Throwing Shade: Park(ing) Day 2017

Final Thoughts…

One of the best things that an Architect can do is build something. Taking an idea or concept, and transferring it into a real world material, shaped and solidified into something people can touch and experience. Working through ideas out of the computer as a group with limited budgets and time was, as always fun! I’ve always felt that actually working at full scale is so insightful for later when you are drawing details for projects because they are no longer just lines on a page. Wood or steel takes on a real weight and understanding how a custom design needs to be built beyond just lines takes real work and time to fully flush out. For TLCD this was a great experience to connect with more young designers in our profession and learn together the process beyond the office. Connecting to our community with this event is hopefully just the beginning as the young designers begin to help shape their cities and experiences for years to come.

Summertime STEM Fun!

Each summer TLCD Architecture welcomes incoming 9th grade students from the Mike Hauser Academy (MHA) to our office for one week to participate in a STEM related project. This county-wide program is a partnership between the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber, the Healdsburg, Rohnert Park and Sebastopol Chambers and exposes students to opportunities in professional, technology and engineering occupations.

 

This year our team used the international Park(ing) Day event as the basis for the project they planned for the Santa Rosa City Schools students. The week began with a walk over to the newly completed Courthouse Square to experience the square and select the parking spaces that would become the installation location for their design concepts.

The students, lead by Instructor Jesse Hauch, split into teams to develop their concept for a pop-up urban oasis that would transform each parking space for one day. Students were encouraged to consider the audience for their concept and provide an inspiring retreat with amenities to entice tourists and the people of Santa Rosa alike. They came back to the office and worked on sketch plan diagrams in teams and then built 1/2 scale models of their space. We then had the kids take Avatar pictures against a green screen so that they would be able to place themselves in their 3D model later in the week.

From the physical models, the students worked in Revit to create 3D models of their parking space. They especially enjoyed seeing their Avatars in the model and then experiencing their space using VR goggles. The students presented their concepts to their peers and a group of TLCD professionals on the last day – and all were invited to come back and see TLCD’s realized parklet experience on the actual Park(ing) Day this September!

Links to the student’s renderings in Autodesk 360 Panorama:

Team 2 AM

Team A2DX

Team RAT

Team CAOZ

3D Building Scanning as a Collaboration Tool

wine spectator learning center, sonoma state wine business institute, tlcd architecture, 3d building scan, truebeck constructionThe world of architecture and construction is rapidly expanding. The tools at our disposal are increasing every day, and keeping up with trends is critical to our profession.

While TLCD Architecture has been modeling all of our projects in BIM for some time now, the evolution of 3D scanning is finally getting to a point where the costs/benefit tradeoff makes it a no-brainer. 3D scanning is no longer a luxury, but a staple for modern construction.

We recently had the opportunity to collaborate with our friends at Truebeck Construction as they performed a 3D scan of the interiors of the soon-to-be Wine Spectator Learning Center at Sonoma State University. We have worked with Truebeck before and they do exceptional work, but we were amazed to learn that they have their own in-house crew to perform these scans.  Alex and Drew walked us through the process as they moved through the building.

wine spectator learning center, sonoma state wine business institute, tlcd architecture, 3d building scan, truebeck construction
Current condition of building at Sonoma State
wine spectator learning center, sonoma state wine business institute, tlcd architecture, 3d building scan, truebeck construction
3D building scan
wine spectator learning center, sonoma state wine business institute, tlcd architecture, 3d building scan, truebeck construction
TLCD design visualization of new Wine Spectator Learning Center

The entire shell interior took them approximately 4 hours to scan. The scanning equipment uses a gimbaled laser and camera combination, and utilizing a mirrored system it spins and takes thousands upon thousands of tiny photographs paired with a distance reading measured by laser. Each point on a wall is within roughly 1/8” of each other, and is captured a minimum of four times, and the average distance is taken. As they move the tripod-mounted scanners from place to place to capture all the hidden nooks and corners, they also relocate a series of plastic spheres. These spheres are  used later on to triangulate position and match up all the various scans they have taken, similar to pasting together photographs to get a single continuous montage from several photos.

The resulting ‘point cloud’ can be thought of as a three-dimensional photograph, one that with the right software, can be explored as a walk-through. This software comes in handy especially on remodel projects, where it can be used to check the accuracy of the as-built conditions (columns are known to be off by a foot or more at times), as well as documenting the rough constructions before finishes are applied. For example, it’s a useful tool to capture the path of a plumbing run, electrical conduit, or other utilities in the wall before drywall is applied or concrete is poured.

When the point cloud is placed within our digital model (a 3D model of the building we use to generate our drawings), we can quickly assess the variations between our model and the built conditions. It’s an exciting time to work in architecture. Thanks to our friends at Truebeck for supplying the point cloud and walking us through the process.

TLCD Architecture’s Office Attains LEED Certification!

