Design Process and Opportunity

The design of a project is often thought of as a chronological series of events, but in fact the process is cyclical, with the climate analysis informing material selection, materials informing structure, structure informing form, form informing climate control, and so on.  In this way the design process models natural systems, which are constantly feeding back information and adapting accordingly.

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Arkin Tilt is an award-winning firm specializing in energy and resource efficient design.

Our projects embody a marriage of thoughtful design and ecology, creating spaces that are comfortable and lyrical. We pay particular attention to the integration of the built and natural environments - from siting to careful detailing. We have extensive experience with alternative construction systems, including straw-bale and rammed earth, renewable energy systems, greywater, and non-toxic and recycled materials. Our projects include residential and commercial, park buildings, religious facilities, and Eco-Resort planning and design.
We believe design is a collaborative process in which the client is central. We have no prescribed style; the particulars of the site and user needs and desires are the guideposts of the design process.  We start by defining a program and assessing the site conditions, and then generating two or three schematic design options.  We evaluate each option with all of the stakeholders, and from this exercise, a final design evolves.
We integrate sustainable efforts into our practice by riding bicycles, reducing waste in the office, and supporting local businesses.  With electric and biodiesel cars and solar electricity, we work to keep the office's carbon footprint small.

 

Community

ATA engages its community in many ways, and encourages its employees to volunteer on these efforts as well as initiatives of their own. Our staff members serve on Habitat for Humanity projects, volunteer as guest critics at University of California Architecture classes, participate annually in the Team Bike Challenge, and are always seeking out new ways to get involved.

