Santa Rosa’s Evolving City Center

Santa Rosa Courthouse Square, Downtown Revitalization, City Center

Santa Rosa’s city center has long been known as Courthouse Square and it carries a long, rich history. Originally laid out as a plaza in the early 1800’s, it later became the site of a grand County Courthouse. The Square was a lively center of community and political activity and a place where young and old gathered. The 1906 earthquake destroyed the Courthouse and a new one was built on the same site as part of the reconstruction efforts.

By the 1960’s county government had outgrown the Courthouse and it was razed. In the midst of urban renewal, the Square was divided into two parts by varying interests and Mendocino Avenue was routed through the middle. Old Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa, TLCD Architecture, Reunification of Courthouse SquareSeveral decades and many City Councils later, the City of Santa Rosa is moving forward with the Reunification of Courthouse Square. This plan reunifies the Square and creates an urban park and gathering space for residents and visitors alike. With proximity to great dining, shopping and events like the Wednesday Night Farmers Market, it will also serve as an economic boon to local businesses.

TLCD Architecture has been a downtown Santa Rosa business for over 50 years and the architect on many key public projects. In February 2016, the firm moved to our new office at 520 Third Street, which fronts Courthouse Square. The building, a former telephone switching facility, had been abandoned for decades. TLCD’s team recognized the potential to transform it into a contemporary building with urban office space and retail opportunities. Working as part of the development team, this building was designed with the reunification of Courthouse Square in mind as a way to reinvigorate the city center.

Recognized for our role in the revitalization of downtown Santa Rosa, as well as other community projects, the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce recently named TLCD Architecture Small Business of the Year. Principal Don Tomasi, accepted the award and spoke to our firm’s commitment and work culture.

Furthering this exciting momentum are key infrastructure projects including the SMART Train, which is set to begin passenger rail service in late 2016. With stations that include the Sonoma County Airport (also in active expansion mode) and Railroad Square, there will be non-vehicular transportation directly to downtown Santa Rosa. This connectivity will bring a new level of energy and activity to the city center… aka Courthouse Square!

City of Santa Rosa, Downtown Station Area Specific Plan, Courthouse Square To learn about the City of Santa Rosa’s vision, see the Downtown Station Area Specific Plan.

For more about the history of Courthouse Square, read Gaye LeBaron’s article: Old Courthouse Square has divided Santa Rosa for 160 years.

TLCD Architecture’s Chair Parade Signals Move to New Office

TLCD Architecture, Downtown Santa Rosa, Urban Office SpaceFriday brought cloudy skies and rain, but it certainly didn’t dampen spirits as TLCD Architecture moved to our new office just two blocks down Santa Rosa Avenue. Why have movers pack up your chairs, when you can roll them over – umbrellas and all! This symbolic move signifies a nearly decade-long process to renovate an abandoned building in downtown Santa Rosa and turn it into a vibrant, mixed-use project. The Press Democrat captured the essence of this move in this article that appeared over the weekend “Tenants Move Into New Office in Santa Rosa’s Former AT&T Building”.

The exterior transformation of the building is very apparent, but the space inside is simply amazing. With 16′ high ceilings, raw concrete walls, and sleek lines, the office feels urban and very hip. As architects, designing your own office space comes with no shortage of ideas for work environment, furniture and finishes. We’ll post more about our new office design in coming weeks… but for today, it feels great to settle in and begin work in our new digs!

Grape Stomp Showdown: TLCD Architecture vs Summit Engineering

On a warm fall weekend in wine country, the ultimate grape showdown took place between two Santa Rosa firms. TLCD Architecture challenged Summit Engineering to compete in the annual Harvest Fair Grape Stomp for bragging rights about who can generate the most juice in under 3 minutes.

Two teams from each firm prepared for this event by enduring a rigorous training regiment… mainly developing our core strength from laughing so hard. It turns out there is a real finesse to grape stomping as we learned the intricacies of being the “Stomper” or the “Swabby.” Foot size does not matter if you are the Stomper, it’s much more about the swirl and kick technique to move the juice towards the spout. The Swabby role benefitted from laser sharp focus and unusually long arms to funnel the grape juice into the jug.

While the teams from TLCD and Summit did not win the heat that day, we had a respectable amount of “wine juice weight” and went home proud. Purple feet and hands, a trophy t-shirt and the following video mark this historic showdown.

We Rock: Creative Preparations for IIDA Fall Art and Wine Event

Stacey Walker, Interior Designer

IIDA North Bay City Center is gearing up for the 2nd Annual Fall Art and Wine Event and enlisted the help of our TLCD office for the decorations.

Suzanne, Domenica and I are on the planning committee for the festive Dia de los Muertos themed event that will be hosted at Museums of Sonoma County in downtown Santa Rosa on Saturday, October 17th from 3-6pm. There will be docent tours of the historic museum exhibits, ‘Dia de los Muertos Altars’ and ‘Artisty in Wood’, as well as tours of the new contemporary museum exhibit ‘The Sculpted Fiber: West Coast Fiber Artists’. Clementine The Amazing Face Painter, a local award winning face painting artist will be magically transforming our guests’ faces into Day of the Dead Sugar Skulls. There will be a silent auction with wonderful prizes and the proceeds of this event will benefit the Museum’s Educational Program for Students.

We harnessed the creativity of our staff to paint river rocks with sugar skull faces and create beautiful tissue paper marigolds to decorate the Museum Sculpture Garden. Our normally boisterous crowd was quiet with concentration as they painted colorful faces on the collection of river rocks and cut, crimped and twisted the tissue paper into beautiful Marigold flowers!

Tickets for this fabulous event can be purchased online – We would love to see you there!

College of Marin Celebrates Successful Measure C Bond Projects

College of Marin held a celebration Thursday afternoon to mark the completion of the Measure C Bond Program, and the ribbon-cutting for the newly completed Academic Center, which was designed by the team of TLCD Architecture + Mark Cavagnero Associates. Don Tomasi and Brian Wright represented TLCD Architecture at the event, along with John Fung and Olga Kozachek from Mark Cavagnero’s office.

college of marin, new academic center, john fung, mark cavagnero associates, brian c wright, tlcd architecture, ribbon cutting ceremony
John Fung from Mark Cavagnero Associates and Brian C. Wright from TLCD Architecture celebrate a successful collaboration

Situated at the corner of College Avenue and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, the new Academic Center, provides a welcoming front door to the Kentfield campus. The 43,000 square foot building houses 16 classrooms, a 100-seat lecture hall, 3 computer labs, and offices for the college faculty and administration. The building was designed to be fully integrated with the sloping site, carefully preserving many of the heritage oak and redwood trees, and featuring native and drought-resistant landscaping. The project is pending LEED Gold certification.

The celebration was attended by community members, college faculty, staff, board and administration, contractors, program managers, students, and regional elected officials. The mood was festive, with refreshments and conversations centering on the successful completion of the 10-year building program. The college president, Dr. David Wain Coon, led the formal presentation that also included comments by board members, administrators, students and elected officials.


Bikes and Brews

Ride 2

What a great name for an event! When I saw the flier float around our office I immediatly grabbed it and knew I would have to roll. TLCD Architecture and many others were invited to join the annual ride to a nearby town of Sebastopol for a destination of good conversations, food and the celebration of bikes..and Beer.



Personally I’d never been to “Hopmonk”, but what a cool venue. We were greeted with ample bike parking for the whole group and a nice laid back outdoor seating area with a great draft list with many local micro’s. Fellow riders from ZFA and I were grubbing down on pulled pork sandwiches and the favorite 4 pack taco platter…amazing! According to local lore they have music there pretty regularly and I could see it being a pretty fun time. Living in Sonoma County (one of the worlds greatest bike and beer destinations) this local gathering was a great reminder of how lucky I am to get to enjoy this place from the speed and freedom of a bike. On the trip back to Santa Rosa, the ZFA crew kicked it into hyper speed as TLCD tried to keep up with the sprint…  Not realizing I was riding with world class riders I now know that I will have to train for next year’s event, and hopefully grab a few notches higher on the list of riders. I will definitely be looking forward to next year’s ride, and thank you ZFA engineering for getting everyone together to enjoy our amazing place to live and work.

Design Features Take Shape on New American AgCredit Headquarters

This week TLCD Architecture’s staff toured our American AgCredit project, a 120,000 square foot, 3-story headquarters building just north of Santa Rosa. The project is scheduled for occupancy in early November and is currently at an exciting stage of construction, with many facets of the design taking shape.

Perhaps 2 of the greatest points of interest were the grand stairway, and a rammed earth wall. The grand stairway connects each of the 3 floors in a dramatic atrium that opens onto the building courtyard. The stair soars through the space at varying angles, and is clad with steel plate railings that were individually lifted into place by crane. These will be “blackened” by an artist in order to provide a deep, black patina. When the building is complete, a 3-story high cowhide mural by Kyle Bunting of Austin Texas will be a prominent feature of the atrium.

The rammed earth wall was built early in construction. It was incased in a wooden structure for protection, and then the building was constructed around it. The protective wood structure was removed just early this week, and so we were some of the first to see this amazing wall, which will form the backdrop to the main reception desk. The wall is a tangible reference to the soil that makes agriculture possible, a powerful reference to American AgCredit mission of farm lending.

TLCD Architecture, American AgCredit Headquarters Building, Santa Rosa, CA, Staff Tour, Construction UpdateThe floors are raised pedestal construction, which allows the reconfiguration of under floor electrical, data, and other systems. In this project we are also using the space below the floor for the supply of conditioned air, an very energy-efficient, quiet and healthy system known as displacement ventilation. We were able to observe the below-floor infrastructure in areas where the floor tiles have yet to be installed. Among other things, we saw “air highways” that are being constructed to efficiently deliver air to the far reaches of the building.

The exterior of the building, aside from dramatic, sweeping curves and multiple “sky bridges”, has an appearance not unlike many other modern structures. However, beginning in late August an exterior “skin” of perforated zinc panels will be installed. These zinc panels will transform the appearance of the building, and will visually articulate the façade while providing sunshading that will significantly reduce the cost of cooling the building.


Alan Butler Celebrates 30 Years with TLCD!

alan butler, tlcd architecture, 30th work anniversary, doyle library, santa rosa junior college

By Don Tomasi AIA, Principal

In today’s world it’s rare to stay at any one company for an entire career, so its remarkable that in recent months, 3 of us have celebrated our 30th anniversaries with TLCD Architecture. It’s with great excitement that we celebrate the 30th work anniversary of my friend and partner Alan Butler.

