The AIA Redwood Empire chapter celebrated the best in North Bay architecture at their Design Awards Gala held at Deerfield Ranch Winery in Kenwood on October 21st. Current AIARE President, Nick Diggins of TLCD Architecture, and Executive Director Wendy Young handed out awards, while juror Mary Johnston, FAIA announced the winners and shared insights from the jury on the winning projects.
The Academic Center at College of Marin, a project by TLCD Architecture + Mark Cavagnero Associates won a Merit Award for a Built Project.
“This project elegantly integrates a complex topography with a clear, simple plan organization. Its restrained use of materials and careful proportion create a building that anchors both its site and surrounding campus, reaching out to the neighboring community through a series of outdoor and indoor circulation spaces.”
– Jury comments
TLCD also received a Citation Award for the new American AgCredit Headquarters in the Built Project category.
“This project carefully breaks down massing to a human scale through the use of materials that layer light and shadow to mitigate against its inherent horizontality. The variety and character of outdoor spaces, connected visually and directly to interior function spaces, create the sense of a campus where the building’s users can come together. The internal stair provides a unique gathering space for informal encounters.”
– Jury comments
Closer to home (and our hearts) was a Citation Award for our new office at Museum on the Square in the Alteration, Rehab, Historic Preservation category. TLCD teamed with a local developer to renovate this building which faces Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa’s downtown core.
“This project provides a template for successfully repurposing urban infrastructure to accommodate new uses, acting as a catalyst for further development. The interplay between retained and new elements creates a compelling, unified expression that completely transforms the hermetic switching station into a transparent and well-proportioned urban palazzo.” – Jury comments
The North Bay design community knows how to throw a great party and celebrate the built environment!
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.
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!
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.
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!