Sunnyvale Community Center by SHOKO SMITH

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Along a busy stretch of 39th South near 6th west in Salt Lake County, The Sunnyvale Neighborhood Center is tucked among warehouses and small manufacturing businesses.   Here, a growing number ofrefugees and immigrants residing in the Sunnyvale Neighborhood receive English language classes, after-school programs, and other services. 

Local architects, like GSBS’ Soonju Kwon, Tang Yang and Kevin Miller, and engineers provided design services, permitting and construction assistance to add 1,350 square feet to the Center.  This additional flexible space will help the Center continue to provide services and programs that benefit the refugee and immigrant community.

According to Soonju Kwon, the center, which was first located in a two bedroom apartment in the Sunnyvale Apartment Complex, relocated to the strip center, and now has expanded to serve people living nearby. She said members of the firm worked in cooperation with the Refugee and Immigrant Center – Asian Association of Utah which operates the Center, Salt Lake County, and other businesses which volunteered their services, including VBFA and Manuel Masbernat who volunteered the engineering consulting.

Kwon said services at the Center include English classes, afterschool programs, citizenship classes, financial literacy workshops, mobile health clinics, nutrition education and more. “In the summer, they even have a farmers market and meat vendor which is supported by a USDA grant, to provide fresh produce and meat to the residents which don't have a full-service grocery store in the neighborhood,” she said.

Residents face many barriers created by this location in the intersection of four cities (South Salt Lake, Murray, Taylorsville, and Unincorporated Millcreek) and the unincorporated area of Salt Lake County. 

Salt Lake County's Community Innovation Manager, Ze Min Xiao, said the location means the area falls outside the service areas for funding from those cities.  Sunnyvale Neighborhood Center was formed to bridge this gap. The County provided $100,000 last year to enhance services in the area,  but she said businesses like GSBS Architects who provide pro bono services help us to extend the opportunities.  She said nearly 13% of SLC County's population is foreign born and the goal is to help them succeed. She said,  “The county recognizes the potential of the neighborhood, and county and private resources are needed help these 'New Americans' succeed.”

ENR Announces Awards for Best Projects by SHOKO SMITH

Two GSBS projects have been selected by ENR Magazine as winners in the ENR 2016 Best Projects Awards in the Mountain States region of Utah, Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota.  ENR provides news, features and information in all facets of the development, design and construction marketplace.

ENR Mountain States magazine 2016 Best Projects award winners will be recognized at the Best Projects breakfast award ceremonies in Salt Lake City on Oct. 25.

In the most recent issue, ENR wrote this about the two winning GSBS projects.

In Speciality Constracting:   The Summit at Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, Snowbird, Utah  
·     First-place winner in the Specialty Construction category, entry submitted by Layton
      Construction Co.
·     Owner: Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort
·     Architect: GSBS Architects
·     Completion: Nov. 2015

The Summit is a 23,000 SF guest-services building and mountain restaurant located at 11,000 feet at the top of Hidden Peak. The restaurant facilities have dramatically improved the guest experience at the top of the mountain. The building has three levels, with dining and kitchen facilities, employee spaces and mechanical systems at the basement level.

The first floor includes the main dining hall with 190 seats, a cafeteria, kitchen storage and service areas, restrooms and an outdoor deck. The second floor is a private dining area with 180 seats, reception and service areas and two outdoor decks. Work took place over two summer seasons because of the limited mountain construction time

In Manufacturing:  Cabela's Distribution Center
·     First-place winner in the Manufacturing category, entry submitted by Big-D Construction Co.
·     Owner: Cabela's
·     Architect: GSBS Architects
·     Completion: August 2015

Cabela’s,  one of the nation’s largest outdoor retailers built, this new 600,030 SF distribution center located in Tooele, Utah.  The new building is a concrete, tilt-up structure with open web steel roof joists, girders and deck.   The clear height within the structure is approximately 30’.  GSBS designed the envelope and the structural system to accommodate and compliment the racking system and to comply with the 2012 Energy Code recently adopted by the State of Utah. 

The principal warehouse is 490’ x 1,232’ encompassing approximately 554,370 SF on the ground level.  Additional spaces include a maintenance shop, shipping and receiving areas and a 30,000 sf single-story administration office, bringing the total square footage to 600,030 SF. 

According to ENR's editor, a panel of judges from all areas of the industry—architects, GCs and engineers—selected winners in each of categories. 