TLCD Architecture, LEED Commercial Interiors, USGBC, Office Design, Urban OfficeWe just learned that TLCD’s Office has achieved certification under the LEED 2009 Commercial Interiors rating system. While this is not our first LEED certification, it’s particularly meaningful since it’s our own office environment.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is one of the most popular green building certification programs used worldwide. Developed by the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) it includes a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings, homes, and neighborhoods that aims to help building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently.

We are proud to have designed a very sustainable office environment, and hope that it will spark interest on the part of our clients and other visitors to our office to do the same.

Neocon 2016: Is Your Workplace Ready for a Refresh?

Title_resimercial

There’s lots of excitement around applying a more residential feel to the commercial workplace. Furniture designers are creating collections that support a variety of postures and resemble the soft curves you might see at home. Not all creativity and productivity happens at a cubicle – some of our favorites in this “Resimerical” movement really support alternative ways of working.

neocon, bernhard casino, TLCD Architecture, resimercial, furniture trends, workplace design

Bernhardt’s Casino is a beautiful new sofa collection that was extremely popular at Necon 2016. Incorporating lounge furniture destinations within a workplace are just as important as the design of individual desks. It gives employees the opportunity to put their feet up in the middle of the day, much like you would at home. Pull-up side tables for a laptop, iPad or coffee cup while reading the paper were also featured in furniture arrangements. 

neocon, Knoll Rockwell, TLCD Architecture, resimercial, furniture trends, workplace design

Another favorite is the new Rockwell Collection by Knoll. The idea behind these new pieces is to create an environment that enables a variety of experiences, and empowers users to transform their space at a moment’s notice. Everything is mobile, easy to reconfigure and has a hospitality quality that captures the “Resimercial” feeling seen throughout the show. This type of collection could easily be incorporated into a higher education project where students need to work alone or in groups – such as TLCD’s Wine Business Institute project at Sonoma State.

Title_artful acoustics

Filzfelt Acoustic Screen

One of the biggest challenges in workplace design is creating acoustically balanced spaces for optimal working conditions. Luckily for designers, decorative acoustic solutions are hitting the market and there are more resources than ever before. We have already been able to incorporate some of these solutions into our current work and the products are both beautiful and functional.

Felt has been making a huge come-back in recent years. These sound softening, modular products can be found on walls and ceilings providing acoustic absorption and dividing space with opportunities to incorporate graphics and pattern into the environment. One new felt introduction is Link from Filzfelt and it’s comprised of reconfigurable hexagonal modules that connect to create a private to semi-private screen depending on the negative space within the module. The overall effect has a delicate crochet type patterning.

For TLCD’s new office, we were able to use one of Filzfelt’s hanging panel products to introduce a playful, screening and sound absorbing element at the end of the workstations.

TLCD Architecture, workplace design, Filzfelt acoustic screen, Neocon 2016

Unika Vaev, Ecoustic Veneer, Neocon 2016The need for acoustics does not transcend specialty spaces. Newest to the acoustic wood wall and ceiling product scene is Unika Vaev’s Ecoustic Veneer product. Perforated and non-perforated beautiful wood veneer is available in a linear shiplap installation method. The product is engineered to reduce install time and be installed over almost any substrate for our remodel clients with expedited schedules!

Title_privacy

We hear this new buzzword in relation to workplace design from clients, social scientists and manufacturers in the design industry. Neocon 2016 was a great way to learn about the latest and greatest products available to address the need for privacy in today’s fast-paced and technology rich work environment. We found three products that we plan to add to our toolkit. Reflect Chair, Allsteel, Neocon 2016

The Reflect chair by Allsteel is presented as a “new solo workspace” that creates a personal refuge in an open work environment. The large enveloping back reduces visual distractions. Generous armrests allow room for a laptop or paperwork. Mostly we like the oversized comfy seat with contrasting materials that welcomes folks who need a break. The new headquarter building TLCD designed for American AgCredit incorporates similar furniture solutions for privacy and comfort.

We learned about a new glass source for our projects – Carvart Contract, which was awarded Gold in the architectural & decorative glass category. Their super easy website boasts a soup-to-nuts collection of architectural glass products and hardware systems for just about any application. Their privacy solutions include full-height sliding glass panels with a range of gradient and pattern options.

Carvart Contract, Neocon 2016, Privacy Glass

Teknion Zones Collection, Neocon 2016, PrivacyTeknion received the Neocon Best of Competition award for it’s Zones Collection that provides flexible alternatives for small one and two-person getaway spots. People can stretch out or huddle in privacy yet still have a subtle visual connection with their surroundings.

A New Healthcare Experience for Patients, Family and Clinicians

Steelcase Health, Waiting room furniture, new trends in healthcare interiors
Steelcase Health Spaces – Transition + Waiting

By Domenica Sheets, CID, IIDA

I recently attended Neocon, North America’s premier trade show and conference on commercial interiors, products and evolving design trends. This conference, which is held at theMART in Chicago each year, allows our Interiors team to stay on top of the trends in all vertical markets, including Healthcare. As someone who has spent many years working on Healthcare projects at TLCD Architecture, I was particularly interested in how my observations matched with those of Steelcase, one of the leading manufacturers of furniture for hospitals, offices and classrooms.

