Let’s Talk about Design

February 22, 2014

Kris Barkley loves design. He loves the personal creative process as well as community discussion and debate. He is engaging the best and brightest in our community to increase public awareness of the value of good design. In January, Kris took the reins as President of the Central Valley Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and he has several design related initiatives he will be promoting this year.

As the City moves forward with a major arena project downtown, design is suddenly a hot topic here in Sacramento. The City is actively soliciting design input, engaging the public in the conversation. The magnitude of this project is already causing changes to ripple throughout downtown. One significant area ripe for change is the Capitol Mall, just one block South of the new arena site.



A sea of grass.

Our firms’ founder, Albert Dreyfuss, FAIA used to muse about the ‘failure of opportunity’ on Capitol Mall, the parkway entrance to the Capitol from the West. It is a blank canvas, quite literally – a flat lawn studded with sign posts and stoplights.

Several years ago, Kris saw this as a design opportunity. Working with the City and the Crocker Art Museum,  he leveraged a design competition to attract international participation and press attention.

MainGraphic_East_BPTHe created a compelling competition brief and problem definition designed to appeal to a wide range of designers, architects and planners.

The results were remarkable.  There were over 50 entries from all over the US and Europe. Entries also came from Asia, Africa, Australia, South America – a truly International competition.

The competition response generated tremendous exposure for the City and for the Central Valley chapter of the AIA. A follow-on competition produced more than a dozen models for a new public space on the mall.


Now, with a major NBA arena planned immediately North of this grassy median, the time is ripe to seriously reconsider this public space and its relationship to the rest of the city.

Kris is passionate about promoting design dialog in our community. Along with two worthy colleagues, he continues to lead the “Architecture Matters”  series for AIACVC which has evolved into a bonafide design salon here in Sacramento. It is a great opportunity for architects, designers, students and others to gather and discuss what is important in our community.

As Design Director for Dreyfuss + Blackford, Kris has proven himself as an architect and designer. His engagement in community-wide dialog about design is also an important legacy. We look forward to continuing this conversation.