Recognition

Winner of the Acterra Business Award for the Sustainable Built Environment, two AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Project Awards, and numerous design awards, our work has been published nationally and internationally for excellence in design and sustainability.
Berkeley Design Advocates Award for Design Excellence, Maybeck Studio Renovation, 2017
Vetrazzo Design Star 2016, Healdsburg Family Residence, 2016
Acterra, Recipient of Business Environmental Awards, Sustainable Built Environment category, Project Green Home, 2016
BUILD Architecture Awards 2016, Recognized Leaders in Low Carbon Building - USA & Best Californian Off-Grid Home Design: Healdsburg Straw Bale & Watershed Block Residence
Environmental Design + Construction, Excellence in Design, Commercial First Runner Up, El Cerrito Natural Grocery Prepared Food Annex, 2014
Environmental Design + Construction, Excellence in Design, Residential Honorable Mention, Courtyard House, 2013
AIA East Bay, Design Award, Carmel Green Classroom, 2013
California Parks and Recreation Society, District 3, Agency Showcase Award: Outstanding Park, Wanlass Park, 2013
Environmental Design + Construction, Excellence in Design, Residential Award, Project Green Home, 2012
Environmental Design + Construction, Excellence in Design, Residential Award Finalist, Vine Hill Straw Bale Home, 2012
Environmental Design + Construction, Excellence in Design, Education Award Finalist, Carmel Green Classroom, 2012
EcoHome Design, Sustainable Excellence Merit Award, Project Green Home, 2012
Fine Homebuilding Best New Home, Santa Cruz Straw Bale House, 2012
Cool California’s Small Business of the Year Award, 2011
Remodeling Magazine Design Awards, IdeaGarden, 2011
Builder Magazine's Watermark Grand Award, Urban Farmhouse Kitchen, 2011
Environmental Design + Construction's Excellence in Design Award, Santa Cruz Straw Bale House, 2011
Environmental Design + Construction's Excellence in Design Award Finalist, IdeaGarden, 2011
City of Santa Cruz Green Building Award, Santa Cruz Straw Bale House, 2010
Environmental Design + Construction's Excellence in Design Award Finalist, Mt. Veeder Residence at Camalie Vineyards, 2009
Environmental Design + Construction's Excellence in Design Award Finalist, Sonoma County Coast Residence, 2009
Builder's Choice Award, Gaut-Camarillo Residence, 2008
AIACC Savings By Design Merit Award, Arastradero Gateway Preserve, 2007
Berkeley Design Advocates Award, 1625 Shattuck Ave, 2006
AIA SF Award for Energy and Sustainability, Eastern Sierra Residence, 2006
AIA Northern Nevada Honor Award, Reno Magazine, Eastern Sierra Residence, 2005
AIA Nevada Excellence in Design Award, Eastern Sierra Residence, 2005
AIA/Sunset mgazine Western Home Award, Eastern Sierra Residence, 2005
Environmental Design + Construction's Excellence in Design Award, Eastern Sierra Residence, 2005
AIA COTE Top 10 Green Projects, Eastern Sierra Residence, 2005
Sustainable San Mateo County/ San Mateo County AIA Honor Award, d'Souza/de la Torre Residence, 2005
Environmental Design + Construction's Excellence in Design Award, Mill Valley Residence, 2004
Sustainable San Mateo Coutny/ San Mateo County AIA Honorable Mention, Palter Residence, 2004
AIA COTE, Top 10 Green Projects, Hidden Villa Hostel and Summer Camp Facility, 2003
AIACC Savings by Design Energy Efficiency Integration Award, Hidden Villa Hostel and Summer Camp Facility, 2003
Sunset/AIA Award, Mill Valley Residence, 2003
East Bay AIA "Out of the Box" Honor Award, Portal San Miguel Retreat and Yoga Center, 2003
AIA SF "Small Firms, Great Projects," Caner/Beier Residence, 2002
Berkeley Design Advocates Award for Design Excellence, Berkeley Eco-house Solar Garden Shed, 2002
East Bay AIA Award, Caner/Beier Residence, 2001
Sunset/AIA Merit Award, Caner/Beier Residence, 2001
Acterra Business Environmental Awards, Award for the Built Environment, 2000
AIA SF "Best of the Bay and Beyond" Award, Hester/McNally Residence, 1999/2000
AIA COTE Top Ten, Real Goods Solar Living Center, 1999
AIACC Craftsmenship Award, Mary, Star of the Sea Church, 1998
East Bay AIA Award, Mary, Star of the Sea Church, 1998
AIA SF "Best of the Bay and Beyond" Award, Mary, Star of the Sea Church, 1997
Magazines
San Francisco Magazine, ""Reincarnation by Redwood", October 2016 (Esalen Institute)
The Wall Street Journal, "Luxury Homes for Animal Lovers", January 2015 (Santa Cruz Straw Bale)
The New York Times, Homes, "Smart Style", January 2015 (Eastern Sierra Residence)
Contra Costa Times, "Straw Bale Cottage Rises in South Berkeley", November 2014
Fine Homebuilding, Energy Smart Homes, "Off-the-Grid Getaway", Winter 2014 (Chalk Bluff Cabin)
Fine Homebuilding, Kitchen & Baths, "Small-bath Serenity", Winter 2013 (Idea Garden)
Builder Magazine, “Farm Out”, November 2012 (Idea Garden)
Dwell, “Gotta Bale”, October 2012 (Santa Cruz Straw Bale Home)
Environmental Design + Construction, “Testing Ground”, July 2012 (Project Green Home)
Fine Homebuilding, “Santa Cruz Straw Bale”, April 2012 (Santa Cruz Straw Bale Home)
Fine Homebuilding, "Off-The-Grid Straw Bale Getaway", April 2012 (Chalk Bluff Cabin)
B-1 Magazine (Thailand), "Green Architecture on the Parallel Road", February 2012 
Environmental Design + Construction, “Sustainable Home”, October 2011 (Idea Garden)
Remodeling, “Cool & Efficient”, September 2011 (Idea Garden)
Residential Architect, “Mountain Solo”, July 2011 (Chalk Bluff Cabin)
Environmental Design + Construction, “The Envelope, Please”, July 2011 (Santa Cruz Straw Bale Home)
Builder Magazine, “Past Menagerie”, May 2011 (Urban Farmhouse Kitchen)
Environmental Design + Construction, “2011 Excellence in Design Awards”, May 2011 (Santa Cruz Straw Bale Home)
Green Building + Design, "Drawing Straws", February 2011 (Eastern Sierra Residence)
Green Building + Design, "Willing to Build Less", November 2010
Residential Architect, "Word on the Street", January/February 2009
Solar Today, "Fitting Into a Mountain Environment", November/December 2008 (Eastern Sierra Residence)
Sunset Magazine, "Kaleidoscope Cabin", November 2008 (Kashou/Caron Residence)
Fine Homebuilding, "Pointed at the Sun", Spring/Summer 2008 (Dar Residence)
Coastal Living Magazine, "Advice from an Architect", March 2008 (Wade Residence)
Directions 04, Spring/Summer 2007 (Hidden Villa Youth Hostel)
Who's Green? The Directory of Who's Green in the Design and Construction Field, 2007
Sunset Magazine, "Eaves of Grass," March 2007 (Eastern Sierra Residence)
Fine Homebuilding, "What Does Green Really Mean?" February/March 2007 (Eastern Sierra Residence)
The Robb Report Collection: Green Houses, November 2008 (Eastern Sierra Residence)
Spaces Magazine, "Architectural Inspirations" August 2006, (Palter Residence)
California Home + Design, "AIA SF Awards for Energy and Sustainability" May 2006 (Eastern Sierra Residence)
Fine Homebuilding, "Houses" Issue, 2006 (d'Souza/de la Torre Residence)
Reno Magazine, AIA Northern Nevada/Reno Magazine Awards, May/June 2006 (Eastern Sierra Residence)
Environmental Design + Construction, "2005 Excellence in Design Awards", September 2005 (Eastern Sierra Residence)
Natural Home and Garden, "Top Ten Green Architects 2005", July/August 2005
Residential Architect, "Natural Habitat", March 2005
Casaviva, "Il Fienile che Respira", June 2004 (Mill Valley Residence)
Environmental Design + Construction, "2004 Excellence in Design Awards," May 2004 (Mill Valley Residence)
Sunset Magazine, 2003-2004 Western Home Awards: "Sustainable Success", August 2003 (Mill Valley Residence)
San Francisco, "Modernist Times", November 2002 (Caner/Beier Residence)
Organic Style, "Dream House on a Hill", July/August 2002 (Caner/Beier Residence)
Real Simple, "Natural Habitat", April 2002 (Mill Valley Residence)
Custom Home, "Practically Green: A simpler approach to green building", (Caner/Beier Residence)
Sunset Magazine, "Bathroom Ideas", Dec 2001 (Caner/Beier Residence)
Natural Home and Garden, "Lighten Up", October 2001 (Palter Residence)
Sunset Magazine, 2001-2002 Western Home Awards: "Harvesting the View", October 2001 (Caner/Beier Residence)
Fine Homebuiding, "Daylighting Strategies for a Ranch-Style Home", February/March 2001 (Palter Residence)
Architectural Record, "Colorful License Plates Join Wood Shingles and Recycled Goods" July 2000 (Hester/McNally Residence)
 
