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Mother-Daughter KidSketch Interview

Meet Diane Borys and Her Daughter, Mikayla In honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, we sat down with Diane Borys, Founding Principal of Noctiluca Lighting in San Diego, and her daughter, Mikayla, for a special mother-daughter interview. We wanted to get to know them and ask them to share their …

Meet Diane Borys and Her Daughter, Mikayla

In honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, we sat down with Diane Borys, Founding Principal of Noctiluca Lighting in San Diego, and her daughter, Mikayla, for a special mother-daughter interview. We wanted to get to know them and ask them to share their experiences with us about their time together participating in the KidSketch events.

Welcome, Diane & Mikayla! I appreciate you both taking the time to be here with me today!

DIANE BORYS

Hello, Diane! What profession are you in, and for how long?

I’m an Architectural Lighting designer, and I’ve been doing it for 14 years.

How long have you been a member of the San Diego Architectural Foundation?

I’ve been a member for two years. Last year is kind of a blur. It’s either two or three years.

What benefits are you getting from being a member?

Networking, connection with other industries, and I really enjoy the Orchids & Onions events.

How many KidSketch events have you participated in?

I’ve done four of the six that Mikayla’s done.

What has been your favorite building to sketch?

My favorite building, I think, is the Salk [Institute]. One of my great mentors used to be a tour guide there — a lot of architecture and lighting. As a lighting designer, I appreciate the light and the shadow and the view of the ocean from there, so it was fun to do that.

You must have an exceptional eye for the work you do.

It’s a full-time job. It’s truly marrying the art and science of light and I always say that good architecture can be made great with good lighting, but bad lighting is bad lighting.

Has your experience in KidSketch inspired you in any way?

It’s inspired me to sketch more in work and my personal life. I enjoy drawing and coloring, but I think that sketching in the industry is a fading art. I’ve been practicing on my iPad so that I can sketch live for clients as well. Laura is amazing as a teacher, so just the little points and tips she’s giving have elevated my sketching from a work perspective.

What are you getting out of it?

Time with my daughter. It’s very intentional; it’s always on the calendar – we wouldn’t miss it! Also, the practice and direction for sketching and an appreciation for the buildings in San Diego we are sketching are taking a different perspective on it. I used to drive by the Lilian Rice building and didn’t appreciate it until I sketched it. When we stop and slow down for a minute, we can stop and appreciate the details.

What is it like participating in KidSketch with Mikayla?

Really rewarding; I’m very proud of her. It’s fun to see her enjoy it, encourage her passions, and see the fruits of her labor.

Do you have a favorite KidSketch memory with your daughter you’d like to share?

It was the first KidSketch that we did. We were trying to avoid Zoom through the pandemic because of school and all the extracurricular activities. So, I thought, let’s just try it, and we both had a lot of fun. That first one sticks in my memory because we found something that we can do together that we both enjoy.

MIKAYLA

How old are you, and what grade are you in?

Six! First Grade? (She nods her head, yes.)

I looked at your pictures, and it seems like you have a natural talent for sketching. Is it fun?

Yes! I want to be an artist. Painter!

 What do you like about it?

It’s fun! Mom says she likes to show people her pictures and draw pictures to gift to people.

 What has been your favorite building to sketch?

Lincoln Library. I like to read, too. (Mom says Mikayla likes the library and that reading inspires her drawings.)

 It looks like you enjoy drawing with a pencil. Is that true?

Yes, and crayons. (Coloring is her favorite!)

 What buildings would you like to draw in the future?

Scripps Pier, Mom shares they have a painting of Scripps Pier, and they’ve been studying one-point perspective. Mikayla appreciated that it had a one-point perspective that she could draw.

Are you noticing details when you go out now that you have been sketching?

Yes! What do you notice?  Shadows! Sometimes I like to run away from my own shadows, but they go away (as she says, giggling)!

Do you like participating in Kidsketch with your mom?

(Silence)

Is it because you get to have a special time with Mom?

Yes!

What is your favorite KidSketch event?

They’re all good! (She looks forward to them.)

Are you going to the KidSketch next Saturday?

(She nods her head) She and Mom wouldn’t miss it and would love her friends to join her!

