional and often unsuccessful owner-contractor-architect relationship triangle. By having our own construction company we can now offer our clients a streamlined approach to getting their projects built at a reduced cost with far less headaches. Learn more about our approach.

build internship web

What You'll Be Working On

Although you may be occasionally asked to do a coffee run, this is not one of those kinds of internships. This is a hands-on, learn-though-real-experiences type of internship. You will not be directly constructing anything, but rather working on what really makes all construction companies tick: coordination and problem solving.

Bidding

Your primary responsibility will be to coordinate the bidding of several projects that Modative (the architecture company) has designed. You will work hands-on with the project designer and learn about all the trades that are required to put a real project together. You'll bid those trades out to subcontractors, then compile the selected subs into a beautiful, comprehensive bid. The projects you'll be bidding are primarily residential, type V construction. They are all modern.

Construction Management

You will also help us with the Fay 2X Homes, which are currently under construction a few blocks from our office. You'll get to see the construction process of these two homes happen first-hand, while also helping the project manager with behind-the-scenes coordination.

Collaboration

The construction company (Modative Build, Inc) and architecture firm (Modative, Inc.) operate in the same small office space without any cubicles. We're low on hierarchy and high on collaboration, so you might get pulled onto any number of projects.

What We're Looking For

We're looking for someone with an architecture or construction education/background, who like us, sees the importance of overlapping these two professions to achieve a greater goal. Someone that wants to turn the antiquated construction industry on it's head and that can use their design and organizational skills to bridge the architecture/construction gap.

If we like you and the opportunity arises, this internship could lead to a full-time position at Modative Build or Modative.

Bonus Points

You'll be using ArchiCAD, Numbers (Apple's version of Excel) and QuickBooks. Knowledge of these will help your learning curve. Spanish speaking will earn you extra points. We're also fans of creative resumes.

How to Apply

Send us a resume, portfolio and whatever else makes you look good to info@modativebuild.com .

To avoid spam, please include (MB Internship) in the subject line. Also, please provide short, concise answers the following questions in your email:

1. Please describe your current level of experience/education in the architecture and/or construction industry. If you're still in school and this is your first job, that's fine too.

2. Do you have experience with any CAD or BIM software?

3. Do you have experience with Excel and/or Numbers?

 

Schedule

We will be accepting applications until 6 pm PST on 06.09.11. From the applications we receive, we will narrow it down to 5-10 candidates for 15-minute speed interviews on 06.13.11. Follow-up interviews will be conducted later in the week if necessary. The internship will begin on Monday, 06.20.11 and last until late August or late September 2011.

Internship Location

Modative Build, Inc
8734 Venice Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Map

About Our Location: We're two blocks east of Helms Bakery, adjacent to the Culver City Arts District and within walking distance of several coffee shops and restaurants. It's a great central location in the LA basin.

Tags: Los Angeles, Architecture Experience, employment, construction

Modative Architecture Wins Homeless Housing Development Competition

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Thu, Jun 10, 2010 @ 14:06 PM

If you've been following along with us here over the last few weeks, you've surely noticed that we've been bashing open architecture competitions and even suggesting alternatives to these time wasters.

So you may find it a bit hypocritical that today I'm announcing that we won a competition. That is, until you note the following differences between this competition and a typical open architecture competition.

Not Just an Architecture Competition

The competition we entered was through the Urban Land Institute (ULI)  to develop housing for the chronically homeless. As I posted back in April, it was a team development competition consisting of other young real estate and social work professionals. Architecture was only a piece of the proposal. Our team had to find a property, create a program, design a project, determine the services offered, and develop a detailed pro forma of how the project would be financed. The process simulated a real project compressed into six weeks.

homeless housing los angelesThe site we selected in Glendale.

 

The Competition Wasn't Open

Our team had to apply in order to get accepted to participate. There were only five teams competing.

homeless housing glendale ca

We even got to make our own cool logo. We were called Team HETED (Homeless Empowerment Through Efficient Development)

 

Collaboration

Each team was assigned a city to work with in Los Angeles County: Pasadena, Whittier, East Dominguez Hills, Long Beach and our sponsor city, Glendale. We also worked closely with homeless non-profit advocates and developers, Path Achieve Glendale and Path Ventures. The city and these organizations acted like our clients. By working with them we got to make real connections. Connections that could lead to future work.

homeless housing bungalows los angeles

The project concept is a hybrid of preservation of 1920's bungalows and modern intervention of adding new elements to bring the project up to code and provide services for the residents.

 

Team Aspect

Our team really enjoyed working with each other on this. I think we will collaborate again on future projects.