Although we didn’t know each other at the time, Alan was working in Seattle in the summer of 1984, and I was living just 4 blocks away – on the same street! We both moved from Seattle to competing architectural firms in Santa Rosa within a year of each other, our offices just blocks apart – you guessed it, on the same street! Alan began work at Lawry Coker DeSilva Architects (LCD) as its 7th employee. But it was another several years before we met. (For the record, we now work in the same office, but live 14 blocks apart – on different streets!)

In 1993 the two firms merged to form Tomasi Lawry Coker DeSilva Architects later to become TLCD Architecture. Alan had become a partner of the firm and was leading the first phase of the Santa Rosa Junior College new Petaluma Campus. Alan’s experience on the SRJC Petaluma campus project and his longstanding interest in higher education helped determine the direction of his career, and he established community college projects as a major part of our firm’s practice.

Alan was responsible for the firm’s first breakthrough project, the new Frank P. Doyle Library at SRJC’s main Santa Rosa campus. Realizing that TLCD Architecture’s best chance of being selected for this project was a strategic alliance with a larger firm, Alan traveled to Boston to explore a relationship with Shepley Bulfinch. Through Alan’s efforts, TLCD and Shepley Bulfinch were awarded the project. As TLCD’s highest profile project at that time, it was instrumental in launching TLCD as a premier architectural firm in the region. With Doyle Library, Alan’s longstanding interest in libraries blossomed into a true passion, leading to several other community college libraries. Alan has authored 2 books on the topic of academic library design, first Touring Libraries and more recently, Experiencing Libraries.

As a Principal of the firm Alan quickly demonstrated his leadership abilities, assuming many office management responsibilities. Over the majority of our 22 years working together Alan and I have shared the bulk of management duties, picking up the slack from the other as our other responsibilities required. The dynamic of our working relationship could best be described as “intuitive”, though I am pleased to note that we do not (usually) complete each other’s sentences!

alan butler, don tomasi, partners, tlcd architecture, celebrating 30th work anniversaryIt has been a rewarding 22 years, and we’ve had a great time working together. With the help of the incredibly talented people we work with, together we have had the opportunity to oversee the impressive evolution of our firm into something quite remarkable.

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.

Look Who’s Talking: Congress Visits the New American AgCredit Headquarters!

The new 120,000 sf American AgCredit Headquarters project by TLCD Architecture is attracting a lot of attention! Last week Congressmen Mike Thompson and Jared Huffman toured the project along with about 20 folks from the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau, led by its Executive Director Ken Fischang. American AgCredit will offer approximately 40,000 sf of lease space, and the Sonoma County Tourism Bureau will move their offices to this new space.

tlcd architecture, american agcredit headquarters building, sonoma county airport, architecture, design

On the heels of the visit by our local Congressmen, TLCD staff took a tour of this amazing project this week. We walked up the temporary stairs to the 3rd floor to explore the Board Room and adjacent outdoor deck. We then checked out the 3rd floor “skybridge”, and saw where the roof walk is being installed. The roof walk will connect the two 3-story portions of the building, and will provide seating with views into the courtyard. It was a beautiful day, and we were able to admire the 360-degree views to nearby hills including Mt. St. Helena.

We also examined the mockup of the building’s perforated zinc cladding. This custom designed cladding system will be installed about 3 feet beyond the building exterior to provide shading, which in turn will greatly reduce the cost to cool what is already a highly energy efficient building. TLCD designed the cladding system with built-in pockets that will hide randomly spaced vertical LED lights around the perimeter of the building. At night these lights will be connected to a computer controller that will provide a randomly changing pattern of lights that will slowly fade on and off, creating ever-changing patterns.



How Many Architects Does It Take to Pack a Food Box?

That’s a rhetorical question because you can never have too many architects helping out at their local food bank. TLCD Architecture had a team volunteer at the Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB) last Friday and it was both gratifying and a great team building exercise. A staff member gave us a tour before we settled in to pack food. Within 90 minutes we had packaged and loaded nearly 5 palettes of food boxes. Anyone remember the “I Love Lucy” episode where the assembly line items are flying by? It felt that way at first, but we got the hang of it!

We heard that the facility needs 1200 volunteers each month to get food processed and packaged, so we will definitely be back.




Carl Servais Takes on Winter in DC for AIA Grassroots Conference

As the 2015 President of the AIA Redwood Empire Chapter (AIARE), I recently had the privilege of traveling to Washington DC for the annual AIA Grassroots Conference. Over 600 architects and administrative staff gathered together to advocate important legislative issues with our representatives on Capital Hill, to receive leadership training, and to network and collaborate with each other to find ways of better serving the AIA membership. I met with AIA leaders from chapters all around the country, from coastal Louisiana to northern Minnesota. Many of the folks I spoke with had issues similar to what our local chapter faces: how to best serve a diverse set of professionals from a vast geographic area with limited resources and how to motivate and inspire the emerging professionals who will carry the leadership torch of our future. There are no simple or easy answers to these questions, but I met lots of inspiring colleagues and I returned with a renewed sense of focus and energy, and with a handful of ideas that I will bring to my fellow directors on the AIARE Board.

Here are three of the highlights of my trip:

As an architect, of course the first thing I had to do after arriving was to walk the Mall. What I hadn’t realized is how beautifully the many historical buildings and monuments are lit up at night. I grew up in Wisconsin, so the cold winter night was no problem for me.

On the first day of the conference, my schedule didn’t start until the afternoon, so I took advantage of the free time by waiting in line to see oral arguments of the so-called “Obamacare” law at the Supreme Court. I waited for about 2-1/2 hours to get in, and I only got to sit for about 3 minutes in the courtroom, but it was well worth the wait to see the court in action. Fortunately, there were about 200 protestors providing entertainment for everyone waiting in line.

Finally, Wendy Young, the AIARE Executive Director, set up meetings for us to meet with 5th District Congressman Mike Thompson, and 2nd District Congressman Jared Huffman. After receiving training from the AIA federal advocacy team about the important legislative issues that were on the table, I was prepared to discuss the following:

1. Protect and enhance the Federal Historic Tax Credit (HTC).

2. Cosponsor the Safe Building Code Incentive Act, which encourages states to voluntarily adopt and enforce nationally recognized model building codes for residential and commercial structures in order to qualify for additional post-disaster FEMA grants.

3. Cosponsor the National Design Services Act, which extends to architecture graduates student debt relief in exchange for work in underserved communities.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature intervened and dumped 6 inches of snow the day of my meeting, thereby effectively shutting the government down for the day. We still made the trek up to Capital Hill and had the opportunity to meet with Scott Rasmussen, Congressman Huffman’s Legislative Assistant. I think I made a good, confident presentation of the legislation we were there to promote and I went away feeling great about having advocated for our profession.

Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Day – GoPro Style!

Quick update to the recent blog post on the AIA Redwood Empire volunteer day for Habitat for Humanity of Sonoma County.  What I didn’t mention is that we brought the GoPro camera and had a little fun capturing our work. You’ve heard of the “birds-eye” view, we thought strapping the camera to a shovel would add an interesting perspective!

For more information on the AIARE Volunteer Day, read more here.

Win-Win Meeting Space for Non Profits in Sonoma County

Each year, the Board of Directors of the AIA Redwood Empire (AIARE) gathers for a retreat to strategize and plan for the coming year. This year as the current AIARE President, I organized the retreat that was held at the new Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB) facility in Santa Rosa. In addition to supporting and partnering with an essential community assistance organization by renting the REFB boardroom for the day, the AIARE board members were also able to take time during the retreat to do some volunteer work in the warehouse. Our group enthusiastically worked on sorting carrots from a pair of 1,700 pound palettes into 3 pound bags to get them ready for distribution to families in need.

After volunteering, the AIARE board members were led on a tour of the facility by the architect, Julie Jackson, AIA of Jackson Liles Architecture in San Francisco, and by a former President of the REFB Board of Directors, Alan Butler, AIA of TLCD Architecture. Alan was board member of the REFB at a time when they had outgrown their old facility. Alan helped write the program for the innovative new facility after touring a number of food banks across the country to see what worked and what didn’t. As a result, the new facility includes elements that do more than just store and distribute food, like a small market for low income customers and a commercial kitchen that supports new programs like “upcycling” bulk foods, and culinary education for the community.

The REFB is the food distribution hub for over 175 food related non-profits and distributes almost 14 million pound of food to the region each year. They offer their conference facilities at a very reasonable rate to non-profits in order to expose their operation to a wider audience. Check out the REFB if your non-profit needs a meeting space!

TLCD @50

TLCD Architecture, 50th anniversary, founded in 1965, architecture firm sonoma county

This morning everyone at TLCD Architecture toasted our 50th anniversary. Quite the milestone!

It began on January 1st of 1965 when Tom Tomasi left Steele & VanDyke, then one of Santa Rosa’s 2 primary architectural firms to begin his own practice. He worked above Stanley’s Music (now Skeeters, et. al.) on 4th Street in Santa Rosa in a rear office with a view of the blank wall of the (now former) Topaz Room. From those humble beginnings he moved into a well-known Victorian house at the corner of Sonoma and Brookwood Avenues, also in Santa Rosa.

Several years later George Lawry began his own firm, later joined by Ken Coker and Joel DeSilva. LCD’s office was also on Sonoma Avenue, just a couple blocks down the street from Tomasi Architects. In 1993 all of these initials (and a couple dozen others!) came together to create Tomasi, Lawry, Coker, DeSilva, later TLCD Architecture.

At 50 TLCD Architecture has a rich legacy of completed projects, and continues to be a positive force in the communities in which we work. We continue to grow and evolve, and look forward to new and exciting things in the years ahead.

We’ll more formally celebrate this important milestone later this year, once we’ve moved into our new space at Museum on the Square. But kicking things off with a nice Sonoma County sparkling wine on the first workday of the year isn’t a bad way to get the celebration rolling!




Groundbreaking Ceremony for Transit Facility in Chico

At a formal ceremony earlier in October, ground was broken for the new Butte Regional Transit Operations Center In Chico, California. The new 10-acre, 41,000 square foot facility, designed by TLCD Architecture, replaces the current, outdated and undersized 3-acre bus operations and maintenance facility.

