Brownell Middle School / Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Carducci Associates is thrilled to have been part of the Brownell Middle School campus replacement project for Gilroy Unified School District, which culminated 3 years of hard work when the school was officially opened to the public on August 12. Although Carducci Associates has been working alongside Aedis Architects and Flint Builders since 2018 on this site, Brownell has been a part of the Gilroy community since 1949, when it opened its doors to seventh and eighth graders. Few alterations were made to the original campus since its initial construction, and Carducci Associates is proud to be part of the newest chapter at Brownell. Measure E, passed by Gilroy voters, made the campus replacement possible; clever management by the design team, the GUSD facilities team, and contractor meant Brownell was reconstructed with all the elements that the District deemed vital to a 21st century learning environment.

In designing the site, Carducci balanced outdoor spaces for play, gathering, and teaching. Prior to the pandemic, the design team emphasized carving out ample space for outdoor learning in a variety of settings, including semi-circular concrete seat walls surrounding central areas for instruction, to less formal decomposed granite pathways with boulder seats in a grove of newly planted oaks. Carducci also designed courtyards inside classroom pods with ample boulder seating surrounding Shade loving greenery and wide concrete patios outside maker space garage doors. The patios will enable students to spill out from maker spaces to tinker and collaborate. Carducci is pleased that these spaces are in place and will play a crucial role of keeping students and staff safer, while enriching student learning opportunities.

In addition to the instruction-centric outdoor spaces, Carducci designed what has now been dubbed the “pollination station” packed with nectar-rich pollinator-friendly shrubs and grasses adjacent to a flexible, outdoor space for a student garden. New fruit trees provide a backdrop for a space that may be adapted for growing food or conducting science experiments that can be aided by an outdoor power pedestal intended to make this garden area as adaptable as possible for the school’s specific future needs. In addition to these upgrades, Carducci also designed a river-themed coated asphalt pattern in the central campus that reinforces biophilic themes while reflecting solar radiation to keep students and staff cool in hot Gilroy weather. Brownell also benefits from entirely new natural turf playing fields with more efficient, modern irrigation. The fields have been sited adjacent to the updated gymnasium and newly striped sports courts, away from classrooms to minimize disruption. Finally, in a nod to the community that made the modernization possible, long-lived native Valley Oaks flank the edges of the campus to provide shade along Carmel and 3rd Streets, in order to extend improvements beyond the campus.

Video credits: B43Productions

Image Credits: Flint Builders

Press Release / Event

John Hinkel Park / Grand Opening

When the beautiful historic clubhouse of John Hinkel Park burned down in 2015, neighbors and Berkeley city staff came together to discuss the future of the park and its users. Built in 1918, the redwood clubhouse structure served its purpose for 73 years, officially closing its doors in 1991 due to the estimated $1-2 million-dollar repair costs to restore it to habitability. After the 2015 fire, the city (Berkeley) was able to receive insurance money, which planted the seed of innovation. At the same time, this allowed John Hinkel Park – like a Phoenix – “to rise from the ashes,” and reinvigorate the experience of the park that embodies the cultural and architectural history of Berkeley at the turn of the 20th century.

Toward the end of 2015, Carducci Associates and diverse stakeholders – including city staff, Council Members, and invested neighbors – collaborated to envision a new chapter for John Hinkel Park. Over five years, after multiple community meetings and the approval of the Landmark Commission, the community decided to replace the clubhouse with enhanced site access, ADA improvements, unique site furnishings and a picnic terrace that would maintain the park’s natural aesthetic while celebrating the past that John Hinkel himself gave to the neighborhood.

Carducci Associates leveraged the park’s history through the use of salvaged materials from the clubhouse, such as wood and stone, and designed custom features that highlight the park’s past for present and future users. Some of these features include rock walls, rock and wood benches, and picnic tables topped with 100-year-old salvaged redwood to preserve the memory of the clubhouse’s original location. If one were to examine the picnic tables, one can see the chars and scars of the blaze that paved the way for the park’s renewal.

Finally, after years of waiting, Carducci Associates is honored and excited to say that John Hinkel Park can once again serve as a space where neighbors and friends can gather to make new memories. After the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony (July 31, 2020), visitors practiced social distancing while enjoying the renewed park. There were plenty of smiles that even face coverings could not mask.

Thank you to the City of Berkeley, the Landmark Commission, and the John Hinkel Park community for entrusting this special project to Carducci Associates. May John Hinkel Park continue to flourish in all of its cultural and natural beauty.

Community Meeting
Newly Renovated Picnic Terrace
Newly Renovated Picnic Terrace
Socially Distanced Ribbon Cutting Ceremony (July 31, 2020)

Press Release / Community Meeting / Event

Welcome! / K.C. Farrell Joins the Carducci Team

The newest member of our staff, Associate K.C. Farrell has a team-oriented approach to design, along with ten years of experience. “The best idea wins,” he says, of collaborating. “I believe that good design is achieved without ego and that ideas can come from anywhere and anyone at any time.” At all times, K.C. brings this attitude to his work.

So far, K.C. has brought a fresh perspective to old projects, leadership to new ones, improvements to our office standards, and a bounty of herbs from his garden. “Every day that I come to work, I strive to design something with meaning. My goal is to create spaces that allow users to have unique experiences and create memories that will outlast the built environment.”

His previous experience includes high-end residential, retail, campus, and public works, and he studied landscape architecture at UC Berkeley and UC Davis. In 2008, K.C. began volunteering at the National AIDS Memorial Grove (NAMG) monthly workdays to maintain and improve the eight-acre site. Soon after, he became a workday Team Leader and Site Advisor on the Site Committee, where he helped design and develop site improvement plans.

In the years that followed, K.C. has continued as a Site Advisor to help lead many projects, including a historic waterfall restoration (2011), South and North Slope repaving (2016-2017), and SF Gay Men’s Chorus Circle (2018). Of his decade as a NAMG volunteer, he says: “serving as a Workday Volunteer is still some of the most enjoyable work that I do. Digging my hands into the soil and working with a team in an effort to maintain a landscape that is sacred to so many people is truly a rewarding experience.”

Our newest team member, K.C. Farrell (top left) volunteers at the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park.


Advancements at Carducci Associates / Joel Franceschi Promoted to Design Coordinator

We are happy to announce the promotion of Associate Joel Franceschi to Design Coordinator! After three years of contributing to and managing many projects at Carducci, we recognize Joel for his proficiency in skills essential to leadership in landscape architecture practice today, from representation and professional communication with colleagues, consultants, and clients, to construction methods and code.

One of the best talents Joel brings to the office is his vast knowledge of soils and plants, as species, aesthetic elements, and life sensitive to highly specific environmental conditions. His love of native plants, especially those supporting pollinators, is evident throughout all of his school and residential projects. Alpine meadows and the Santa Cruz Mountains have long provided Joel with a rich inspiration, before studying landscape architecture at UC Davis and working at a residential landscape architecture firm in Santa Cruz.

When he isn’t coordinating, Joel can be found caring for and experimenting with his rapidly expanding collection of unusual orchids and other friends that are beginning to engulf his desk.

Lydiksen Elementary School
The Residences at Preserve