Architects Unveil Design Plans For New Prison by SHOKO SMITH

Utah’s new prison is expected to give inmates a more “normative” environment than currently exists at the prison in Draper.

GSBS Architects was picked to design the new 4,000-bed prison west of the Salt Lake International Airport in Salt Lake City. The firm updated the state’s prison development commission Monday on the progress that’s been made. GSBS architect Kevin Miller says building a prison system for both men and women at all levels of custody means the programming will inform the design...   

Read the full story and listen to Kevin here.

Potential rendering of the new state prison, which is expected to be completed by 2020.

Potential rendering of the new state prison, which is expected to be completed by 2020.

GSBS Architects Named “Firm of the Year” By Women In Architecture by SHOKO SMITH

To recognize healthy workplace environments, The Salt Lake City organization “Women In Architecture” initiated an annual award for the Firm of the Year.  The recipient of the 2016 award is GSBS Architects, selected for excellence in creating a forward-thinking, flexible and employee-oriented work environment.

In acknowledgment of the importance of the award, GSBS principal David Brems said, “Our long time practice of hiring a diverse staff has led us to empathetic, mindful and environmentally-responsible design solutions.” 

Women in Architecture, SLC, was established 4 years ago to help equalize the gender gap in the profession by advocating, supporting, mentoring and creating a strong community of women in the field of architecture in Salt Lake City.  The criteria for judging were career development, flexibility, communication, benefits, diversity and inclusion, and firm amenities. 

The nomination form, prepared by Kelsey Madden, Erin Holcombe, both architectural interns, and Clio Rayner, AIA, LEED AP, stated:  “71 team members strong, our firm runs on a clear understanding and passion for people.  We believe that the best architecture is born out of consideration and respect for the individuals for whom it is built – their origins, values, purpose, location, and aspirations. We strive to create a sense of place and a sense of purpose for both our clients and our employees. This is what makes GSBS so special.”

Rayner said the GSBS team is comprised of members ages 21-71 from all over the world, including people from many U.S. states, Canada, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, Poland, Brazil, Romania, Bulgaria, Iran, Bosnia, Guatemala, and Mexico. She said five different disciplines – architecture, planning, landscape architecture, interior design, and economic consulting – are housed in an open-office environment, which encourages collaboration and knowledge sharing between disciplines. Women make up 45% of the workforce, and are represented at every level from board member to the newest interns.

“GSBS offers many career development opportunities for employees at every level,” Rayner said. “The office holds monthly meetings highlighting new projects, professional experiences, and education on new technologies and there are frequent training sessions focused on technology to teach employees best practices and office standards.”   She said the firm also encourages mentorship through small “studios” designed to answer questions, give assistance, and provide personal advocacy.  

On the lighter, side, the nominators described the make up of the firm as: 32 Empowered Women, 37 Moms & Dads, 19 Outdoor Enthusiasts, 16 Volunteers, 11 Dog Lovers, 1 Synchronized Swimmer, 3 Tri-athletes, 5 Car Fanatics, 8 Amateur Chefs, and 1 Crazy Family.   

Rayner said, “ We work hard together, play hard together, and genuinely enjoy the company of our colleagues. We believe that everyone is an important part of the team and we work to foster an environment where people can continuously grow and thrive and through that we deliver the best design.”

Sunnyvale Design/Build Competition by SHOKO SMITH

Families in the Sunnyvale area of Salt Lake City will have a new attraction this fall when a specially designedsoccer training wall is erected this October.  The installation is the result of a Design/Build competition to create a unit to engage and enhance youth activity at the park located at 40th South and 7th West. The winning team is named WEST, for Women Engagement Society Training.

A six member design team which included GSBS Architects' Ron Rezvan, won The Sunnyvale Project, sponsored by Salt Lake County – Women in Architecture.  According to Ron, the Sunnyvale neighborhood hosts a large refugee and immigration community. “The competition was for a public installation to create fun soccer-related activities and to encourage youth immigrants to use their public amenities,” he said.  “Our design team could really identify with the kids and their families because know what it like to live in a new country.”  

Ron and his team of three men and three women designers are all Iranian or Iranian-Americans. He, Massih Nilforoushan, Zahra Hassanipour, andArdavan Tookaloo all went to Tehran University of Art for their Bachelor of Architecture.  Reihaneh Noori and Elaheh Zarezade are is working on their Master’s degree in architecture at the University of Utah.

The competition specified a $4000 budget and strict schedule for “an environmentally conscious design.” Accordingly, the team created a wood structure that has a solid training wall with round targets made from bike tires, flexible and fixed seating, and target practice net, and uses recycled materials in its construction.   Fabrication begins shortly with unveiling in October.

