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Academic Center at College of Marin Nears Final Completion

college of marin, new academic center, tlcd architecture, mark cavagnero associates, new construction

The new Academic Center at College of Marin, designed by TLCD Architecture and Mark Cavagnero Associates, is rapidly reaching the final stages of construction. Prominently situated on the corner of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard and College Avenue, the splendid combination of massing, materials, and craftsmanship is becoming visible as the scaffolding gradually disappears.

college of marin, new academic center, tlcd architecture, mark cavagnero associates, new constructionOne of the unique features of the building is the grand atrium space, which with the finishes installed, is now showing off wonderful qualities of natural light. The building is expected to be completed in May, with full occupancy by the College in time for the Fall Semester. The project will signal the successful completion of the District’s Measure C Bond program, approved by local voters in 2004.

TLCD Architecture: Revit Tips for February

RevitTipOfTheWeek

TLCD Architecture has a design technology committee that meets weekly to talk and strategize about issues and opportunities in the office. A few years back we started writing a weekly Revit Tip of the Week to the Revit users in our office, and we have decided to start sharing with the larger Revit community through our blog. Some of the tips are “inside baseball” types of things, but many of them will be useful to a larger audience. The cassette graphic is just us having a little fun… enjoy!

Keeping Models Tidy and Funky Families by Leslie Smith (02/10/15)

Keep your model tidy

Just a reminder about model management…
We have a best practices document that covers Revit Project File Maintenance. Please maintain a clean and healthy model by frequently creating a new local file. It is recommended that you create a new local file every time you open the model.

Funky Families

A user had an interesting issue yesterday and I thought this was good to share. She downloaded some client provided Specialty Equipment Families. Placed them into the model…all looked fine in plan but did not schedule properly. The items showed up in the schedule – the description, item number, count all looked fine but some of the families would not attach to the room so those fields did not populate.

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We checked worksets, family types, etc…all the usual suspects but everything looked good. Finally, I did a comparison of the families that were working and the ones that weren’t. The culprit ended up being a checkbox in the family. Since it was not checked the family didn’t know what surface to host itself to. Once checked and reloaded the family recognized the work plane and the schedule fields populated.

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There was one family that didn’t have this check box parameter included so we ended up opening a family that did, deleting everything out of it and copy/pasting, doing a save-as and it worked… This was a shared parameter in the family so without access to the parameter .txt file I couldn’t add it.

So message is, when you download content and things aren’t behaving properly, double-check worksets and visibility graphics…also investigate the family. A lot of manufactured content is not perfect. Sometimes it’s just a stinky checkbox that mess everything up!

Tales from the Dark Side by Carl Servais (02/13/15)

This week’s Revit tip is Part 1 of my review of e-SPECS, which we have been testing out on one of our projects:

Background

There has always been a fundamental disconnect between the written specifications and the drawings in a set of construction documents. These two primary elements are often authored in different software programs that don’t communicate, and often times authored by different members of the project team with varying levels of involvement in the project and varying amounts of successful communication between each other. This disconnect inevitably leads to inconsistencies or even outright contradictions between the drawings and the specs. The promise of Building Information Modeling has always been to bring all of the project information into one database and thereby reduce or eliminate these inconsistencies, and the BIM authoring software we use today has taken us a big step in that direction. However, the specs are still missing from the database. Our transition to using keynoting took us a step in the right direction by using the Masterformat numbers and the language of our specifications as a reference for noting the drawings, which has improved the connectivity and consistency of our construction documents. Our most recent effort has been testing e-SPECS, a software for creating and editing specifications that allows for a robust integration with Revit. While e-SPECS manages the spec database and provides tools for importing data to and exporting data from Revit,  it does not quite fulfill the promise of having all the project information in one database.

In future tips, I will cover the good/bad/ugly aspects of e-SPECS as an authoring/editing tool, and how it integrates with Revit. To be continued….

Rated Wall Options by David Moyer (02/27/15)

It turns out that one size may not fit all when it comes to rated walls. We have experienced some issues using the visibility filter system in Revit working properly in some view conditions as well as in some exports to CAD. In addition the need for unique smoke barrier graphics as well as 3 and 4 hour walls on more complex projects such as hospitals strain the graphic display limits of the filter system. So here are two other options for depicting graphics for rated walls.  (This was accompanied by a detailed best practice document on how to implement each system which is not included here.)

Examples of the graphic look for each system follow:

Material Fill Patterns for Rated Walls:

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Sweep Patterns for Rated Walls:

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Some highlights:

  • The Material Fill Pattern Method best for most projects, but not suited to projects that require 3 or 4 hour walls or perhaps those that require smoke compartments.
  • The Sweep method which is more complex to implement, but allows for a greater range of graphic patterns allowing better communication with plan reviewers and contractors for more complicated project types. This method is also more flexible for smaller scale drawings
  • Both systems can be set to work with any detail level in Revit.
  • The Project Architect and Project Manager should choose which system is the best fit for their projects on a case by case basis. This could also include continuing to use the filter based system if that is not expected to cause problems.
  • Our best practice documents include information about converting to either of these systems from the filter system for those that may be experiencing issues on current projects and want to make a change.

Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Day – GoPro Style!

 

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!

For more information on the AIARE Volunteer Day, read more here.

Birds-Eye View of New American AgCredit Headquarters at Airport Business Center

tlcd architecture, american agcredit headquarters building, sonoma county airport, architecture, designRecent aerial photographs show the new American AgCredit headquarters building taking form at the Airport Business Center in Santa Rosa. The project, designed by TLCD Architecture clearly show how the two buildings that comprise this 120,000 square foot complex wrap around to enclose a central courtyard, and how the buildings are connected by pedestrian bridges at each end.

Read other posts about the American AgCredit project:

Building Design Reveal

Groundbreaking Ceremony

Rammed Earth Wall Feature

 

 

Photographing the New North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park

North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park, Sonoma County, Alan Butler, TLCD Architecture

Sonoma County Regional Parks opened a spectacular new park, North Sonoma Mountain Regional Park, that links the Bennett Valley/Sonoma Mountain Road region with Jack London State Park in Glen Ellen. My wife and I took to the trails and captured some of the beauty of this newest addition to our regional park system.

The park has one main trail leading to the western border of Jack London State Park near the top of Sonoma Mountain. Most hikers appeared to be doing the 2.2 mile hike up to the Bennett Valley Overlook about half way up the trail. The trails are new and while the trek is all up hill the grades are quite reasonable. There is about 800 feet elevation gain to the Overlook and about another 300 to the park boundary.

The beginning of the walk is wooded, gradually opening up as you gain elevation. With the fog last Friday morning it was stunning to look down on the layers of clouds lying in the valleys. From the Overlook there is a wide view looking from Mt. Taylor and sweeping eastward to Hood Mountain in the east.

The new park is very popular right now and while getting in during the morning was achievable for most of those I talked too, the rangers were turning away people in the afternoons. There is a narrow access road leading into the park from Sonoma Mountain Road. The turn is just short of three miles from Bennett Valley Road.

We saw about a dozen different types of wildflowers in bloom and I expect that in a few weeks it should be an even better display. Definitely worth the trip!

TLCD getting their hands dirty

TLCD crew

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.

Win-Win Meeting Space for Non Profits in Sonoma County

AIA Redwood Empire, Board Retreat, Carl Servais 2015 President, Redwood Empire Food Bank, Volunteer Day, Carrots, TLCD ArchitectureEach 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!

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