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Sally Swanson
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License: Architect, CA, 1982, #C12746

Education: M.A. in Urban Design & Planning, Columbia University
Environmental Studies, University of Washington
B.A. in Architecture, University of Illinois

Experience: Ms. Swanson, Founding Principal and CEO of Sally Swanson Architects, Inc. (SSA) has more than 34 years of experience in architecture, planning and accessible design and has managed her own award–winning firm since 1980. Headquartered in San Francisco, the firm is a 100 percent Woman-owned Business Enterprise (WBE) and DGS-certified Small Business Enterprise (SBE) dedicated to serving the design needs of K-12 school districts, community colleges, municipal agencies, and private clients throughout the United States. Sally Swanson has an excellent reputation with these clients, as well as with the Department of General Services, the Division of the State Architect (DSA), the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation, and Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD).

Ms. Swanson was a participant on the design and planning team commissioned to prepare Russia’s International Olympic Committee bid for the city of Sochi to host the XXII Olympic Winter Games and XI Paralympics Games of 2014.

Ms. Swanson is recognized as a leader in access compliance. Working closely with the disabled community, she was instrumental in the development of the building code requirements for California’s Title 24 disabled access regulations. She has worked with many of the organizations that helped create and pass the Americans with Disabilities Act. In her design work she strives to enable persons with disabilities while maintaining the architectural integrity of each project she undertakes.

Ms. Swanson’s educational philosophy and approach is best expressed in her architecture work for Ford Elementary School, Richmond, CA. Designed to address the whole child, both body and mind, Ford Elementary creates a strong learning environment from a child’s point-of-view. This is a project that truly reflects the needs of the community while at the same time creating classroom spaces that reflect the best possible learning environment. The project was designed as a Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) and is registered with CHPS, incorporates technology from Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) and is verified by DSA.

Ms. Swanson was also an advisor to the Governor’s ADA task force for the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. She was recently appointed a member of the DSA Advisory Board Access subcommittee and named one of the Top 100 Bay Area Woman Business Owners by the San Francisco Business Times.

Ms. Swanson’s core planning values center on collaboration, consensus building and facilitating stakeholder involvement. She is motivated by the interaction of learning and environment and is fully committed to designing an inclusive environment and welcomes working with everyone.

Entries by Sally Swanson

It's an Accessible Life: My 24-Hour Journey

(0) Comments | Posted May 25, 2016 | 11:23 AM

Anita Hill was braver than me.

Anita Hill was so very strong to have come forward and share her story at that particular point in time -- politically and historically.

Did you watch the Anita Hill / Clarence Thomas movie "Confirmation" on HBO recently?

During the...

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It's an Accessible Life: My 24-Hour Journey

(0) Comments | Posted April 29, 2016 | 6:02 PM

2016-04-29-1461960125-2860803-4.JPGA Day to Play: Do you feel guilty about taking care of yourself?

I don't believe that the notion of giving in to one's needs is appreciated in our society's rush to do everything bigger, better, faster. Scheduling time for oneself is...

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It's an Accessible Life: My 24-Hour Journey

(1) Comments | Posted April 8, 2016 | 5:30 PM

2016-04-08-1460143463-4891185-IMG_4165.JPGWhat is the thread that keeps one moving ahead on one's path?

For me, I never take for granted the blissful moments that come my way. Right now, I couldn't be happier. Family just about sums it up. Family is my focus...

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It's an Accessible Life: My 24-Hour Journey

(0) Comments | Posted February 9, 2016 | 2:40 PM

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Oh, to have the genius of Picasso!

What defines me to others? Where else do I want to go? What do I really need (as I...

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It's an Accessible Life: My 24-Hour Journey

(0) Comments | Posted December 17, 2015 | 8:10 PM

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Like Don Quixote, my quest finds me in Spain, dreaming my (perhaps not so) impossible dream (as immortalized in the musical "Man of La Mancha"). Quite unlike him, however, I am minus a sidekick; this passionate pursuit...

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It's an Accessible Life: My 24-Hour Journey

(1) Comments | Posted November 23, 2015 | 7:35 PM

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Snippet Park: Remember those words. Thinking differently sure makes the world a more friendly and accessible place. And the experience I felt straight through my core was undeniable while listening to a presentation by a senior inventor to the industrial design students at North...

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It's an Accessible Life: My 24-Hour Journey

(0) Comments | Posted August 21, 2015 | 9:23 AM

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Are you happy? Better yet, what does happiness mean to you?

I, myself, have been on [what seems like] a ceaseless quest for happiness and am hell-bent to infuse that quality into every aspect of my life. Sometimes one finds happiness where one...

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It's an Accessible Life: My 24-Hour Journey

(0) Comments | Posted April 15, 2015 | 2:55 PM

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"I think we're not in Kansas..." leaps to mind during the descent into Adelaide, South Australia -- having left San Francisco more than 22 hours ago. I arrive during their winter/U.S. summer to attend the 7th International Urban Design Conference -- Designing Productive...

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It's an Accessible Life: My 24-Hour Journey

(1) Comments | Posted December 17, 2014 | 9:13 PM

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The white Christmas I'm thinking about this season has nothing to do with snow. Rather, it's all about a site specific art installation that occurred this October.

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It's an Accessible Life: My 24/7 Journey

(0) Comments | Posted December 5, 2014 | 1:47 PM

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Imagine. A breathtaking view of remarkable snow-covered mountain peaks; vast green open spaces and old-growth forest; enveloped by the scent of crisp air sparking one's imagination and serenity while propelling one onward to explore more.

Mesmerizing Naikoon Park located on Graham...

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It's an Accessible Life: My 24/7 Journey

(0) Comments | Posted September 26, 2014 | 5:23 PM

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What happens when a group of accessibility specialists get together? Well, even if you never wondered, let me tell you about a conference I attended recently with a group of like-minded professionals. In two...

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It's an Accessible Life: My 24-Hour Journey

(1) Comments | Posted July 28, 2014 | 11:18 AM

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I'm an architect, so scale, perspective, and yes, the infamous words of Mies van der Rohe: "form follows function" are important parts of my vocabulary accessed daily. But I have a secret. Growing up words like these carried a completely different connotation. A...

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It's an Accessible Life: My 24-Hour Journey

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2014 | 11:25 AM

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Today I'm the one who's learning something new. A team project brings me out to Ford Elementary School in Richmond, California at the end of a week in which northern California has wilted under record heat. Ford is a school I designed, and...

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It's an Accessible Life: My 24-Hour Journey

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2014 | 9:45 PM

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Today feels like work, but I'm not doing the heavy lifting. Today's the day that a tree will be removed from my garden. Despite numerous attempts to restore it to health, it has died and the risk of it falling is real. I'm...

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It's an Accessible Life: My 24-Hour Journey

(0) Comments | Posted April 18, 2014 | 5:08 PM

This is who I am in the morning, at my home in San Francisco: an architect with a successful business that focuses on educational and civic design with a specialization in accessibility, which has thrived for 34 years (in truth: sometimes it's been more about surviving, rather than thriving), a...

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