Porter Jensen and Partners,
founded in 1958, and Allan M. Walter and Associates, founded in 1954,
were among the first major architectural practices serving public
and private clients in a booming area that would come to be Silicon
Porter Jensen and Partners incorporated
in 1966 under the name Porter Jensen Hansen Manzagol AIA. It
became the premier educational design firm in Santa Clara Valley,
serving the needs of children in a rapidly growing community. Design
creativity at the firm flourished during this period, producing innovative
projects such as the Mountain View Academy and Edenvale Elementary
School. Its work in school design, which broke free of
the traditional “finger plan” and boxy classroom approach,
was featured in numerous trade and general magazines and newspapers.
With a staff of 15, Allan M. Walter and Associates served a diverse
clientele - education, public and private. The firm completed
a number of large-scale educational projects, including several new
high schools for the East Side Union High School District in San
Porter Jensen Hansen Manzagol AIA opened
a branch office in San Clemente to serve Southern California clients. Timpany
Center in San Jose, one of the first major facilities in the nation
designed for the physically disabled, was completed in 1979 and earned
the firm multiple national and local design awards. The
list of clients expanded to include a number of higher education
institutions. However, Proposition 13, which was passed
in 1979, largely eliminated funding for school construction and forced
a severe contraction in the firm’s size.
Allan M. Walter and Associates completed Independence High
School, one of the largest new high schools in California, with a capacity
of 4,500 students. The school employed a number of new concepts
in educational planning, such as “schools within a school”,
the use of educational specifications and joint use facilities.
The resurgence of the firm took place
in the early 1980’s, paralleling the gradual recovery of school
construction in California. The San Jose and San Clemente offices
separated into independent companies in 1989, when a new generation
of leaders emerged to replace the retiring partners. The
San Jose group retained the firm’s acronym of PJHM Architects
under the leadership of Senior Principal Thang Do and Principal Tom
Gebhard. The San Clemente branch became PJHM Southwest
under a separate ownership.
Responding to the slowdown in the education sector, Allan M. Walter
and Associates diversified into other building types, including higher
education and commercial. Its crown jewel in the commercial
sector is the Comerica Building Tower, one of the largest developments
of this period in downtown San Jose.
PJHM Architects added several new
principals and grew to a size of 45, responding to an expanding
client base. In addition to its traditional educational
work, PJHM completed a number of joint-use facilities, such as
the Henry Mello Center for the Performing Arts and the AMD Sports
Center. Increasingly, the firm’s work focused
on transforming outdated suburban school campuses built in the
post-war years, as well as more compact, urban schools. Allan M. Walter and Associates changed its name to The Allan
Walter Group Architects (AWG) under the new leadership of Gary Temple
and Todd Walter. The firm’s focus returned to educational
work, including K-12, college and university projects.
The friendship between several key
members of both firms led to the merger of PJHM Architects and
AWG, forming AEDIS Architecture & Planning (Aedis, from the
Latin, means a building or a structure) Todd Walter and Gary Temple
joined Thang Do, Tom Gebhard, Dan Hunsaker and John Diffenderfer
as principals of the new firm.
Gary Temple and Tom Gebhard retired in 2003 and 2005 respectively,
capping a combined 70 plus years of service.
In 2006, all of the firm’s principals and 13 other employees
became LEED accredited professionals. Sustainable design
was made a core part of the firm’s practice. The firm
is implementing sustainable design in almost all of its current
work, including several projects intended for LEED and CHPS certification.
The Logan Educational Center for the Performing Arts won a number
of design awards, including an AIASCV design award and CASH Honor
Award. AEDIS completed the acclaimed Hillview Branch Library
for the City of San Jose, the firm’s first public library