A group of approximately 24 TLCD staff, family members, and friends took to the lanes last Friday night for what was described as “a highly competitive” bowling match.  Split into 6 teams (named Three Sheets to the Wind, Brass Balls, Bonzai Bowlers, All Guttered Up, Nero D’Avola, and The Strikers, respectively), bowlers participated in three rousing games for a chance at one of several bowling honors.  Mark Adams chaired this event with style and prepared certificates for the winners.  Here are the results of the competition:

Best Bowling Form: Pete Soergel
Most Likely to Go Pro: George Psaledakis
Highest Individual Game: George Psaledakis
Highest Individual Average: Mark Adams
Most Strikes: Mark Adams
Best Team Name: Three Sheets to the Wind
Highest Overall Team Score: The Strikers
See all the results here…

Competition aside, the night was a lot of fun (see the pictures above! Note: taken from iPhone).   In fact, the night was so successful that Mark announced making this an annual event at the end of the night.  I thought, “Right on.  I’ll be here!”  Thanks everyone for coming out.


Napa LLRC and Great Skies

View of the NVC LLRC from the plaza February 5, 2010

On Friday February 5, Jeff and I were on our way back from investigating the Dixon Public Library and stopped by the Napa Valley College Library site. It  was one of those lucky breaks in the weather where the light and clouds were just perfect, a day that professional photographers wait eagerly for.  The project is really coming along on the exterior. The plaza paving is  going in and the exterior features are becoming more evident. A crew was just starting the Rheinzinc paneling on the east side, most of the fascia panels are in and “The Wall” with its ochre colored Venetian plaster is spectacular. The plaza is going to be a great civic  space. In the large view  you can see one of two  raised outdoor stages that will really help activate the plaza and make it a great venue for a variety of  activities. Views out from the cafe  and  the plaza really make the space even more dramatic. There are some really great views from the interior including the gallery walkway leading up  to the second floor  that you can see at  the left side of the  larger view. From the floating classroom in the  middle  of the  main library floor there is a panoramic view  out through the clerestory windows  to  the  west and the Napa River floodplain.
I  look forward to the  completion with eager anticipation.

The Wall

Artist Open Studios – Lucky 10


For those of you looking for something to do on Saturday, the South A Arts Alliance will be celebrating the Chinese New Year with LUCKY 10. Essentially the studios in the area of South A and Sebastopol Ave, will be open for visiting. 

LUCKY 10: Smallworks
Saturday, February 6, 2010
5 to 8pm
The entire A Street Arts Block celebrates the Chinese New Year by making smallworks in each studio & gallery.

Project Certification Conversion to LEED 2009 – One Project’s Experience

Wondering what the diefferences are between LEED v2.2 and LEED 2009 requirements? They are varied, and many. However, the attached article describes a real life experience of one project’s switch to the new rating system, describing the positive and negative issues. Well worth the read. Just click on the image to link to the article.


"Hard-Won Lessons From a LEED 2009 Early Adaptor" by Tristan Roberts;

“Super Healthy Bowl” Cookoff

Crockpots on Parade

The “Super Healthy Bowl” cookoff was a great way to fill the stomachs and warm the souls of TLCD staff Recipes. The parade of crockpots paved the way for some healthy staff competition and made for a lively Wine Wednesday. Thank you to those who cooked, voted, or simply enjoyed a hot meal together.  The fun photos from the event have been uploaded to Flikr. Check them out!


I ran across an article in the New Yorker this weekend. It is by architectural critic Paul Goldberger about the new Aqua Building in Chicago by Studio Gang. The article is particularly interesting because not only did the design emerge as unique for a tall building, but the form also dispersed winds so that mass dampers were not required. Form and Function in an interesting harmony that we’d all like to achieve. Check out the article: and the Studio Gang website:


High Performance Wine Weds Series

If you missed the High Performance Wine Wednesday Series the slides are available by clicking on the graphic above.

Summary of January Presentation : Introduction of the monthly presentation style and high performance.

This series of Wine Weds presentation will be conducted once a month and focus on a different topic each month.  Each presentation will present three levels of information; Research, Object, and Precedent.  Research will work to introduce the theory behind a topic and demystify confusing aspects.  Object will introduce a object that is related to the topic introduced and described by research. Precedent will detail a building that incorporates a design that use the topic.

At the end of each presentation, the presentation will be posted on the blog and on the new High Performance wall for further review.  The different presentation media types (voice, print, and digital) are part of a broader effort by the High Performance Team to distribute information.

We will always welcome comments and questions about any aspect of the presentation.  We feel the best forum for these questions is the comment section of this blog so that everyone can be part of the discussion, so please post.

-HP Team

Street Lights

I was surfing around on the City of Santa Rosa website and ran across this interesting information, Santa Rosa along with PG&E has set up a number of energy-efficient demonstrative street light fixtures (LED and Induction) to compare to the current high pressure sodium lights.  It gives us all the opportunity to see these technologies in use next to each other, which is nice.

There are significant energy savings (more than 50%) for either LED or Induction when compared to high pressure sodium, but there are some higher inital product cost.  There is more info on the city website, including the demostration intersection for those who are interested.

First-Ever Fit Force ‘Super Healthy Bowl’

The first Wine Wednesday in February holds a cookoff in store. Bring the heat with your favorite soup, stew, or chili recipe for a chance to win. Prizes will be awarded for the healthiest, spiciest, most creative, best named, and best overall bowl of winter comfort food. Look for the posters around the office or talk to a Fit Forcer for details.

Pick Your Desk

Though this is actually the first floor of the ATT Building, all the floors look pretty much alike at this point. Imagine with windows to the north that you could see this view of courthouse square. Don & I were just in the building with Bill Carle and Frank Kasimov from the City. We were looking for a leak in the basement that was not evident. The Museum on the Square building goes before the Redevelopment Agency Board next Monday the 25th and the schedule in the Agenda has us starting drawings the 26th! The schedule further calls for final approvals of the project by late May of this year. Things are moving forward with great rapidity. We’ll keep you informed as both the building design and our TI progress.

