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Kentfield Community… Meet Your New Neighbor at College of Marin

College of Marin, new Academic Center, Kentfield Campus, TLCD Architecture, Mark Cavagneros Associates Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the open house for College of Marin’s new Academic Center, a gateway project at the corner of Sir Francis Drake Blvd and College Avenue in Kentfield. Replacing three aging campus buildings and an eatery that formerly occupied this corner site, the new building reaches out to the community and marks the presence of the campus. As the lead architectural programmer for this project, I was particularly excited to see the results of the collaboration between TLCD Architecture and Mark Cavagnero Associates.

The reception to the new building by all attendees was overwhelmingly positive. Neighborhood group leaders, who expressed concerns about the original scope and scale of the project during the design process, were very complimentary of the results. Faculty and administrators, many of whom will be housed in the new building, were thrilled by their new office accommodations. With 16 new classrooms, 3 computer labs and a 120 seat multi-purpose classroom, this light filled and technologically advanced teaching environment received many high marks from students about to return for classes this fall.

All in all, this was one of those days when all the hard work that went into the design and construction was rewarded by the appreciation of the neighbors and campus community. Adding to the festivities, was College President David Wayne Coon, who was passing out hot dogs to all in attendance!

Praxis in Action: Healdsburg’s Cerri Building

tlcd architecture, cerri building, city of healdsburg, historic building, adaptive reuseIn May we put up a post, Praxis: Practical Application of a Theory that talked about the stage in our process where investigation and critical analysis leads to idea generation and critique. We routinely tap into the collective expertise of our team for this critique process – whether it be a casual discussion or a full charrette. Yesterday we held a firm-wide design discussion of one of the more unusual projects in our office – the historic Cerri Building in Healdsburg.

tlcd architecture, cerri building, city of healdsburg, historic building

TLCD Architecture is teaming with Healdsburg architect Alan Cohen in the design of the this downtown parcel that will accommodate the City’s farmers market and additional parking. At issue is whether to preserve an existing structure on the site, or to remove it and install new shade structures with photovoltaic (solar) panels. Although very early in the design process, yesterday’s discussion yielded many good ideas that the design team will explore. The main concept is to transform the existing building into a new space that will serve many functions and add to Healdsburg’s vibrant downtown culture. We are looking at strategies that allow for a stronger connection with the adjacent street, sidewalk and most importantly, the visitor. The team also shared inspiration photos that suggest other directions for the design, such a new structure providing indoor/outdoor space for the farmer’s market, as well as alternate surfaces for the photovoltaics.

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These open office design conversations are what keeps our projects fresh and the design concepts clear and focused. We refine our ideas by critiquing our work as a group and we are always fascinated by the power of sharing with each other.

TLCD Architecture: Revit Tips for July

Revit, TLCD Architecture

Relinquish All Elements by Carl Servais

RevitEach time you synchronize with central, make sure you relinquish all the worksets and elements that you have been working on by checking all of the available check boxes in the dialog box.  Each time you create a new view, you have created a new workset and you may not even realize that you have ownership of that workset.  If you don’t have the “View Worksets” item checked, you will not relinquish that workset, which means everyone else is locked out of editing that view.  If you close the file without relinquishing worksets or elements, it can be a real hassle for other folks to work in that model if/when they need to edit something that you own.  In summary, make it a habit to glance at those check boxes before you click “OK.”

Wishlist & Bug Report by David Moyer

Merry Christmas…I know it is only July, but it’s never too early to make your list for Santa or Autodesk.Revit, santa, TLCD Architecture

Ever wish you could get Autodesk to finally fix that thing in Revit that drives you crazy? Whether it be unintended behavior in the program that you want to see eliminated or a new feature that you wish the program offered, you can have an impact by letting Autodesk know your desires. Where you ask can I get a hold of one of those Software Architects” and give them a piece of my mind?

Well as one might expect, direct interaction with these folks is an opportunity that is few and far between. I wonder why that might be…hmm. Anyhow they do have the following webpage where you can leave your comments, frustrations, and wish-lists for REVIT:

I encourage each of you to take a moment when you run across something you feel could be improved in the program and leave a comment at the above website. When the same comments come from multiple sources they will pay more attention than if these comments only come from a few of us.