Seven Design Professionals Become GSBS Shareholders by SHOKO SMITH

(Salt Lake City, UT – 5/5/16)  Seven design professionals, representing a broad spectrum of expertise and experience, have become principals/shareholders in GSBS Architects, an architecture firm with offices in Utah and Texas. Together, they serve clients in education, businesses, government, recreation, urban planning, and health care providing planning, architecture, economic analysis, interior design and landscape architecture services.    

In making the announcement, Kevin Miller, president of the firm, said “this is an investment in the future of GSBS. It reflects the continuum that the founders of the firm put into place. They had a vision for a firm that would evolve, grow and sustain itself;  One that would provide growth and opportunity for the people who work here, and who would add value for our clients.” 

New Shareholders are: 

JesseAllen has been with GSBS since 2007 after receiving his Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Utah. He is one of the few licensed architects in Utah who is also a licensed landscape architect.  He is involved in planning and programming through design and construction administration phases of projects.  Recent projects include Regent Street, The Natural History Museum of Utah and the Salt Lake City Public Safety Building.  

Stephanie DeMott graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design. She has been practicing in the field of interior design for 25 years, working on behalf of large corporations prior to joining GSBS. Notable projects include the Natural History Museum of Utah, the University of Utah College of Nursing Renovation, and numerous LDS Temples throughout North and South America.

Libby Haslam has practiced architecture since 2001 and has a degree in architecture from the University of Utah. Along with her work at GSBS Architects, she has taught a design studio at the School of Architecture at the U of U for 15 years. She serves on several boards including the Salt Lake Art Design Board, Spy Hop and Women in Architecture. Notable projects are the Salt Lake Community College Center for Arts and Media. 

Stephen Howard became a member of GSBS Architects in 2005.    He has degrees in architecture from the University of Colorado and interior design from Utah State University, and has been practicing architecture for more than 17 years. Recent notable projects include two LDS Temples in Brazil and Utah State University'sHuntsman School of Business Building.

Christine Richman joined GSBS in 2012 as a planner and economic analyst. She was Director of Community & Economic Development for Midvale, Utah for 9 years.  She is an Adjunct Professor in the College of Architecture + Planning at the University of Utah, and is Chair of the Utah District Council, Urban Land Institute. She is an officer with the Community Development Corporation of Utah. 

Travis Sheppard joined GSBS after receiving his degree from the University of Utah in 2000.   He chairs the Public Relations Committee of the American Institute of Architects Utah Chapter.  Notable projects include the Cyprus Credit Union's Corporate Headquarters, LDS Temples in Peru and Brazil, Ogden Weber Applied Technology College - Health Technology Building, and Utah State University's Merrill Library.

Tang Yang became a member of the firm in 2009 and has managed complex projects for educational institutions and private industry. His initiatives in maximizing the productivity of existing technologies and research into new technologies has led him to the leadership role of IT/IS manager at GSBS. Recent projects are Snowbird's The Summit Building Restaurant and Utah Valley University Student Life Center.

GSBS Architects Achieves Record Number of LEED Certifications by SHOKO SMITH

GSBS Architects Achieves Record Number of LEED Certifications For Green Projects Representing $500+ Million in Construction

(Salt Lake City, UT – 3/23/16)  With the certification of the Jordan Valley Water Conservation Building, GSBS Architects has designed 30 LEED certified projects which account for more than 2.5 million square feet of space at a construction cost of over half a billion dollars.   These projects, which span all sectors of construction – offices, educational institutions, judicial centers, and even storage space – include many significant buildings, among them: The Utah Olympic Speed Skating Oval, Natural History Museum of Utah, and the Salt Lake City Public Safety Building.  

These 30 LEED certified projects in Utah, and Texas, include 3 Platinum, the highest ranking, 11 Gold, 12 Silver, and 4 Certified.  According to the Green Building Council which issues the certifications, “LEED certification provides independent verification of a building or neighborhood’s green features, allowing for the design, construction, operations and maintenance of resource-efficient, high-performing, healthy, cost-effective buildings. LEED is the triple bottom line in action, benefiting people, planet and profit.”

When determining LEED certifications, credit is distributed across six categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Innovation in Design. Additional points may be earned for regional priority and innovation in design. 

According to Garth Shaw, GSBS Principal and LEED expert, “When designing buildings, project teams, including owners, have many sustainable design choices that don't necessarily cost more.  We work with our clients creating healthy, resource-efficient, cost-effective spaces which enhance the experiences of everyone who walks through the doors,” he said.  “By bringing the good in — like clean air and access to daylight — and keeping the bad out—including harmful chemicals found in paints, finishes and more –  we optimize the well-being of our lives and planet.” 