Interior of the ATT Building
Current Interior of the ATT Building
Courthouse Square from the roof of the Museum on the Square Building

TLCD ‘Represents’ at the Book of Lists Event

The North Bay Business Journal hosted the annual “Book of Lists” celebration on Wednesday, January 20th drawing business people from Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties for an evening of socializing and networking. Don, Jason, Mark and Marina attended for TLCD Architecture and felt the event drew a good sized crowd.

The Book of Lists publication is a compendium of business information containing more than 80 lists, guides and directories of North Bay  industries and companies, as well as extensive business and economic data. TLCD Architecture has two listings in the publication – one under Architecture firms, and one for Jason Brabo as one of the “40 Under 40” winners in 2009!

Fieldhouse Dedication

Jeff, John Dybczak and Brian attended the dedication of the new Napa Valley College Fieldhouse (formally the North Gym) on Thursday afternoon. The dedication ceremony was attended by about 100 people, including the very first graduate from the college’s Criminal Justice program. The two-story facility houses a large mat room on the upper floor used for tactical training of the CJ cadets, while the lower floors include a large weight training room for the Physical Education and Athletics departments, and a facility for adaptive PE. Jeff was the project architect for the building, which incorporates a high level of daylighting and natural ventilation, as well as a high efficiency mechanical system. This was also TLCD’s first use of Trespa panels, which look great. A real-time example of the sunshading controls occurred during the ceremony as Greg Miraglia (the former dean of the CJ program) was speaking at the podium, when after a dramatic session of thunder and lighting, the sun started streaming into the space, right into Greg’s face. Just in time, the mecho-shades on the high west windows lowered, and all was well!

The building looks fantastic, even though a few punch list items need to be completed, and the majority of the landscaping is yet to be installed. The college stakeholders and board members present are extremely happy with the new building. Kudos to Jeff and John for a great job with the design and construction administration!

TLCD Awarded SMART Operations and Maintenance Facility

TLCD Architecture has teamed with Winzler and Kelly  Engineering on the new Operations and Maintenance Facility to serve the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District (SMART). The two firms distributed a joint press release today describing the project and what it means to the local community. Mark Adams will lead the design process at TLCD and states in the press release, “These types of public facilities always provide long-term public value. When they are designed to be attractive, efficient and sensitive to resource use, they become community jewels.”

New Green Regulation Information

For those of you who haven’t heard there is a new Green Building Code coming in January 2011.  The State of California (at the direction of Gov. Schwarzenegger) has adopted a new mandatory Green Building Standards Code, named CALGREEN.

Essentially it appears to be a modified version of the current green building code but now applies to everything and sets more standards.  These standards include things like mandatory inspection of energy systems, reduction of waste consumption, separate water meters for interior and exterior uses, and of course new inspections and reviews by government agencies.

One key thing to note from the press release is that its seems this code will apply to all occupancy types – residential, commercial, hospitals and schools.  I am still searching for more information but wanted to get the word out. Below is a link to the press release and information.

New Sustainable Meat Source @ Santa Rosa Veterans Farmers Market

I ran into a new supplier of pasture raised, grass fed, hormone free beef at the Santa Rosa Veteran’s farmer’s market last Saturday.

John Ford, of John Ford Ranch in Willits, was on hand to sell his fine selection of beef. Though not a member of the Sonoma County Meat Buying Club, John is a local purveyor and looks forward to being at the Saturday market for awhile.

Santa Rosa Veteran’s farmer’s market hours are 8:30am to 12 noon on Saturdays. Check out their blog to learn more, and see a pic of John at

Please note: John mentioned that he will miss the upcoming Saturday, January 16, but will return the following week.

John Ford Ranch

A current price list is included. Enjoy!

TLCD Architecture Up to the 1,000 Pound Challenge!

Supreme thanks to all that participated in the 1,000 pound Redwood Empire Food Bank donation challenge! We exceeded expectations by compiling 1,037 pounds of food goods to give to the Food Bank. In addition, TLCD Architecture is donating $1 per pound up to the 1,000 pound goal. That’s a $1,000 dollar donation in addition to the food goods.

Special shout out to Bill McNearney, who nearly donated his full body weight in food product! We suspect he raided an old 1950’s nuclear fallout shelter likely hidden in his back yard. Ever wonder what 1,000 pounds of food looks like? Check out the photo!

Again, thanks to everyone for pitching in, and thank you TLCD for the cash donation and energetic support.

This is What 1,000 Pounds of Donations Looks Like

Inexpensive 3D Printing

For those of you that have been wondering how can we get even more use out of digital models, let me introduce you to inexpensive 3d printing.  Makerbot has developed a kit for the construction of a 3d cnc machine that features a polymer melting head and plastic feeder, or a 3d plastic printer for under $1,000. This pretty much allows you to print anything with in the printer size constraints (4x4x6 inches) in 3d and we could easily print 3d models of our projects.

The software and method of preparing a 3d model file is relatively simple by saving as an .stl file and then translating in to Gcode.  I used Gcode at MIT when I (and other members of a team) made a model for an injection molding machine (see the yo-yo on my desk). The size of the objects are limited to 4x4x6 by the kit but the printer could be modified to handle larger objects. The printer and software accordingly is all open source, so if you wanted to build all the pieces instead of buying the kit it is possible.

Below is a link to a video of someone printing the statue of liberty.

The kits from MakerBot are currently sold out, they had a booth at the CES this week and people like me who drool over things like this must have bought them all up, but if anyone else is interested in buying/sharing a kit in the future let me know.

Museum on the Square Goes Public

Museum on the SquareAfter nearly a year and a half developing the concept and the design for Museum on the Square, the project finally went public this morning on the front page of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.  At a special meeting of the Redevelopment Agency tomorrow morning the City of Santa Rosa is set to formalize its selection of our team.  Not only will Museum on the Square be our new home, we’ll be the architect of this exiting project as well as a member of the ownership team.

Museum on the Square will transform an abandoned, nuclear blast-resistant telephone switching building in the heart of downtown Santa Rosa into a vibrant 10-story mixed-use project.  Along with the planned redesign of the adjacent Courthouse Square, this project will play a key role in the revitalization of downtown Santa Rosa and will be an outstanding example of urban ‘green’ development.

Museum on the Square will be home to Sonoma County Museum’s new contemporary art gallery, SC/Museum of Art.  Also included within the shell of the existing building will be a restaurant and industrial-type offices that along with TLCD Architecture will be home to software developer Métier.  The Lofts at Museum on the Square, 5 new floors of living units on the roof of the existing building, will offer urban living with stunning views.