Butte County Association of Governments, Butte Regional Transit Operations Center, Chico, CA, TLCD Architecture, Groundbreaking Jon Clark Executive Director
Jon Clark, Executive Director BCAG
Butte County Association of Governments, Butte Regional Transit Operations Center, Chico, CA, TLCD Architecture, Groundbreaking
Officials at Groundbreaking Ceremony






BCAG is an association of all the local governments within Butte County. It is responsible for development of federal and state transportation plans and programs that secure transportation funding for the region’s highways, transit, streets and roads, pedestrian and other transportation system improvements. BCAG is also the administrative and policymaking agency for the region’s public transit “B-Line” bus service.

The 10-acre Butte Regional Transit Operations Center will provide administrative, operations, maintenance, as well as bus wash and fueling. An orchard-like grid of trees responds to the extensive orchards that surround the city of Chico, and firmly place the project in its regional context. This “orchard” provides shade to parking lots and areas around buildings. It extends to the street in lieu of street trees.

Butte County Association of Governments, Butte Regional Transit Operations Center, Chico, CA, TLCD Architecture Rendering, Groundbreaking
TLCD Architecture Rendering

Large shade canopies are covered by a photovoltaic array capable of meeting most or all of the facility’s electrical needs, while providing shade for a significant portion of the bus fleet. The photovoltaic array is one of many sustainable design features of the project, which is targeting LEED certification at the Silver level.

To view a real time webcam of the project, click the Kitchell link below…

TLCD Architecture’s Don Tomasi Celebrates 30th Work Anniversary!

don tomasi, principal at tlcd architecture, 30th work anniversaryBy Alan Butler, Principal TLCD Architecture

In today’s world it’s rare to stay anywhere for 30 years, so it’s with great excitement that we celebrate the 30th work anniversary of my friend and partner Don Tomasi. Our paths nearly crossed in the summer of 1984 when unbeknownst to each other, Don and I were working and living on the same street in Seattle, Washington. Later that year, Don returned to Santa Rosa to work for his father at Tomasi Architects. The following year in 1985, I returned to Santa Rosa and began working at Lawry Coker DeSilva Architects… located at the other end of Sonoma Avenue as Tomasi Architects. Although blocks apart, it would be another few years before we met.

In 1993 the two firms merged to form Tomasi Lawry Coker DeSilva Architects later to become TLCD Architecture. In the ensuing 21 years that we’ve worked together, the firm has grown to become a premier design firm in the North Bay region. It is under Don’s design leadership that the firm has evolved to produce a wide range of innovative and finely crafted projects in the education, healthcare, civic and commercial realms.

don tomasi, principal at tlcd architecture, deturk round barn, aiacc award
DeTurk Round Barn

To mark this occasion, we started the day with cake and champagne at the office, and then Don will fly down to Los Angeles with TLCD Architect Kevin Teel to accept an AIA California Council Design Award for the DeTurk Round Barn project located in Santa Rosa. This is the 7th award for this notable historical project, and the first AIACC award for the firm. Not a bad way to celebrate a milestone work anniversary!

It’s been quite a ride, and next year TLCD celebrates its 50th year of practice since Don’s father founded the firm in 1965. In spring 2015, we will be moving our office to the Museum on the Square building in downtown Santa Rosa. Like so many other projects he has been involved with, I believe Don’s vision for Museum on the Square will be a transformative event in the life of our city.

museum on the square, TLCD Architecture, Santa Rosa, California, Luther Burbank Savings, California Wine Museum
Museum on the Square

I am glad we finally made the journey down the block and got together. I am proud to have been Don’s partner during many of his 30 years in practice. The relationship has always been rewarding and we have been blessed to find a group of talented people to work with. Happy 30th anniversary and here’s to many more!

TLCD Architecture: Always a Best Places to Work!

tlcd architecture, santa rosa architecture firm, north bay business journal, best places to work 2014

The votes are in and once again TLCD Architecture has been voted a Best Places to Work by our team! The annual North Bay Business Journal survey highlights local firms that have great workplaces. TLCD has no shortage of good times, professional fulfillment and camaraderie to share. This is a team that enjoys working collaboratively during office hours, as well as playing well together after hours.

This blog was launched 5 years ago with a goal to talk about our company culture, feature interesting updates on our projects and engage in a conversation about the practice of architecture. We hope it shows the world a little about ourselves and what makes TLCD a great place to work!


Sneak Peak at the Future of Banking

tlcd architecture, exchange bank windsor, bank branch of the future, ribbon cutting ceremony
Exchange Bank Ribbon Cutting at Windsor “Bank Branch of the Future”

This week the Santa Rosa, California based Exchange Bank held a well-attended ribbon cutting for the grand “reopening” of its Windsor branch. The bank was completely renovated and will serve as the bank’s prototype “Bank Branch of the Future”. The project was designed by TLCD Architecture of Santa Rosa, California in conjunction with DBSI of Chandler, Arizona. Midstate Construction of Petaluma, California was the General Contractor, and Trope Group of Santa Rosa provided furniture specification and installation services. Design of custom furniture was a collaborative effort with DFM Furniture out of San Francisco, who specializes in custom wood casegoods.

Surprisingly, the most unusual aspect of the project isn’t inside; a new outdoor patio offers a casual seating area for customers to relax or do their banking online. It is the only known outdoor bank patio according to those at the opening (if anyone is aware of others, we’d be interesting in knowing!). The patio has been a big hit, and is being enjoyed by many of the bank’s customers.

tlcd architecture, exchange bank windsor, bank branch of the future, outdoor online banking

A customer arriving at the branch is in for a surprise. They are first greeted by a concierge, who accesses the customer’s needs then directs them to the appropriate employee. Then another surprise; it becomes immediately apparent that there are no teller lines. Instead, customers interact with employees at sit-down semi-private offices, or at informal cash bars.

Cash bars are freestanding stand-up tables at which the customer and employee stand side by side during transactions! A “cash recycler” facilitates this informal arrangement. A cash recycler is a complex machine that handles a couple of simple, but important tasks—accepting and dispensing cash. It also stores money securely, keeps an accurate accounting of cash on hand, and automates the cash cycle. Both the cash bars and semi-private offices are equipped to handle any type of transaction

Other important features of the branch include a video conference room where customers can meet remotely with employees at Exchange Bank’s various locations about wealth management, trust services, and other services not provided at the branch. A coffee bar, kid’s area, and lounge give the branch hospitality feel, and make for an inviting environment for customers. Even if you are not yet an Exchange Bank customer, stop by the Windsor branch and check out what the future of banking looks like.


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.

Touring the Largest Collection of Wine Artifacts in the United States

Jim McCormick, California Wine Museum, TLCD Architecture, Museum on the Square

Yesterday, a group from TLCD Architecture had the rare opportunity to visit the largest and most diverse single collection of vintage wine related and viticultural artifacts in the United States. Jim McCormick, long-time collector, antique dealer and specialist in wine and viticultural antiquities, led the tour. His collection comprises 30 years of travel, hunting and gathering unique hard-to-find viticultural rarities from the wine regions of the United States and abroad, with an emphasis on California. It includes over 4,500 historical artifacts.

The collection is housed in Jim McCormick’s 2nd floor downtown Petaluma gallery, and in 3 barns located outside of town. We were amazed at the quality and diversity of his collection, but were equally impressed by the excellent condition of the objects; Jim has painstakingly restored each item, arranged them for display, and maintains them in beautiful condition. It is almost incomprehensible that one person can maintain 4,500 objects and the spaces they are housed in. Simply amazing! Jim is knowledgeable about each and every item in his collection, and is exceptionally passionate about what is obviously a labor of love. We feel honored to have been able to visit the collection, and to learn about the intricacies of many of the objects and their historic importance to the wine industry.

Much of his collection will be housed in the California Wine Museum (CWM), currently being designed by TLCD Architecture in collaboration with exhibit designer David Edquist of EDQ Design. The CWM will be located in Museum on the Square in downtown Santa Rosa and is expected to open in late 2015. The mission of the Museum will be to preserve and exhibit California’s wine heritage, educate visitors about state-of-the-art winemaking plus learn the nuances of wine appreciation.Visitors will be immersed in interactive exhibits of California wine history and wine making that include over a thousand of Jim’s artifacts. (collection) (museum) (EDQ Design)

Groundbreaking at Santa Rosa's American AgCredit Headquarters

American AgCredit, Headquarters Building, Groundbreaking Ceremony, TLCD Architecture

Approximately 200 people turned out yesterday for the formal Groundbreaking Ceremony for American AgCredit’s new 120,000 square foot headquarters building in the Airport Business Center, just north of Santa Rosa.

Designed by TLCD Architecture, the iconic zinc-clad structure will feature three floors of office space wrapping around an enclosed outdoor courtyard, two roof decks, and three “sky bridges”.

Several executives and board members from American AgCredit, along with Sonoma County 4th District Supervisor Mike McGuire spoke about the project, American AgCredit’s recommitment to keeping its headquarters in Sonoma County and how the project will allow the organization to accommodate projected growth. Then Supervisor McGuire along with representatives of American AgCredit, TLCD Architecture, and JMA Construction dug the ceremonial first shovelfuls of dirt. Following the ceremony, guests and dignitaries enjoyed snacks and beverages under a agent on what proved to be the hottest day of the year to date!

Construction will last approximately 18 months, with completion scheduled for November of 2015.


IIDA Northern California Honors TLCD at 2014 Awards Gala

At an evening ceremony held on March 19th, TLCD Architecture received an Honor Award from IIDA Northern California for the interior design of the Mendocino College Lake Center. The annual event, held at the beautiful Fox Theater in downtown Oakland, celebrates the very best in interior design. Nate Bisbee, Suzanne Nagorka and Domenica Sheets were present from our office and enthusiastically received the award in front of a packed house.

“We are so pleased that the IIDA jury chose to recognize the modestly-scaled project in Lake County as one of this year’s recipients. The new Lake Center Campus is the result of a 4-year long collaboration with Mendocino College staff and faculty. We could not be happier with the outcome! For our team of collaborators, this honor is a great way to recognize the tireless efforts of those who made the project a reality. We hope you appreciate the palette of simple, natural materials and the genuine care we put into the details,” said Nate Bisbee, lead Architect and Designer.

In 2013, TLCD Architecture received the IIDA NC Honor Award for the DeTurk RoundBarn. Back-to-back wins have us feeling well-loved!



Academic Center Taking Shape: Steel Topping Out at College of Marin

College of Marin, Academic Center, Topping Out Ceremony, TLCD Architecture, Mark Cavagnero Associates
Academic Center as seen from College Avenue

I had the great pleasure of participating in the Topping Out Ceremony for the College of Marin Academic Center on Friday, March 7. With perfect weather accompanying the event, the final piece of steel was lifted onto the three-story structure by the project’s general contractor, Wright Contracting. Designed by the team of TLCD Architecture and Mark Cavagnero Associates, the structural frame of the new building has taken shape at the corner of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and College Avenue in Kentfield. It is especially pleasing to see this project, which our team started planning with the College in 2009, progress towards its completion early next year. See the full article on the event in the Marin Independent Journal.