Microsoft Word - 2015July.docxNot good enough you say! I have no idea if I have been heard! Well I agree and so do the good folks over at AUGI (Autodesk User Group International).  This is an independent group of Autodesk users which Autodesk has recognized as representing you and your architectural computing needs. AUGI maintains a wish-list for REVIT that gives us a unified voice with the power of the entire AEC community behind it to help Autodesk develop our software with the features we need.

Not only does AUGI present this list to Autodesk on a regular basis they ask that we rank these wishes so Autodesk will know which are the most important ones to get into the software. You can find the AUGI REVIT Wish-list here:

Revit, Designer, TLCD ArchitectureJoining AUGI as a Basic Member is free and you will be able to see that other users may be having the same issues with REVIT that you have – how they may be working around these items, and what they think would be the best way to improve the software to eliminate such problems.

Now all of you be nice and give Autodesk your input and maybe, just maybe we will have a Merry REVIT 2017 release come Next Year.

Funky Schedule and Simpson Resources by Leslie Smith

Funky Schedule

We had an issue with certain components not showing up in the room/furniture schedule. They were visible in the views and the component properties all looked good. The project has multiple phases with demo of existing (demo’d in new construction phase) and new work (in new construction phase) typical of how we do it.

It turns out that the existing walls that were being demolished were interfering with the family’s ability to associate to the new room. Even though the room displayed correctly and graphically everything looked ok in the views, the items were not showing in the schedule. After some trial & error, the fix was to uncheck the room bounding checkbox in the demo’d wall properties. Then the components all showed up in the schedule.

Since we had no existing/demo items scheduled, this worked well. Not necessarily the perfect fix…but in this case it worked.

Simpson Resource

Simpson Strongtie has both Revit Models 3D and Detail Components 2D. These can be downloaded individually or a zip of all the 2D or 3Dfamilies…From the webpage go to the “Resources” tab, “Drawings”, “Revit Drawings.”

TLCD Architecture, Strongtie

Select desired download…be aware that the Masterformat keynote number is not automatically associated.

Strongtie, TLCD Architecture

Overriding Consultant Model Colors Using Filters by Carl Servais

Have you ever received a Revit file from a consultant, linked it into your model, and then found many of the consultant’s model elements are colored something other than black?Revit, TLCD Architecture

Often times, the color can be difficult to change, because it might be an override from the consultant’s model, or it might be an object style in the consultant’s model, or it might be something else entirely.  You don’t want to open the consultant’s model and make changes to their model because it might take a while for you to discover the cause of the color change, and you will have to make all of those changes again when you get an updated model from the consultant.  You might ask the consultant to change their model, but then they might have a reason for using the colors.  In my opinion, the best solution is to let the consultant do their thing and fix the problem on my end by using a view filter.  A view filter works because it falls high enough on the element visibility override hierarchy within Revit to overcome any settings that are coming from the consultant’s model, and it is applied to a view, so you don’t have to override each element.  In fact, if you use the view filter in a view template, you can control the visibility of multiple views from one place.  Here’s how to create a view filter:

Open the Visibility/Graphic Overrides for the view you are working.  Click on the Filters tab and click on the Add button:

Microsoft Word - 2015July.docx

Click the Edit/New button to create a new Filter:

TLCD Architecture, Revit, View Filter

Create a new filter, give it a name, and then select all of the element categories that you want this filter to apply to.  For example, if you are overriding a mechanical/plumbing model, select all the ducting and piping categories:

TLCD Architecture, View Filter, Revit

This might take a bit of trial and error if you find that you did not get all of the categories that your consultant is using in their model.  Here’s the categories I used on a recent project:

Revit, TLCD Architecture

Now you just click “OK” to create the filter, and you just need to highlight your newly created filter in the “Add Filters” dialog box and click “OK”:

TLCD Architecture, Revit

Now you should be back in the “Visibility/Graphics Overrides” and you should have your filter in the list.  Now you need to tell Revit how you would like to override the elements.  Select the Projection/Surface, Lines, “Override” button:

Revit, TLCD Architecture

Override the color to black and click OK:

TLCD Architecture, Revit

Back in the “Visibility/Graphics Overrides” dialog box, when you click OK, you should see the colored elements turn black:

Revit, TLCD Architecture

Keep in mind, this only fixes the view you have been working in.  You will have to apply this filter to all the views that have colored elements showing up.  Use View Templates to provide control over similar views, like interior elevations.