Existing concrete wall panels will be removed and the building’s structure will be sheathed with a transparent curtain wall revealing the building’s concrete frame.  Walkways project from the façade to allow occupants to step outdoors to enjoy the sights and sounds of Courthouse Square, and a 6th floor roof deck will provide outdoor gardens and sweeping views for the enjoyment of the Lofts.  Wind Trellis, a roof canopy designed by renowned artist Ned Kahn will be built of small, reflective flaps that move in the breeze, generating small quantities of electricity discharged as subtle flashes of light.

As a reuse of a derelict urban structure to house a museum, moderate-income downtown housing, and the offices of creative professionals, some of whom anticipate living in the upstairs lofts, Museum on the Square will be an outstanding example of socially and environmentally responsible development.

See more images here

Torzo Resin-Infused Agricultural Byproducts + Recycled Wood

Here are some evocative sustainable panel products to ponder potential uses for in your next project… They have a range of visual interest from very refined to a more active look. We are using sunflower seed board at the City of Santa Rosa West College project, and are using the Durum wheat straw board on Burbank Elementary school. You can earn some fancy LEED points with these, too.

Indure™ is a recycled wood fiber based product that is FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) Certified and is urea formaldehyde free. It is made up of approximately 65% post industrial, FSC certified wood fiber. Indure has a sleek, contemporary concrete appearance that provides a modern look.

Orient™ is a recycled chip based product that is SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) certified. It is made up of approximately 75% post industrial, SFI recycled wood material. Orient is a unique product that can create either a sleek modern look or an old world rustic look, depending on the application.

Seeta™ is made from sunflower seed hulls, which is considered a rapidly renewable resource. This product is 100% formaldehyde free and uses a unique blend of acrylic resin. It is made from approximately 70% post agricultural sunflower seed shell waste. Seeta is almost granite-like in appearance.

Durum™ is made from wheat straw, which is also considered a rapidly renewable resource. It is 100% formaldehyde free. Durum is made from approximately 70% post agricultural wheat waste product. Durum creates a warm organic and very natural look.

Tiikeri™ is made from reclaimed sorghum stalks. It is made from approximately 50% reclaimed material and has no added formaldehyde. Tiikeri has a natural, organic appearance.

For all the options and panel sizes click:

250 Pounds to Go!

The Half-Ton Holiday Food Drive Challenge is almost over, and we’re very close to meeting our ambitious goal.  Keep bringing in your bags of food all week long, and remember that for every pound of food TLCD is making a $1 donation to the Redwood Empire Food Bank.  We have collected a whopping 750 pounds to date, but strive to reach the 1000-lbs mark in the next week.  So keep it coming!

The Energy Gamble

For those of you looking for something to watch I recently found a DVD (previously unopened) on the Healthcare bookshelf that is a good watch.  The Energy Gamble is a 56 min NOVA special on the State of California’s energy/sustainability path particularly AB32.  It’s a little heavy on the Governator but overall presents an interesting story that helps to explain where some of the greenhouse gas emissions cuts for AB32 are expected to come from and some of the issues facing the methods of cutting them.  It is primarily an overall view and I would have liked it to go a bit more in-depth in some cases but you can’t have everything in under and an hour.  It is worth watching in my mind. 

If you can’t find the DVD or if there is high demand you can also watch the movie online at

Best Products of 2009…? You decide.

Rose 2204/Fire Farm Lighting

Need a little inspiration for the New Year?

Get lost in the complete list of Interior Design magazines ‘Best Products of 2009’, Click here.

Several items I spotted we are currently using in new projects (Big Ass Fans, Bernhardt Allee Chair). This is a great resource to find great new designers and manufacturers on everything from lighting to kitchen fixtures to outdoor furniture and more.

Sharpen Your Presentation Skills

Pecha Kucha. 

What is Pecha Kucha?  Pecha Kucha is a presentation format that works to develop fast efficient ways of relaying information to other people.  It is based on the idea that each presentation has only 20 slides and each slide is up for only 20 seconds, therefore each presentation is only 6 min 40 seconds.

I took part in this presentation style a few times when I was at UO and can say you learn a lot about how to present information both graphically and verbally when you are constricted to this format.  Plus if a presentation is bad you only have to sit through 6 min 40 seconds of it.

Just thought others maybe interested in learning/trying it.

Kaiser Santa Rosa Emergency Fuel Project

On Wednesday December 16th, a significant milestone in the Kaiser Santa Rosa project was reached when the new emergency fuel tank was landed on its pad.  The project, which grew out of a conversation with the Hospital in January 2009, involves adding a new 15,000 gallon above-ground fuel tank with provision for an additional 15,000 gallon tank in the future in the yard at the hospital.  Currently, the hospital is served by a 10,000 gallon underground tank that is 22 years old and reaching the end of its service life.  The new tank and fuel system will allow the hospital to decommission their existing underground tank at a future date while keeping emergency systems available without interruption.

Trailer and tank blocking traffic on Mendocino Ave.
Missed it by that much . . .

Backing the tank down the fire lane, there wasn’t much room for error.  Here, he avoids a light standard by ¾ inch.  It should be noted that the driver kept his elbow out the window for the entire time he was backing this massive tank down a very narrow fire lane.

The tank leaves the trailer.

Two men spin the 45,000 pound tank with two lines.

Of course, the tank was oriented backwards on the trailer, so it had to be rotated 180 degrees.

The tank has landed.

And there it is.

While this isn’t the most photogenic project we’ve done for the Hospital, when completed our work will significantly improve the hospital’s ability to serve our community.

We got authorization from the Owner in May and were able to permit the project through OSHPD and have the tank onsite 7 months later, which is testimony to the good work of Chris Baumbach and Simon Hsieh and the working relationships we’ve developed with HMH, Peterson Mechanical and OSHPD.

