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Registered Architect, NCARB
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Habitat for Humanity Tucson Office Remodel

Project Architect: David Bullaro in Collaboration with DKP Architecture and Consulting
Client : Habitat for Humanity Tucson / Patrick Pitman
Contractor: Sundt Construction
Completion Date: April 2013
Photo Credit: Mardan Architectural Photography


Born from the desire to replace an office that no longer met their needs, Habitat for Humanity Tucson acquired an old warehouse building on Mountain Avenue from the Arizona Opera to convert into their new Tucson Office.

The warehouse, once a grocery store, was modified, re-purposed, covered in a palimpsest of different uses and users; additions, infill, modifications and damage.

Seeing this as an opportunity to re-adapt instead demolish, we took the warehouse as inspiration. Massive wooden trusses, dating back to the 50’s spanned between the masonry walls and with the addition of natural light a perfect open office setting is born, playing out against the trusses and their interactions with the sunlight.

The exterior, once a cacophony of differing materials is unified with a furred out wall of concrete fiber board lap siding which allows us to add insulation to the warehouse walls for the first time in over half a century. New windows peek through the siding inside steel boxes, protected from sun and the elements.

Coupled adjacent to the warehouse is an newer addition by Tucson’s Durrant Architects. Connection between the two, the new and the old, was tenuous and cryptic.

Deconstructing the entry sequence we remove the existing main entrance, pushing it back inside the building and into the warehouse. Painted bright colors it welcomes. The rear reacts by pushing out and enclosing the patio space thus creating a new, natural light infused, lunch room.

Shifting this volume allows us to separate private/public spaces between the two entities and facilitates creating a new set of separate offices for senior members of the Habitat for Humanity staff.

The massive existing wall, accentuated with Habitat for Humanity green becomes a beacon for broadcasting their mission and new home.

Interior Redevelopment

The warehouse interior is designed to play off the existing structure, elegant in its design and rare in its materials.

Standing as a loose interpretation of the Habitat for Humanities logo a central open space incorporates a “House” which becomes the public face of Habitat for Humanity Tucson and includes work spaces for their army of enthusiastic Volunteers as well as housing a large private conference room.

Open offices bound the House, segmented into differing work groups, with enough new windows to make artificial light superfluous during the day. Skylights added down the center of the warehouse roof enhance the natural daylighting, lending a richness to the wood trusses, especially when viewed against the new kraft-backed batt insulation and the mostly subdued interior color palette.

Open office windows look into the corridors and help increase the flow natural light into the center of the building as well as enhancing transparency.

Concrete floors, still scarred from half a century of varied use are exposed and revel in their imperfections. Walls meet the floor cleanly so as not to take away any of that hard earned character.

Mechanical systems snake through the trusses above, delivering cool air to the offices and open spaces alike, their metallic appearance in juxtaposition with the warmth of wood. Electrical systems follow organized runs across trusses, between joists and to where ever they are needed. Fire suppression hides high up in the air space. Above the ordered ground level controlled chaos ensues.

Material and light are carried over to the opposite side, where spaces are opened up for better function and new spaces developed to better serve Habitat for Humanities’ needs.

The lunch room, once a small enclosed space, is enlarged by enclosing the exterior south patio. Utilizing the existing short patio wall as part of the new lunch room enclosure we are able to add an adjoining outdoor patio by extending this new roof over the space. Accessible from the lunch room it is a useful and well shade south facing patio.

With respect for Habitat for Humanities’ methods we used as many pieces from the original building that could be re-purposed as we possible. Moving materials, doors, windows, and frames to new locations. That which couldn't be reused is sent to the Habistore for recycling back into our own community.

Details are efficient and cost effective with the intent of delivering a beautiful project without the excessive details and materials that would make such a building outside the financial reach for a volunteer based not-for-profit group such as Habitat for Humanity.

For Habitat for Humanity it is important to leave some of the building exposed, to show its bones, to show what they do to make homes for people. Ceilings, walls, connections and interfaces are all exposed in various regions. The building parts are there for all to see, reveled in, and celebrated for what they are.

The work becomes an opportunity. One that makes new the old. One that makes healthy the sick. One that makes unknown a home.

By adapting this old building full of history, decades of use, and its multiple lives we have provided Habitat for Humanity Tucson a new home, one that speaks of their mission, one that grows with them and in turn one that lets them grow in place, without the fear of crowded workspaces, storage shortages and lack of visibility.

A new home for the people who work so hard to help other less fortunate people get their own.

Drachman Design Build Coalition House #5

Project Architect: Mary Hardin and David Bullaro
Client : VA/HUD Financed housing opportunity
Contractor: Student Built with Carlson Plumbing and Mechanical
Projected Completion Date: May 15 2014
Photo Credit: David Bullaro/Mary Hardin



Developed as a means of exploring lessons learned from Civano, a local green community, and how they can be applied to low income housing, the University of Arizona College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture through its Drachman Institute developed a design build studio where students in one year design the housing and students in the next year build it.


