Last Thursday, TLCD Architecture held an official ribbon cutting ceremony with the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce to commemorate the Open House for our new office at 520 Third Street in downtown Santa Rosa. After a few words from Chamber President Jonathan Coe and Vice Mayor Tom Schwedhelm, we opened our doors to clients, consultants, business neighbors, family and friends to check out our “new digs.”
TLCD employees manned the bar and served beer while Starmont Winery poured vino to our guests who enjoyed small bites from Chloe’s while perusing our new home. The open office layout really lends itself to large gatherings especially when the garage door is open, connecting our large conference room to the rest of the space.
We had about 300 guests join us during the three-hour event, which gave us a chance to get a lot of feedback about our design. We invited guests to share their thoughts on the wall in our “Gumby” conference room that doubles as a white board. As we anticipated, everyone had positive things to say about our new office and thought it felt like a great place to work. We are grateful for all of the effort that went into designing and creating our space and definitely enjoy coming to work here everyday!
Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with us, and if you missed the event – please feel free to stop by next time you’re in downtown!
For more pictures from our Open House, check out our Facebook page!
As the TLCD Architecture designed American AgCredit Headquarters project nears completion, one of the most exciting details of the project is being installed – the main reception desk. Set in front of a rammed earth wall, this dramatic, 27-foot long monolithic white desk stands in striking contrast to the earthen wall behind it. The desk is manufactured in modules by Isomi in England, and is being installed by a crew from Connecticut. The crew glues the modules together, which are pulled tight by means of a motorized clamping system. The seams are filled and sanded, and the resulting monolithic structure is quite simply stunning. LED lighting will be installed at the base of the desk so that it will appear to float above the floor.
TLCD hosted and toasted the American AgCredit furniture selection team yesterday on the occasion of completing the ancillary furniture specifications for their Santa Rosa Headquarters Building. Homemade peach pie and local Sonoma County champagne were savored amidst a colorful disarray of fabric samples and drawings.
After 18 months of furniture research and evaluation, the accomplishment of this major milestone was cause for celebration. The TLCD Interiors team is excited about being one step closer to the December 2015 completion date and seeing all the interior spaces come to life.
The ancillary package being ordered through RDI includes over 800 pieces of furniture for conference rooms, collaborative spaces, break rooms and outdoor spaces.
Cheers to a great team effort!
(For more information on the American AgCredit project, check out previous blog posts here, here, here and here.)
Concrete, steel, and wood are the fundamental building blocks of the built environment, and when possible we will try and expose them. It is raw materials that give our buildings character: they are direct expressions of those who designed and built the edifice. No two pieces are alike. We love raw materials for their character and inherent language of honesty. They age with the building. It is good not to overdo it, but something as simple as raw steel can convey a sense of permanence and craftsmanship.
Typically, the majority of these materials may get covered in gypsum board or other ‘finish’ materials in order to provide a level of fire protection or acoustical rating required for a particular space. However, there are a number of opportunities in any given space to expose them. In addition to exposing the structure of the building, items such as furniture, hardware, lighting and stairs (among others) are all good opportunities to detail an exposed connection. And in the end these are typically the details that become the monuments of design.
With that in mind, at TLCD we recently held a quick ‘refresh’ workshop on steel. To fully comprehend the materiality of steel, we decided it was important to understand the processes that are used to tool it. Thus, the discussion for the most part revolved around the fabrication process: welding. It was the beginning of our ‘Designer’s Toolbox’ series, a set of talks and discussions aimed at invigorating the creative knowledge in the office and educating ourselves in materials, methods, and ideas in a profession where fabrication techniques are rapidly changing.
The discussion was meant less as a ‘presentation’ and more as an informative and informal talk. Challenging ourselves to take another look at the process was invigorating, but more importantly a reminder of why we do what we do. Our hope is that the discussion does not end here but is a continuous living dialog that informs our projects.
What is your work environment like? Does it motivate and energize you? Well it should! Each workplace has an optimum environment in which to achieve maximum functionality and purpose. As architects we are often called upon to understand and develop what this might be. Most of the time this moment in the design process is called programming, but there’s an even more important stage prior to that. Analysis! Developing a strong base of information can begin to inform designers beyond the norm and make something really unique for a client (or ourselves). This process of investigation, research and critical thought allows us to map information from all influences of a project.
Reflection is another key piece of our design process. We gather all the findings from the analysis stage and move to graphic representations as tools for idea generation and critique. For instance, the Praxis infographic below breaks down one idea to it’s simplest form by graphically telling a story. In this example, “the way we work” was a key element for developing the design of our firm’s new office. Rather than just laying out how many people and offices get implemented into a floor plate, we dove into our office culture. We really wanted to understand what would empower our designers and staff. Read on after the graphic…
At TLCD Architecture’s new office, which is currently in design, we are consciously surrounding ourselves with our work – a sort of demonstration space to show what we are doing at any given time. You may visit one day and see a process of design happening right in front of you… creating spontaneous interactions between people across multiple projects. Design feeds off of strong studio cultures, and to strengthen ours, we are embracing the process of design and implementing it even further into our own space.
The practice of architecture and designing space for people is an amazing experience that TLCD gets to participate in everyday. We thought our own office space should share this process and not hide it. As we move to the next phase of design, we will begin to activate the space through the use of models, renderings and other visualization techniques. Recently, our staff got together to see what the new office space could look like using a new iPhone app and a simple cardboard box.
The built environment is in constant evolution and it’s a very exciting time for architecture and technology. Having the right team to take you to new levels means that we have to constantly be able to adapt, evolve and learn from each other. Our team thrives off the mutual respect, creative energy and ideas we can generate together. We can’t wait to show you what this looks like at TLCD’s new office, but more importantly to put it into action for our clients. Stay tuned!
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.
I 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.
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.
This was the perfect project to take a test drive of Autodesk’s Dynamo for Revit and see what we could do. Dynamo is a new, exciting, visual programming software that is similar to Grasshopper for Rhino. We are actively beginning our exploration into computational design, and have already begun to see its benefits as we integrate Dynamo into TLCD’s BIM design process. In this quick exercise we were able to quickly develop eight different iterations from our design. Don’t miss the video and take a peek of us creating an addicting, generative design solution to share and discuss with the entire office and friends!