CHICAGO-Three Buildings

Tuesday at noon I’ll be presenting three buildings I visited in Chicago in early November. The New Modern Wing of the Chicago Art Institute is Renzo Piano’s latest work in the US. The daylighting of the galleries is spectacular. I also visited the Klarchek Information Commons at Loyola University of Chicago. This three story commons sits at the edge of Lake Michigan and uses a very sophisticated natural ventilation system. The Spertus Institute for Jewish Studies is the newest landmark on Michigan Avenue. The faceted  glass facade encloses gallery and library spaces within a daylit lobby. The detailing of this  building is very nice. Hope to see you at noon on Tuesday.–Alan

Catch Up With the Title 24 Seminar

In case you hadn’t heard… the high performance design we’re doing today is soon going to be the standard.  For myself, the presentation today on updates to Title 24 was a wealth of great information. Some highlights include:

– New requirements for the use of rigid insulation
– Roof reflectance ratings are now measured by ‘aged’ reflectance (3 years)
– Daylighting requirements of 50% for certain spaces over 8,000 sq. ft.,
– Multi-level photocell daylighting controls mandatory requirements for classrooms, conference rooms, and more…

If you want to catch up, you can find it here:

Title 24 Updates, by Martyn Dodd of Energy Soft LLC

Holiday Food Drive in Full Swing!

Just one week after kicking off the TLCD 1/2 Ton Holiday Food Drive, our amazing team has donated over 470 pounds of food! The goal is 1,000 pounds of food for the Redwood Empire Food Bank and we are just about half way there. Remember, TLCD will match $1 for every pound of food donated, so keep the canned goods and staples coming. The food drive will continue through the New Year and will end on Wednesday, January 6th.

Title 24 Standards, by Martyn Dowd

Martyn Dodd of EnergySoft, LLC will discuss non-residential building envelope & lighting requirements affecting commercial new construction under California’s 2008 Title-24 Energy Efficiency Standards scheduled to take effect Jan 1, 2010. Attend this program to learn how the latest version of the Standards will affect building design in your commercial new construction projects. Mr. Dodd will highlight aspects of the Standards that are new for 2008.  Changes for 2008 are primarily aimed at further reducing peak electricity consumption, and incorporating greater energy efficiency measures.

Topics slated for discussion include:

  • Revised Envelope Insulation Requirements
  • Fenestration U-factors for Windows and Skylights
  • Fenestration Solar Heat Gain Coefficients (SHGC) for Windows and Skylights
  • Prescriptive limitations on glazing area
  • New Cool Roof requirements
  • New mandatory Skylight requirements
  • Changes to allowed lighting in commercial buildings

3Form Wood, Wins ID Mags Best Bldg. Product

What is 3form Wood? It’s an architectural decorative panel consisting of a thin wood veneer, perforated in different patterns, encapsulated in their trademark ‘ecoresin’ (40% pre-consumer recycled content).

Why is it cool? The razor-thin veneer allows light to penetrate through, creating the potential for a beautiful glow. There are several nice crisp perf. designs, not one of which I would immediately shrug off. Good job 3form! PLUS you can do custom. Yah, I don’ t want to know how much that costs.

Speaking of… how much does it cost? The wood varies widely in cost depending on pattern and also thickness. For example at 1/8inch it starts at about $1100 per 4×8 panel and at 1inch (which is rarely ordered) it is approximately $2000. If we lazer cut it adds $300 per sheet.  (1/2inch $1500)

Specs: 48″x96″ panels, available in the following gauges: 1/8″, 3/16″, 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″, 3/4″. Wood species available: bamboo, rosewood, walnut, white oak, zebrano slip match, zebrano chevron.

How can I get my hands on some? We have a few samples on hand. Check them out in the Martini Lounge. Let me know if you want to contact our Rep.

More info:

Side note: we’re using something similar from Veritas on Minnie Cannon Elementary. Check it out here. Scroll down to ‘wood’ on the interlayer tab.

Accessibility… It Takes “Tolerance”

You know the drill.

Friday afternoon around 4pm… the general contractor for the new college student services building phones you and says the IOR is being unreasonable and is demanding that the newly installed water closet in the accessible toilet compartment be removed and completely reworked. Why? The IOR measured the clearance between the ceramic wall tile and the centerline of the water closet and it came out to 17-1/2″… 1/2″ short of the code required dimension of 18″. Is the IOR correct? Is the dimension finite?

Please take a few minutes to read the DSA Interpretation of Regulations document IR 11B-8, “Use of Predetermined Construction Tolerance Guidelines for Accessibility” to see what their take on the issue is. Understanding the rules makes the design and documentation process easier.

Find "Elmo" the naughty ADA clearance elf

1/2 TON Food Drive Challenge!!!

Thank you all for attending our kick-off of the Fit Force Winter program. This quarter we’re focusing on healthy eating over the holidays and helping the community. A big part of this effort is the 1/2 Ton Food Drive challenge! We kicked it off at Wine Wednesday with over 110 lbs. and it will continue until January 6th.

Your mission is to bring in 22 lbs. of food, which is pretty easy to do. A typical can of food weighs about 16 oz./1 lb. Weigh your bags on Sandy’s scale in the main kitchen (tap the front of the scale first, wait for the zeros). Then tally up your poundage on the chart.

You may be wondering what type of food to bring. Non-perishable staples with an emphasis on proteins, like beans, canned tuna/chicken, peanut butter, rice, pasta, cereal. You get the idea. Pick out something you would like to eat, and share it with another family. No glass, please.

TLCD has pledged to match $1 per pound of food. Help us reach our goal of 1,000 lbs/$1,000. The Sonoma County Redwood Empire Food Bank and TLCD Fit Force is counting on you!

Food Journals

If you would like to keep an eye on your nutrition and exercise over the holidays, or perhaps starting January 1, here is a good free online food journal:

Here you can see your body mass index (BMI) and set nutritional goals like weight loss, vitamin intake, etc. Of course, the results are only as good as the data you put in, so if you can’t find what you’re eating in the fitday database, you can create your own custom foods (look on the nutrition facts of what you’re eating) or find many mainstream foods at

If you decide to journal, try to keep it up for at least a few weeks! This is a lot harder than it sounds. If you miss a day, don’t give up, just get back on the wagon.

Oh – if you need a little inspiration… studies show that people who consistently keep a food journal while trying to loose weight typically lose twice as much as those who don’t.

New Projects!