This last week, representatives from Steelcase Health, and our Steelcase Furniture Account Manager gave a presentation at TLCD Architecture on new solutions for healthcare spaces. As designers and architects for our healthcare clients, they emphasized the need to create spaces that support communication and collaboration between patients, clinicians and family members so that everyone becomes a mutual participant in the patient’s health. Additionally, there is increasing need for productive and comfortable waiting or “transition” spaces for the family members whose day may have unexpectedly been put on hold while taking care of their loved one. 

Steelcase Health Spaces, Waiting room and transitional furniture, Exam rooms
Steelcase Health Spaces – Exam

As the “center” of the healthcare experience, exam rooms are not only for physical examinations, they are also used for consultations and for family members to receive instructions for at-home care. The typical exam room table is being replaced with residential-like recliners for the patient, and a comfortable lounge chair or sofa for the family member. The clinician is given an ergonomic stool and adjustable height table to remain at the same eye level as the patient and family member. Technology has also evolved and mobile carts for ipads or computer monitors can easily move to help the clinician face the patient and family member. The use of demountable walls (walls that can be relocated), and modular furniture can also support evolving technology and room uses.

Waiting or “transition” spaces are changing as well and play a significant role in improving the overall healthcare experience. Rather than row upon row of uncomfortable chairs facing one direction, today’s waiting room offers choices and supports a range of postures and activities. People waiting may need to pull out their laptop and work for a few hours, charge their phone, have a conversation, watch young children or take a rest.

It’s our role as Healthcare designers to accommodate these functions and provide furniture solutions that support a wide range of needs. I’m very excited to share and implement the new furniture introductions showcased at Neocon with my clients and the customers they serve.

Groundbreaking at Sonoma State University’s Wine Spectator Learning Center

Wine Business Institute, Sonoma State University, TLCD Architecture, Hospitality Classroom

Yesterday marked a momentous occasion for Sonoma State University and TLCD Architecture. A well attended groundbreaking ceremony was held for the Wine Business Institute’s, Wine Spectator Learning Center. Speakers at the event included Marvin Shanken, editor and publisher of Wine Spectator magazine, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, U.S. Rep Mike Thompson, and SSU President Ruben Armiñana, among others, and was covered by the Press Democrat.

It’s been three years since TLCD was first selected to design the renovation of the former University Commons building. After an initial design phase, the project was put on hold until the $9 million in private funding was raised.

Now that the project is fully funded, the construction process can begin! The project will be completed in time for students and faculty to enjoy their new space for the Fall 2017 semester.

For more information on the Wine Spectator Learning Center click here.

 

Pharmacy of the Future – Less Confusion, More Accuracy

TLCD’s Healthcare Studio team recently had the opportunity to design a pharmacy space that incorporates a new technology called GSL Solutions Will-Call Intellicab System. This technology aims to create less confusion and room for error when you pick up your medicine.

Who first thought up those alphabetical bins at the pharmacy stuffed with little white prescription bags? Even when they have 2 “S” bins and the curious “P/Q” bin, it always seems that half the lettered bins are overflowing, the others suspiciously empty. The pharmacist shuffles though the piles only to find your prescription isn’t in the bin at all. They talk it over with their mystified colleagues. “Why don’t you give us ten minutes to figure it out?” they say.

before and after prescriptions_crop

That was the past. The next time you get your prescription filled it may start out on a conveyor belt. In this layout below, a Pharmacist sees your order and picks it out of inventory, just like they used to. From there it is placed in a plastic bin and then onto a conveyor belt. After that it heads to a second station where another Pharmacist confirms the order and requests a slot for the patient in the Intellicab. The Intellicab randomly assigns one of its drawers and a blinking light flashes. The pharmacist heads over, waves their ID and a drawer opens. A blinking slot appears and the Pharmacist inserts the order into the bay. If a pharmacist inserts the item into an adjacent bay the Intellicab will make a record of the event to help train the user.

When the patient shows up to collect a prescription, their personal data is entered, and once confirmed the bin with their order in it is identified. A light appears on the drawer that holds it, then the Pharmacist heads over, waves their ID card to let the Intellicab know which Pharmacist is making the request. The drawer opens and a light appears at the patient’s randomly assigned bin. The pharmacist would then check the name on the bag and complete the transaction.

Even more important than speeding up pharmacy lines at busy hospitals, this technology has the power to save lives. Taking the wrong medication can have deadly side effects and, while rare, the wrong medication is delivered to patients from time to time. No system is fool-proof from human error, but this technologically advanced pharmacy design will provide a faster and safer way to get medication.

If you’d like to read more about TLCD’s Healthcare Studio, check out some of our other projects here.

TLCD Announced as Architect for Wine Spectator Learning Center

Wine Business Institute, Sonoma State University, TLCD Architecture, Hospitality Classroom

Sonoma State University announced today that TLCD Architecture and BNBT Builders will partner on the design and construction of the Wine Spectator Learning Center in Rohnert Park.

