History & Work

The work of David Hertz Architects Inc FAIA, & S.E.A. Studio of Environmental Architecture focuses on the design and construction of environmentally responsible residential and commercial buildings, and engages in multiple facets of design, including product design, furniture design, public sculpture, environmental consulting, as well as the research and development of resource efficient ecologic building products. In 1983 Hertz founded Syndesis Inc, and invented the material manufacturing process of Syndecrete®, the innovative pre-cast lightweight concrete surfacing material.  Hertz sold the technology in 2006.  Evolving from a generalist nature of practice to a more specified studio has allowed for a comprehensive understanding of creative problem solving and the opportunity to view design challenges from multiple perspectives simultaneously.  David Hertz FAIA Architects and S.E.A. has been creating lasting works of Architecture for over 30 YEARS. We are a small practice dedicated to design and green building, and employ about 10 people.

Each architectural project strives to present, through multiple design iterations, final built works that are unique to the specifics of the site, client needs, and budget, while creating inventive and lasting works of architecture. S.E.A. has particular interest and experience in utilizing innovative and unusual materials to create harmonious compositions of texture and form. Juxtaposing materials of concrete, glass and wood maximize the honest expression of structure and materials.  The liberation of space and the destruction of the box are often progenitors of form; resulting in dramatic, contemplative spaces that provide shelter and spirit. 

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57 Market St. is Studio of Environmental Architecture's current location in Venice Beach. Originally built in the early 1920’s as a church, the space had been updated periodically but still required extensive renovation to become the new office space. The project serves as an example of adaptive reuse and repurposing of an existing building rather than building anew.  The buildings front brick and porcelain facade was  retained and it’s old storefront replaced withhigh-performance glazing which includes operable windows and thermostatically controlled operable skylights for natural ventilation.

 An atrium with a high monitor window was created using a large skylight with an interior light box to provide diffused natural light. Individual workstations are provided with automatically controlled lighting which adjusts to the available daylight as needed in order to maintain consistent illumination.  Bathrooms were updated with modern low flow sinks and toilets. The roof was reinsulated with a foam-in-place system over the existing, which minimized C&D waste and provides super insulation and an EPA white cool roof. 

All lighting is state of the art LED and has lightning controls, including a central light fixture that was fabricated from a reclaimed sailboat boom. A solar photovoltaic system is installed providing over 10KWH of electricity and provides 100% of the office needs. A skywater 150 atmospheric water generator is installed which makes over 150 gallons of fresh water from air, which is given away to the community through a bottle filling station integrated into a street art mural.  Aeroponic food towers are used to grow leafy greens for the office’s community salad bowl lunches. The office is a net positive energy producer as well as a net water producer, which makes it emblematic of a restorative future where buildings give back more than they take.

S.E.A., as a company, has become a model for the environmentally conscious enterprise, and won the City of Santa Monica Sustainable Leadership Award as well as the Eco-Home Network’s Sustainable Living Award, both in 2004.  David is a LEED accredited professional through the US Green Building Council and is an appointed member of the Santa Monica Environmental Task Force.  Recently, S.E.A.’s new studio, a LEEDPlatinum project, has received a grant from the City of Santa Monica to be the pilot project for their new green building initiative: CEI- Community Energy Independence.

The work of David Hertz, S.E.A. and Syndesis, has been widely published and exhibited internationally.

Excerpt from David Hertz interview with Surfline.  See the full feature on David's Bio.



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57 Market St. Venice Beach, Ca 90291

With a rigor of craft and intellectual
focus we use proportion, balance
and composition in our materiality,
activated by light to realize beauty,
elegance and simplicity while
creating harmonious relationships in
the process.