Good news, today we heard the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center has selected TLCD as their designer for their new clinic! We have been pursuing this project with Nordby Construction as a design build team for over three months. The project will be located in Boyes Hot Springs, near Sonoma and will be approx. 20,000 sqft. of new construction. The client is very excited about this project and selected our team over two more experienced and qualified teams. Kudos to all involved for their efforts, especially Sara, Domenica and Suzanne!

Also today John Dybczak and I also met with a new client for the renovation of an existing Psychiatric Hospital. The prospective owners have been working with TLCD to procure the property and navigate the escrow process which has recently been closed. They’re eager to move forward with the project and we have begun programming!

AIA Insight 09

Insight 09 Last Friday I attended Insight 09, an AIA-sponsored collection of seminars focusing on design, marketing, and business development. I attended the second day of the conference which had special emphasis on the role of online marketing and social networking. The day was packed with four seminars: “Strategic Communications Planning: the Art of Differentiation from RFP to Final Interview,” “Digital Relationship Management,” “The 2.0 Practice,” and “Business Development Using Your Website as a Marketing Hub.”  I particularly enjoyed the first session on Strategic Communications Planning, delivered by Daniel Sapp which offered a unique approach to structuring interviews and delivering a message. The third session about Web 2.0 had by far the highest attendance, with focus on Facebook, Twitter, and Blogging for A/E/C firms. Speakers for the Web 2.0 Practice included Mark English of Mark English Architects, Rebecca Firestone author of The Architect’s Take blog,  Joel Robare of JR Studio, and Mike Plotnick of HOK Corporate Communications. Overall, this was a very informative event, especially for a firm who is just getting its feet wet in the world of online marketing.

Possible new client for the TLCD Healthcare Studio

Is this the future of healthcare? If it is someone will need to design these mobile clinics.

Challenges: Create a solar-powered, light weight, camel friendly design.

“Kenya’s camels recently started sporting some unusual apparel: eco-friendly refrigerators! Some of the African country’s camels are carrying the solar-powered mini fridges on their backs as part of a test project that uses camels as mobile health clinics. Organizers hope the eco-friendly transport system will provide a cheap, reliable way of getting much-needed medicines and vaccines to rural communities in Kenya and Ethiopia.”-inhabitant

Necessity is truly the mother of invention. This is a great, check it out!


For those of us who are Ducks, and those who just want to watch good football, Thursday Night is the annual Oregon Civil War Game at Autzen. The Oregon (BCS#7) and Oregon State (BCS#13) game will mark the 113th Civil War game in Oregon history and the first time the game will determine the Pac-10 Champion and secure a trip to Rose Bowl.

The game starts 6:00 PM and is on ESPN.

For those of you who are unable to watch ESPN you can watch online for free with a live internet broadcast at

Also if you want to watch previous games, stores games broadcast on ESPN for replay online.  I recommend watching the Sat, Nov 21 Game against Arizona (unless you are an Arizona fan).

Water Box (Aqua Tower Chicago)

I ran across this building in a magazine a few days ago and thought it was a very unique solution to a standard box tower.  The building is called the Aqua Tower and designed by Studio Gang Architects. 

The primary building is a standard rectangle tower but the facade is animated with a series of projecting balconies.  The result I think is quite interesting.  Below are links to some images from the project rendering and actual images of the project.*&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi

Zaha Hadid museum opens in Rome

The long-awaited Maxxi Museum by Architect Zaha Hadid opened recently in Rome. The Museum will house exhibits of contemporary art and architecture, a rarity in the ancient city. Hadid is a native of Iraq and the only female winner of the annual Pritzker Prize (2004), Architecture’s highest honor.

The long-awaited Maxxi Museum by Architect Zaha Hadid opened recently in Rome. The Museum will house exhibits of contemporary art and architecture, a rarity in the ancient city. Hadid is a native of Iraq and the only female winner of the annual Pritzker Prize (2004), Architecture’s highest honor.

Interesting news regarding drywall

Drywall hydrogen sulfide off gassing problem.

There has been some interesting information related drywall in the news lately.  The focus has been on the off gassing of hydrogen sulfide, which has been potentially linked to property damage and health concerns. Of particular note is the damage being associated between the hydrogen sulfide and electrical wires and metal corrosion.  This issue has developed to a point the CPSC has been involved and issued a report on the matter.  To avoid making this post too long I have linked two articles on the issue. The WSJ article also has a link to the actual CPSC report (it’s a fun read) and the second article is related to potential issues with domestic drywall.

Lost Dog Wash Trailhead

The Lost Dog Wash Trailhead project is located in Scottsdale Arizona and featured in this months Green Source  publication. It’s rare that this much attention is put into public restrooms but it’s proof that everything should be thoughtfully considered and well designed. 

Building Section

“Located at the heart of this seven-acre site, the Trailhead Gateway Structure totals 4,000 square feet and includes public restrooms, composting operations, and maintenance facilities, as well as covered seating and a sunrise viewing area. Nearby lies the Desert Amphitheater and the Equestrian Staging Area, while separate parking areas serve hiking and horseback riding trails. The design of the site and outlying structures accommodate guest lectures and field-based classrooms, along with providing opportunities for bird watching, picnicking, and guided interpretive hikes so participants can learn about local history.”-G.S.

Check out the slideshow for more great images!

Indiana University – All In With BIM

Indiana University decided to make BIM a requirement on all of their projects.  Follow the link below for an article by James Van, Digital Design Manager for SOM, New York. The article has all the links to the documents.  My take?  IU is requiring Revit & Navisworks to better achieve their goals of sustainability and efficiency.  There is also some indication that this may create a domino effect with other universities.  So, could this be another reason push our BIM capabilities?

Adura Technologies for Office Lighting Energy Savings

Here is an interesting lighting system that can be easily retrofitted into existing lighting systems. Like may of the new systems out there it gives users more control over the lighting in the area they are working. This system gives users three options for control. They can control wireless radios that plug into florescent light fixtures through their PC, dual motion sensing-personal control system and wall switches. The system also allows you to see how much energy/carbon you are saving. It’s pretty cool!

Design Technology in the City – Photo Update

Christ Panel Prototype

Originally uploaded by TLCD Architecture

After my presentation last week, Ideate was kind enough to whisk me over to the Autodesk Gallery and Product Labs at One Market. I was able to attend a presentation on Ecotect, an energy analysis tool that Dylan in our office is now evaluating. Also, I was able to wander the gallery and lab areas and took some pictures of the cutting edge tools, beautiful models and a little unobtanium. enjoy!