“As the educational nucleus of a thriving regional economy, it was important to us to engage local professionals on this project. We decided after a lengthy review of top quality firms that TLCD and BNBT have the right combination of skill and experience. Over the coming months, a cutting-edge facility will take shape on campus, designed and built to provide the University community a teaching and learning environment that meets its demands and exceeds expectations as one of California’s leading institutions of higher education,” Dr. William Silver, Dean of the School of Business and Economics said.

TLCD Architecture has been working with the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State since early 2014 to bring high level design visualizations to the fundraising effort and is thrilled to continue as the architect for this project.

“It’s a real privilege to be involved in such an innovative project.  Sonoma State University and the Wine Business Institute have taken a very sustainable approach by revitalizing one of the original campus buildings. We believe the transformation will be truly stunning, and provide a perfect home for this forward-thinking regional and international program,” Brian Wright, Principal at TLCD Architecture said. 

Museum on the Square and College of Marin Academic Center Named Top Projects

The North Bay Business Journal held it’s 10th annual Top Projects in the North Bay awards at the Sheraton Petaluma on December 17th. TLCD Architecture was recognized for two projects, the Museum on the Square in the Office Project category, and College of Marin’s new Academic Center in the Higher Education category.

TLCD Architecture teamed with Mark Cavagnero Associates on the Academic Center at College of Marin. The new center opened in August of this year and has become a welcoming space for students, faculty and the community.

Museum on the Square was recognized for it’s role in transforming the urban landscape of downtown Santa Rosa. TLCD envisioned a light-filled contemporary office building and designed both the exterior and it’s own offices on the 2nd floor.

 

Bent Origami Panels Going Up on Museum on the Square

TLCD Architecture, Museum on the Square, Santa Rosa, Urban Infill Project, Perforated Metal Panels, Origami, B.T. Mancini Company, McNichols

When you think of origami, images of delicate and intricately folded paper comes to mind. TLCD takes origami one giant step further with the installation of a key exterior feature on the Museum on the Square project in downtown Santa Rosa. Perforated metal panels are being installed on the north side of the building to create a “veil” for the raw concrete facade. Typically perforated panels are installed as flat sheets, but TLCD Architecture worked with B.T. Mancini Company to custom fabricate panels manufactured by McNichols. The panels are then bent to form a unique sculptural pattern much like folded origami. The panels also serve a practical function as sunshades for the building. The panels are angled toward nearby Courthouse Square in acknowledgment of the downtown’s main urban space. The north side of the building was covered during much of the early construction and for the last several months work was focused on the exterior glass. When the metal panels began going up it created some buzz, but this week’s installation of the bent panels is literally turning heads. Check out what’s going on at 3rd Street and Santa Rosa Avenue!

Serious Fun: California’s Wine Business

Wine Business Institute, Sonoma State University, TLCD Architecture, Interior Rendering

Anyone living in California knows the impact the wine industry has on our economy. California produces 90% of the wine for the US with an estimated retail value of $24.6 billion. California is also becoming the leader in wine business education for professionals worldwide. What you might not know is that Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, is leading the way with its innovative Wine Business Institute (WBI). The WBI is an education and research institute within the School of Business and Economics. It was created as a public-private partnership with a clear mission: to educate students, provide research and develop programs that would support the needs of one of the primary industries and employers in our region and around the world. WBI is the first and only program in the US to focus exclusively on the business aspects of the wine industry, offering both an undergraduate degree and MBA program.

TLCD Architecture, located just minutes from Sonoma State University, has a diverse practice that includes work for both winery/hospitality and educational clients. These two areas of expertise meshed beautifully when TLCD was selected to design the new Wine Spectator Learning Center at Sonoma State. It’s given us an opportunity to explore the programmatic needs of wine business and marketing majors and assist the school in developing high level design visualizations for fundraising efforts.

Our work with the WBI began by meeting with the administrators and faculty to develop a vision and concept for the new facility, which will comprise a complete remodel of the original University Commons Building. From that initial vision we created several renderings of the design concept, which in turn helped to generate several large donations for the project from the Institute’s partners in the wine industry. Schematic Design has been completed, and we’ll be moving into the next phases of design shortly. We’re fortunate to have Summit Engineering on our team, who also happens to be one of the premier winery engineers in Northern California.

It’s incredibly fulfilling to be part of a program that will educate and train the next generation of wine business professionals and entrepreneurs. While TLCD Architecture’s work extends throughout Northern California, we have been in business here in Sonoma County for 50 years. Contributing to our community, quality education and a thriving business culture is important to us.

Wine education is not all about classes, research and training. It’s also about immersing ourselves in the culture of wine and having some “serious fun.” We recently teamed with our friends at Summit Engineering for a showdown at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair “World Championship Grape Stomp” competition. Celebrating its 41st year, the Harvest Fair celebrates Sonoma County’s harvest by honoring world-class wine, beer and culinary creations.