And for those who enjoy a high-wire act, see the amazing video from the steel beam’s perspective, as filmed by Wright Contracting:

TLCD and Family Rocks This Year's Secret Santa!

Secret Santa

The staff and partners at TLCD Architecture rocked it again this year as a Secret Santa Business Sponsor by showing overwhelming support of the Giving Tree Hearts in our office! Organized by our very own Tami Hebein, this is an annual fundraiser she and her son Nicolas have been involved with for the past 19 years. Tami had all of us assembling hearts earlier in November… and I might add it was quite a sight watching highly skilled architects trying to get ribbon through several hundred plastic hearts!

The Secret Santa program, a annual fundraiser by the Volunteer Center of Sonoma County, partners with local radio station KZST. The Giving Tree began in 1989 at The Volunteer Center with gift wishes for individuals on Red Heart Ornaments displayed on trees around Sonoma County. KZST started the Secret Santa program in 1990 with Brent Ferris reading letters about individuals and families and what they needed. While both groups were successful in finding individuals in the community to give generously, something was missing. The Giving Tree and Secret Santa joined forces in 2008 to provide a better way to meet the growing need at the holidays.

It was with pure joy that we shopped and wrapped gifts for all the hearts on our tree. Happy holidays to everyone in our community!


Ugly Holiday Sweaters Rule the Day at TLCD

Compiled Image

This week’s Wine Wednesday had the staff participating in  “TLCD’s First Annual Unofficial Ugly Sweater Contest”. Those braver folks hung in wearing their sweaters all day long… and one architect in particular could be heard from the other end of the office as he approached in his “jingle sweater”! It was great fun and hopefully inspired others to start planning their ugliest sweaters for next year… and the coveted Ugly Sweater medallion.

Healthcare Design Conference Highlights

The annual Healthcare Design Conference was held in Orlando Florida this year, and  is put on by the Healthcare Design Magazine and The Center for Health Design.  As an attendee of the four-day conference I came away with inspiration, information and invigoration. In addition to the exceptional facility tours, educational sessions, roundtable discussions and networking events, the keynote speakers stood out as the highlight of the conference.

Debra Levin (President and CEO of the Center for Health Design) provided inspiration in her opening address and reminded everyone that we are all working toward the common goal to improve healthcare delivery. The conference was full of chatter about the  Kid President video she showed during her address.

Thomas Goetz (former Executive Editor, Wired Magazine, and Author of The Decision Tree) talked about new ideas and technologies that can mitigate failure and optimize innovation in hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare infrastructure. He touched on everything from data visualization to workplace workarounds, and emphasized the opportunity everyone in the healthcare profession has to apply design thinking to their day-to-day routine.

Michael Murphy (Executive Director and Co-Founder of MASS Design Group) was the recipient of the Changemaker Award, and shared his experience  working with the Butaro Hospital in Rwanda, assisting with architectural solutions to mitigate and reduce the transmission of airborne diseases like tuberculosis.

Jake Poore (President and Chief Experience Officer, Integrated Loyalty Systems and former Disney Executive) closed the conference by sharing practical examples from a 20-year Disney veteran, who is now a “human architect” driven to elevate patient experiences, how patient-driven healthcare design links directly to patient satisfaction and, consequently, the success of the healthcare organization.

Having attended several of these conferences over the years, I find myself using the information and evidence based design resources I learn about in my day to day work on projects and in discussions with clients. TLCD Architecture is a Corporate Affiliate of The Center for Health Design, and I was thrilled to participate in a focus group discussion about next years conference being held in San Diego, CA. The 2014 Healthcare Design Conference will be in an amazing venue and full of relevent evidence-based design information and is well worth attending for professions related and associated with healthcare.

Local Impact of the Affordable Care Act

The North Bay Business Journal‘s annual Healthcare Conference was held today and the impact of the Affordable Care Act was discussed by a panel of North Bay healthcare leaders and another panel of insurance brokers.

North Bay Business Journal's Health Care Conference and Healthiest Companies in the North Bay Awards will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at Hyatt Vineyard Creek in Santa Rosa from 8-11:30 a.m.

As one of the attendees from TLCD Architecture‘s healthcare studio, I was left with two distinct impressions about the current healthcare landscape that are surprisingly quite different from national news reports: optimism and honesty.

Optimism: Both panels concurred that the current “pay for service” healthcare model is outdated, broken and unsustainable. The panels also agreed that the Affordable Care Act that transforms our healthcare system to focus on healthy outcomes through quality healthcare instead of quantity healthcare is the right approach.

Honesty: The panelists also agreed that the Affordable Care Act is not perfect nor is it a complete disaster. It is an opportunity to reshape our healthcare system that will take time and evolution to achieve a system that serves our communities to improve our health and happiness.

The coming months will be full of turbulence and growing pains, but only time will tell if the opportunity presented by the Affordable Care Act will be pursued with optimism and honesty.

Habitat for Humanity Build Day

H4H photo

On Saturday, a group of volunteers spent a sunny morning in Cotati working on a project for Habitat for Humanity of Sonoma County.   Carl Servais of TLCD Architecture organized the group through the local AIA Redwood Empire chapter and in partnership with the Leadership Santa Rosa Alumni Association.  The group of 10 volunteers spent the day hauling base rock and constructing a base for a keystone retaining wall.  The labor was tough and by the end of the day the completed work wasn’t much to look at.  However, with the level base and the first course now complete, future volunteer crews will be able to rely on that sturdy and true base to quickly assemble the remainder of the 6 foot retaining wall.

Kudos to this group of volunteers, who ended the day wondering when they can come back again to participate in this worthy endeavor!

St. Helena Montessori School Celebrates Opening of New Campus

St. Helena Montessori School welcomed the community to an open house for the new TLCD Architecture designed campus on September 6th. As many as 200 attendees saw firsthand that this is no ordinary school, nor is it an ordinary Montessori School.

This 20-acre campus accommodates a much wider range of ages than most other Montessori Schools, from age 2½ to ninth grade, with an Adolescent / Farm School. The school follows Dr. Maria Montessori’s philosophy of education as an “aid to life” – viewing the child as a being whose physical, cognitive, emotional and spiritual parts are interrelated, and whose educational environment must respect that unity.

Classrooms are large, with wood floors and open ceilings. Windows at each classroom building are scaled to the age of the students, and are placed at different heights above the floor accordingly. A State of California licensing inspector proclaimed them the most beautiful classroom interiors she had ever seen.

The school was constructed by Eames Construction of Petaluma, and construction management services were provided by Pound Management of Oakland. When complete the campus will feature boarding facilities, a working farm, and the new home for the Nimbus Arts Center.

TLCD Supports Mendocino College at Gala on the Green

On Saturday, June 1st, 300+ supporters of Mendocino College gathered for Gala on the Green, a fundraiser for the Mendocino College Foundation. A huge tent and colorfully decorated tables filled the new plaza between the Library and Learning Resource Center and the new Lowery Student Center, both designed by TLCD Architecture. It was a spectacular setting overlooking a sweeping view of the Ukiah Valley to the south.

Auction items and a wine tasting were hosted in the Lowery Student Center, opened to public viewing for the first time on Saturday. The building will house campus food service, the bookstore and student activities spaces. Students from the Culinary program prepared a great meal served by a corps of MESA program students in white shirts all marching in procession with some of the best crab cakes to be had. Live music was provided by Van and the Swells and added to the wonderful ambiance of the evening.

Having been closely involved in work at the campus, TLCD found it richly rewarding to see the new “town square” for the campus used so effectively and appreciated by the community.

TLCD Hydrating Squad Does it Again at Sonoma County Human Race

For the 4th consecutive year, TLCD Architecture has participated in the fun of Sonoma County’s Human Race as a Water Station sponsor. This is highly technical work and requires the expertise of only the best Hydrating Engineers. From pouring water into small cups, to carefully balancing them on the end of fingertips, the technique must successfully deliver water to quickly moving objects… aka runners and the slower moving walkers!

Bill McNearney, Alan Butler, Marina Starkey, Don Tomasi, his son Jeffrey were all on hand to demonstrate their technique and to cheer everyone towards the finish line of the 10k race. TLCD also had several participants in the race including Gwin Stumbaugh, John Dybczak, Sandy Petersen and her family. This is an event TLCD looks forward to each year and a great chance to give back to the community.

TLCD Attends Grand Opening of Lake County Center


Konocti 2

On May 1, 2013, several hundred people gathered on a warm and windy afternoon in Lakeport to officially celebrate the Grand Opening of the Mendocino College Lake County Center, designed by TLCD Architecture. Effusively described by several in attendance as the best building in Lake County, the new center provides 15,500 square feet of classrooms, labs and administrative space that replaced temporary facilities. Sited on a beautiful oak studded site at the western edge of Lakeport, this first phase has capacity for future growth. Somewhat unique to the Center is a combined learning resource center, administrative lobby and gathering space at the heart of the campus. Mount Konocti dominates the views and is the focus of the site layout and beautifully framed in an opening in the concrete wall of the cylindrical Community Room. The deep overhangs of the buildings are well adapted to the hot summers of Lake County and the overall scale inviting to the community. With an art classroom and science lab it will allow students to take classes that before required an hour-long trip over the daunting Hopland Grade to Ukiah. The appreciation for this facility was widely evident by those in attendance.

TLCD Participates in first annual AIARE Architectural Bike Tour


On Saturday the Redwood Empire chapter of the American Institute of Architects held its first annual Architectural Bike Tour in Santa Rosa. About 30 bicyclists, some attired in British tweed, made stops at 3 buildings of interest, the former Railroad Station in Railroad Square, the McDonald Mansion, and TLCD Architecture’s Luther Burbank Saving’s Headquarter Branch. Don Tomasi, a Principal of TLCD Architecture, discussed the history of the site and how the recently completed building for Luther Burbank Savings was designed and constructed. Don brought several exhibits including architectural study models and an early mock up of the building’s art glass windows by Ellen Blakeley. Luther Burbank Saving’s Headquarters Branch opened in December, 2012.

TLCD Architecture’s Workplace Wellness Program Featured at Symposium


TLCD Architecture was one of four panelists at the 3rd annual Workforce Wellness Symposium hosted by iWORKwell Sonoma County on March 27th.  This event featured 4 companies of differing sizes who have implemented employee wellness programs and included insights on how to sustain a program year after year.