Click on the photo to see more!

Theo Jansen creates new creatures

TED does it again! Where do they find these people? I was totally blown away by this TED presentation and thought I should share. Some people are really thinking outside the box, way outside. Theo Jansen has created these life forms out of “household” materials, the amazing thing is is that they get all their energy from the wind. There are no electronics in any of his designs.

TLCD Sponsors Healthcare Conference

For the second year in a row TLCD Architecture was a major sponsor of the North Bay Business Journal’s Healthcare Conference that was held on November 11th. This years conference focused on the current state of healthcare nationally and locally.

11-13-2009 10-27-39 AM
TLCD Booth Graphic

Keynote speaker Ken Shachmut, executive vice president of Safeway Health LLC,  discussed how Safeway took the lead and developed an original program that dramatically cut its health care costs and improved employee health and satisfaction. Take a look at his presentation: KenShachmutSlides.

Visit to PG&E Pacific Energy Center

Last Friday (Nov. 6th) several members of the High Performance Steering Committee (AKA those people who keep trying to make everything green) along with Nate traveled into the San Francisco to visit the PG&E Pacific Energy Center.  For those of you who could not join us this post will try to summarize what we learned. 

Of significant note was the presence of TLCD models at the facility as demonstration for the Heliodon and to a lesser extent the artificial sky.  In fact the Mendocino LLRC model has even made it into the PGE video displays in the lobby and on YouTube. 

In addition to showing off our own work the PG&E Pacific Energy Center offers us the opportunity to use the Heliodon, Artificial Sky and a significant library of the additional design and measurement tools, free of charge.  The other tools include digital sun path finder, luminance meters, various data logging equipment used for temperature, humidity, light levels, and power usage.  All of these tools can provide vital information useful in all stages of design and I encourage everyone to investigate their use at any stage of design (ask if you have quesiton about something). While it probably doesn’t suit the format of this media I will not go into in-depth description of each of the tools available however if there is interest please let me know and I can create other posts dedicated to various tool. If you would like to see the tools available the list is posted here.    And if I didnt mention it enough the use of these tools is free, they will even ship them to us for use (we have to pay for the shipping back). 

What is also of interest to us that the Pacific Energy Center offers is help with the processing and determining of various rebates and incentives for owners and designers.  Understand opportunities to save money for clients or ourselves using these rebates is a key issue that we touched on the visit.  There are specific incentives for just about any form, shape or color of design and construction many of which could be applied to our projects.  For more on incentive programs in visit : (general)  (industry based incentives, Healthcare, Education, etc)

One of the programs which many people know about but may not take advantage of is the ‘Savings by Design’ program.  This program offers incentives on design that out performs T24, these incentives can result in incentive for both the client and directly for the designer when reaching appropriate goals.  From our discussions at PGE there is no penalty for signing up for the program and not meeting the incentive goals (just lost energy and financial incentives), so this seems like something every project we do could be part of. The only catch is it the application needs to occur early in the design phases and it requires some paperwork.  For more information see 

The trip also served to enlighten us as to the wondrously wierd world of regulation governing the PG&E and how decoupled revenue influences the incentives and rate we pay for energy.  Without going to far into the technicality of it all here are the basics,  the amount of money PG&E makes is not related to the amount of energy they sell to customers hence ‘decoupling.’  The amount of money they make is actually set at rate that will allow them to recover fixed cost-plus an approved profit.  If they create and sell too much  energy the money is taken back in the next cycle (via a rate reduction)or they are allowed to charge more in the next cycle (each cycle is 3 years).  Additionally there are incentives that come with targets for conservation which can add up to additional bonus.   I think everyone present found this little bit of information intriguing and if you want a better understanding of the whole process here is an article from the Atlantic which describes the system in more in-depth manner.

I am sure there is some information I am failing to mention about our trip but this post is getting a little long.  Alan, Nate or Vanessa feel free to jump in and let me know what I am forgetting.  Also rumor has it there will be a wine weds about this trip in the future so stay tuned. 

Below is a link to a Flickr account of our trip.


CCFC Conference

Mahoney Library - 2009 CCFC Award of Merit
Mahoney Library - 2009 CCFC Award of Merit

On November 3rd and 4th, Ian and I attended the CCFC (Community College Facilities Coalition) annual conference in Sacramento. The conference brings together facilities folks from the community college districts throughout California, along with the swarming cast of architects, consultants, and construction managers typically found at any event having anything to do with construction. The theme for this year’s event was “Finding the Silver Linings in an Economic Crisis” , and  included workshops on topics ranging from cutting construction costs, to alternative energy strategies. The workshops this year were less than inspiring, but there was definitely good networking opportunities. The highlight for us (beside the great dinner with our clients at Biba restaurant) was the Design Awards presentation luncheon, in which TLCD was presented with an Award of Merit for the Mahoney Library at the Petaluma Campus. Ian, along with Curt Groninga and Jane Saldaña-Talley, accepted the award in front of hundreds of college representatives and other architects. Good exposure for a great project!


PG& E Field Trip!



Originally uploaded by TLCD Architecture

Here’s a test post from our new TLCD Architecture Flickr account! You can post directly from Flickr in a few easy steps:

1. Login to (you’ll find out more about this at Wine Wednesday this week)

2. Go to the picture you want to post to the Blog

3. Directly above the photo  hit the ‘Blog This’ button, and viola!

4. Add your title and short description, and post to the blog. Ahhh, success.

Hundreds Turn Out for VA Clinic Grand Opening

A couple hundred people turned out Friday afternoon for the grand opening of our new VA clinic on Airport Boulevard. The rain stopped just in time, and several speakers expressed their appreciation to everyone who made the project a success.
Jason, Seth, Orange, Suzanne and Vanessa are to be commended for a job well done. Though primarily an interiors project, our new exterior canopy is a beauty (though looks a bit like the one at NVC Science Building!).
The interiors are spectacular; I was truly impressed by their sophistication. In particular, the selection of multiple, light but very bright paint colors made for a vibrant interior environment. The selection of materials was equally impressive. The project will be professionally photographed next week.
Congratulations to the project team!