Are you doing something for your mommy for Mother’s Day?

Yes! (It’s a surprise. Shh!)

 

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Getting to Know the 2% – Mathew Picardal

Seeking Equity & Diversity in Our Built Environment In partnership with SDNOMA, we are proud to present, Overcoming the 2%: Seeking Equity and Diversity in our Built Environment. As it is approaching quickly, we created a video capturing our panelist’s views on the most significant challenges people of color currently face in entering the profession. Did …

Seeking Equity & Diversity in Our Built Environment

In partnership with SDNOMA, we are proud to present, Overcoming the 2%: Seeking Equity and Diversity in our Built Environment. As it is approaching quickly, we created a video capturing our panelist’s views on the most significant challenges people of color currently face in entering the profession. Did you know that only 2% of licensed architects are Black and African American? 

Join us on May 13th at 5:00 pm, where we will hear from Melina Aluwi, Philicia Harris, Jamie Intervalo, Mathew Picardal, and Joseph Ignacio Ruiz about why this disparity exists and what we need to do to change it.

Have a watch, and sign up for the webinar to discuss how we as an industry can overcome these challenges.

 Mathew Picardal   

Hello, Mathew, please tell us what profession are you in?

I’ve been a structural Project Manager with DCI Engineers in DCI’s Irvine office for over six years.

What was the biggest challenge for you in entering the profession as a person of color?

Not seeing enough diversity in leadership made it more difficult to find people I could relate to and look up to.

How should the challenges for people of color in your profession (or the built environment in general) be addressed?

Be aware of unconscious bias in your hiring practices and verify that there is a clear path for leadership for new hires. Are they provided the resources, environment, and mentorship needed to rise to a leadership position?

What one piece of advice would you pass on to the next generation of professionals of color in your industry?

Expand your network and join professional organizations, and you’ll see that you’re not alone and that there are people you can relate to.

 

Connect with Mathew!

Instagram @matpicardal

LinkedIn @matpicardal

Click here to see a video of our panel discussing some of these issues. 

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Getting to Know the 2% – Melina Aluwi

Seeking Equity & Diversity in Our Built Environment In partnership with SDNOMA, we are proud to present, Overcoming the 2%: Seeking Equity and Diversity in our Built Environment. As it is approaching quickly, we created a video capturing our panelist’s views on the most significant challenges people of color currently face in entering the profession. Did …

Seeking Equity & Diversity in Our Built Environment

In partnership with SDNOMA, we are proud to present, Overcoming the 2%: Seeking Equity and Diversity in our Built Environment. As it is approaching quickly, we created a video capturing our panelist’s views on the most significant challenges people of color currently face in entering the profession. Did you know that only 2% of licensed architects are Black and African American? 

Join us on May 13th at 5:00 pm, where we will hear from Melina Aluwi, Philicia Harris, Jamie Intervalo, Mathew Picardal, and Joseph Ignacio Ruiz about why this disparity exists and what we need to do to change it.

Have a watch, and sign up for the webinar to discuss how we as an industry can overcome these challenges.

 Melina Aluwi

Hi, Melina, what profession are you in?

I am in Architecture; I am an Associate Principal and Higher Education Sector Leader for HED.

What was the biggest challenge for you in entering the profession as a person of color?

I made a career shift from a career as a public auditor/CPA to architecture. I studied architecture in undergrad but being a minority and a woman, [I found] there were fewer women and minorities in architecture – much less leadership roles. I had words of discouragement early on simply because of these facts but chose to persevere. I was and have been fortunate to have met spectacular mentors and champions in my journey. I imagine seeing more (and having more access to) women and people of color in our field – it would make a world of difference for the next generation.

How should the challenges for people of color in your profession (or the built environment in general) be addressed?

Someone I admire always used to say, “I am a forever student of architecture.” I believe that we are teachers and students of the field and that architecture is infinite. It is also a field about designing for our community. We learn and grow through sharing ideas, experiences, and ultimately that is how our work thrives. If you’re a more seasoned architect, make yourself accessible; if you’re new to the field, reach out and ask questions. 

What one piece of advice would you pass on to the next generation of professionals of color in your industry?