Click the video below to see the TLCD Architecture/Summit Engineering Grape Stomp Showdown!

 

More articles about the Wine Spectator Learning Center

Wine Spectator Donates $3 Million to Sonoma State University

SSU Wine Institute Gets Another Major Gift

Peter Michael Adds Its Support To Wine Spectator Learning Center At Sonoma State University

Wine Spectator Learning Center – The Next Vintage

Game On… Architectural Renderings Go Interactive

Angel the Office Dog, TLCD Architecture, Virtual Reality RenderingNick Diggins, Designer 

Architecture is a complex process that is integrated with massive amounts of information requiring coordination between many parties. We use software specifically developed for this type of information management (BIM), but what’s so interesting is all this information is imbedded in a digital 3D model. We are constantly finding new ways to use and extract this information throughout the design process.

The current hot trend in design visualizations is the integration of virtual reality (VR) rendering into the Revit (BIM) workflow. I’ve had a lot of fun sharing this new type of presentation with clients, staff, friends – even Angel our office dog tried it out using Google Cardboard. After showing my 9-year old son this cool technology, which literally puts the viewer in the space, I realized it’s already out of date when he said, “Dad, all you can do is look around.” It hit me that the future is here. His generation will be expecting software that enables true interactive immersion. What if we, as architects, can design workflows that allow the user to interact with a space while it’s still in development – much the same way we build physical models to critique and explore ideas?

A physical model has always been an easier tool for sharing ideas than technical drawings. A model isn’t static – you can pick it up, rotate it, move around it, and feel what the idea is in a physical solution. Models are the universal language of design and they help us understand the concept of three-dimensional problem solving. In the digital landscape it’s quickly changing how we share ideas with each other and our clients.

TLCD’s culture is very supportive of testing new software. If you follow trends in new techniques of rendering and architectural visualizations, you may have seen some examples of interactive environments taking off recently. There are many resources for starting this workflow and one that we’ve been testing recently is Unreal Engine 4. We took this software for a test drive and modeled our new office space. Rather than strapping on VR goggles, our staff can walk through our new office and experience it from the comfort of their own computer monitor (view video above).

On the more technical side, how does this type of software change our current workflow? For a current static rendering like the one shown in the first part of the video, we can prime a digital model for rendering pretty quickly. Using the power of our render farm, we usually run 80 cores (CPU’s) resulting in one render after a few hours. Not too bad considering we used to wait days for the same output only a few years ago.

Now if you want video, you are looking at a lot of time and resources to develop an in-house animation that is usually under a minute in length. At the end of multiple days of work you have an amazing video to share with clients and others (and everyone loves movies, right?) That thirty-second video loses its sparkle when you realize that you need to change something in the design as a result of meeting comments. Usually you can’t re-render a whole walkthrough because of tight schedules – but what if you could? What if it was just a part of the standard workflow and you could render the space and were allowed to change views or make a movie within minutes?

Why not turn the scripted walkthrough into a “game” and let someone else walk around and experience it in real time! This is the direction we are headed at TLCD… and virtual reality is just fuel to the fire. Integrating the visual experience with a physical/digital experience is so exciting to us as architects because we are integrating it into our early designs as a linkable workflow. Immersing yourself deeper into an environment is an architectural experience beyond the average visual.

Learning to craft a visualization to create an interactive experience is the new art of rendering. Video game developers have been doing this for years and the most current digital environments are so immersive it almost feels real. This way of sharing a design brings in thoughts of simple actions infused with realism – like adding sounds of the city when you open a door. We see so many possibilities for this in the near future. Imagine an environment that allows end users to experience the space and use it as a learning tool with interactive virtual diagrams.

Our goal is to integrate this software into our designs to create new modes of integrated thinking for clients who are looking for innovation and value for their project. At the moment, we are only designing buildings, but soon we might be creating worlds! This is too much fun to be had all alone, come join us!

Angel the Office Dog, Nick Diggins Designer, TLCD ArchitectureNo animals… or architects were harmed in the making of this blog post. Most days Angel can be found at our office brightening people’s days while stopping by their desk for a treat or pat on the head. Nick can be found any number of places…job sites, his work station, client meetings, or low crawling to sneak up on his unsuspecting coworkers!

Praxis in Action: Healdsburg’s Cerri Building

tlcd architecture, cerri building, city of healdsburg, historic building, adaptive reuse

In May we put up a post, Praxis: Practical Application of a Theory that talked about the stage in our process where investigation and critical analysis leads to idea generation and critique. We routinely tap into the collective expertise of our team for this critique process – whether it be a casual discussion or a full charrette. Yesterday we held a firm-wide design discussion of one of the more unusual projects in our office – the historic Cerri Building in Healdsburg.

tlcd architecture, cerri building, city of healdsburg, historic building

TLCD Architecture is teaming with Healdsburg architect Alan Cohen in the design of the this downtown parcel that will accommodate the City’s farmers market and additional parking. At issue is whether to preserve an existing structure on the site, or to remove it and install new shade structures with photovoltaic (solar) panels. Although very early in the design process, yesterday’s discussion yielded many good ideas that the design team will explore. The main concept is to transform the existing building into a new space that will serve many functions and add to Healdsburg’s vibrant downtown culture. We are looking at strategies that allow for a stronger connection with the adjacent street, sidewalk and most importantly, the visitor. The team also shared inspiration photos that suggest other directions for the design, such a new structure providing indoor/outdoor space for the farmer’s market, as well as alternate surfaces for the photovoltaics.