Exposure

The Urban Land Institute is a diverse organization. It reaches all types of real estate professionals. We prefer this type of exposure over showcasing our work to a bunch of fellow architects.

homeless housing competition win

 

Pro Bono

This competition was our launch into pro bono work. We spent 130 hours working on this competition. This gives us a real gauge as to the level of commitment required to do future pro bono projects. We already have an idea for our next pro bono project. It won't be through a competition.

permanent supportive housing

Overall view of the project

 

Whether or not you buy our arguments for entering this competition, I encourage you to check out our winning proposal. You can also view our online press release.

 

What do you think of our proposal?

Tags: Los Angeles, Architecture portfolio, Architecture Experience, Residential, Affordable Housing, Multi Family Housing, Housing, Architecture Competitions, Homeless Housing

Advice as a Marketing Opportunity for Young Architects

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Tue, Jan 5, 2010 @ 09:01 AM

As a follow-up to our last post, 7 Tips for Starting an Architecture Firm - Tip 03: Get Advice , I thought I'd touch on a related marketing strategy, a big secret:

Aside from gaining valuable information, your start-up advisers are also your best marketing source.

When starting an architecture firm, trust can be difficult to attain. This is especially true if, like us, you start your firm at a relatively young age. When you launch, you'll have very little to show potential clients. So while you can and should show potential clients work you completed while working for other firms (see How a Young Architecture Firm Can Show Its Experience), in all likelihood, your first projects will come from people you have a prior relationship with - such as the people you're asking for advice.

architecture firm marketing Just thought this post could use a pretty picture. It was either this or a cheesy stock photo of business people shaking hands.


Asking for advice is a great way to meet with people, let them know you're starting your own business, and gain their trust, all while not seeming like you're looking to gain anything other than free advice. So while marketing your new firm may be secondary to getting advice, there's a good chance you may get some projects out of it. We did.

Tags: Architectual Practice, Architecture Experience, Starting an architecture firm, Marketing

How to Become a Licensed Architect?

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Tue, Oct 27, 2009 @ 09:10 AM

When discussing licensed professionals here in the USA, architects are still a bit of a mystery.

Surely you've seen enough doctor shows to get a feel for the intern/resident/attending path for doctors.

licensed professionals on tv This group has been educating us on what it takes to be become a licensed doctor in dramatic, scandalous fashion.

You probably also know a law school graduate who's disappeared into study mode for the bar exam?

But what about architects? How do architects become licensed?

architectIs this still how the public perceives architects? It would really hurt my back to work like that. Image from "architect" wikipedia page.

There Aren't Many Architects

Don't feel alone if you are uncertain how one becomes an architect. Many architecture students and even some in the field, don't have a grasp on the licensing process. One of the reasons for the mystery is simple: there aren't many architects. Even in the most populous state of California (my home sweet home), there are far fewer licensed architects than lawyers and doctors.

number of licensed architect in CA

 

So, before we get started on how to become a licensed architect, here are two things to keep in mind:

  • There are national standards, but every state issues their own licenses and sets their own requirements.
  • The process continues to evolve. By the time I'm done writing this, they've probably added another test or internship requirement.

The Four Basic Steps to Becoming an Architect

1. School

As you would expect, you'll most likely need to go to school. Not just any school, but an accredited program. There are currently about 150 accredited schools. To find one, you can start by checking with the National Architectural Accrediting Board.

There are a few types of degrees that you can get in architecture that qualify:

  • Bachelor of Architecture (BArch)- Your basic, intense-limited-sleep-and-social-life-most-of-your-courses-are-predetermined, undergraduate university degree. I graduated with one of these degrees about 10 years ago and although I'm not as bitter as I may sound, I am still tired. Also note that BArch programs are five-year programs, so tack on an extra year of tuition compared to a typical major.
  • Master of Architecture (MArch)- You don't need an undergraduate architecture degree to apply for a graduate degree, but there are masters programs that are shorter for those that already have a BArch degree.
  • Doctor of Architecture (DArch)- If you decide to become one of the dozen people in the world that have one of these rare degrees, then you are too smart to be reading this blog. Move along.

2. Internship

If you still want to be an architect after school, you'll need to get a job working for an architectural firm. While you work for (often little) money, you'll be completing your internship hours. There's a system to this internship madness and it's called the Intern Development Program (IDP). The bad news is that IDP involves documenting work hours. The good news is that IDP's intention is good: to give young professionals a well-rounded experience in the architecture field.

IPD completion requires 700 training units (8 hours per unit) divided into 16 or so categories that cover a diverse spectrum of what architects do. This program is intended to better educate interns and prevent young professionals from being abused by only giving them repetitive tasks (stair details anyone?) that do little to provide the necessary real-world education.

Some states also have extra internship requirements (such as California), so be sure to check with the state architects board.

