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.
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!
It 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.
Alan Butler AIA
The career of an architect has its highs and lows. If we are lucky and engaged in our profession we get a chance to design some great buildings. I have been both fortunate and proud of what I have done in the last three decades of practice. Every so often an event occurs that really gives you a sense of the value of what we do.
This morning I attended an end of the year breakfast presented by the Friends of the Petaluma Campus Trust. In the course of the presentation, three first generation college students spoke; Kim Baptista, a full-time parent and cancer survivor; W. Jamar Minor, an Air Force veteran and transplant from Akron, Ohio, and Adriana Lopez Torres, a Mexican born “Dreamer” raised in rural Marin County. The stories of the opportunities and support that the college and staff have been able to provide them with were extremely moving. Even more impressive was their own determination to push on despite a host of cultural, physical and financial obstacles. It was their teachers, counselors, and staff that really made this happen. As architects we just provided a good place for those things to happen. Their lives will be truly different from those of their parents and the college has made it possible.
For nearly 30 years I have been working on the development of the Petaluma Campus of Santa Rosa Junior College. When I began, the campus was a group of portable buildings behind the giant plaster chicken at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds. In 1995, I was immensely proud to be at the dedication of the first phase of the new campus built on a forty-acre site in east Petaluma. Almost 15 years later I was even more proud as the second phase of the campus’ development ushered in a new era for Petaluma, providing a full range of community college opportunities. As with most building dedications, we accept the accolades, head home, and don’t often get a chance to appreciate the post-occupancy life of the buildings. Hearing the student’s personal stories reminds me of how proud I am to have played a part in an institution that can have such transformative results. It is personal stories like these that really make my professional life worthwhile.
I would like to highly recommend the podcast series 99% Invisible produced by Roman Mars in Oakland. It is self described as “A tiny radio show about design, architecture & the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world.”. The Podcasts range in length from 10 to 30 minutes and are totally fascinating. You can learn more about it at http://99percentinvisible.org. Check it out. This kind of effort deserves our support. It is partially underwritten by AIA SF. You can get it through the iTunes store for free.