The TLCD ‘Fit Force’ was launched 4 years ago to promote fitness, healthy eating habits, team-building and community involvement. Julie Wycoff, a Project Captain in TLCD’s Health care studio, has been a core committee member for the last several years and shared her thoughts about the program during the panel discussion. “I found the experience to be very enlightening. It was fascinating to hear how the other three companies approach and promote a culture wellness for their employees given their various sizes and financial commitments to a program. Obviously, Clif Bar sets the standard for a broad and holistic approach to a wellness program but that fact that other, smaller companies like TLCD are able to show measureable improvements in their employees’ well-being without the “deep-pockets” approach was even more impressive,” said Julie. “As a panel speaker, I tried to emphasize that at TLCD the concept of personal wellness for our employees directly ties in to our work as Architects and Designers as we create and design healthy buildings for people and the environment. I also tried to stress that creating a wellness program doesn’t need to be costly – most of what we do as a group is to encourage healthy living through simple things like eating healthy, getting more exercise and giving back to our community.”

The Symposium attracted about 60 people representing a cross section of local businesses interested in implementing a workplace wellness program, or building on existing programs. TLCD Architecture was thrilled to be selected in the small firm category and shared the stage with workplace champions from Clif Bar, LEMO USA, and Santa Rosa Oral Surgery. TLCD has also been honored in the past as a North Bay Business Journal Best Places to Work and Healthiest Workplaces in the North Bay.


Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony Celebrates Opening of Yulupa Elementary Multi-Use Building

On March 7th, the Bennett Valley Union School District held a public ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new Multi-Use Building at Yulupa Elementary School. The project, designed by TLCD Architecture, signifies the end of over 2 years of construction projects that have transformed this primary school campus in Southeast Santa Rosa.

City officials, District staff, and the design and construction team were all present to welcome students and their families to this new facility.

Along with the new Multi-Use Building, the local bond passed in November 2010, funded 12 new custom designed modular classrooms, an expanded library and a new soccer field with a perimeter running track.

Sustainable features include a rooftop solar installation which offsets the majority of the school’s electrical usage and the reuse of old modular classrooms into a new District Office.

3 TLCD Projects Receive NBBJ Top Project Awards

Mendocino College Library and Learning Resource Center
Mendocino College Library and Learning Resource Center

Last evening 3 of TLCD Architecture’s projects were recognized by the North Bay Business Journal as Top Projects in the region.  Each year the Business Journal recognizes outstanding projects in the North Bay in several categories.

Mendocino College Library and Learning Resource Center received a Top Project award in the ‘Green’ category, recognizing a project that exemplified sustainable design.  This is the second year in a row that TLCD Architecture received an award in this category.  This project features numerous “green” features including daylight harvesting, a highly efficient mechanical system, and a green (vegetated) roof.

Roseland Creek Elementary School
Roseland Creek Elementary School

Roseland Creek Elementary School, Roseland School District’s first new elementary school to be constructed in 50 years received the K-12 Education award.  This 2-story school features exceptional indoor and outdoor learning environments.  It too is a model of sustainability, and significantly outperforms stringent Title 24 requirements.

Luther Burbank Savings Headquarters Branch
Luther Burbank Savings Headquarters Branch

The winning entry in the Finance category was Luther Burbank Savings Headquarters Branch in downtown Santa Rosa, which opened for business earlier this week.  Defined by cherry colored exterior wood panels and crisp aluminum details, this highly visible project at the entry to downtown is hard to miss.

TLCD Architecture Sponsor of NBBJ Health Care Conference

The North Bay Business Journal held it’s annual Health Care Conference today at the Hyatt Vineyards Creek with two panel discussions focused on the timely topic of the Affordable Care Act.  For the 4th consecutive year, TLCD Architecture was a Major Sponsor of this event which brought health care professionals together for a post-election discussion by local insurance brokers with expertise in employee benefits, as well as a distinguished panel of local providers of health care plans.

Attending from TLCD Architecture were Jason Brabo, Stephen Peakes, Jaime Stich, Suzanne Nagorka, Monica Moore and Marina Starkey. “As a local architectural firm engaged in the industry, it’s gratifying to see health care leaders working through the intricacies of this new legislation and advocating for improved health care outcomes,” said Jason Brabo, Principal and Healthcare Studio Leader at TLCD.

TLCD Architecture’s People and Projects Acknowledged at AIARE Awards

Maintenance Center | Mendocino Transit Authority

TLCD Architecture was the proud recipient of two Honor Awards for DeTurk Round Barn and the new Maintenance Center for Mendocino Transit Authority at the AIA Redwood Empire Design Awards. The bi-annual event, held on Saturday, October 27 also recognized Jamie Stich for Associate of the Year, and Nate Bisbee for Young Architect of the Year – both new award categories for 2012.

The design awards were juried by a distinguished panel including: Michael Palladino/FAIA of Richard Meier and Partners, Julie VandenBerg Snow/FAIA of Julie Snow Architects, Inc., Mary Griffin/FAIA of Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects, and Mayor Ernesto Olivares from the City of Santa Rosa. With much thoughtfulness and deliberation, they evaluated all the entries and selected winners in three categories: Honor Awards, Merit Awards and Citation Awards.

DeTurk Round Barn | City of Santa Rosa

The DeTurk Round Barn historic renovation for the City of Santa Rosa received an Award in the “Alteration/Restoration/Rehabilitation” category, and the new Maintenance Center for Mendocino Transit Authority received an Award in the “Built Project” category. “Being recognized by such a distinguished jury for two Honor Awards is truly a reflection of our commitment to the community, immensely supportive clients, and of the high level of design both these projects exhibit,” said Don Tomasi AIA, Senior Principal at TLCD.

The AIARE Gala also recognized individuals and firms who have distinguished themselves in the Redwood Empire Chapter through an inaugural set of awards handed out Saturday night. TLCD was thrilled to have two team members recognized: Jaime Stich for Associate Member of the Year and Nate Bisbee AIA for Young Architect of the Year.

Jaime has served on the AIARE Board for several years and leads the Associates program and licensing study group. “I have always been impressed by Jaime’s commitment to architecture, sustainability and the community… his commitment goes well beyond personal interest or casual involvement; he actively participates and provides leadership and inspiration to others,” said Jason Brabo AIA, Principal at TLCD.

Nate has served in different capacities on the AIARE Board for many years and was one of the organizers of the North X NorthCoast lecture series. “Nate’s contributions in the field of architectural design have been focused on the exploration of a regional expression appropriate to our area…his vision and interest in this “regionalism” have greatly shaped and elevated this firm’s design work and reputation,” said Alan Butler AIA, Senior Principal at TLCD.

The AIARE event was a wonderful acknowledgement of the level of design work at TLCD Architecture, and of the talented people who make these projects a reality.

Mendocino Transit Authority’s New Bus Maintenance Facility Dedication

The Mendocino Transit Authority’s (MTA) new bus maintenance facility in Ukiah was dedicated last night.  Representatives of MTA, TLCD Architecture, GHD, Arntz Builders, and members of the community attended the dedication, which included dinner for the guests.  Jeff Blechel, TLCD Architecture’s Designer and Project Architect led a tour of the impressive new facility.

This project serves as the core maintenance facility for Mendocino County’s bus fleet. In addition to maintenance bays the project includes shops, storage, fueling, and vehicle wash facilities. The project was designed to minimize operational and maintenance costs, and to provide a strong visual presence from the adjacent freeway. 

A dramatic, “sawtooth” roof defines the facility.  This configuration allows for north facing clerestory windows that maximizes daylight harvesting while providing the ideal orientation for rooftop photovoltaic panels.  Prefinished insulated metal panels are attached directly to the metal structure, a simple and cost-effective alternative to a traditional stud wall.  These panels do not require painting or maintenance and are one of many sustainable features of this project.  The metal panels sit on a base of patterned concrete block walls that provide protection from vehicles.  The north wall is constructed of hardwood “rainscreen” that references the local timber industry and nearby lumber mill.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) Implementation Bootcamp

Guy Messick, Director of Design Technology at TLCD, will be an instructor for the BIM Implementation Bootcamp class at the California State University East Bay, Oakland Center Campus on September 7th, 2012 from 8:00am till Noon.  The Building Information Modeling Implementation Bootcamp provides students with the knowledge to develop a customized process, implementation plan, schedule, and task list addressing the specific needs of their firm regardless of size, type, and industry — from one-man operation to national firm, Design, Architecture, Engineering, Construction Management, or Contractor.

Program Objectives

  • Explore the challenges and benefits of adopting a 3D (BIM) approach to production and documentation.
  • Define a decision making process to plan the move to BIM.
  • Provide the tools necessary to create a realistic BIM implementation plan that responds to specific staff, financial, and schedule constraints.
  • Develop a process map, task list, and schedule for BIM implementation.

Who Should Attend

  • Strategic planners and decision-makers responsible for firm direction.
  • Technical and information system installation, maintenance, and support staff.
  • Applicable to the Architecture, Design, Engineering, Construction Management, and Construction industries.

Link to CSU information and registration:

PDF Info Sheet: BIM Implementation Bootcamp

TLCD Architecture Part of Team Sponsoring Amgen Start in Santa Rosa

Cycling is such a big part of our culture in Sonoma County and this weekend Santa Rosa will host the start of the Amgen Tour of California. TLCD Architecture is thrilled to be a sponsor of this premier event with the Museum on the Square Project Team. The team of Wright Contracting, TLCD Architecture, Summit Engineering, Quadriga Landscape Architecture, MKM Structural Engineers, and Gilleran Energy Management invites friends, family and colleagues to join us at the VIP Spectator Tent on May 13th between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. You’ll find our tent near the Beer Garden at 5th Street and Mendocino Avenue. Don’t miss out on the fun… be there!

TLCD “Hydrating” Squad Works the Human Race

The TLCD "Hydrating" Squad

TLCD Architecture is thrilled to be a regular sponsor and participant in Sonoma County’s annual Human Race. As the largest event of it’s kind in the United States, the Human Race is a great way to support local charities and non-profits. On Saturday, May 5th, the TLCD “hydrating” squad (Suzanne, Bill, Jaime and Marina) passed out water and cheered on the runners and walkers as they passed the last marker for the 10k event!