Be the change. Anything is possible. Architecture is about passion. Don’t let what you don’t see stop you from realizing your passion.

 

Connect with Melina!

Instagram @sdnoma

LinkedIn @Melina Aluwi

 

Click here to see a video of our panel discussing some of these issues. 

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Green Highlight

Learning from Social Insect Engineering   Based in Mumbai, India, Nuru Karim is the Founder and Design Principal of Nudes, a practice that “…operates within the realms of cross-disciplinary cultures of public art, architecture-urbanism.” Nuru gave a TEDx Talk, The Humble Termite, and Other Stories, and spoke to the collective …

Learning from Social Insect Engineering

 

Based in Mumbai, India, Nuru Karim is the Founder and Design Principal of Nudes, a practice that “…operates within the realms of cross-disciplinary cultures of public art, architecture-urbanism.”

Nuru gave a TEDx Talk, The Humble Termite, and Other Stories, and spoke to the collective intelligence of termites during their construction engineering and building.

With a brain the size of a grain of sand, termites engineered millions of mounds, 60′ apart, geographically as vast as Britain, and equal to the material volume of 400 pyramids in Giza. These mounds age back to 4,000 years ago and were built in the northeast of Brazil.

Termites used simple materials: soil, dung, and saliva. It takes four or five years to construct the mounds, which are constantly evolving and are subject to natural disasters. They repair and rebuild their “evolving cities.”

These mounds are also temperature-controlled systems, with efficient heating and cooling systems. Individually, a termite doesn’t have the intellect to build, but collectively they get the job done. Principles drive them. They construct social conventions and follow the same set of rules.

The construction industry is a billion-dollar industry and hasn’t collectively functioned. What can we learn from social insect engineering? Watch Nuru Karim’s TEDx Talk to learn more.

 

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Getting to Know the 2% – Philicia Harris

Seeking Equity & Diversity in Architecture  In partnership with SDNOMA, we are proud to present, Overcoming the 2%: Seeking Equity and Diversity in our Built Environment. As it is approaching quickly, we created a video capturing our panelist’s views on the most significant challenges people of color currently face in entering the profession. Did you …

Seeking Equity & Diversity in Architecture 

In partnership with SDNOMA, we are proud to present, Overcoming the 2%: Seeking Equity and Diversity in our Built Environment. As it is approaching quickly, we created a video capturing our panelist’s views on the most significant challenges people of color currently face in entering the profession. Did you know that only 2% of licensed architects are Black and African American? 

Join us on May 13th at 5:00 pm, where we will hear from Melina Aluwi, Philicia Harris, Jamie Intervalo, Mathew Picardal, and Joseph Ignacio Ruiz about why this disparity exists and what we need to do to change it.

Have a watch, and sign up for the webinar to discuss how we as an industry can overcome these challenges.

Philicia L. Harris 

Welcome, Philicia, what profession are you in?

I’m in architecture and interior design, and the owner and principal designer of Harris Design Studio.

What was the biggest challenge for you in entering the profession as a person of color?

The biggest challenge upon entering the profession as a person of color is a lack of connectivity with seasoned practicing professionals. There is a wealth of knowledge that stems from years of experience; having that bestowed upon young professionals would make a world of difference. Existing groups, clubs, and organizations in our field are typically predominately white; thus, the subject matter, struggles, and overall experience related to black and brown professionals are not typical topics of conversation but are our daily experience. No young professional should be years into their career before they meet or work with another person of color. We have got to normalize and increase our existence in this industry.

How should the challenges for people of color in your profession (or the built environment in general) be addressed?

Heavy connectivity to seasoned practicing professionals and resources to enhance our overall exposure to various architectural typologies.

What one piece of advice would you pass on to the next generation of professionals of color in your industry?

My advice would to be intentional. Be authentic and pay it forward. Actively seek other black and brown professions and create a network. Volunteer and show the younger generation that architects, engineers, and construction managers look like them too.

Check out Philicia’s work!

Fb: Harris-Design-Studio

IG: harrisdesignstudio

Click here to see a video of our panel discussing some of these issues. 