These open office design conversations are what keeps our projects fresh and the design concepts clear and focused. We refine our ideas by critiquing our work as a group and we are always fascinated by the power of sharing with each other.

PRAXIS: practical application of a theory

What is your work environment like? Does it motivate and energize you? Well it should! Each workplace has an optimum environment in which to achieve maximum functionality and purpose. As architects we are often called upon to understand and develop what this might be. Most of the time this moment in the design process is called programming, but there’s an even more important stage prior to that. Analysis! Developing a strong base of information can begin to inform designers beyond the norm and make something really unique for a client (or ourselves). This process of investigation, research and critical thought allows us to map information from all influences of a project.

Reflection is another key piece of our design process. We gather all the findings from the analysis stage and move to graphic representations as tools for idea generation and critique. For instance, the Praxis infographic below breaks down one idea to it’s simplest form by graphically telling a story. In this example, “the way we work” was a key element for developing the design of our firm’s new office. Rather than just laying out how many people and offices get implemented into a floor plate, we dove into our office culture. We really wanted to understand what would empower our designers and staff. Read on after the graphic…

tlcd architecture, design process, work environment, office design, renderings, visualization, infographicAt TLCD Architecture’s new office, which is currently in design, we are consciously surrounding ourselves with our work – a sort of demonstration space to show what we are doing at any given time. You may visit one day and see a process of design happening right in front of you… creating spontaneous interactions between people across multiple projects. Design feeds off of strong studio cultures, and to strengthen ours, we are embracing the process of design and implementing it even further into our own space.

The practice of architecture and designing space for people is an amazing experience that TLCD gets to participate in everyday. We thought our own office space should share this process and not hide it. As we move to the next phase of design, we will begin to activate the space through the use of models, renderings and other visualization techniques. Recently, our staff got together to see what the new office space could look like using a new iPhone app and a simple cardboard box.

The built environment is in constant evolution and it’s a very exciting time for architecture and technology. Having the right team to take you to new levels means that we have to constantly be able to adapt, evolve and learn from each other. Our team thrives off the mutual respect, creative energy and ideas we can generate together. We can’t wait to show you what this looks like at TLCD’s new office, but more importantly to put it into action for our clients. Stay tuned!

Revit Virtual Reality…What?!

Nick Diggins, Associate AIA

Recently, Carl, Phil and I watched a webinar about cloud rendering in Revit. I had seen this process emerge some months back and Carl and I briefly took a look at it. However, we quickly discovered a major drawback of not being able to use custom textures in the cloud. Out of the box texture mapping usually results in less than adequate representation of your design. Well guess what… you now can incorporate as many custom textures and material assets as you’d like!

Revit has been one of the slowest rendering engines out there, but I’ve always been impressed with its capabilities when it came to doing interior rendering for a native program. Time is a major factor in our business, and slow is a “no go”. A 12-20 hour rendering is not an uncommon thing with geometry heavy models, even with a render farm. Now with cloud rendering, we can send multiple views and let the magic and speed of the cloud to do its thing, while we keep working. An important thing to note is that renderings are vital for developing and sharing designs. Architects want to get their clients “into” the design, and a rendering can be great at starting to describe the space. Here’s the cool part, with Autodesk’s Cloud Rendering we are able to literally put the viewer in the space. It’s called stereo panorama (more about it here) and it’s transforming the way we use Revit with new levels of workflow for developing and sharing designs on the fly, not only with clients, but with each other.

Discussing Virtual Reality and GoggleI decided to give it a go and developed several views of 3d panoramas of a current office interior design. I had less than 6 hours for developing the scene materials, lighting and final render time, and little room for production time. I was able to fire off multiple draft renders during the process and keep working the scene similar to our backburner setup for 3dsmax. This was during normal work hours though so backburner was unavailable. Normally this type of work would have been rendered over a weekend but that was not the goal of the exercise. Once I had the developed views uploaded in the cloud, I had Autodesk sprinkle some magic over the top of them. Here’s where we take it up a few more notches, by pairing Cloud Rendering with a couple of iphones and pieces of cardboard, suddenly we were immersing the whole office into the design. You can stand and look all the way around you, with total freedom – and with your body rather than a computer mouse. Amazing!

“Holy %&$#” was the phrase we heard from most of the office as first time viewers stood up to put on the goggles. It’s an amazing experience to witness the effect of going from sharing a 2D floor plan to actually putting people in the space. We are very excited  for this new design horizon and you can bet TLCD Architecture is going to keep pushing it’s abilities and usability. We look forward to what Autodesk might throw our way in the near future…3D walkthroughs maybe? Who knows, but TLCD is ready and excited for what might be brewing.