TLCD Participates in San Mateo CC Golf Tournament

The TLCD/CSW Foursome

TLCD Architecture and CSW/Stuber-Stroeh Engineering Group joined together on Monday, April 23rd as cart sponsors for the 2nd Annual Golf Tournament for the San Mateo Community College Foundation. Stephen Peakes and Brian Wright from TLCD, and Jim Keller and Jim Grossi from CSW teamed up for a very respectable 7 under par at the beautiful Stanford University golf course. The tournament is a fundraiser that goes towards scholarships and educational programs for the students of the 3-campus San Mateo Community College District.

Education Exchange

The 21st Century Classroom, one that focuses on the Four C’s; Communication, Creativity, Collaboration, and Critical Thinking was the main topic of discussion at the inaugural Napa Valley Education Exchange, a three day conference that I was able to attend last week in Napa.  The conference attendees included school district superintendents and educators from all over the State of California.

We were treated to very informative and inspirational presentations from education futurists Dr. Yong Zhao, Ken Kay, and Dr. Pat Wolfe.  The presentations were focused on the current state of our education system and how it needs to be changed in order to support the learning needs of our current and future students.

This conference was especially interesting as I was able to learn about many of the challenges being faced by school districts.  As architects, we play an important role in developing educational environments that are inspirational to those who use them.  Flexible classroom spaces that incorporate advanced technology, flexible furniture, natural daylighting, fresh air, and good acoustics are critical elements of today’s classroom.

John Dybczak AIA

Thoughts about the SSU Economic Outlook Conference

Jason Brabo and I attended the 2012 Sonoma State University Economic Outlook Conference on February 23, a joint collaboration between SSU and the North Bay Business Journal. This year’s event provided regional economic analysis and forecast information from Dr. Robert Eyler of Sonoma State University, as well as a candid discussion of the State budget by Controller John Chiang. It comes as no surprise, that the underlying message is – slow, steady recovery nationwide, with bigger challenges for California’s economy.

With an impressive panel of speakers, we heard from SSU President Ruben Arminana, who spoke about the economic and cultural impact the Green Music Center will have on our region. As one of the top musical venues in the world, this center will be an international attractor, creating a “buzz” that will enhance the concept of cultural tourism in the north bay. Andy Berliner, CEO of Amy’s Kitchen gave an stirring talk about his company’s mission to provide healthy, convenient organic food to consumers. With roots in Sonoma County, Mr. Berliner spoke about his company’s focus on a quality work environment, employee health and it’s rapid growth into international markets.

Of particular interest, was the panel discussion with Jill Techel, Mayor for City of Napa,  Carolyn Stark, Director of the Sonoma County BEST program, and Remy Gross, Director of Technology for the Buck Institute. These panelists, representing the private and public sector, shared specific strategies for stimulating business and job growth through innovation and forward thinking. TLCD Architecture, a member of the Sonoma County BEST program, is poised to work with Carolyn Stark and other members of the program to stimulate job growth through new business opportunities in Sonoma County.

SMPS Mixer at TLCD’s Office

Last night TLCD Architecture hosted a mixer for the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) North Bay and San Francisco Chapters.  The event provided an opportunity for Marketing and Business Development professionals within the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction industry to network with one another and learn about what SMPS has to offer.

Throughout the last year, the SMPS North Bay Chapter organized a number of professional enrichment and educational events and I have found each of them to be extremely engaging and valuable.  It was great to share my experiences with other members and their guests.

Check out photos from the event below.


Groundbreaking for Mendocino College Lake Center

A festive groundbreaking ceremony for Phase 1 of the new Mendocino College Center in Lakeport was held on Thursday, October 20, under bright sunshine. The event was attended by over 120 people, including community members, college staff and administrators, the architects and contractor.

The event started with words by college president Kathy Lehner and board of trustees chair Joel Clark thanking the community for their support of Bond Measure W, which made this project possible. Mark Rawitsch, the Lake Center Dean of Instruction, spoke about how this facility will enhance the District’s ability to better serve the Lake County students. Director of Facilities Mike Adams thanked the stakeholders and design team, and was given a tomato (see photo) for planting on the site, a long tradition signifying planting the seeds for growth.

Project Architect Nate Bisbee of TLCD Architecture talked about how this project was designed to take advantage of the beautiful site and views, and Wright Contracting president Mark Davis spoke about their excitement of working on this project, and their long relationship with Mendocino College, going back to the original campus construction in Ukiah. Ruzicka Associates graciously hosted a reception after the ceremony at their offices just north of the site. The ceremony also included the mandatory photos of the Board of Trustees with the golden shovels.

The new Lake Center, located on a 30-acre site on Parallel Drive, will include 15,000 square feet of classrooms, computer, art, and science labs, administration and student support spaces, and a round classroom/community room. The facility replaces the existing center, which is located in leased office space one mile to the north. The new facility is scheduled to be completed by the Spring semester of 2013.

Family Justice Center Sonoma County Opens it’s doors!

I was thrilled to be at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Family Justice Center Sonoma County yesterday with my team-mates Mark, Dennis and Leslie. It was quite a turn-out with lots of folks who had a hand in the project at various stages and quite a number of our Sonoma County political representatives.  The high point for me was seeing the end result of a project that started with sketching out the vision of the Site Committee in charette sessions in early 2010.  Those sketches morphed their way into 3D drawings of the space, which we fine-tuned and fitted out with color, material and lighting solutions.  The result is an amazing facility that provides a warm, welcoming and safe environment for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse. My favorite room in the project is “The Nest” which lies in the exact center of the building.  The oval shape, dome ceiling and soft lighting represent the vision of the service providers and community based organizations that want victims in our community to know that people care enough to provide a special place for them as they journey through a challenging time in life. To read more about the project check out the recent article in the Press Democrat.

Reflections on the Monterey Design Conference

Over the weekend, eight members of TLCD Architecture travelled down California’s coastline to the AIACC Monterey Design Conference. As a non-architect (though somewhat of a closet arch-geek) I was thrilled to be invited to attend the conference as a TLCD representative. After a couple of days back in the office and some time absorbing and reflecting, I thought I would share a little from my experience…

The Monterey Design Conference is held every two years at the epically beautiful Asilomar Conference Center in Pacific Grove and draws some of the most renowned architects of our time.  As a first-timer to the event, one could image that I was a bit nervous.  Like a rookie ballplayer joining a team mid-season, I walked into the main hall with the knowledge that I was amongst a group of well-established friends and colleagues who have partnered, collaborated, and competed with each other for years.  Though I was admittedly somewhat tongue-tied and star struck by the talent surrounding me, I was quickly assured and encouraged by the general camaraderie and openness amongst all of the attendees.

The list of speakers was impressive to say the least.  From Tom Kundig’s exploration into the interaction between building and landscape to Dr. Dickson Despommier’s response to global food shortages and environmental degradation through vertical farming, the key focus of the conference seemed to orbit around the larger concepts of sustainability.


But for me, listening to Jeanne Gang was the true highlight of the entire conference.  As she began to show her work, Gang intricately guided us through a complexly deep and thoughtful approach to design (it is no surprise that she was honored as a MacArthur Fellow this September).  From finding balance in urban ecology to creating a vision of communities in a postindustrial landscape, Gang realizes projects that few could even conceive possible.

Looking back on the conference, I see how it has changed and expanded my understanding of the impact of design on our world and when Monterey Design Conference 2013 comes along, count me in!

-Bridgett McGrath, TLCD Marketing Team Member

TLCD Architecture Honored at Best Places to Work Awards

[slideshow]TLCD Architecture celebrated it’s first “Best Places to Work” award on Thursday, September 29th at a ceremony hosted by the North Bay Business Journal at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek in Santa Rosa. Attending from TLCD were Don Tomasi, Alan Butler, Jason Brabo, Mark Adams, Suzanne Nagorka, Janet Klain, Craig Gaevert and Marina Starkey.

The sheer number of people in attendance (over 450) is a testament to the number of companies dedicated to growing their business in the North Bay and to providing a quality workplace for their employees. Thanks to all our employees who voted TLCD Architecture a Best Places to Work… you are the best!

SDAT Recommendations and Presentation

Last night Nate and I attended the SDAT (Sustainable Design Assessment Team) presentation for the proposed Southeast Greenway project. Nate was a key member on the SDAT steering committee and was involved throughout the process. The presenters were from around the country and volunteered their time to solicit feedback from our community on how to best utilize this unique potential civic resource. They then took the feedback that was generated from multiple community workshops and incorporated it all in a preliminary sketch demonstrating how they envisioned the greenway integrating and improving the transportation network of the city with a series of one way trails and a variety of uses at selected key intersections (see sketch above). The sketch above is a diagram I generated from memory of last night’s presentation, as the official report from the SDAT team is not due to be released for several weeks. Please visit the following website for more information on the Greenway and how you can provide support.

KA Connect 2011 – Talks Online

KA Connect is a knowledge and information management conference for the
AEC industry.  Thought leaders from all over the world come together San Francisco to share best practices, stories, and ideas about how they create, capture, and share knowledge in their firms.  This link:here will take you to the recorded talks from the 2011 conference – think TED for the AEC industry.

North Bay Biz Readers Name TLCD Architecture Best Architectural Firm in Northbay

The setting was the Santa Rosa Golf & Country Club and the event the was the 22nd annual “Northbay’s BEST” awards party hosted by NorthBay Biz Magazine.

TLCD Architecture was thrilled to be recognized by readers as the “Best Architectural Firm” in the business services category. Don Tomasi, Mark Adams, John Dybczak and Marina Starkey attended and enjoyed networking with business professionals from around the North Bay and tasting the incredible food and wine offerings.

The full page firm profile in the Awards issue showcased the diversified work TLCD is doing throughout Northern California, including Museum on the Square which will house the Sonoma County Museum and TLCD’s new office.

TLCD Leads Tour of Santa Rosa Utilities Facility

TLCD Architecture was joined by Winzler & Kelly, and Quadriga Landscape Architecture in hosting the local IFMA Chapter on a Sustainable Facilities Design Tour. IFMA (International Facility Management Association) members were invited to a presentation and site visit May 18 at the City of Santa Rosa West College Utilities Facility Offices.  Key presenters included Mark Adams, Suzanne Nagorka, Dan Reiter, and Bill Mastic. Around 30 people representing facility management groups and associated businesses were “wowed” by the impressive training room, crew rooms, and shops. The building is also designed to function as the City’s Emergency Operations headquarters. The tour provided a great opportunity for other facilities managers to talk about trends in facility design and some of the challenges and successes on this great project.

TLCD Principal Mark Adams leads the tour group.

TLCD Principal Mark Adams leads the tour group.