Design Features Take Shape on New American AgCredit Headquarters

TLCD Architecture, American AgCredit Headquarters Building, Santa Rosa, CA, Staff Tour, Construction UpdateThis week TLCD Architecture’s staff toured our American AgCredit project, a 120,000 square foot, 3-story headquarters building just north of Santa Rosa. The project is scheduled for occupancy in early November and is currently at an exciting stage of construction, with many facets of the design taking shape.

Perhaps 2 of the greatest points of interest were the grand stairway, and a rammed earth wall. The grand stairway connects each of the 3 floors in a dramatic atrium that opens onto the building courtyard. The stair soars through the space at varying angles, and is clad with steel plate railings that were individually lifted into place by crane. These will be “blackened” by an artist in order to provide a deep, black patina. When the building is complete, a 3-story high cowhide mural by Kyle Bunting of Austin Texas will be a prominent feature of the atrium.

The rammed earth wall was built early in construction. It was incased in a wooden structure for protection, and then the building was constructed around it. The protective wood structure was removed just early this week, and so we were some of the first to see this amazing wall, which will form the backdrop to the main reception desk. The wall is a tangible reference to the soil that makes agriculture possible, a powerful reference to American AgCredit mission of farm lending.

TLCD Architecture, American AgCredit Headquarters Building, Santa Rosa, CA, Staff Tour, Construction UpdateThe floors are raised pedestal construction, which allows the reconfiguration of under floor electrical, data, and other systems. In this project we are also using the space below the floor for the supply of conditioned air, an very energy-efficient, quiet and healthy system known as displacement ventilation. We were able to observe the below-floor infrastructure in areas where the floor tiles have yet to be installed. Among other things, we saw “air highways” that are being constructed to efficiently deliver air to the far reaches of the building.

The exterior of the building, aside from dramatic, sweeping curves and multiple “sky bridges”, has an appearance not unlike many other modern structures. However, beginning in late August an exterior “skin” of perforated zinc panels will be installed. These zinc panels will transform the appearance of the building, and will visually articulate the façade while providing sunshading that will significantly reduce the cost of cooling the building.


Bikes and Brews

Ride 2

What a great name for an event! When I saw the flier float around our office I immediatly grabbed it and knew I would have to roll. TLCD Architecture and many others were invited to join the annual ride to a nearby town of Sebastopol for a destination of good conversations, food and the celebration of bikes..and Beer.



Personally I’d never been to “Hopmonk”, but what a cool venue. We were greeted with ample bike parking for the whole group and a nice laid back outdoor seating area with a great draft list with many local micro’s. Fellow riders from ZFA and I were grubbing down on pulled pork sandwiches and the favorite 4 pack taco platter…amazing! According to local lore they have music there pretty regularly and I could see it being a pretty fun time. Living in Sonoma County (one of the worlds greatest bike and beer destinations) this local gathering was a great reminder of how lucky I am to get to enjoy this place from the speed and freedom of a bike. On the trip back to Santa Rosa, the ZFA crew kicked it into hyper speed as TLCD tried to keep up with the sprint…  Not realizing I was riding with world class riders I now know that I will have to train for next year’s event, and hopefully grab a few notches higher on the list of riders. I will definitely be looking forward to next year’s ride, and thank you ZFA engineering for getting everyone together to enjoy our amazing place to live and work.

Top up?

Top up?

Architecture Reborn: Fading Past to Vibrant Future

DeTurk Round Barn, City of Santa Rosa, TLCD Architecture, Adaptive Reuse, Historic Round BarnBy Kevin Teel, Project Architect

KevinTeel_TLCD ArchitectureTLCD Architecture has had the opportunity to work on several diverse historic projects over the last decade – from the 1912 stone Vintage Hall at St. Helena High School – to the 124 year-old DeTurk Round Barn in Santa Rosa. We are set to begin work on another storied historical structure in Healdsburg – a 1920’s warehouse called the Cerri Building. Historic projects are of particular interest to me because we each have our own way of “seeing” the character of a building, leading to unique interpretations and end results.

abandoned barns and mines, southwest, arizona, colorado, architecture, kevin feel

My personal journey began in Colorado and Arizona – places where I honed my own process for interpreting the history of buildings. Though most buildings I refer to are not historic landmarks, the process of revealing their inner character is the same.

