Welcome to Synergy Architecture!
We hope that you enjoy viewing examples of our work, getting to know about who we are and seeing how our services can benefit you. It is our goal to set a new "measure" for architectural services!
Our firm offers a full line of services including architecture, engineering, planning, development, interiors, government representation and expert witness consultation.
Synergy Architecture is all about coming together to successfully achieve a common goal.
Synergy, from the ancient Greek words "sunergi" meaning "cooperation" and "sunergos", meaning "working together". The "Oxford English Dictionary" defines synergy as: "n. interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects."
Through years of practice in the architectural profession and experience in the building industry we have found that cooperation and working together can produce far greater results than everyone working separately and then combining their individual efforts. This is why we choose to form a team with our staff, our consultants, and our clients and their consultants to more effectively meet the ever increasing challenges of the building industry. This synergistic approach respects each and everyone's individual talents and expertise and at the same time combines those talents and expertise to work as a cohesive unit. The net effect is an extremely powerful and efficient problem solving model.
We welcome you to experience a new paradigm in cooperation and working together, a synergistic approach to your next project.
Let Synergy work for you!
Our firm is made up of a collaborative of architects, engineers and other professionals in the building industry. We have pooled the talents and experience of a variety of professionals to offer our clientele a broad range of quality services.
As our name implies we work in a synergistic atmosphere that recognizes and respects the individual talents and experience that each of the project team members brings to the table. We encourage people to come to play, not come to work. Albert Einstein once said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. " Knowledge is like building materials, you can have all the building materials in the world and still not have a building. It takes imagination to turn those building materials into a magnificent structure.
We encourage everyone at Synergy to think outside of the box, use their imaginations to come up with effective and efficient imaginative solutions for our clients.
“We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.”
Winston Churchill in “Schools for Tomorrow”
The Founder of Synergy Architecture.
John E. Siebel, A.I.A., the founder of Synergy Architecture is a graduate of the University of Southern California's (U.S.C.) School of Architecture. He went on to the Master of Architecture program at the University of California at Los Angeles (U.C.L.A.). Afterwards, he attended Art Center College of Design where he concentrated on environmental design and concept visualization techniques.
While in attendance at the University of Southern California Mr. Siebel became interested in local city planning, becoming one of the founders of "Planners for Equal Opportunity" for the local community. In addition his thesis project was considered for the design of the new campus for the Art Center College of Design by the internationally acclaimed architectural firm of Craig Elwood Associates, and Mr. Siebel worked with the design team.
Upon graduation he worked for the highly recognized firm of Dorman/Munselle Associates, Lomax/Mills Associates part of the well regarded "L.A. Twelve Architects", and The Nadel Partnership. Mr. Siebel was also responsible for organizing the architectural subsidiary to Long Beach Construction Company, a Southern California real estate developer and worked on developments from Ventura County to San Diego County.
Mr. Siebel has worked on several projects that have been awarded by the American Institute of Architects (A.I.A.) as well as the California Building Officials (CALBO), Los Angeles County Supervisor Edmund Edelman, the City of Beverly Hills, the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, and the Governor of California.
Recognizing the need to be proactive in legislation Mr. Siebel has worked with and been consulted by governmental agencies with regard to legislation and practices. In particular, he has worked with both the City of Los Angeles and County of Los Angeles in drafting and clarifying ordinances. This expertise has been extremely beneficial to his clients seeking legislative advocate representation.
Mr. Siebel has been accredited by the National Council of Architectural Review Boards (N.C.A.R.B.) and has been licensed to practice architecture in California, Arizona, Texas, Nevada, Florida, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, and other states.
About our logo!
People have often asked if there is any meaning to our logo. Actually there is.
The logo is a stylized version of the Greek letter “Phi”, pronounced fee (no pun intended). Phi is the name of a mathematical constant the same as the Greek letter “pi”, pronounced pie, is a mathematical constant for the relationship between the diameter of a circle and it’s perimeter. Phi is a mathematical constant derived from the relationship of the division of a line wherein the line (A) is divided into two segments (B and C) wherein the relationship of the larger segment (B) to the whole line (A) is the same proportion as that relationship of the smaller line segment (C) to the larger line segment (B). This relationship is constant regardless of the length of the line you begin with. Some say this relationship was discussed by Pythagoras, c. 569-475 BC, the Greek mathematician. Probably more accurate would be the mathematician Euclid, c.365-300 BC, of Alexandria, Egypt, in his collection “Elements” which actually defined the foregoing relationship as “dividing a line in the extreme and mean ratio”. In addition Euclid began defining irrational numbers by using geometry. Plato, c.427-327 BC, the philosopher also spoke of this ratio.
