Deep Dive into Neocon Inspiration

While wandering the Mart at Neocon this year, I challenged myself to look beyond all the cool new products and design trends to find what inspired me in a more holistic way. After all, I see the larger world through the lens of design. What parallels could I find between our industry and what is happening in the world of art and cityscape?

With my trusty iPhone at hand, I watched for opportunities to capture an essence of creativity and exploration to take home with me. What caught my eye this year was all about texture and finding parallels between what I saw at the Art Institute Chicago, the River Walk and in showrooms.

While sitting on the tarmac at O’Hare during a thunderstorm, I had the time to sort through photos in a thoughtful way. Back at home, I plan on keeping my eyes open for inspiration, which like lightening, can strike at any time!

Carl’s Excellent Adventure: Leadership Santa Rosa Part 3

Carl-composite

My story about the second Leadership Santa Rosa program day, Government and Politics, truly began several months ago at the Class XXXII retreat where several of my classmates and I had a discussion about the reunification of Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa, an important and contentious project which has been in the works for many years.  That spirited discussion inspired me to complete our homework assignment by attending the City Council meeting in September where the City Council decided to move ahead with funding the project, and that meeting became a tipping point for me to speak out in support of the City Council’s decision by writing a letter to the local newspaper, the Press Democrat.

And so, with my freshly inspired spirit for civic engagement, I entered the City Council chambers again in October to learn all about government, policy, and politics during our program day.

Continue reading “Carl’s Excellent Adventure: Leadership Santa Rosa Part 3”

Carl’s Excellent Adventure: Leadership Santa Rosa Part 2

SelfieWithACow

The topic of Class XXXII’s first Leadership Santa Rosa program day was Agriculture.  After our fascinating pretour of a mushroom farm in Sebastopol, I was excited to see what the day would bring, but not so excited about starting at 6am.  Ugh!  I can’t complain too much though, since our first stop was the Bucher Dairy, a 2nd generation family-owned organic dairy farm on 360 acres near Healdsburg, where they are up every day at 1am to start milking the cows. Yikes!  They have 700 dairy cows producing milk for Clover Storneta, and in recent years planted a 40 acre vineyard to support their own wine label, Bucher.  I learned a lot about how the farm operates and how they have integrated new technology over time to increase efficiency, including creating their own “plate cooler” that works like a heat exchanger to passively cool the milk with stored water.

Our next stop was Santa Rosa Junior College’s Shone Farm for a panel discussion with Tony Linegar, the Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner, Karissa Kruse, the President of the Sonoma County Wingrowers, and Doug Beretta from Beretta Family Organic Dairy.

Continue reading “Carl’s Excellent Adventure: Leadership Santa Rosa Part 2”

Carl’s Excellent Adventure: Leadership Santa Rosa Part 1

I recently began my two-year participation in Leadership Santa Rosa, an “educational program intended to develop and equip effective community leaders via exposure to pertinent issues, broad thinkers and the richness of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County.” The program was created by the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce and as a part of Class XXXII, I hope to join the distinguished group of community leaders who have graduated from the program over the years, including TLCD Architecture’s own Don Tomasi (Class VIII) and Jason Brabo (Class XXIV). Through a series of full-day educational and interactive seminars, I will learn directly from experienced leaders about various aspects of our community including challenges we face and opportunities for our future.

mushrooms, gourmet mushrooms, mycopia, leadership santa rosaThe topic for our first program day was “Agriculture” and our first official activity was a tour of Gourmet Mushrooms, a mushroom farm off of Gravenstein Highway north of Sebastopol. Justin Reyes, the Manager for Sales and Marketing, led us on a tour through the facility where they grow seven varieties of gourmet mushrooms that are sold under the Mycopia brand at groceries throughout the United States, including our local Safeway, Raley’s, and Whole Foods. The mushrooms are grown in bottles packed with a special wood based substrate that is first “seeded” with mycelium, then incubated for several months, and finally moved to harvest rooms where the mushrooms grow. Their mushrooms have been certified organic and their operations are highly sustainable, including using very little water and producing very little waste. All of their used wood substrate is sold to local farms for compost and the approximately 1 million bottles in circulation at the facility are continuously reused.

Mushroom Mycelial Biomass, mushrooms, gourmet mushrooms, leadership santa rosa
Photo courtesy of Gourmet Mushrooms, Inc.

The tour was incredibly fascinating and I learned a lot more than I ever thought I would while wearing a hairnet. I can’t wait to see what other experiences this journey will bring and I promise to keep sharing them with you! For now, I’ll leave you with a few fun facts about mushrooms:

  • The largest living organism on Earth is a mushroom in Oregon that is over 2,000 acres and can be seen from space.
  • Fungi are their own kingdom, but they are closer to animals than plants.
  • Nearly all plants have a symbiotic relationship with a partner fungi.

Stay tuned for more in my Leadership Santa Rosa Series – there are a lot more adventures to come!

To learn more about the farm Gourmet Mushrooms, Inc. watch this video.

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.

TLCD Getting Their Hands Dirty

You don’t often go out on a Saturday morning in January and think to yourself, “Did I need to put sunscreen on this morning?”  But that’s what I found myself doing a couple Saturday’s ago with a crew of folks from the AIA Redwood Empire, including four from TLCD Architecture; Nick Diggins, Peter Levelle, Ron Starkey (Marina‘s husband), and myself.  We spent the better part of that Saturday working on the second of five houses to be built at the Woodland Hills project in Cotati for Habitat for Humanity of Sonoma County.  We were split into two groups, one crew building a wood fence and the other crew placing sand and pavers for the driveway.  I think I speak for the whole group when I say we put in a lot of hard work, and we also had a lot of fun that day.  It’s very rewarding at the end of the day to see the fruits of your labor in something as beautiful as a rustic driveway of pavers, or a fresh wood fence.  It’s even more rewarding to know that your labor has helped provide a home for a deserving family in your community.