TLCD sponsors the Sustainable Enterprise Conference

The Sustainable Enterprise Conference was one of the better Friday the 13th events in recent memory. In the first year of sponsoring this event, and with a turnout of over 400 attendees, we had a wonderful opportunity to share ideas on nurturing our planet and our communities. We got to chat with a diverse cross-section of business owners, educators, government officials, entrepreneurs, students, and environmental advocates.

Topics ranging from economic drivers, transportation, green energy, sustainable agriculture, and community education were presented with insight and enthusiasm. The realities of the environmental challenges facing us were paired with a myriad of innovative solutions currently in use and those that will inspire us in the future. Although the topics were diverse, one recurring theme that presented itself was the need to constantly re-examine our assumptions rather than simply continue along business as usual.

TLCD’s booth highlighted 2 recently completed local projects – the DeTurk Round Barn and the City of Santa Rosa’s Utilities Facility. Both projects are great examples of TLCD’s integration of sustainability features which are a fundamental part of our design process on every project. Recently published white papers on High-Performance Mechanical Systems, Evidence-based Design, and Displacement Ventilation were also displayed. We also had fun encouraging participation in our (free) raffle for a gift certificate box of organic produce.

TLCD Architecture and the Redwood Empire Food Bank Rock the Human Race!


Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s Human Race. TLCD had 11 runners and 9 volunteers come out on a beautiful spring morning for this incredible community fundraiser! TLCD Architecture teamed with The Redwood Empire Food Bank at this event and together raised over $3300 for the food bank. If you spotted neon orange shirts, chances are it was either the human caterpillar chain formed by the REFB team, TLCD’s 3k and 10k runners, the team at Newanga & Hoen handing out water, or the face-painters we had at the Marketplace booth. This event really captures the essence of Sonoma County and the spirit of giving… and it’s a really good time!

TLCD’s Green Week

Earth Week at TLCD Architecture

Thanks to everyone who participated in TLCD’s first annual Earth Week celebration. Just to recap… we started with a week-long challenge to walk or ride your bike to work, take the stairs and generally get up and moving. Tuesday Bridgett demonstrated how to make earth friendly cleaning and personal care products at a great Lunch-n-Learn. Wednesday was a full day with a crew working on our green roof deck to refurbish our old redwood furniture and clean up the planters. Wednesday evening our Wine Wednesday topic was CSA baskets (Community Supported Agriculture) and the staff enjoyed delicious organic fruits and nuts. Dayna lead a team of picker-uppers to walk the Santa Rosa Creek and collect trash on Thursday. On Friday or “Earth Day” we raffled-off prizes to those who took up the walk, run, exercise challenge and ended the week with a hike in Annadel State Park… which was in full glory with wildflowers.

Many thanks to the Partners for letting us plan an entire week of activities and to all of you who worked so hard to make this happen!

Earth Week Prince Memorial Creek Clean-up Day

Super Clean Up Crew

Clean-up crew Power!
With determination and bravery several staff members joined forces to eradicate the creek area of trash.
We are happy to report, this round bagged a lot less trash than our previous event.
Many thanks to those who participated. Every little bit helps.
Happy Earth Week to all.

Mother Nature thanks you.

St. Patrick’s Day Feast

In a less traditional approach to St. Patrick’s Day, TLCD staff prepared colorful and healthy foods in a rainbow of colors. Green food items were actually “greens” from the earth and there was a delicious array of flavors and textures. From hand-dipped strawberries, homemade angel food cake and blueberry/pear tarts the desserts were even better!


Thanks to all our TLCD “foodies” who brought dishes in for today and have a happy and safe St. Patrick’s Day.

Second Annual TLCD Bowl-a-Rama!

Last Friday a group of TLCD folk and family tested their bowling skills during a friendly but spirited tournament.  Jay Jensen (Scott’s Dad) impressed us all as he walked away with the award for High Game (169) and High Individual Average.  Carl Servais captured the highly-coveted Most Strikes award. 

Dayna goes for one of her many spares

Other awards (and braggin’ rights) included:

Best Team Name: The Bowlinators

Most Likely to go Pro: Max Psadelakis (Nanette’s son)

Best Bowling Form: Alyssa Moore (Josh’s daughter)

Best Bowling Outfit: Scott Jensen (gotta love them shorts)

Most Creative Ball Toss: Kevin Teel (complete with face plant)

High Team Score: The Flintstones (Yabba Dabba Doooo!)

High Team Average: The Flintstones (Wilmaaaaaaaa)

It was a great change of pace from our work environment and big fun to hang out with family members we don’t get to see real often. Aside from a few sore thumbs and weekender aches, the group got through the workout to make it to the pizza round across the street at Mary’s Pizza Shack.

George Psadelakis (Nanette's hubby) shows the pro form
Serious team strategy sessions

Cash Conference 2011

Don and John attended the 2011 CASH conference held at the Sacramento Convention Center. The event was attended by nearly 1000 school district personnel, architects, engineers, and contractors involved with the design and construction of school facilities. The theme of this year’s conference was “Your Challenges, Your Solutions, Your Conference”. Many of the workshops and roundtable discussions were focused on high performance schools, and improving academic performance through good design. It was also inspiring to see some of the award winning projects that school districts around the state have recently completed.


TLCD Gives Generously During Holiday Season

TLCD’s second annual 1/2 Ton Food Drive Challenge ended on a high note last week when we reached 1075.5 pounds of food for the Redwood Empire Food Bank. Many thanks go out to our wonderful staff who not only contributed to the food drive in a big way, but also gave generously to needy families through the Volunteer Center’s Giving Tree. Thank you for making this holiday season better for families in need.

Knowledge Architecture – KA Connect Event

KA Connect 2011 is a knowledge and information management conference for the AEC industry. Thought leaders from all over the world will come together to share best practices, stories, and ideas about how they organize information and manage knowledge in their firms.  Whether you are in Practice Leadership, Operations, Human Resources, Marketing, Finance, BIM/CAD Management, or of course, IT, this event may well be of interest.  See link below
for more information:


McCarthy Library Receives Merit Award at the AIARE 2010 Design Awards


It was a great win for TLCD this past Saturday at the AIA Redwood Empire Chapter 2010 Design Awards. Napa Valley College’s McCarthy Library, which was completed in 2009, received the Merit Award in the Built Category. With 57 entries in total, the 2010 competition was one of the toughest yet. Projects ranged from private residences to large education facilities, backyard studios to estate wineries. During the awards ceremony, local architects and their invited guests meandered through the banquet hall to view presentation boards for the submitted projects.

While we all settled into our chairs for the awards announcement, there was a tiny hum of excitement across the hall. Wendy Young, AIARE Executive Director, started off the awards by thanking the sponsors and expressing how great it was to have so many talent individuals gathered in one space.

When McCarthy Library was revealed as the winner of the 2010 Merit Award, a huge round of applause came from the TLCD peanut gallery.  Senior Principal Alan Butler accepted the award on behalf of the TLCD team and appreciated the hard work and creativity that made the McCarthy Library a reality.  Check out the submission photos for the McCarthy Library in the slideshow above. To view the full list of all of the Design Awards entries, visit the AIARE website.

TLCD Gang at the 2010 Sonoma County Healthcare Conference

Yesterday several of us attended the North Bay Business Journal’s 2010 Sonoma County Healthcare Conference. TLCD Architecture has been a sponsor of this event for the past three years and was encouraged by the strong turnout at our booth. “What is an architecture firm doing at a health conference”, you ask? Great question! Since this was overwhelmingly the most frequent question at last year’s conference we decided to beat everyone to the punch and place tent cards on all the tables encouraging attendees to stop by our booth and find out why we were there! It was very successful and many people stopped by and entered to win our fitness package that we raffled off at the end of the conference. So why was an architecture firm at a healthcare conference you ask? TLCD is committed to our local healthcare community and feel it is our responsibility to be sure all the health providers in our area are aware of the award winning design services that are available to them in their back yard. Many healthcare providers, especially the smaller or independent practitioners are not familiar with the rigorous review and planning regulations that are involved in order to realize their maintenance and expansion plans. In all, we had a great time meeting people in our community who share our commitment to healthcare excellence and informing them about how TLCD can assist them by improving the quality of their facilities for their members. Thanks to Marina and Bridgett for all their hard work and preparations, it really showed!

Halloween Fun at TLCD!

Lobsters, Giant’s Players and Movie Characters dominated the day at the annual TLCD Architecture Halloween contest. The Healthcare team, wearing Lobster hats were at the mercy of evil chef Dylan, who was intent on skewering them. The two consecutive wins by the San Francisco Giants inspired Julie to dress as Tim Lincecum and Marina as Brian “The Beard” Wilson. Our newest hires showed their creativity with movie inspired themes. Scott was Indiana Jones, Bridgett was Russel from the movie “Up” and Amanda was an Indian Princess.

It was great fun and thanks to everyone who participated!


Middle School Students Visit TLCD

On October 7th TLCD Architecture was visited by 30 students from Roseland Middle School.  These students were interested in learning about the professions of architecture and interior design and heard from four presenters.  Domenica Sheets talked with the students about interior design.  Dylan Chavez explained the importance of green design in light of global warming, and he showed them TLCD Architecture’s green roof.  Guy Messick showed images and videos of various BIM and 3D modeling programs, and gave students the opportunity to take control and fly through a building model.  Don Tomasi talked about becoming an architect and talked about the process of design, using Museum on the Square as an example.The students each wrote wonderful thank-you letters.  They are great – you have to check them out!

Student Thank-You Letters

TLCD Attends Impact Sonoma Conference

Impact Sonoma

Mark Adams and Marina Starkey attended the first ever Impact Sonoma Conference on October 19th, hosted by the North Bay Business Journal. The event brought business leaders in the technology, services and clean tech industries together to discuss their strategies for locating businesses in Sonoma County, and more importantly how to spur innovation and create jobs. Companies represented by panelists included Horizon Air, Raydiance, TriVascular, EnPhase, Metier, and Clubsource Development Partners.

Each of their stories for building businesses in Sonoma County are fascinating and shed light on the unique challenges of locating to the North Bay. To read more, click on the link below.



TLCD Architecture Receives Two NBBJ Top Project Awards

The North Bay Business Journal announced the winners of the 2010 Top Project Awards today and TLCD Architecture had two winning projects! The McCarthy Library at Napa Valley College was selected in the Education category, and the Kaiser Permanente Hospital Expansion in Santa Rosa was selected in the Medical category. These projects will be honored at an Awards Reception on December 8th at the Sheraton Sonoma County and will also be featured in a special NBBJ supplement publishing on December 6th.