GSBS Architects Designing 4 New Buildings for Business Depot Ogden by SHOKO SMITH

Businesses are growing and expanding at Business Depot Ogden (BDO), a 1,118-acre master planned business park with 500 build-to-suit available acres.    A major participant in this activity is GSBS Architects who have been engaged again to design four new industrial projects at BDO for national production and distribution chains, totaling 1,064,000 square feet.  These four projects will push the total industrial space at BDO to over 13,500,000 square feet. All of them will be completed by next fall.

Two of the new projects are new businesses at BDO, formerly a military installation which was transferred to the City of Ogden in 1997 and is managed by the Boyer Company.  GSBS Architects has had enjoyed a long and productive relationship with BDO and the City of Ogden since 2002.   

A recent article in the Ogden Standard Examiner  (10/31/16) written by columnist Mark Saal, reported:

“Tom Christopulos, director of community and economic development for the city, says Business Depot Ogden has been recognized both nationally and internationally for its successes. In 2012, the project received an award from the International Economic Development Council for being one of the top public-private ventures in the world.”

ReaderLink is the largest full-service distributor of hardcover, trade and paperback books to non-trade channel booksellers in North America.  Their project relocates their western distribution center from Clearfield to BDO and adds 500,000 square feet of rail-served distribution space to their national distribution network with facilities in Virginia, Indiana, and Illinois. 

Honeyville, Inc, a family owned and operated milling company, produces grains and seeds, flours and mixes, bakery ingredients and dried foods, including a full line of gluten free products.  They have plants in Utah, Arizona and California.  This new 192,000 square foot production and distribution facility will consolidate much of their Utah operations under one roof.

Two other projects are in design and permit stage and include a 262,000 square foot, rail-served lumber distribution facility and a 110,000 square foot expansion of an existing minus ten degree cold storage and distribution facility.

Since Ogden purchased the complex, BDO has improved the infrastructure and has added 23 new buildings totaling nearly 5 million square feet thanks to a prime location in the Crossroads of the West and access to a highly skilled and educated workforce. These new, light industrial, warehouse and distribution buildings have grown the capacity of the BDO to over 12 million square feet.  GSBS has been responsible for all but 3 of the new construction projects.  Businesses located at BDO collectivelyemploy a work force of over 4,500 people.  

“It’s been kind of a model that’s being used in other places,” Christopulos said. “We’re 20 years ahead of schedule, and we’re that far ahead in revenue projections. It’s as near a perfect project as I’ve ever been involved in.” (excerpted from The Ogden Standard Examiner,  “Business Depot Ogden continues to grow ahead of schedule” 10/31/16.)

Project to Watch: Utah State Prison Design to Emphasize Rehabilitation by SHOKO SMITH

The main design goal of the new Utah state prison in Salt Lake City is to focus on rehabilitation, normalizing day-to-day life for inmates. Photo Credit: Conceptual Rendering by Prison Relocation Commission

The main design goal of the new Utah state prison in Salt Lake City is to focus on rehabilitation, normalizing day-to-day life for inmates. Photo Credit: Conceptual Rendering by Prison Relocation Commission

SALT LAKE CITY — Locally based GSBS Architects, designing the new Utah state prison in Salt Lake City, presented design ideas to the state legislature’s prison development commission in late September. As the architecture firm continues to gather ideas from hundreds of modern correctional facilities across the country, its main goal is to create a campus that focuses on rehabilitation, normalizing day-to-day life for inmates, according to theAssociated Press.

“The new correctional facility allows Utah to expand treatment and programming opportunities for inmates,” said Utah Department of Corrections Executive Director Rollin Cook. The modern design will replace the current facility that lacks adequate, flexible space for treatment, rehabilitation, education and job-training programs that prepare inmates for a successful, safe and lasting re-entry into society.”

GSBS Architects, working with national architecture firm HOK and Miami-based CGL on project design, presented several design layouts and shapes for the 130-acre prison campus that will have the design and space necessary to promote the state’s Criminal Justice Reinvestment Initiative to help with inmate rehabilitation. The plan is to create a comfortable setting for lower-threat inmates to help prepare them for life after incarceration. That could include having dining halls for inmates in lieu of eating in their cells. Another option would be creating an appointment system for inmates to schedule haircuts instead of standing in line at a specific time, reported the Associated Press. The design would also do away with guard towers typical of prison projects of this kind, according to FOX 13, a local news outlet.

“We have an opportunity to design a facility that is focused on what's best for public safety, and incorporates the best practices in security for the facility and that's very exciting,” Cook said.

