News & Press: CHAPTER NEWS

The Secret Sketchers @ SFMOMA

Monday, October 2, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: April Becerra

The Secret Sketchers

by Fanny Wu, AIA


The month of September is the Architecture and the City Festival and a couple of the active members from the AIASCV Sketching Group presented their “secret sketches” at the SFMOMA which was a sold out event gathering over a hundred people from all over the Bay Area.


Everyday we walk in the city and built-environment with ideas and visions. These go away quickly as we blink. What if we take a step back, take 20 minutes to pause, observe, enjoy, meditate and document by sketch? What if we decided to take a break from letting the computer manage our thoughts, what if we are not afraid of making mistakes? Let's explore our surroundings by our first gut feelings and find our ability to observe and freely express our emotions of the city. This presentation was a fast-paced presentation including a group of active sketchers from the Bay Area. Through 20 seconds of 20 slides, each presenter presented deeper thoughts and conversations about the opportunities we may have missed in such a fast-moving city.



Tom Chamberlain, AIA  |   Fanny Wu, AIA  | Sassan Pedramrazi, AIA | John Spotorno, AIA  | Jennifer Kretschmer, AIA  | Kevin Kirkwood 

Tom Chamberlain, AIA presented his work with a focus on people and their relationships and memories of the City.  Tom lives and practices architecture in the South Bay.  He has two sons, Eliot, 27 living in Portland, and Luke 25, living in Santa Cruz.  He loves the challenges and rewards of practicing architecture.  He’s worked on single and multi-family residential, educational, small commercial, office, medical, and industrial projects.  Tom loves nature and interacts with it through hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, photography, and drawing.  He loves music, and besides listening, also plays piano, drums, and sings, and does some composition.  His son’s play instruments as well, and all together have played a few gigs as a family band.


Fanny Wu, AIA presented her sketches with poetry and discussed the hidden emotions in the City.  Fanny is an architect with an artist's mind.  She spent 1/3 of her life in Taiwan, 1/3 in New Zealand, 1/3 in the United States. With a diverse background, she brings to the table a globalized yet culturally rich attitude towards her work.  Fanny brings the fluency of BIM technology and sustainability expertise without losing the warm tonalities of watercolor paintings.  She believes architecture surpasses the construction of materials, fosters inspiring collective memories in one’s heart and brings the best out of the community.  When she sketches, she is inspired by the unnoticeable elements from her everyday surrounding.


Sassan Pedramrazi, AIA presented his sketches on the homeless on the street.  Homeless people are the hidden face of our city. These sketches are trying to show these people effort for staying human, overcoming their confusion, making a normal life, building a shelter and showing their affection and love.  Sassan is an active architect and member of the Santa Clara Valley Chapter. With more than 17 years architectural practice in USA, and 13 years abroad especially Middle East he has gathered global design and architecture experiences. Parallel with his architectural practice he has taught and lectured about architecture, planning and design for many years around the world. As an artist with poetic vision and ability inherited from his mystic land, he tries to depict a beautiful and humane world in his sketches. He has established sketching group in AIA Santa Clara Chapter to inspire young designers and architects.


John Spotorno, AIA used his sketches to compare the old and new buildings in the City.  He shared many hidden stories of the City that most people are unaware of.   John is a 4th generation Northern Californian, born and raised in the east bay on a ranch established 150 years ago. He is a senior design associate practicing architecture at Hawley Peterson Snyder in Sunnyvale. He was the proud recipient of the 1980 “Paris Prize” from the NIAE which allowed for study abroad. Because of this award, he was able to practice drawing skills, spending nine months in Western Europe sketching famous art and architecture. He is known for his bicycle commuting, over 8,500 miles last year. Other activities include, watercolor, photography, hiking, backpacking and skiing.




Jennifer Kretschmer, AIA discussed her techniques using her I-Pad to sketch around her neighborhood in Los Gatos. Jennifer is licensed in California with over 25 years of experience and has owned her architectural firm since 2003. She provides service to the community as an Art Docent for LGUSD. She has served on the boards of the AIASCV and AIACC and was awarded Associate Member of the Year in 2002. Since 2015, she has been the chairperson for the AIASCV Custom Residential Architects Network. Jennifer is also an artist with exhibited work in the medias of drawing, watercolor, mixed media and digital media.




Kevin Kirkwood  works predominantly in the medium of painting/mixed media, but also enjoys creating short film documentaries and large scale paint installations. Blue painters tape, his desired canvas, confirms his approach to creating temporary pieces. Kevin received his B.ARCH from the University of Miami in 2011, with a minor that focused on graphic arts.  He currently resides and works in the Bay Area as an architectural designer.


If you are interested in joining the Sketching Group, we gather monthly.  Please email Sassan Pedramrazi at for additional information.  The group also sketch at places other than the South Bay.