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Santa Cruz Architects Proudly Display Designs

The Open Architecture Tour benefits Habitat for Humanity affordable housing projects.

Santa Cruz's architectural diversity will be on show to the public today.

Saturday's Open Architecture Tour is a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit that builds affordable housing for families and people in need.

The tour has been hosted for the last 16 years by the Architects Association of Santa Cruz County. About 400 people take part annually, and as much as 10,000 dollars has been raised on one day. The entire profit, after cost, is donated to Habitat for Humanity.

Tour-goers purchase a guide book to the open buildings and visit them at their whim through out the day. Local architects such as Martha Fiorovich, Craig Bagley, and Mark Primack, will be at tour locations to talk about their designs. Buildings on the tour include a sustainable beach side re-model, modern “green” architecture, and a restored Victorian-era house in downtown Santa Cruz.

Habitat for Humanity has just completed a home on Frederick Street which will be open to attendees this year, according to Beth Bowman, director of resource development with Habitat for Humanity in Santa Cruz.

“It was perfect to be on the tour,” Bowman said.

Habitat Houses are not always available because the homeowners are deeply involved in the building process—they spend a minimum of 500 working hours on the property—and move in at completion.

Habitat for Humanity will begin a new project in Scotts Valley during August. Designs were donated by Fuse Architects Dan Townsend and Dan Gomez, who will be on the Open tour.

“They're very progressive designers, modern. So this will be a slightly different direction for Habitat.” Bowman said.

Martha Fiorovich, a veteran member of the AASCC, helped start the Open Architecture tour 16 years ago.

“When we, the architects, talked about having a tour,we decided it would be great to have it as a benefit for Habitat for Humanity,” Fiorovich said.

This year Fiorovich will show a sustainable beach house in the Pajaro Dunes.

In the past she has shown homes she built for Habitat, and large commercial projects such as the hotel-like headquarters of the Monterrey Mushroom Corporation, off of Airport Blvd. in Watsonville.

“My personal house was on the first tour,” she said.

“I'm a big supporter of Habitat, and I've done some of their projects. It seems like this incredibly great connection, and a good benefit for this tour,” Fiorovich said.

The tour depends upon the involvement of architects, and the owners of buildings.

“Its not always easy to get something available for the tour, We're really appreciative of owners who are supportive of the whole,” Fiorovich said.

The tour day will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. The tour will end with festivities at restaurant in Santa Cruz  from 4-6 p.m. Tickets—and the coveted guide book that tells you what buildings to check out—are on sale at , Palace Arts on 41st Avenue and Pro-Build on River Street in Santa Cruz. In Watsonville, get tickets at Alladin Nursery.

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