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.
Animal Control Officer captures rouge skunk
On Friday morning, work crews at the TLCD-designed American AgCredit
headquarters construction site found that a skunk had fallen into a footing excavation overnight. The footings are 8 feet deep, which made it impossible for the skunk to crawl out. The contractor, Jim Murphy and Associates contacted Sonoma County Animal Services and they were able to remove the skunk and relocate it. I have newfound respect for animal control officers after seeing this photo! No news on the skunk, though it’s assumed he’s making a stink in another part of the County… and hopefully avoiding construction sites!
Excavation of footing for west side of American AgCredit site
Underground electrical conduit for west building
Site water line installed at American AgCredit
Lowery Student Center Entry and Courtyard View
From outdated library (view spectacular new Library here: Mendocino College LLRC) to the Lowery Student Center this project shows how an existing building can be repurposed for additional important functions. Since the new library location would essentially displace all existing student center functions on campus (bookstore, student lounge and café / dining) it was decided that the old library location would be a perfect fit for their relocation. To this end Midstate Construction deftly handled the idiosyncrasies of working in an older building.
By opening the western wall of the building a dramatic entry element was realized. Entering the main gathering space, campus users can easily navigate between the student lounge (complete with pool table and gaming devices), bookstore, or the greatly expanded Schat’s Café and dining area. This is a great place to get morning coffee, a Danish, and maybe finish the homework in a relaxed setting! The light filled spaces are accented with warm, rich recycled redwood paneling by Viridian.
It was also a great opportunity to consolidate all of these functions around a wonderful new courtyard. The courtyard now serves large campus gatherings and student activities. In a time where campuses find it hard to persuade students to stay on campus, beyond class time, this consolidation / modernization is sure to help on this campus.
The press was lighting up this week at the news of a $3 million donation for the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University. The transformation of the former University Commons building to the home of the 16 year-old wine program is being supported through generous gifts from key partners in the wine industry such as Marvin Shanken of the Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation.
TLCD Architecture is pleased to be working with Sonoma State on designs for the Wine Institute and we have enjoyed the opportunity to help create an innovative and collaborative learning center that will support wine business education, both locally and internationally. Look for future updates as this exciting project moves forward!
Read full article in North Bay Business Journal
Read full article in Press Democrat