Officials announced in late September that the closing agreement to buy land several miles west of Salt Lake International Airport should be reached this fall. Designs for the exterior of the prison won’t be done until next year, with construction to follow. Construction of the 4,000-bed prison is expected to cost $550 million and is scheduled for completion by fall 2020. A joint venture between Salt Lake City-headquartered Big-D Construction Corp. and Phoenix-based Kitchell (called BDK) was chosen to serve as the project’s management and technical consultant, while a joint venture between Layton Construction Company and Okland Construction — both of which have offices in Salt Lake City — are serving as construction manager.

Lawmakers funded $80 million in cash to begin the process of moving the prison from its existing site in Draper, replacing the aging facility and making room for land that could be developed, according to FOX 13. The project could have the potential for a 1,000-bed expansion, but lawmakers acknowledge that the state could eventually need a third prison site if the inmate population continues to grow.


While attending the Spy Hop Fundraiser Gala event in April of 2016,  principals of GSBS Architects were blown away by the courage it took for teenagers to be on stage in front of a huge audience and pitch their stories for short films they have been working on.

On arrival, to the event, guests were invited onto the stage, bright spot lights beamed colored rays through the fog: guests had mingled, eaten, drunk and were merry.  Roller skaters zipped around selling raffle tickets in exchange for jelly rings that sparkled colored lights. Students worked the crowd chatting about the programs they were involved in, stations were set up for snippets of current gaming, film, audio projects. Silent auctions, raffles, music, exciting people from the community all "set the stage" for the yearly, anticipated auctioning of the films. Later, as guests were ushered from the stage to their auditorium seats, the current Spy Hop band played a set of songs. Shortly after the presentations began- up first: a brief video of Spy Hop winning the highest National award for an arts program given by the First Lady Michelle Obama. From there the students presented their work and the audience bid for naming rights, producer status and bid from sheer amazement at the ideas that thoughtful young adults are being encouraged to discuss.

For the last presentation of the evening two teenagers took the stage. There was a humming buzz in the crowd, the audience was, at this point, a bit restless. The evening had been an exciting sensory overload. As the young director and cinematographer stood nervously on stage clearly presenting their message to a now hushed audience,  the GSBS principals in the crowd knew immediately that this story was one that they have been fighting for and care for at their deepest core. GSBS believes  so strongly in environmentally friendly design simply because this is the legacy that will be left for our very own children. The name of the film: CO2- The Air that we Breathe. 

Buildings, generating electricity, vehicles all contribute to bad air quality during times of inversion in Salt Lake City.  Sustainable Design Excellence is GSBS's mission. GSBS has for thirty years been designing buildings that are conscious of this precious world we live in, all the while pushing its employees, clients, contractors and colleagues to design and build buildings that are better for the environment and for all of us in the long run. It did not take more than a second for the principals of GSBS to know that they had to help produce this film. The Spy Hop students described their film and told the audience "it may sound like a boring film you might have to watch in science class, but it is vital that we speak about this issue, and we assure you it isn't boring". These are absolutely topics that we should be discussing outside of science class. And at Spy Hop, an after school program in Salt Lake City, an  incredible platform is created for the youth of our community to raise their voices, on all issues. 

The wonderful people at GSBS are involved on so many levels on different boards, organizations, non profits that It is no secret that GSBS Architects loves it's community dearly. To be able to participate, in such a contributing way,  with other organizations that are also challenging, benefiting, changing and shaping the place we live in only makes us at GSBS Architects want to give more to our community through hard work, civic engagements and wonderful evenings like the Spy Hop Gala event. When can we all be surprised by young people further discussing serious topics? November 2nd at the red carpet Pitchnic grand premier.

You can purchase tickets here:

Film previews can be seen here:

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.”

Design/Build Competition for Soccer Installation Engages Sunnyvale Kids by SHOKO SMITH

On any Saturday, 60 or more kids and their families are playing in the Sunnyvale Park, many of them kicking a soccer ball.  In this area of Salt Lake County, about 40th South and 7th West, a new attraction in the park is a soccer training wall and target practice designed by a group of young architects and architectural students.  It is the result of a Design/Build Competition won by a team which named their design WEST, for Women Engagement Society Training.

The 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. It is working!   “Our design team could really identify with the kids and their families because we know what it is 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, and Ardavan Tookaloo all went to Tehran University of Art for their Bachelor of Architecture.  Reihaneh Noori is working on her Master’s degree in architecture at the University of Utah and Elaheh Zarezade recently graduated.

The competition specified a $4000 budget and strict schedule for “an environmentally conscious design.” Accordingly, the team created a wood structure that has a target practice net with round targets made from used bike tires, fixed seating and a solid training wall, and uses recycled materials in its construction. The installation is now an active location in the park. 

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