Digital Fabrication Arrives at TLCD Architecture!

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TLCD Architecture’s first laser cutter arrived today amid a lot of excitement – and a demonstration that cut out the letters “TLCD” from a piece of wood. The freestanding unit (VLS 6.60) is designed and engineered for light manufacturing operations. We will use it to cut through a variety of media such as cardboard and acrylic, and to engrave various materials including metal. The unit is also capable of laser graphic imaging.

Our laser cutter will help create physical architectural ideas from sketches and 3-D programs (Rhino3D). The unit will be used to produce finished models, but we are most excited about the ability to produce study models that will be used in the process of design exploration.

This is the first of several tools that TLCD plans to acquire for our shop space at our new office in Museum on the Square.  These tools will allow us to more effectively explore new materials and technologies, and will allow us to better communicate our ideas.

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: https://www.conted.csueastbay.edu/ec2k/Heading.asp?heading_id=241

PDF Info Sheet: BIM Implementation Bootcamp

Revit Technology Conference 2012

Guy Messick, TLCD’s Director of Design Technology just got back from the North American Revit Technology Conference (RTC) near Atlanta, Georgia.  In keeping with TLCD’s goal of being one the of leading firms utilizing Building Information Modeling tools, this conference is essential.  RTC is a unique, independent conference, covering all things Revit / BIM and the whole ecosystem that supports it. This aids TLCD in the quest for a better, smarter process, and a stronger, more sustainable AEC environment.  Guy will be bringing the conference back by presenting at the next Redwood Empire Revit Users Group as well as in-house sessions.  If you are looking to raise your BIM/VDC game, check out the 2013 conferences.  By the way, check out the picture of those cute models of the cow and elephant, they were created entirely in Revit, and 3D printed from the models. [slideshow]

TLCD Architecture Voted one of the Best Places to Work in North Bay!

TLCD Architecture is very proud to be voted one of the Best Places to Work in the North Bay Business Journal’s 6th annual survey! “This is an honor that is truly meaningful, and we thank each of our employees who participated in the survey… they all help to make this a best place to work”, said Don Tomasi, Senior Principal at TLCD Architecture.

Recognized in the 20-60 employee category, TLCD Architecture places a priority on developing it’s employees through licensure, professional development activities, seminars and ongoing training. In the spirit of “serious fun”, TLCD also has a long standing Wine Wednesday tradition, a workplace wellness program and a deep commitment to community involvement.

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.

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: http://www.ka-connect.com/conference.php

 

What Happens in Vegas …

…will slowly filter into the HealthCare Studio and diffuse into the rest of the office.

Between Nov. 13-16 (yes writing this blog post took a while) Jamie and I attended the Health Care Design 2010 Conference in Las Vegas.  For those who have never heard of the Health Care Design Conference it is an annual conference of Health Care Designers, Facility Managers, and Health Care Providers that focus on the research and progress of design in the health care environment, particularly evidence based design. 

The 4 day event gave us the opportunity to be part of unique discussions on topics ranging from “Codes and Standards: How they Affect the Design of Patient Rooms” to the “Light Health and Energy Efficiency”.  In general the presentation focused on presenting research finding and lessons learned from around the world. Many of the topics I was involved in focused on Energy Efficiency in the Health Care environment and the design and theory of design of psychiatric facilities. In terms of the design of psychiatric facilities some of the most interesting discussion occurred around the difference in how risk management affect design in the US vs facilities abroad. US facilities tend to be designed in a very risk averse manner where the concern is placed on preventing every possible method of damage to both the facility and patient where as many of the facilities shown outside of the US exhibit less emphasis on preventing incidents and more focused on the design providing a healing environment.  To paraphrase on of the presenter (Stefan Lundin of White Arkiteker AB)  ‘we should design for the 95% percent of the time good things happen not the 5% of the time bad things happen. Because it is that 95% of the time that good design can help patients in these facilities.’  As side note another great psychiatric project to look at by BIG + JD is the Helsingor Psychiatric Facility. 

If anyone is interested in learning more about the lectures and discussions that were attended please let me know, in many cases we have digital versions of the presentations.

Additionally Jaime and I were also able to tour two different healthcare facilities in Las Vegas, the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health (by Gehry) and the Department of Veteran Affairs Las Vegas Medical Center.  Images of both of these facilities as well as images of Las Vegas will be available on the TLCD flickr account soon.  Although if you itching to see images of the Lou Ruvo Center along with a scattering of other images from Vegas you can see them now here.

On a Vegas note I was struck by Daniel Libeskind’s  new building ‘Crystals’ in City Center.  Of all the buildings on the Vegas Strip this one was probably the most well executed and cleanly detailed. The interesting part was that even given the angularity and organized chaos in the space it was one of the most calming spaces in Vegas to be in.  There are some additional photographs of the space I took in the same set of images linked to earlier (towards the bottom).

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

PROGRAM:
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: http://ideateinc.com/trng_emails/sf_ideatepresents.html

Sharpen Your Presentation Skills

Pecha Kucha. 

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

http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/magazine/15-09/st_pechakucha

http://www.pecha-kucha.org/presentations/

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

Just thought others maybe interested in learning/trying it.