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Daniel Matthew Silvernail Santa Cruz Architect Spacer

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About Our Firm
Daniel Silvernail


Daniel's undergraduate degree is in environmental biology: prior to embarking on his architectural career he began as and remains an ecologist, cognizant of the context within which we design – a space within a room, a room within a building, a building in participation within an environment, an environment interacting with the global ecosystem.

As an ecological designer his thirst for responsible creativity has fueled investigations including graduate studies with noted urbanists Jean-Pierre Castex of the Ecole des Beaux Arts and Peter Calthorpe of the Congress for New Urbanism, and projects including Urban Solution for the Compidoglio in Rome (1987) and Design for the Oregon Coast Aquarium (thesis project: 1989).

Dragon Hill

Axon           Preliminary Concepts for Dragon House © DMSA

Fated to arrive in Santa Cruz just weeks prior to the Loma Prieta earthquake he was propelled into recovery work as part of the urban design team of Lyndon/Buchanan Associates (Downtown Santa Cruz Recovery Plan, Vision Santa Cruz, 1990) and co-design of Zephyr, sculptural entry to Booktent Santa Cruz (Phoenix Place Project, 1991).

During the interval 1992-1997 the arch of his trajectory resulted in honorable mention in the international Spreeinsel Design Competition for the Capital City of Berlin (1994). As Project Architect with the firm Robert D. Corbett he personally planned, designed, and oversaw construction local landmarks including SCMTD Intermodal Transit Center (1995) and Cabrillo College Watsonville Center (1996).

Since founding DMSA, Daniel's explorations have resulted in projects exemplifying the best in green building design including Bishoff-Shane House (1997), Vega House (2001), and Sun+Sky House (2010). The firm's work to date has resulted in memorable buildings and places including Santa Cruz Veterinary Hospital Campus (2003), Linda Vista House (2004), and the SLVWD Facilities Consolidation Project (2012-2013).

As part of his commitment to sustainable design practice, Daniel has served in various leadership capacities including Executive Editor of California Straw Building Association's CASBA Journal (2004-2011), CASBA Advisory Committee Member (2008-2011), Co-Chair United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Monterey Bay Branch (2009-2011), and Lecturer in Green Building Design at the University of California Santa Cruz (Spring 2014).

Daniel also writes a blog on architectural design, building technology and other topics.
You can read a recent article here.

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