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Getting to Know the 2% – Jamie Intervalo   

Seeking Equity & Diversity in Architecture  In partnership with SDNOMA, we are proud to present, Overcoming the 2%: Seeking Equity and Diversity in our Built Environment. As it is approaching quickly, we created a video capturing our panelist’s views on the most significant challenges people of color currently face in entering the profession. Did you know …

Seeking Equity & Diversity in Architecture 

In partnership with SDNOMA, we are proud to present, Overcoming the 2%: Seeking Equity and Diversity in our Built Environment. As it is approaching quickly, we created a video capturing our panelist’s views on the most significant challenges people of color currently face in entering the profession. Did you know that only 2% of licensed architects are Black and African American? 

Join us on May 13th at 5:00 pm, where we will hear from Melina Aluwi, Philicia Harris, Jamie Intervalo, Mathew Picardal, and Joseph Ignacio Ruiz about why this disparity exists and what we need to do to change it.

Have a watch, and sign up for the webinar to discuss how we as an industry can overcome these challenges.

.

Jamie Intervalo   

Hi, Jamie! What profession are you in?

I am an architect at LPA Design Studios and director at EDI+J AIA in San Diego.       

What was the biggest challenge for you in entering the profession as a person of color?   

I was lucky that my father was an architect, but outside of that, I did not see many prominent women architects that looked like me – a Filipino woman. My time in college was when I realized that I wanted to pursue architecture and urban planning. That switch was difficult, knowing it was already an uphill battle in a male-dominated profession and not having any mentors, especially women of color, to advise me. I was lucky to have found a wonderful mentor that has propelled my career forward, but having that at a younger age with more women of color to aspire to would have made my journey a bit smoother. 

How should the challenges for people of color in your profession (or the built environment in general) be addressed?

I know there are many talented, diverse designers and architects out there; we need to participate in events, encourage each other, and the next generation comes out in the pipeline. The more we get involved, the more integrated we will be in our design communities, professional organizations (like NOMA!), and workplaces.

What one piece of advice would you pass on to the next generation of professionals of color in your industry?

My advice would be to have perseverance. If you have a dream to make an impact in your built environment, pursue your dream. Don’t take no for an answer. This profession is not for the faint of heart, but nothing can stop you if you have the heart and perseverance to ask the right questions and find the right community and cultural workplace where your work will make a difference.

To connect with Jamie, you can find her on Instagram at @jamiethearchitect

Click here to see a video of our panel discussing some of these issues. 

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Getting to Know the 2% – Joseph Ignacio Ruiz

Seeking Equity & Diversity in Architecture In partnership with SDNOMA, we are proud to present, Overcoming the 2%: Seeking Equity and Diversity in our Built Environment. As it is approaching quickly, we created a video capturing our panelist’s views on the most significant challenges people of color currently face in entering the profession. Did you know …

Seeking Equity & Diversity in Architecture

In partnership with SDNOMA, we are proud to present, Overcoming the 2%: Seeking Equity and Diversity in our Built Environment. As it is approaching quickly, we created a video capturing our panelist’s views on the most significant challenges people of color currently face in entering the profession. Did you know that only 2% of licensed architects are Black and African American? 

Join us on May 13th at 5:00 pm, where we will hear from Melina Aluwi, Philicia Harris, Jamie Intervalo, Mathew Picardl, and Joseph Ignacio Ruiz about why this disparity exists and what we need to do to change it.

Have a watch, and sign up for the webinar to discuss how we as an industry can overcome these challenges.

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Joseph Ignacio Ruiz

Hello, Joseph, what profession are you in?

I’m in Architecture and Design. I’m the co-founder and CCO of the Madelon Group and a partner at T38 Studio.

What was the biggest challenge for you in entering the profession as a person of color?

Coming to study in the United States at a late age of my life and without knowing the language well and the insecurities that this brought to me was definitely a challenge, especially in a profession that requires a lot of verbal description. But as my work became a tool to transmit what mattered to me and the best manifestation of my approach to architecture and design, things got better. In a more general sense, I still see our industry being largely informed by a Western view on art and culture, this has more rapidly changed in other creative disciplines.

How should the challenges for people of color in your profession (or the built environment in general) be addressed?