Welcome to the Beach

We started the surface refinishing of our new office!  As usual photos don’t do it justice. I did manage to sneak in during their lunch hour and take a peek at the transformation in its early stages.  The concrete is taking on a satin feel which is truly remarkable to experience. I wish all concrete could be like this…  Oh and another bonus, having an indoor beach is be pretty cool for office parties too.

 

Wondering how that giant opening got in this solid concrete box?

 

Recognition for the Mendocino College North County Center in Willits

North County Center_extThe Mendocino College North County Center in Willits was recently named a winner in the education category of the North Bay Business Journal’s awards program for Top Real Estate Projects in the North Bay. The North County Center, designed by TLCD Architecture and built by Midstate Construction, opened in the Fall of 2013 and has spurred a growth in the number of students enrolling in classes at the Center. The heart of this facility is the Learning Center, a collaborative learning resource environment with a pair of redwood barn doors that open to administrative space and a wood and glass sliding storefront wall that connects to a computer classroom. The redwood barn doors and redwood board paneling on the interior serves to complement weathering steel panels on the building’s exterior that are slowly oxidizing to a beautiful rust red color.

As Project Architect for the North County Center, this was the first project at TLCD that I was able to work on from conceptual design all the way through construction. When my Mom came to town for a visit, this is the project I took her to see. I am anxious to see the final results of this oxidation process so that the complete design vision can be realized (and so we can do the final photography!). I can’t complain though since I got to work with a couple of folks from the College, Mark Rawitsch, Dean of Instruction, and Mike Adams, Director of Facilities Planning, who had to wait more than 25 years to see the North County Center realized! I guess it’s like they say, all good things are worth waiting for.

North County Center_int

Rapid Prototyping: Captured on Video

This was the perfect project to take a test drive of Autodesk’s Dynamo for Revit and see what we could do.  Dynamo is a new, exciting, visual programming software that is similar to Grasshopper for Rhino.  We are actively beginning our exploration into computational design, and have already begun to see its benefits as we integrate Dynamo into TLCD’s BIM design process.  In this quick exercise we were able to quickly develop eight different iterations from our design. Don’t miss the video and take a peek of us creating an addicting, generative design solution to share and discuss with the entire office and friends!

Check out an earlier blog post from December that started this conversation.  Rapid Prototyping: Exploring Multiple Design Options

 

Rapid Prototyping: Exploring Multiple Design Options

One year ago TLCD Architecture purchased an Universal LS 6.60 laser-cutting machine. This amazing piece of equipment can cut and etch wood, cardboard, plastic and metal with precision cuts to 3/1,000 of an inch. We are still exploring all the options of what this technology can do.

The laser cutter is being used primarily for producing architectural models. It can take digital files and make incredibly precise cuts at a small scale. Something very difficult to do with an X-Acto knife… and with fewer sliced fingertips!

We are currently exploring the ability to do rapid prototyping, which means we can easily explore multiple design options in model form very quickly. This process took many hours of hand cutting in the past and rarely produced more than one option.

This last week Nick Diggins and Carl Servais from our office experimented with a new workflow made possible by the Dynamo scripting software now available within the Revit modeling software that is our mainstay architectural design tool. They created eight different versions of a complex perforated 3-D form for centerpieces for our holiday party at DeTurk Round Barn. With the scripting software, Revit output can be prepared for the laser cutter quickly and design options created and manufactured with the laser-cutter.

One exciting possibility is that the models can be scaled up and architectural designs can be fabricated at large scale with CNC Routing machines for wood and softer materials, and plasma cutters for metal and other more durable materials. Forms that were nearly impossible to conceive of or too expensive to fabricate by hand are now easily accessible. The possibilities are endless!

Watch the video we produced on our GoPro of this fabrication process. Rapid Prototyping: Captured on Video

Rammed Earth Wall Rises at TLCD Project

Of particular note, soils were collected from various geographic areas from across the western United States serviced by American AgCredit. The colors of these soil samples were then matched to soils of the particular consistency necessary to provide the structural integrity required. This prominent wall will reflect the diverse geography serviced by the company, which makes loans for agriculture. It also reflects the fact that soil, along with sun and water, is one of the key components of agriculture.

We all look forward to seeing the results; waiting until next year is going to require patience!

Keeping up with Architectural Fabrication Techniques

Architectural fabrication, computerized router, CNC router, Gus Dering, Sonoma Country Pine, TLCD Architecture tour
Selexx Chief CNC Router at Sonoma Country Pine

Alan Butler AIA

As architects, it’s critical to keep up with new materials and emerging fabrication techniques. The materials we use, the way they go together and their application in buildings is constantly changing. In an effort to better understand the potential of new fabrication tools, TLCD Architecture purchased a laser cutter at the beginning of 2014. Small, but powerful and precise, it’s an incredible tool for making mockups and architectural models. We can cut wood, plastics and paper up to ½” thick and and to a maximum size of 18”x 24”. We are now able to quickly produce models and look at various design options very quickly versus the time consuming process of hand cutting mat board with a utility knife. Recently, we’ve been experimenting with designs for screen elements at our new office in the Museum on the Square building in downtown Santa Rosa. We’ve been producing some beautiful prototypes of the screens, but the question arises… how do we make the full size version?

