One of the most beautiful and ancient wall types used in construction is made from “rammed earth“. These walls are constructed using forms much like a concrete wall is constructed, but are instead filled with multiple layers of soil combined with a small amount of cement. The walls are structural, and the results are stunning. The most unique aspect of rammed earth walls, aside from their texture, is the horizontal layering of the different soils that are tamped (rammed) into place within the forms.
Rendering of American AgCredit Reception area with “Rammed Earth” Wall
At TLCD Architecture’s 120,000 sf, 3-story American AgCredit Headquarters Building in Santa Rosa a rammed earth wall is being used as a backdrop for the main reception area. Because of the difficultly of constructing a wall within the building’s steel frame, the wall was completed last week, prior to the steel frame being erected. The forms will remain in place during construction in order to protect the wall; the wall won’t be unveiled until sometime next year!
Of particular note, soils were collected from various geographic areas from across the western United States serviced by American AgCredit. The colors of these soil samples were then matched to soils of the particular consistently necessary to provide the structural integrity required. This prominent wall will reflect the diverse geography serviced by the company, which makes loans for agriculture. It also reflects the fact that soil, along with sun and water, is one of the key components of agriculture.
We all look forward to seeing the results; waiting until next year is going to require patience!
It’s always a thrill to see team members recognized for their involvement in the local design community. TLCD Architecture’s Nick Diggins, Associate AIA and Carl Servais AIA, were recently recognized by the American Institute of Architects’ Redwood Empire (AIARE) for their service to the Chapter.
Nick Diggins was recognized as Associate Member of the Year. In addition to serving on the AIARE Board as Associate Director, Nick volunteers his time at a number of AIA events including the Chapter’s Residential Showcase and Design Awards programs. He also lends his stellar graphic design skills to the chapter as needed. After earning a Masters of Architecture from Montana State University in 2010, Nick joined TLCD as an architectural intern. He is currently pursuing licensure and is in the process of taking the ARE exams. Nick quickly immersed himself in all aspects of design at TLCD, and livens things up with his quirky personality and boundless enthusiasm. He has led TLCD’s push towards digital fabrication, and is experimenting with different media and applications. Nick is actively involved in the design of TLCD Architecture’s new office in downtown Santa Rosa and is a key team member on the 120,000 sf American AgCredit Headquarters Building, currently under construction at Airport Boulevard. Nick lives in Santa Rosa with his wife Mindy and their two sons Seamus and Deklyn, where they’re currently developing high module recovery systems for outer space time travel (editorial addition by Nick).
Carl Servais, AIA, was recognized as Young Architect of the year. Carl has served two years on the Board, last year as Director of Chapter Affairs and as Treasurer for 2014. During his time on the Board Carl organized a membership drive, organized a build day for Habitat for Humanity Sonoma County, and assisted with the Chapter’s Residential Showcase and Design Awards programs. Carl is a Project Architect at TLCD and co-leads Building Information Modeling (BIM) training and mentoring at the firm. He is currently exploring linking and coordinating Revit models with project specifications and is working on a new multi-use building that is a pilot project for this endeavor. Carl is an educator and has taught Digital Architectural Drafting and BIM courses at local college campuses. A quiet personality, Carl unleashes his power on the TLCD bowling team where he not only delivers consistent strikes, but also has been known to shatter bowling balls! Carl and his wife Lauren, an English instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College, have two daughters Chelle and Halle.
Everyone at TLCD Architecture joins the AIA Redwood Empire Chapter in congratulating Nick and Carl for their dedication to the Chapter and to our profession!
On Saturday evening at the American Institute of Architects, Redwood Empire Chapter 2014 Design Awards, TLCD Architecture was honored to receive two awards for outstanding projects. The program, juried by a distinguished panel of architects from the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Chicago recognizes design excellence in the North Bay.
TLCD received a Merit Award for the Luther Burbank Savings Headquarters Branch in downtown Santa Rosa. This project converted the former Traverso’s deli into a striking, modern building that marks the western entry into downtown Santa Rosa. This project has received other accolades, but this is its most prestigious award to date.
TLCD’s second award of the evening was a Citation Award for the Mendocino College Lake County Center in Lakeport. This new satellite campus is boldly modern, yet fits comfortably into its rural environment. The buildings are carefully oriented in relation to an adjacent creek and views to nearby hills. The Lake Center was awarded an IIDA Northern California Chapter Honor Award earlier this year.
“TLCD is a firm with a fascination for creative possibilities. Our work represents a contemporary vision of what our communities can be, while deeply respecting the architecture and character that makes this region unique. We are thrilled to have our work acknowledged by the design community”, said Don Tomasi, Principal.
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!
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.
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.
Selexx Chief CNC Router at Sonoma Country Pine
Alan Butler AIA
As architects, it’s critical to keep up with new materials and emerging fabrication techniques. The materials we use, the way they go together and their application in buildings is constantly changing. In an effort to better understand the potential of new fabrication tools, TLCD Architecture purchased a laser cutter at the beginning of 2014. Small, but powerful and precise, it’s an incredible tool for making mockups and architectural models. We can cut wood, plastics and paper up to ½” thick and and to a maximum size of 18”x 24”. We are now able to quickly produce models and look at various design options very quickly versus the time consuming process of hand cutting mat board with a utility knife. Recently, we’ve been experimenting with designs for screen elements at our new office in the Museum on the Square building in downtown Santa Rosa. We’ve been producing some beautiful prototypes of the screens, but the question arises… how do we make the full size version?
So as any curious design firm would do, we set out exploring. Last week, Nick Diggins and I visited Gus Dering’s cabinet shop in Cotati to see a CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) Router in action. The shop is called Sonoma Country Pine, but we didn’t see any cabinetmakers with hand planes making colonial style cabinets. Rather we saw the Selexx Chief CNC Router in action. This machine has an eight bit rotating tool head that can cut, drill and route all the parts for a cabinet body in a matter of minutes. The machine holds the plywood in place with the suction of two vacuum pumps, through a sacrificial layer of low density fiberboard. With incredible precision it can cut all the parts to tolerances of thousandths of an inch. Because of the sophisticated programming there is little waste, sometimes only the sawdust from the router bit! The machine is so precise, it can produce “miter folded” applications leaving the last 3/1000th of the veneer face in tack, so plywood sheets can be folded with seamless corners. With the CNC Router, Gus produces cabinet parts for his own shop and several others.
A few days prior, Nick Diggins and TLCD Principal, Don Tomasi visited the shop of Klaus Rappensberger, a Sonoma County sculptor and craftsman. They discussed the option of making screens from sheet steel and cutting the screen patterns with a water jet cutter. We are now considering what we can produce in-house with our laser cutter, or possible options with these other digital technologies. The possibilities and potential are endless. The more we understand, the more we can do.
Kaiser Santa Rosa Emergency Department, completed 2010
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 Francisco. TLCD 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.