Books
Browne, Beth. Masterpiece: Iconic Houses by Contemporary Architects, Images Publishing 2012 (Eastern Sierra Residence)
Bouknight, Joanne, Built-Ins Idea Book, Taunton Press 2012 (Kashou/Caron Residence, Urban Farmhouse Kitchen, d'Souza/de la Torre Residence)
Cleary, Mark, ed., 200 Houses, Images Publishing Group 2011 (Caner/Beier Residence)
Cleary, Marck, ed., 21st Century Sustainable Homes, Images Publishing Group 2011 (Mt. Veeder Residence at Camalie Vineyards)
Eck, Jeremiah, House in the Landscape: Siting Your Home Naturally, Princeton Architectural Press 2010 (Wade Residence)
Santini, Claudio, Dafna Zilafro, Green is Beautiful: The Eco-Friendly House, Images Publishing Group, 2009 (Caner/Beier Residence)
Duran, Sergi Costa, Green Homes: New Ideas for Sustainable Living, Collins Design, 2007 (Eastern Sierra Residence)
Chan, Yenna, Sustainable Environments, Rockport Publishers, 2007 (Eastern Sierra Residence)
Ryker, Lori, Off the Grid Homes: Case Studies for Sustainable Living, Gibbs Smith 2007 (Kashou/Caron Residence)
Foster, Kari; Stelmack, Annette; and Hindman, Debbie, Sustainable Residential Interiors, John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2007 (Caner/Beier Residence)
Vassallo, Marc, The Barefoot Home, The Taunton Press, 2006 (Mill Valley Residence)
Roberts, Jennifer, Good Green Kitchens, The Ultimate Resource for Creating a Beautiful, Healthy, Eco-Friendly Kitchen, Gibbs Smith, 2006 (Eastern Sierra Residence, Mill Valley Residence, Caner/Beier Residence)
Stang, Alanna, Christopher Hawthorne, The Green House, Princeton Architectural Press 2005 (Mill Valley Residence)
Kodis, Michelle, Blueprint Remodel, Tract Home Transformations That Turn Everyday to Extraordinary, Gibbs Smith 2004 (Palter Residence)
Mulfinger, Dale, The Getaway Home: Discovering Your Home Away from Home, The Taunton Press 2004 (Caner/Beier Residence)
Connell, John, Creating the Inspired House, The Taunton Press 2004 (Caner/Beier Residence)
Beaver, Robyn, ed., 1000 Architects, Images Publishing Group 2004
Wanek, Catherine, The New Strawbale Home, Gibbs Smith 2003 (Mill Valley Residence)
Roberts, Jennifer, Good Green Homes, Gibbs Smith 2003 (Caner/Beier Residence)
Kodis, Michelle, Blueprint Small: Creative Ways to Live with Less, Gibbs Smith 2003 (Hester/McNally Residence)
Davis, Jody, ed., 100 of the World's Best Houses, Images Publishing Group 2002 (Caner/Beier Residence)
Krauel, Jacobo, Sustainable Architecture / Low Tech Houses, Links International 2002 (Palter Residence, Caner/Beier Residence)
Imhoff, Dan. Building with Vision: Optimizing & Finding Alternatives to Wood, Watershed Media 2001 (Hester/McNally Residence)
Truelove, James, Hot Dirt Cool Straw, Grayson Publishing 2001 (Hester/McNally Residence)
Steen, Athena & Bill, The Beauty of Straw Bale Homes, Chelsea Green Publishing Company 2000 (Warkentin Residence)
Wines, James, Green Architecture, Taschen 2000 (Mary, Star of the Sea Church, Real Goods Solar Living Center)

Berkeley Cottage Built of Straw, A Model of Energy Efficiency, KPIX, November 2014

Best New Home, Fine Homebuilding, 2012 (Santa Cruz Straw Bale Home)

Eastern Sierra Residence Tour, Solar Today, November 2008 (Eastern Sierra Residence)

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