It is hard for me to identify these challenges as a direct result of my ethnicity. It has always been more about the challenges of entering the industry as a young professional. On many levels, I still perceive it as a very elitist industry where creative outlets concentrate in certain regions of the country and where you go to school, and the connections that result from it matter. Also, practices that I considered unethical, such as unpaid internships, can put people of color at a disadvantage in the process of starting a career path. For many of these people, that is not an option and ultimately leads to abandonment of the profession or pivoting towards a part of it where they might not fully explore their interests.

What one piece of advice would you pass on to the next generation of professionals of color in your industry?

I think there is always a huge loss in practices that do not promote inclusivity. Architecture isn’t enriched by other creative industries like art, music, and design, and I believe that is a huge mistake. I do see this changing. To avoid incorrect appropriation practices, you have to be part of this shift. Believe in yourself and understand that what makes you unique and where you come from matters for good.

Click here to see a video of our panel discussing some of these issues. 

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A Tribute to the Many Photographers that Make SDAF Look so Good!

You cannot be in the design industry, or outside of it for that matter, and not be captivated by some form of photography. Like many people, I want to be a better photographer than I actually am, but that doesn’t stop me from taking photos of almost anything with all …

You cannot be in the design industry, or outside of it for that matter, and not be captivated by some form of photography. Like many people, I want to be a better photographer than I actually am, but that doesn’t stop me from taking photos of almost anything with all kinds of filters, angles & settings. With the ability to share them instantly on Instagram, I can fake it until I make it one day.

Regardless of my abilities, I have been lucky to know many amazing architectural photographers over the years that have supported SDAF. To say thank you, I want to introduce you to a few of the people behind the lens of our programs and social media content. Before I get started, I apologize, but I will not get to everyone and that I may miss some people (it’s been a few years!).

First, I want to mention Darren Bradley of Darren Bradley Architecture. When I first saw Darren’s work, he was merely doing it for a bit of fun. Fast forward a decade later, he is a multi-award-winning, international man of mystery and a celebrity known in the Instagram world as @modarchitecture.

Darren began his involvement with SDAF through the Orchids & Onions program. Growing up, he wanted to be an Architect. Still, for various reasons, it wasn’t to be. Volunteering with the Orchids & Onions program gave Darren the ability to connect with some of the region’s most dynamic designers from across the industry. He used his passion for photography to elevate SDAF’s photography game. Darren took a leadership role coordinating a team of photographers from across the county to capture all of the award winners, a position he embraced for several years running. As impressive as Darren’s leadership and photography of the awards were, the intimate moments along the Jury Tour’s that he captured still make me smile today. Darren joined us and captured the candid moments as the jury and volunteers ventured out for day tours of the county.

The experience he gained and the support of his work gave Darren the confidence to become a commercial photographer of architecture. He continues to this day all over the world. To see more of his work, check out www.darrenbradleyphotography.com.

In 2016, after four years behind the Orchids & Onions lens, Darren was invited to sit on the jury, which left a gap in our volunteer team. Still, it wasn’t long before Ian Patzke, a recent graduate of the NewSchool of Architecture & Design, put his hand up to lead the Orchids & Onions photography team. Ian brought youthful enthusiasm and jumped into the challenge like a seasoned veteran. Nothing phases Ian; he has a heart of gold and a solid eye for his photography. Like Darren, it was more than just the photos he captured for SDAF – his leadership, coupled with his laughter, kept us all in good spirits during the many volunteer sessions and program planning. Ian, too, came along on the jury tours and found his way to capture the little moments that made the tour memorable.

One year, we were stopping for an afternoon cocktail (I mean, a tour stop to see a project) at Cutwater Spirits. Ian stops me and says, “Pauly, hold up that drink!” and caught the photo below. Now granted, that is a ridiculously sized cocktail, but in my defense, I was not driving the tour bus, and in general, what happens on jury tours should stay on jury tours!

You can check out Ian’s work at www.ianpatzkephotography.com, and be sure to check out his Instagram @ian.patzke. Even better, connect with Ian – he is one of those guys you want to grab a beer and swap stories with.