Marianne Wander St. John Joins GSBS Architects by SHOKO SMITH

(Salt Lake City, UT March 20, 2016)   Marianne Wander St. John, AIA, has joined the Salt Lake City office of GSBS Architects.   Her areas of expertise include design of commercial and institutional architecture and project management.  She has a special interest in projects which serve the community as a whole, such as public service buildings, museums, health care, and urban development. St. John wasone of the first LEED accredited professionals in Utah, and sustainability is an integral part of her practice.

GSBS President Kevin Miller said, “We are very excited to have an architect of Marianne’s caliber and experience join GSBS.  She will complement our already strong commitment to providing design solutions that responsibly use our client’s resources.”

Since graduating with a Masters Degree in Architecture from the University of Utah, she has worked in Salt Lake City architectural firms where she focused on commercial and institutional architecture.  She is also an adjunct professor in the U's College of Architecture and Planning.  

St. John serves on the boards of Tracy Aviary and the Wasatch Resort Water Company. 

More about Marianne in our People page.

Cottonwood Heights - New Municipal Center Taking Shape by SHOKO SMITH

By Councilman Scott Bracken

For the last few months, I’ve made it a weekly practice to visit the new city hall construction site to observe the progress being made and to learn in detail all that goes into a construction project of this size. It’s been very interesting to see how things change, and how my perception of things changes as I’ve watched the construction progress.

As you read this, all the masonry work on the building will be essentially complete, the roof deck on the police side of the building (along 2300 East) will be in place and a good portion of the steel for the central areas (council chambers, multi-purpose/public room, lobby area) and the administration side (along Bengal Blvd.) will soon be completed. Of course, this is always dependent upon the weather.  Once steel is in place, the roof and roof deck can be installed, which will help move things along.  At the very least, I won’t have to drive down Bengal Boulevard and see a worker clearing out our city manager’s office space with a snow blower!

It has surprised me to go back and see how my perception of the size of a space changes as construction progresses. I will admit that when I first went to the site and looked at the footings and rough layout of the rooms, I was surprised that everything looked so small. Now that I’ve been inside the walls of the police wing, that same space now looks much larger – and big enough to house the functions that are required. I’m told that this is a common perception with laypeople such as myself.

As I catch the end of the weekly coordination meetings with our staff, the contractor, and the architects, it’s gratifying to know how much work each is putting into the project. There is an extreme amount of detail on a project this size and coordination between city staff, the architect, and the contractors is critical. I also realize the vision of what it can be, while ensuring that cost-saving opportunities are not lost and all necessary steps in the construction process are followed to specification.

I look forward to getting the project complete (we’re planning on a September completion) and having the new space. I’m particularly excited to see the multi-purpose/lobby areas, which will be open and available to the citizens of our city.  Having a location for local groups to meet or hold events is something Cottonwood Heights needs. Adjacent to the multi-purpose area is a catering kitchen. I expect that school groups, teams, volunteer groups, and possibly wedding parties will find many good uses for the space. The location is central to the city, and the views are amazing.

The space is also large enough to accommodate public meetings that generate a lot of community interest, as well as host other intergovernmental groups or associations in our city. Our desire for the space is that it will be utilized well by city staff and the public.


I look forward to having a roof overhead for those working on the site – that will help them keep dry at least, and possibly a little warmer. The next few weeks’ work will really have the shape and feel of the exterior building come into its own. As the exterior stonework gets completed and the windows get installed, we will all get a better feel for what the building will become. As spring and summer pass, the other exterior features will be completed, including the plaza area on the corner of Bengal Boulevard and 2300 East. This will be a nice, accessible area right along two main corridors of the city. Bengal Boulevard will become even more of a public services corridor as Brighton, (the new) Butler Middle School, the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center, Butler Park, Guthrie skate park, and Canyon View Elementary are complimented by the new municipal center.

As a city organization, we have tried from the very beginning to capitalize on the synergy between various governmental entities serving our citizens that residents have come to expect. The continued cooperation between city leaders, school leaders/faculty/students, Cottonwood Height Parks and Recreation service area, Salt Lake County and others has yielded one of the most sought after locations for people to live. We think you will love our city’s new gathering place.

Utah No. 10 in Nation for 'Green Buildings' by SHOKO SMITH

Utah has propelled itself into the top 10 states in the nation for the amount of per-capita building space designed and built as "green."

There were 31 LEED-certified projects in Utah for 2015, the designation that stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.