3. Testing

Long gone are the days of prospective architects taking a four-day paper and pencil exam administered once a year. Since 1997, national testing has been computerized, offering candidates the "opportunity" to take the different portions of the exam in any order and at any time they can get an appointment at the local computer testing center.

The national tests, or Architect Registration Examination (ARE) as they are known have multiple divisions or tests that must all be passed. When I took the ARE, there were nine tests that I took sporadically over several years as I found time to study while also working full time. There are now seven divisions, with combinations of multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, and graphic portions, which require test takers to draw and create layouts in a CAD-like program.

Some states also have additional testing requirements such as California's Supplemental Exam. I took this unpopular, formal, oral formatted test and it was not fun. Good news for California architects-to-be is that there are rumors that the California Architect's Board is changing the oral format of the exam.

4. Licensure

So, once you've completed the above three steps, you'll need to register (meaning pay a fee) with your state (or multiple states) and verify completion of the requirements. Once you're licensed, you can officially call yourself an architect.

Architects can put the initials R.A. (Registered Architect) after their names, but it's more common to see AIA (American Institute of Architects), meaning they're a member of the national professional association for licensed architects.

Many states (and the AIA) have continuing education requirements, which means architects have to document educational hours in topics relevant to the profession to renew their licenses.

So...

After outlining all of these steps, the question becomes, is it more difficult to become a licensed architect, doctor or lawyer?

Tags: Architectual Practice, Architecture Experience, AIA, architecture license

A Modern Pool Pavilion on a Steep Hill

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Sun, Jan 25, 2009 @ 05:01 AM

The Willow Glen Pool Pavilion was just added to the projects section of our website. Here's a bit about our design approach to this unique project:

modern pool designs

The Slope

When a successful young professional came to Modative about adding a pool and pool house to his property in the Hollywood Hills, we thought it was a pretty straight forward request. That was, of course, until we saw the property in person.The existing modern home which sat at street level was immediately followed by a steep 45 degree downslope. As a site for a pool, it was not ideal, but as we enjoy a good challenge; we saw this as an opportunity to design a dynamic solution that would provide the client's request for valuable outdoor space in an unlikely place.

hillside pool design

Blending In

The client had few requests, but one was that the pool pavilion be pretty well hidden from the house above. Our solution was to landscape the roof having it appear as an extension of the sloping side. This green roof not only helps disguise the building from above, but reduces runoff, heat island effect, and provides insulation to keep the pavilion cool in summer months.

pool house designs

Here Comes the Sun

The steep slope also provided difficult solar challenges. To discover the optimal location for the pool, Modative did thorough computer solar simulations with numerous schemes, eventually settling on a pool and deck location that get the most sun possible.

contemporary pool

A Special Place

The pool is designed with an infinity edge that floats over the  drop off allowing for uninterrupted views from the dramatic hillside location. The main space of the pool pavilion is designed for flexibility. Multi-track sliding doors pull back at the corner, opening up the room to the outdoors. The pavilion's wood-clad bathroom was given equal attention. Accessed via stepping pads in the pool, the bathroom also takes in the view from it's oversize shower.

pool deck designs

A Vertical Journey

Because of the intensity of the slope, the pool was located several flights of stairs below the house. Resting points, viewing platforms and changes in direction help compensate for the long vertical journey from the house down to the pool. The main view point along the stair, a projecting landing, was envisioned to double as a DJ booth for parties.

Visit the Willow Glen Pool Pavilion project page

Tags: Los Angeles, Modern Design, Architecture portfolio, website update, Architecture Experience, Residential, Pools

How a Young Architecture Firm Can Show Its Experience

Posted by Derek Leavitt on Tue, Jan 6, 2009 @ 07:01 AM

One important thing as a young architecture firm (Modative turns three early this year) is to give your current and future clients a real sense of your experience in the field. As in any profession, especially one that involves the complexities of designing buildings, displaying competence through experience (in this case photos of actual buildings) is critical.

The difficult part, however, when your firm is still young, is that the architecture and construction process takes time. This means that it can take years (and it does) to accumulate a portfolio of built projects.

This is why when we founded Modative we decided that our website should not only show our projects that we have designed since forming Modative, but to also show projects that we played a major role in while working in prior offices. This allows us to display projects that have gone through the entire process, meaning that they are built; as well as show the wide range of project sizes and types that we have experience with.

So, three years in, this is why we still like to show the Project Experience portion of our Projects page. We hope it gives you a proper feel for the types of architectural projects we have helped realize and level of experience the three founding partners had prior to forming Modative.

The following is a project that Christian and I designed and managed while in a prior office.

Manhattan Beach Modern Residence

Glaze Residence | Manhattan Beach, CA

Lead Designers + Project Managers | Christian Navar + Derek Leavitt

Office | Studio 9 one 2 Architecture

 

Tags: Architecture portfolio, Architectual Practice, Architecture Experience