The last photographer highlighted in this post is Jim Brady. Jim played a vital role in the recent success of 2021 OH! San Diego program. Invited by SDAF Director Kathy Breedlove, Jim became involved because he believes in our mission to inspire San Diegans to get out and explore our region. He took his camera out and captured places like the City Heights Skate Park, followed by MLK Jr Way in Broadway Heights, a residential neighborhood in Southeast San Diego. It recognizes Dr. King and civil rights progress in a community where that progress directly affects most residents.

In National City, Jim encountered historic structures and in San Marcos visited a couple of colleges, one very new and the other with a midcentury core. There are under-appreciated or at least less well-known but worthy examples of the built environment all over the county.

You can find Jim’s work at www.bradyarchitecturalphotohraphy.com and connect with his Instagram @bradyarchitecturalphotography.

The great thing about all SDAF’s volunteers is our relationships while working together to plan the fantastic programs we do. Our volunteers become family; we share laughs, push through the stressful moments, and somehow make it all work, all while enriching each other. Every one of our photographers has contributed so generously with their time and talents. While I know I have not been able to get to everyone yet, I will hopefully connect with others and share their work.

In the meantime, I want to be sure to mention a few more of the amazing photographers that have contributed to SDAF over the years.

Mike Torrey – @miketorreyphoto

Maha Bazzari – @linetecture

Jerry Shonkwiler – www.geraldshonkwiler.com

Michael Auda – @auda_auda_photography

Ian Cummings – www.iancummingsphoto.com

Jackie Kowalik – @kowalibear

Milan Kovacevic – @milankphoto

Photo of the La Jolla Life Guard Station by the collaboration of Hector Perez & RNT Architects, by Darren Bradley

Photo of You Are Here in Golden Hill by the guys at FoundationForForm, by Darren Bradley

Photo of our 2014 Orchids & Onions Jury, by Darren Bradley

Photo of Grand Orchid Winner St. Thomas More Catholic Church, by Ian Patzke

Photo of yours truly enjoying that over-sized cocktail, by Ian Patzke

Photo of 2017 Jury member Doug Austin of AVRP Studios sketching the Japanese Gardens in Balboa Park, by Ian Patzke

Photo of the City Heights Skate Park, by Jim Brady

“The entire vocabulary for this building comes together in this small section.” – Jim Brady

Chula Vista Library, by Jim Brady

Photo of 2013 Orchids & Onions Jury Member Frank Wolden sketching, by Jerry Shonkwiler

And there will be lots more to come when I focus a future blog on some of the other photographers that I mentioned.

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Green Product Highlight

DCI Engineers Change the Vision of Future Building DCI Engineers, a longstanding partner with SDAF and a leader in the design of mass timber structures, has announced its SE-2050 Committing to Net Zero “…to promote embodied carbon education across our profession.” In order “to achieve the globally stated goal of net zero carbon …

DCI Engineers Change the Vision of Future Building

DCI Engineers, a longstanding partner with SDAF and a leader in the design of mass timber structures, has announced its SE-2050 Committing to Net Zero “…to promote embodied carbon education across our profession.” In order “to achieve the globally stated goal of net zero carbon by 2050.” All structural engineers shall understand, reduce and ultimately eliminate embodied carbon in their projects by 2050.

Cross-Laminated Timber, or CLT, is a type of Mass Timber that was developed over 20 years ago in Europe. CLT is a highly sustainable building material that dramatically reduces a project’s carbon construction footprint. The wood panels are layered, and the dimensional lumber boards are assembled in cross-sectional pieces described as “…designed to go up like a set of Legos™.” CLT offers better noise control, better biophilia, and decreases the environmental footprint of the built environment.

Utilizing CLT, DCI Engineers has engineered 1 De Haro, a new multi-story commercial building currently under construction in San Francisco. The building is designed to create more vitality, awareness of product sustainability, environmental impact, and a connection to nature. When completed, 1 De Haro will be four stories, 60’ high with a 20’ ceiling for light industrial uses with mezzanines at street level. 1 De Haro will be the first mass timber, cross-laminated building in San Francisco and the first multi-story building of its kind in California.

You can go to DCI Engineers to learn more about them and check out this project video!

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