Currently we are supervising in a Construction Management/General Contractor role 14-22 students, guiding them towards constructing the house based on the design of the previous years' 4th and 5th year architecture students. The construction documents were just complete enough to get the appropriate permits for construction so the current students are tasked with design and detailing everything that hasn't been detail and responding to the field and unforeseen conditions.

For complex tasks such as drywall, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing tasks as well as the masonry we subcontract to professionals. Otherwise the students do everything else with our supervision and help.







The joy of design/build


Construction Progress Photos




















































San Diego National Wildlife Preserve Complex Visitor Center

Project Architect: John Birkinbine AIA, Line and Space
Client: United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Contractor: PCL Construction
Completion Date: August 3, 2011
Photo Credit: Mike Torrey/Line and Space

Project Synopsis

Developed as a replacement for the Client’s decaying office trailer this new Complex was designed to sit low on the site, avoiding conflict with other buildings and but mostly blending into the expansive and flat tidal marsh. Modularity of design allows future expansion.

Divided into 2 functions, one Administrative, one Public, to support the Client’s mandate of providing public interpretive programs about the unique ecosystem of the tidal marsh, each is self reliant.

Funded through the American Recovery Act (ARA) the schedule was provisioned with a very compressed time-line, rigid Government defined benchmarks, and deadlines to be met in order to retain the ARA funding.

Architectural design schedule was approximately a year, Construction Documents completed in under 6 months and Substantial Completion occurring within 1 year. REVIT, used by a team of 3, allowed rapid development in the design phase and completing the project on time and within budget.

Development Process

Initial design by the Project Architect was based on exchange between AutoCad and hand drawn tracings. Hand sketched form studies were completed and converted to Sketchup models for analysis and adjustment.

Schematic Design started with the hand drawn base drawings (which were then hand rendered for presentation). No three dimensional work was shown at this stage.

These hand drawn base drawings were scanned and imported into REVIT as the basis of design drawings. 3D Sketchup studies were imported as a skeleton to build upon to accommodate the rapid schedule.

From that point forward all presentation drawings were done in REVIT; blackened walls, adjusted lineweights, shadows, etc. Preliminary Construction Documents were completed and were used as an Estimating set by an Estimation Consultant. Various iterations of estimate were done over the course of CD’s resulting in a very accurate estimate and allowing the design team to adjust the design to fit within the projected estimate construction cost.

Based on the REVIT model additional photo real renderings were done in 3DS Max for the client. All details and schedules were completed within REVIT.

Construction bids for the project came in under budget allowing all Additive Alternates to be accepted.

Additional Addendum, RFIs and Clarifications are done exclusively through REVIT during Construction Administration.


The facility was designed to capture the spectacular views and to be a long lasting, high efficiency facility. User operable flow through natural ventilation to take advantage of the ocean locations prevalent winds, a large flat roof allowing maximum coverage of photovoltaics but a low profile and use of a previously existing basin on site to capture runoff for irrigation are just a few of the design features implement.

Mechanical equipment uses solar hot water arrays coupled with small residential heat exchangers to create a low cost, low energy zoned system. Lighting is LED, user adjustable and minimal. Natural daylighting in most spaces reduces energy usage even more.

While LEED certification is anticipated the building is designed outside of the guiding sphere of the USGBC LEED framework to our own framework of sustainable low impact practices.

Note: Renderings by others based on the 3D REVIT model produced during Construction Document Phase

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Visitor Center

Architect: Line and Space, LLC
Client: United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management
Contractor: Straub Construction
Completion Date: June 2011
Photo Credit: Robert Reck/Line and Space

Project Synopsis

To complement the renovation of an outgrown but early “alternative and green” Visitor Center we designed a new Visitor Center that utilized an adjacent and previously disturbed parcel. As a means of introducing the Conservation Area to the Visitor in the most immersive way possible instead of placing all interpretive work inside, the majority of interpretive displays were developed as durable, large, and exterior exhibits.

Visitors can experience the majesty of the site and its, almost perfect 365 days of the year, weather while being immersed in the interpretive experience of these displays. This move reduced the size of conditioned space we needed and allowed the interpretive displays to be enlarged and re-envisioned as almost sculptural works themselves.

Composed of 2 parts, the Visitor arrival building and the exterior exhibits, both of which become part of the interpretive narrative for the visitor. The focal point of the Visitor Arrival Building is the view window. A large frameless window framing the Red Rock Formation, it is surrounded by interpretive displays on adjacent walls and on low panels in front of the window but the main focus of the window is presenting an unhindered view of the Red Rocks and the backing Wilson Cliffs, one of the main features of this part of the Conservation Area.