This fascinating mathematical relationship was further explained at the beginning of the 13th century by Leonardo Pisano “Fibonacci” * (nickname, contraction of “Filius Bonacci”, son of Bonacci), c. 1170-1250 AD, from Pisa (in what is now known as Italy) who discovered a simple numerical series which mathematically explains the phenomena. It is still referred to this day variously as the “Fibonacci Series”, “Fibonacci Sequence” or “Fibonacci Numbers”. The earliest reference to this sequence was by Pingala **, c.500 BC, from India in his writings in Sanskrit, “Chhandah-shastra”, describing the basic idea of “maatraameru” (Fibonacci Sequence). Starting with 0 and 1, each new number in the series is the sum of the two numbers before it:
0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,89,144…..*
The ratio of sum and the numbers you add are roughly the same as the aforementioned “line” example. In other words as the numbers get larger, further into the series, the ratios approach the numerical constant “Phi” (named by American mathematician Mark Barr as the first Greek letter in the name Phidias, c.490-460 BC, a Greek sculptor known to have used the “Phi” constant as a proportion in his sculpture.). If you extrapolate the Fibonacci Series to the “nth” degree you will come up with a mathematical relationship called a “constant”, Phi, which equates to the irrational number:
1.618033988749895…***
Now you know why it is called an “irrational number” because it has no end, or it can never be expressed as a “whole” or “rational number”.
Now it really gets interesting, if you haven’t fallen asleep. Phi or as it is variously referred to as the Golden Mean, the Golden Section, the Golden Ratio, and the Divine Proportion, appears throughout life and the universe. Some believe that it is the most efficient outcome, the result of natural forces. Some believe it is a universal constant of design, the signature of God.
Whatever one believes, the pervasive appearance of Phi in all we see and experience creates a sense of balance, harmony and beauty in the design of all we find in nature. Our own bodies, our face, our hands are basically proportioned by the Phi constant.
It should be no surprise then that humankind would use this same proportion found in nature to achieve balance, harmony and beauty in its own creations of art****, architecture*****, colors, design, composition, space and even music.
We recognize that there has been and continues to be an incredible synergy around this numerical constant Phi. It has been shared and developed through the major cultures of humankind. It is continuing to show up in DNA research and Quantum Physics in the definition of newly discovered matter. Even Stock Market analysts are touting its virtues in forecasting the market. We consciously and probably unconsciously incorporate the Golden Mean into all of our work at Synergy Architecture. It would appear to be the golden thread that weaves itself through the fabric of all we know bringing us beauty and inspiration.
* Fibonacci in his “Liber Abaci” (The Book of the Abacus (meaning computation not the manual calculator)) actually preferred to express the sequence as 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21… It is mathematically cleaner then the generally accepted expression above and furthermore “0” is not a number but a place holder. The numerical sequence was actually introduced by Fibonacci of Pisa in the “Liber Abaci” as an explanation to the growth of a population of rabbits. Interesting where great concepts originate! Fibonacci studied mathematics in what is now Algeria because his father was a trade consul and took his family to live there. Here Fibonacci was introduced to the Indo-Aramaic numbering system, or what we refer to today as Arabic Numerals and is the system we use today. Remember in Pisa and most of what is now Europe they were using Roman Numerals. Imagine writing 1,000,000 in Roman Numerals? “Liber Abaci”” introduced Arabic Numerals to Europe, in fact the book was used as a reference for over 200 years after it was first published. Fibonacci was the most talented mathematician of his time and highly regarded throughout the world as he did travel extensively. He was able to solve three equations presented by Emperor Frederick II of the Republic of Pisa in his court, none of which his peers could solve. In fact one equation remained unsolved by anyone else for the next 300 years. Some believe he was so far advanced for his time that he was resented by his peers. You will not find one reference to Fibonacci in any writings of this period.
** Pingala in the “Chhandah-shastra” presents the first known description of the “binary numeral system” which is the foundation for all computer language and operating systems today. This was 2,500 years ago! Does “PC” really stand for Pingala’s Chhandah-shastra? Something to ponder but not too long. Something that might be worth pondering is the fact that Pingala described the binary numeral system in connection with the listing of Vedic meters with short and long syllables. Vedic Sanskrit is the sacred language of the Vedas, the earliest sacred texts of India. A vedic meter is the basis of a mantra. The earliest of the Vedas, the “Rigveda” was composed in the 2nd millennium BC. Vedic Sanskrit is the oldest attested language of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European family, one of the family members is this writing…English.
*** The “sister” constant to Phi is phi or the inverse of Phi which is 0.618033988749895… Here something extraordinary occurs; the inverse is exactly the same number less 1. Still not impressed? How about the square of Phi…it is 2.618033988749895…, exactly the same number plus 1.
**** An odd coupling in art, both Leonardo da Vinci’s and Salvador Dali’s “Last Supper” are proportioned to the Phi constant. It was extremely popular for Renaissance artists and sculptors to proportion their art to the Phi constant. It also showed up with the French Impressionists such as Georges Pierre Seurat who used Phi in setting up every canvas. These are just a few of numerous examples of Phi in art.
***** The earliest recorded use of Phi in architecture goes back to 400 BC at the time of Plato in Greece. Greek mathematicians recognized Phi as a significant value and therefore Greek architects used the ratio 1:Phi as an integral part of their designs, the most famous of which is the Parthenon in Athens (There is substantial evidence that the actual proportion used for the Parthenon is 4:9 which comes from a 3:4:5 Pythagorean triangle. If you take three of these triangles with the short base down you can see you end up with 4:9 rectangle which is the square of a 2:3 Phi triangle.). At the time it was referred to by Euclid as “dividing a line in the extreme and mean ratio”. It should be noted that the Pyramids of ancient Egypt also conform to the constant Phi (and pi too) as well as the Notre Dame Cathedral, St. Marks Cathedral in Venice, Italy, the complete list would take pages.
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