Ware Associates: A conversation with John Ware and Ania Corcilius
Business Spotlight: Ware Associates A conversation with John Ware and Ania Corcilius
April 23, 2015
Ware Associates transcends the traditional boundaries between architecture and engineering. As architects, engineers, researchers, teachers and community leaders, we design buildings, whose craft and detail come from an intimate understanding of materials and fabrication. The architecture we create conveys a sense of place, and a deep connection between structure and space.
Tell me about Ware Associates.
Ania: We are a small, very versatile and well-rounded firm serving communities and private clients in the Bay Area.
John: We cultivate a close working relationship with our clients to help them define their goals and make their dreams come true.
Ania: On the one hand we have residential projects, where John designs beautiful houses that are at once elegant and sustainable. On the other hand we have public projects, which I love because they serve the community of people who live in an area.
John: Ware Associates has worked with landscape architects on several Bay Trail expansion projects as well as Creek and wetland restoration projects for the Cities of Berkeley, San Mateo, and San Pablo. In these projects it is critical to understand the delicate balance that must be kept when restoring the natural ecosystem and while providing community access to the waterfront.
We have worked on successful urban catalyst projects like the Nomad Café building in Oakland, a mixed used urban infill project that helped bring successful ground-floor retail and increased residential density to an uptown Oakland neighborhood.
Our office is located halfway between the Oakland Museum of Art - where we worked with DeFauw Design & Fabrication to help design the steel City of Oakland tree logo structure as part of the new Gallery of California History exhibit at the OMCA… and the Linden Street Brewery. We recently completed a residential in=law unit that helped Oakland meet its goal of encouraging infill development and increasing residential density while fostering inter-generational living.
What is your favorite project?
John: Each project has its own unique set of circumstances and brings its own rewards. However, the park projects are particularly satisfying because they engage and benefit the larger community. They provide beautiful places for people to hang out and to play. They really make a difference in urban environment like the East Bay.
(Above: John Ware, Principal and Lile Troncoso-Ovalle, Associate)
What is your favorite thing to do in Jack London to take a break from the workday?
John: To walk along the promenade by Plank and back down through the greenway.
Ania: Looking out on the bay from Jack London Square while eating a Miette’s ice cream sandwich.
What is unique about your office environment?
Ania: The people are really special – the care and love that goes into our architectural designs is also something that carries the community in our office. There’s a lot of attention to detail on every level.
Was there anything in particular about this neighborhood or this building that drew you here?
John: Our office is in an old warehouse brick building; it has a lot of character with exposed brickwork and heavy timber wooden beams. You can just feel the history of the once bustling waterfront port with Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon just across the railroad tracks. Another great perk about working in Jack London, is having Bicycle Coffee right across the street. We like being an integral part of a vital urban scene.
This waterfront urban community has so much to offer our employees and even more potential looking to the future. After work there is music at Yoshi’s, lunchtime kayaking, and now happy hour bowling at the plank.
Ania: What I really like and care about here is the produce market. I think it is really the heart and soul of this particular area of Jack London.”
John: A lot of our clients are San Francisco based. However, as the high costs and limited opportunity for infill development in San Francisco continues, over time we will see more clients here in Oakland. Oakland, and Jack London in particular, has seen new energy and capital as farsighted individuals and community leaders have been willing to invest in the community’s future. As the wonderful diversity and beauty that is Oakland is seen and the old perceptions of Oakland change, people will begin to see the range of opportunity it offers. We consciously chose not to move the office to San Francisco; we thought, ‘What would be the best place to be in the East Bay?’ and we picked Jack London.