Grand Opening Presentation Under New Canopy
Waiting Area


Healthcare Design 09 Conference

Jason, Stephen and I just returned from the Healthcare Design Conference in Orlando on Wednesday. We had a busy weekend touring hospitals in the Orlando/Daytona area and went on to two days of meetings early in the week. The conference is growing. This year there were 2,600 attendees. Some observations:
• The Florida hospitals we saw were all very nice with a high level of amenity and very focused on patient centered care. These hospitals cost about half what we experience in California. The hospitals are highly competitive and amenity is a big factor in consumer choice.
• At the same time there were a number of Evidence Based Design initiatives in the hospitals there was a noticeable lack of sustainable design. The building exteriors (throughout Florida) had no external shading or orientation specific response. The interiors and systems had very little apparent concern for energy conservation or sustainable materials. While one architect from a firm’s New York office wrote a prominent book on sustainable healthcare architecture and spoke at the conference on those topics, her colleagues could not speak to any of those sorts of initiatives in their Florida projects.
• I went to some very good roundtables and education sessions. The access to the people leading the charge and publishing on Evidence Based Design was just great. I found the smaller roundtables to be most engaging.
• There were two distinct groups at the conference, the researchers and the implementers. The researchers were from the largest firms, hospitals and universities. The implementers were primarily architects and those administering hospitals and healthcare facilities. The researchers spent more of their time talking about methodology and process while the implementers were hungry for ideas that they could design into facilities.
We have some new resources:
• Evidence Based Design for Multiple Building Types; EBD moves beyond healthcare, just a little
• Research Laboratories: a logical extension of the healthcare world
• Place Advantage: Applied Psychology for Interior Architecture
• HERD: Health Environments Research and Design, we now subscribe to this journal
These books and journals will reside outside my office on the counter or in the Healthcare Studio. Some good books on Sustainable Healthcare Architecture and the Visual Resource for Evidence Based Design. Alan says “check them out”
ConferenceEDORGinzburg Ext

On The Road with Alan- The Future & Farewell Chicago

Today was the Futures Conference in Chicago. About 55 firm leaders from architecture, engineering and construction were gathered by the consulting firm FMI/AMI. It was an unusual opportunity to meet and speak with the leaders of some of the leading firms in the US. The thrust of the conference was that no one can predict the future, but that if you study probable scenarios you will be better prepared to deal with the multiplicity of futures that might arise. The futures that were developed into scenarios were:
• The Perfect World
• Struggle for Stability
• Building Walls
• Controlled Environment
Almost all agreed that the Struggle for Stability was the most like our current reality though there were elements of all the scenarios in what we are currently dealing with and what we might have to deal with in the future.
The keynote speaker was Watt Wacker (yes that’s for real and he is not a PG&E spokesman for high efficiency light bulbs). In the midst of mostly suits and ties he was the guy with the frizzy blonde fright doo, shorts and Teva sandals. He was really quite good. Between high-level corporate futurists gigs he does things like cook for a hunting pack outfit in Montana and drives an airport shuttle for Avis, just so he can look at the world from a variety of perspectives. When I get a little time, I’ll boil down the essence of the day. All in all it confirmed that we are generally doing the right things and that felt good.
This is it for Chicago. Tomorrow is Orlando and the Health Design Conference. Whew!
FuturesFarewell Chicago

On the Road with Alan-A Walk Through Chicago

Out in Chicago for my last afternoon of walking around downtown Chicago, I encountered some impressively varied architecture. The South Loop area has buildings from the late nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth that are impressive in their grandeur. Walking through the lobby of the Manadanock Building (the tallest structural masonry building in existence I believe) is like walking into an Edward Hopper painting, nothing has changed in a hundred years except the dress. Blocks away I encountered the new Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies. Its folded curtain wall will bring back images from the Monterey Design Conference where the facades resemble drapery. The interior (including a beautiful small library) is beautifully rendered. After sunset I walked back to my hotel on the Miracle Mile, that section of Michigan Avenue that really has the bustle and the lights of a truly great city.Spertus LobbySpertus Stair Detail
Chicago Night SkylineSpertus Ext

On the Road with Alan-Greater Chicago Food Depository

On Wednesday morning I took a tour of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. This food bank is the largest in the country and distributes nearly sixty million pounds of food a year to 600 kitchens and food pantries in the Chicago area. Every time I’m near an established food bank in another region I try to get a tour, looking forward to the Redwood Empire Food Bank’s eventual expansion. The most remarkable thing about this facility is the sheer scale of the operation. The sorting operations were remarkably similar to the automated book sorting systems that I saw at the Seattle Public Library a couple of years ago. Hopefully the Redwood Empire Food Bank’s fund drive is successful as they desperately need a larger facility to handle the volume and demand that is out there.Food Bank ExteriorFood Bank Interior

SRHS Sign Dedication

Last month, the Santa Rosa High School Foundation and Santa Rosa High School presented a dedication ceremony for their new sign. The sign was given as a gift to commemorate the school and is relevant to the classic brick architecture gracing Mendocino Avenue since 1924.


BIM Adoption and Implementation at MAAP Architects

MAAP (Medical Architecture + Art Projects) is a medium-size multi-disciplinary company, committed to well-considered planning and design of healthcare buildings. Its approach is centered on people and the belief that research and excellence in design can create better medical and therapeutic environments for patients, staff and the public to experience and enjoy. Along with architectural design, it also provides landscape design and interior design services. While healthcare design is the primary project type of the firm, it also specializes in art projects.

Great article on how a UK firm, specializing in Healthcare, has adopted and is using BIM, as well as why.

On the Road with Alan-The Modern Wing

Later today I spent some time at the new Modern Wing of the Chicago Art Institute, This is Renzo Piano’s latest American project. It is dramatic and shows the art to its best advantage while being somewhat understated if something this big can be understated. The detailing is gorgeous and the way the building deals with natural daylight is nothing short of phenomenal. On top of this it has one of the best art collections in the country. Note the painting of me having lunch in the diner. Tomorrow is the Chicago Food Bank. Iv’e been doing lots of walking and taken hundreds of pictures. I’ll have a lot to share when I get back.