The focal point of the Visitor Arrival Building is the view window. A large frameless window framing the Red Rock Formation, it is surrounded by interpretive displays on adjacent walls and on low panels in front of the window but the main focus of the window is presenting an unhindered view of the Red Rocks and the backing Wilson Cliffs, one of the main features of this part of the Conservation Area.

During the design phase Sketchup was used in concert with Google Earth to create a virtual site and building with which we experimented with views and placement of the exhibit features.


Focusing on transition between the Visitor Arrival Building and the Exterior Exhibits as well as the relative comfort of a conditioned space to various extremes of the Mojave Desert large overhangs, perforated with skylights open to the elements, temper the climate and the light qualities. Slowly easing the visitor into the desert environment.

Following the pathway the exhibits are designed to lead visitors through the aforementioned large exhibits highlighting the elements that form the conservation area: Earth, Wind, Fire and Water. These exterior tolerant exhibits were hidden though the use of earth berming, which was also an element the original Visitor Center.

Large monolithic concrete forms (image at top) mimic the surrounding Wilson Cliffs while containing local specimen trees in a desert garden. Water features and pockets in the monoliths highlight the duality that is desert life with small plants emerging and water coursing through tiny streams.

Water captured from the expansive Visitor Arrival Building roof is used to water all the Interpretive habitats and provides the water for the spring and stream exhibits.

At the very far end of the exhibits a view deck is been placed allowing one to “float” over the Mojave Desert and enjoy unencumbered views of the surround Wilson Cliffs and the Red Rocks.

The Mojave Desert in its eternal beauty.







Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area Contact Station

Project Architect: Henry Tom AIA, Line and Space
Client: United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management
Contractor: Straub Construction
Completion Date: June 2011
Photo Credit: Robert Reck/Line and Space

Project Synopsis

The original Contact Station at the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area was a volunteer built buildings that no longer met the needs of the staff. The new Contact Station incorporates all the storage that was incorporated in a disparate grouping of sheds as well as providing a safer and more accommodating environment for the mostly volunteer staff.

Sited near the main highway the new building and the reused original fee booths were screened behind a framework of steel tubes covered in perforated raw steel as a symbolic gesture towards the ever present ferrous laden red rocks of the eponymous formations beyond and to the red banded Wilson Cliffs in the distance. This slowly weathering steel coupled with gray split faced concrete blocks blend the building into the Mojave’s low chaparral and scrub brush.

Windows poke through the screens in the red painted sheet steel surrounds, shaded by louvers to protect from the low late afternoon summer sun, allowing views to both scenery and critical vehicular intersections.

The steel wrapped fee booths are covered by an overhead corrugated steel deck shade structures to provide some respite from the midday summer sun for the Contact Station volunteers and to Park visitors waiting to enter in their cars.


Mojave Discovery Center - Red Rock National Conservation Area

Project Architect: Henry Tom AIA, Line and Space
Client: United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management
Rendering Credit: Jared Logue/Line and Space

Project Synopsis

Built upon the programmatic and funding framework of a larger but shelved educational project within the same Conservation Area the Mojave Discovery Center utilizes this previous project’s mandate of establishing a Day School for Clark County School District students to better immerse them within the Mojave Desert as part of their educational experience. This curriculum, in concert with the building, is designed to help children foster a sense of stewardship for the desert they live in.

Sited at a prominent location abutting a series of fossil laden rock reefs it is also placed so that it is out of the view-shed of the adjacent Red Rock Canyon Visitor Center’s spectacular views of the eponymous rock formations. Presenting a minimal profile towards the adjacent loop road and the distant highway as a consequence of this siting it still has an amazingly expansive and uninhibited view of the Red Rock formations and the surrounding Wilson Cliffs.

Children will spend the day at the school, hovering over and looking out at the desert below, investigating the rock reefs, heading out on the connecting nature trails and experimenting in the laboratory and outdoor science areas.

In evenings the facility will host astronomical gatherings to take advantage of a location hidden from the lights of Las Vegas and steeped in the beautiful surroundings.

Development Process

Initially designed through the process of additive sketches within the 3D program Sketchup, this project was my first foray into REVIT. We used the Sketchup model as a framework for the Design Development REVIT model and built up the Construction Documents upon this.

Done as a hybrid environment all plans, schedules, major elevations and sections were done within REVIT and all Wall Sections, Details, and Furnishing/Millwork plans and details were done within AutoCad.

It was also developed in concert with incremental cost estimating , started at the end of Schematic Design done incrementally during Construction Documents. The project, while within budget, became delayed in order to accommodate proposals for a new sanitary sewer system to be better compliant with this current Complex's load.