So as any curious design firm would do, we set out exploring. Last week, Nick Diggins and I visited Gus Dering’s cabinet shop in Cotati to see a CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) Router in action. The shop is called Sonoma Country Pine, but we didn’t see any cabinetmakers with hand planes making colonial style cabinets. Rather we saw the Selexx Chief CNC Router in action. This machine has an eight bit rotating tool head that can cut, drill and route all the parts for a cabinet body in a matter of minutes. The machine holds the plywood in place with the suction of two vacuum pumps, through a sacrificial layer of low density fiberboard. With incredible precision it can cut all the parts to tolerances of thousandths of an inch. Because of the sophisticated programming there is little waste, sometimes only the sawdust from the router bit! The machine is so precise, it can produce “miter folded” applications leaving the last 3/1000th of the veneer face in tack, so plywood sheets can be folded with seamless corners. With the CNC Router, Gus produces cabinet parts for his own shop and several others.

A few days prior, Nick Diggins and TLCD Principal, Don Tomasi visited the shop of Klaus Rappensberger, a Sonoma County sculptor and craftsman. They discussed the option of making screens from sheet steel and cutting the screen patterns with a water jet cutter. We are now considering what we can produce in-house with our laser cutter, or possible options with these other digital technologies. The possibilities and potential are endless. The more we understand, the more we can do.

 

The Emergency Department – Considerations for Innovative and Strategic Design

Kaiser Permanente, TLCD Architecture, Emergency Department Design, The Center for Healthcare Design
Kaiser Santa Rosa Emergency Department, completed 2010

By Julie Wycoff

I recently had the pleasure of attending a conference focused on Emergency Department design hosted by The Center for Healthcare Design and held at the AIA San FranciscoTLCD Architecture is a corporate affiliate of the CHC which gives us access to a wide array of seminars, webinars and conferences related to healthcare design. The topics presented at the ED Design Conference delved deeply into the current thinking of how Emergency Departments are designed and organized with an eye to better addressing long wait times, delivery of care, and responding to an ever-changing healthcare environment. The presenters were a mix of healthcare providers and designers specializing in Emergency Department design.

Over the course of the discussions, some key themes emerged:

  1. Eliminate Triage

Triage based intake practices are outdated and increase wait times and create backlogs. More and more EDs are going to “Split Flow” patient intake and rapid treatment methods whereby patients are seen immediately and are either treated in a low acuity area or are sent to an ED treatment room. Patients never return to the waiting area, but are constantly kept moving through their care.

  1. Design for Flexibility

Emergency Departments must be designed so that they can respond to all types of patients and all types of events. Rather than designing highly specific treatment rooms, all rooms should be of a universal design that can accept any patient at any time.

  1. Evaluate the Problem

The answer to the problem of overcrowding and long wait times isn’t necessarily adding more treatment rooms or space. Often a thorough evaluation of staffing and patient intake patterns can lead to changes that do not require costly changes to the physical environment.

The Emergency Department is increasingly the primary healthcare access point for many in this country not only for trauma patients but for those with chronic conditions to the mentally ill. As such, EDs must be able to rapidly adapt to these types of patients in addition to everything from an infectious disease outbreak to a natural disaster. Designers and providers can work together to create spaces that can effectively deliver care, provide an organized work environment for staff, and a safe, healing space for patients. Knowing the needs of Emergency Departments and the challenges they face allows TLCD to help our healthcare clients plan their Emergency Departments for the present and future.

It Takes a Team to Skin a Hospital

TLCD Architecture, Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa, Hospital Reclad, Models

The exterior of the existing Kaiser Santa Rosa Hospital, built in the early 1990s was showing the signs of age and was in need of replacement. TLCD Architecture and Swinerton Builders worked together to replace the exterior building skin with a new composite metal panel system. The project not only provided a solution to a deteriorated exterior, it also reinterpreted the original architecture into a contemporary building. The meticulous installation of the composite metal panels was an important aspect of the design and worked with the complexity of the existing building geometry to modernize the identity of the building and campus. The use of virtual models, physical models and on site mock-ups made the precise installation possible and turned the design intent into reality.

The project needed to be constructed in phases to allow the hospital to remain fully operational throughout construction. The design and construction team worked together with the facility to develop construction sequencing and installation strategies that evolved throughout construction to minimize disruptions to the facility and keep them operational.

TLCD Architecture, Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa, Hospital RelcadTLCD Architecture, Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa, Hospital Reclad

It was an amazing process to be a part of and the successful results speak to the teamwork involved to “Skin the Hospital”! Check out this video put together by Swinerton Builders for more on the project.