MW-Long ViewMW-Window SculptureNighthawks

On the Road with Alan- Klarchek Information Commons

This morning I toured the Klarchek Information Commons at Loyola University of Chicago. This is a new high tech computer and learning commons inserted between the old library and the campus chapel. It is a dramatic glass structure that sits right on the edge of Lake Michigan, so much so that it feels like sitting in a vast infinity pool. I got an extensive tour from the facility manager and the head reference librarian. Some good lessons learned and a validation that we are doing a lot right with our library projects.
This building has a very innovative ventilation scheme involving both displacement and natural ventilation. Check out the link for an informative piece on the design of the building:
Its double glazed façade creates a convective stack that draws air from the operable windows on the lakefront.
Klarchek ExtKlarchek InteriorKlarchek

Orlando via Chicago

I am on the road for the next ten days. The main purpose is the Health Care Design Conference in Orlando that Jason and Stephen will also be attending. I arrived in Chicago today and will attend the A/E/C Futures Conference before I move on to Orlando. The conference here is being put on by AMI. AMI is the firm that Steve Isaacs, who regularly conducts our annual retreats, belongs to and he will be presenting at the conference. More about that later.
I arrived in a drizzly Chicago late this afternoon. This evening I took a stroll in Millenium Park along the Lake Michigan shore. It was an utterly fantastic sight in the rain. There are all kinds of new architectural and glowing electronic creations that have been installed in the last few years. With the surrounding towers of Chicago shrouded in mist, coming upon them in this weather made them all the more surreal.
Chicago is a very impressive metropolis with some of the best urban buildings in the country. Sort of like New York that shuts down by 9:30 p.m. (No kidding) I’m in the heart of the theater district. In New York at this time there would be thousands of people out on Times Square. Here the businesses are shutting down at 9:00 p.m. and the streets are pretty quiet. Nonetheless it’s an exciting place to be. Perhaps I just haven’t found the night life yet. I’ll keep you posted.

Millenium 2Millenium 1Millenium 3a

Napa Valley College Library

On Friday October 23 Brian and I were at Napa Valley College for a memorial service for Dr. Chris McCarthy. Chris, and he is the only college president I know who was called by most by his first name, passed away unexpectedly a few weeks ago. It was a very moving and somewhat unusual service for Napa’s poet-president. The ceremony started with a bagpipe trio playing Amazing Grace and as we walked out the background music was Tom Waits singing Waltzing Matilda. If we could all leave a legacy of such kindness and attention to others, what a wonderful world it would be.
We did get a chance to walk through the new library which is progressing well towards completion next spring. What impressed me the most was the quality of the light inside. It is a testament both to Nate’s design and the daylight modeling we did. The reading room will be spectacular!

Main Reading Room Napa Valley College Library 10-09
Main Reading Room Napa Valley College Library 10-09

Sustainability Field Trip!

Sustainability Field Trip. Learn about Artificial Skies, Heliodon and more! Nov. 6th 2:30-4:00 pm at the PG&E Energy Center.

Come join the High Performance Steering Committee for a field trip to the PG&E Energy Center in SF on November 6th between 2:30 – 4:00 pm. 

The trip will provide an opportunity to see and learn about tools used for evaluating sustainable design.  If you have ever wondered what an Artificial Sky or a Heliodon actually looks like, how they work or how and what information you can get from them this is a great opportunity. 

There will also be other extremely cool pieces of equipment related to lighting and energy use to explore.  If your interested in knowing more about the PG&E Energy Center follow this link,

Sadly we have not arranged for a cool school bus for this trip so we will be car pooling. If your interested in joining us, can offer a ride or need a ride please let me know.

Images From

Monterey Design Conference

Can you spot Alan?
Can you spot Alan?

Last week a group of 11 took a road trip south to the Monterey Design Conference. The annual event is an amazing opportunity to see the work of both well known and talented new architects. From Friday afternoon to Sunday morning you get to sit back and relax (with the rest of the conference attendees in one room) listening to the architects talk about their work. There are also several opportunities to speak to the presenters while enjoying hors devours and wine in between sessions. This conference and location on the bay is a truly refreshing and inspiring event.

Scripps Building
Scripps Building
Pacific Grove Beach
Pacific Grove Beach

High Performance Mechanical Systems for Higher Education


According to the US Department of Energy, “Energy is one of the few expenses a school can reduce without sacrificing educational quality.” Alan Butler’s white paper, High Performance Mechanical Systems for Higher Education explores this notion by analyzing several different heating/cooling systems and their use in educational settings.

Case Study: High Performance

New LEED v3 Checklists

LEED v3 ChecklistsIt’s like Christmas (almost)!!! You can find the brand new checklists and reference guides for LEED version 3 below (scroll down the page about halfway and look for “Download the Checklist” link for the Excel document).

We have a hard copy of the NC reference manual in the office. When you’re done with it, please bring it back to it’s home in the architectural library.

By the way… for Higher Education projects you can choose to use LEED NC or Schools.

Some of the Rating Systems are still in the Pilot testing phase, as indicated below.

LEED for New Construction

LEED for Schools

LEED for Existing Buildings

LEED for Healthcare:

LEED for Core and Shell

LEED for Commercial Interiors

LEED for Retail (Pilot Version)

LEED for Homes (Pilot Version)

Ideate, Inc. Publishes Case Study on TLCD

Redwood Empire Food Bank BIM Model

Ideate, Inc. recently published an extensive case study that featured TLCD as a leader in design technology.  Entitled How TLCD Pioneered the Adoption of BIM, this comprehensive case study investigates the firm’s use of Building Information Modeling (BIM), a leading-edge design software tool that generates realistic, 3-D computer models. The study in success describes in three parts how TLCD shifted its practice to explore BIM software in 2002, proactively committed to full-implementation by 2006, and continues to push the design envelope by utilizing this methodology today.  To access the three-part series, go to Ideate Case Study: How TLCD Pioneered the Adoption of BIM or contact TLCD Architecture to request a printed courtesy copy.

SRJC Herold Mahoney Library Wins CCFC Award of Merit

Herold Mahoney Library

The Community College Facility Coalition announced last week that the Herold Mahoney Library won a 2009 Award of Merit! As part of the Phase II Campus Expansion, the Herold Mahoney Library represents the cultural and architectural heart of Santa Rosa Junior College’s Petaluma site. TLCD is very proud of this project and feels honored by the award.