The caliber of design work at TLCD and the level of commitment by our staff is a true source of pride!

AIA San Francisco Mentorship Program – “Bridging the gap while using BIM”

David Haynes of Ideate and I will be presenting in San Francisco at the AIASF on October 19th as part of their Mentorship program.  Info below:

AIASF Mentorship + Ideate “Bridging the gap while using BIM”
October 19, 2010 at 11:30am  – 1 pm
AIA San Francisco, 130 Sutter Street, Suite 600 AIASF

Beyond the introduction and benefits of BIM, we will discuss how BIM users have filled in gaps that some of us may have discovered when transitioning to BIM.  Panelist include, Guy Messick Director of Design Technology, TLCD Architecture and David Haynes, Director of AEC Services, Ideate.  Moderated by the AIASF Mentorship committee.

Click here to RSVP:

New Kaiser Hospital Tower Opens

Kaiser Medical Center

Kaiser Santa Rosa hosted a grand opening for their new hospital tower expansion designed by TLCD Architecture. The 146,400 sf expansion nearly doubles the size of the hospital and includes a new emergency department, intensive care unit, interventional radiology suite, MRI, nuclear medicine center, and additional patient beds.

TLCD Architecture’s patient centered design of the hospital expansion brings the healthcare providers closer to the patients, encourages family participation in the healing of their loved ones, and is respectful of the enviornment with sustainable materials and features.

For more information about this project:

Santa Rosa Press Democrat

North Bay Business Journal

Check out photos from the grand opening ceremony.

Welcome Back Trailer Team!

Jack, Julie, Dayna and Bill

Monday, TLCD held a BBQ on the main deck to welcome the Kaiser trailer team back to the office. After being offsite for 2 years, the team will usher the new Northwing hospital expansion (82 bed addition; 146,400 sqft.) to completion by October 2010. Working closely with OSHPD from day one, the team was able to obtain approval for the hospital expansion in a unprecedented 15 months, with no deferred approvals.

Our office was able to provide Kaiser with the Architectural Design, Interior Design, Master Planning/Disruption Planning, Medical Planning/ Programming, Equipment Planning, Furniture Planning, Project Management, and BIM Consulting/Implementation.

Well done!

Welcome back everyone, thanks for all of your (continuing) hard work!

TLCD Honored at NorthBay biz “Best of” Event

NorthBay biz magazine held their annual “Best of” event on Thursday evening at the Santa Rosa Golf and Country Club.  TLCD was honored with a Gold Medal award, received by Alan Butler, Mark Adams, Marina Starkey and Sara Thompson. Alan also received the award for the Redwood Empire Food Bank for Gold Medal in the Nonprofit/Charitable Organization category.

This was the magazine’s 21st year conducting their annual readers poll, and the 9th year hosting the event.  In total more than 2500 reader ballots were cast, which translated to 43,000 votes in 38 different categories. Norm and Joni Rosinski–the publishers of the magazine–were dressed to the nines to present awards to 80 award-winning North Bay companies.  Upon receipt of their respective awards, local business people were given the chance to say a few words.  Their passion for their work and appreciative spirit were welcome, especially in recent tough economic times.

Set by the golf course with plenty of festive food and wine, this event made for an enjoyable evening.  Seven “Best of” wineries poured their renowned wines, including La Crema, J Vineyards and Winery, Honig Winery, Hanna Winery, Chalk Hill Estate, Siduri Wines, and Jordan Vineyard and Winery. TLCD looks forward to participating again next year!

NVC Presentation of the McCarthy Library

NVC library

History was made at Napa Valley College yesterday afternoon.  Around four o’clock, a large group of community members, campus staff and administrators, librarians, architects, contractors, engineers, parents, friends, and students gathered for the opening of the new McCarthy Library.  “This new building,” as described by Interim Superintendent/President Armond Phillips, “will be the hub of campus activity and a place for student learning and achievement for years to come.”  The building is appropriately dedicated to the late NVC president, Chris McCarthy who advocated for student learning throughout his career. The short presentation also included a few heartfelt words from Dean of Library and Learning Resources Bonnie Thoreen, Vice President of Instruction Sue Nelson, and Director of Campus Planning and Construction Dan TerAvest.  The presentation was concluded with a reading of “The Library,” a poem by Napa Valley Poet Laureate, Gary Silva.

The event proceeded with self-guided tours of the new building, live music, and food service from the new cafe.  The mood was grand in celebration of this beautiful new building.  The only argument I overheard was between a group of librarians debating who had the coolest office!

Congratulations to the TLCD team and everyone involved with this project.  It is something you should all be very, very proud of.

TLCD Sponsors Sonoma County’s Human Race

The 29th annual Human Race, held on Saturday, May 8th was once again a huge fundraiser for Sonoma County and a great opportunity for TLCD Architecture to give back to the community as as sponsor. TLCD had a crew out at the Boat Launch at Spring Lake Park handing out water to the runners and walkers. Don, Alan, Bill, Suzanne and Marina wore bright orange TLCD logo shirts and word has it that you could see our banner and shirts from across Spring Lake!

Even more impressive were the 3 rugged athletes who ran the 10k from TLCD… Gwin, Mark, and Sara (finishing in that order). It was a beautiful day, a worthy fundraiser and a good time was had by all!

TLCD Gives From the Heart as a Sponsor of the Human Race

The Human Race is the largest fundraiser in Sonoma County benefiting many deserving local nonprofits. TLCD Architecture is once again excited to be a part of this incredible community event as a Sponsor and participant. Not only will we help staff one of the stations along the course, we’ll also have a few of our own running in the event on May 8th!

For anyone interested in the 3 or 10k walk/run – the forms are at the reception desk!

Rainmakers sure Did!

I attended our semi-annual Rainmakers roundtable  in Boston April 8-10.  Talk about making rain, I arrived in balmy 85+ weather and as soon as the group started arriving the weather turned cold. On Friday the group took the downpour tour of some newer Boston projects including the Norman Foster addition to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Rowing Club Boathouse, Gehry’s Strata Center (pictured), Saarinen’s Chapel at MIT and the new addition to the Media Lab at MIT by Fumihiko Maki. I’ll be showing photos of these projects and a few more at Wine Wednesday, April 21 at 5:00 p.m. Umbrellas not required.


6th Annual Celebration of Left Coast Design

On Thursday evening, Suzanne and I attended the 2010 IIDA Honor Awards at the historic Fox Theater in Oakland. The awards are open to design firms of all sizes, focus and interest practicing in the Northern California region of the IIDA (International Interior Design Association). TLCD submitted the Mahoney Library under the category called “Serve” which includes public spaces where people gather. We arrived just as the slide show scrolled through the images we submitted for the Mahoney Library, so it was nice to have that recognition in front of 600 members! The Northern California Chapter is one of the most active in the nation and the caliber of design reflected in the winning projects was truly impressive. While TLCD did not win for Mahoney Library, we continue to be inspired by the passion for interior architecture in this region.

Each year the IIDA also selects a firm to receive their “Pioneer Award” and this year’s recipient is Architecture For Humanity. If you’ve never checked out this organization or their website, it’s well worth it.

Career Day at TLCD

This morning approximately 30 middle school students from Roseland Accelerated Middle School visited our office to learn about the profession of architecture.  We divided them into two groups.  Guy and I met with them in the Garage and discussed what an architect does, how one becomes an architect, the design process, and how we build virtual buildings.

Alan and Suzanne met with the other group in the ‘Martini Lounge” and discussed sustainability and interior design.  They also showed the students our demonstration green roof.  The groups switched locations at the midpiont of their visit so that both groups had the opportunity to hear all 4 of our presentations.

The students asked great questions.  The very first question asked was “how much money do you make”?  Fortunately I’ve done presentations to middle and high school students before, and was ready for this question.  These students are much smarter than those of us who forgot to ask this important question when we were their age!

Most of these students graduated from Roseland or Sheppard Elementary Schools and will eventually matriculate into Roseland University Prep School, a charter high school that prepares students for college. This is significant because few of these students come from families with any college background, and they otherwise would have had little or no exposure to college or professional careers.  Hosting their career day activity is one small opportunity for us to help expose these students to career choices they might otherwise never have the opportunity to learn about.

A special thanks to Alan, Suzanne and Guy for participating in this event.

Northern California Center for Wellbeing Skate-a-thon Fundraiser

Skate-a-ThonWhen is the last time you got to roller-skate? Better yet, when is the last time you got to do it for a good cause? The Northern Center for Wellbeing is hosting a Skate-a-thon on April 11th from 5:00-6:30pm to help support its organization. The event will raise money for patient scholarships that keeps the Center as an “access-for-all” healthcare provider for nutrition and education programs for disease management such as obesity and diabetes. For more information, talk to Sara or check out the attached flyer.

Wine Road Barrel Tasting Weekend

Hey TLCD, looking for something to do this weekend?  Consider tasting some of Sonoma County’s local wines at the Wine Road’s Barrel Tasting Weekend.

The Wine Road’s Barrel Tasting Weekends take place over 2 weekends in March. You can often talk to winemakers and growers directly get detailed information about the vintage you’re tasting.

Date: Sat. & Sun March 6th & 7th, Sat. & Sun March 13th & 14th 2010

Time: 11am – 4pm Cost: $20 for each weekend, includes souvenir glass

Description: More than 100 wineries in the Russian River, Dry Creek and Alexander Valley will participate in the annual barrel tasting along the Wine Road. This is the largest wine tasting event in Sonoma County, and due to popular demand has been stretched to two weekends (with Friday optional for wineries, but many do participate). Barrel tasting is a unique opportunity to taste barrel samples (and often the same wine already in the bottle, from an earlier vintage) at the wineries, enjoy music, entertainment, and lots of great local food.

Barrel samples are a mixed lot. Remember this is not finished wine; it’s wine in process. Sometimes it tastes really good, sometimes less so. Either way, don’t let that stop you from attending, as all the wineries have plenty of finished wines to sample. Barrel Tasting is not a food or themed event. It’s main focus is on wine “futures”. Tasting out of the barrel gives you a glimpse into how the wine will taste once fully aged. The Wine Road Barrel Tasting Weekend gives you a chance to purchase wine now, typically at a discount. Once the wine is aged and bottled, typically 12-18 months from now, you can pick it up or have it shipped to you. Many of the participating wineries are very small and make extremely limited productions. This may be your only chance to scoop up the good ones before the word is out!


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.


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.

“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!

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!

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!


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


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.


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