I began to roam old mining towns and backcountry while attending college in the Southwest. There is a romance for the bucolic nature of dilapidated barns and mining structures in this area, but for me the real excitement is in imagining these places in their heyday. What was happening on any typical day? I pull each of my senses into the story and build around the experience. While none of these mental images may have happened, they help set basic parameters for how I would investigate design decisions in future projects. This same philosophy governed my thesis work in Arizona, when exploring adaptive reuse ideas of mining ruins near Prescott, Arizona.

prescott arizona mine ruins, kevin teel, tlcd architecture

Adaptive Reuse in my mind, is a process of inspiration and evaluation that allows the original building to shine, while simultaneously providing for current needs, regulations and community desires. It attempts to fuse, not separate, these elements into a lasting whole that, when done well “just seems right.” This approach doesn’t lessen the importance of the original building – it simply highlights it. It doesn’t suggest superiority of contemporary materials and methods; it attempts to show commonality of past and present construction means. This is why initial observations are so important to maintain, even in the presence of often complex and competing concerns.

DeTurk Round Barn, City of Santa Rosa, Historic Round Barn, TLCD Architecture

My first visit to DeTurk Round Barn in Santa Rosa was not unlike entering the old mining structures in the Southwest. The barn was boarded up and in quite a state of disrepair, but I felt an immediate connection. After I got over wanting it for myself (yes, adaptive reuse can be a residence), I was immediately struck by what a calming space it was. This is when I began to consider the original function – the barn was built for horses, but they were trotters, not barrel racers. I imagined a well-lit space with beautiful horses steadily moving around the inner ring, clean horse stalls around the edges and hay carefully stacked overhead. This spirit of calmness would be fundamental to the success of this project, no matter the amount of chaos in getting to the finish line!

DeTurk Round Barn, City of Santa Rosa, TLCD Architecture, Adaptive Reuse, Historic BuildingNext, I was amazed at the light quality of the barn considering every ground floor window was boarded up and covered with plastic. The only light was from the original, dusty skylights above. Clearly this space could be light and bright again. Sometimes seemingly mundane ideas, such as seismic mitigation, take over my thoughts, but this is almost without exception an opportunity to enhance our interpretations. DeTurk Round Barn, TLCD Architecture, Historic Round Barn, For example, wooden posts carrying the weight of the loft would not be adequate to meet modern codes and would need retrofitting. These materials could simply be construction waste, or we could find a way to “carry history forward.” Spectacular old growth redwood (a huge piece of our local history) was resawn and used as interior finish in the barn, exposing its beauty for future visitors to enjoy.

With this inspiration in mind, and as a foundation, the question becomes “What is the vision for this building now and in the foreseeable future?” This is where public input and design team coordination comes into play. Although the community’s feedback reduced the project scope considerably, it didn’t reduce the challenges TLCD Architecture would face. The firm still needed to rehabilitate an extremely unique and dilapidated 8,300 square-foot round barn while maintaining its historic integrity. We were also tasked with seamlessly incorporating a kitchen, restrooms, mechanical/electrical and storage rooms, as well as integrating 21st century technology to ensure DeTurk Round Barn would become a popular event space for the City of Santa Rosa.

DeTurk Round Barn, National Registry of Historic Places, TLCD Architecture

TLCD now has another wonderful opportunity to play a role interpreting the history of the Cerri Building in Healdsburg. This is another building with a long, storied history and most certainly a quite different future. It will not be possible without community input, technical expertise and a fundamental understanding of the nature of the space and surrounding environment.

DeTurk Round Barn has been one of TLCD’s most published and recognized projects… I hope you will find the following links of interest:

AIA California Council, Adaptive Reuse Merit Award 2014

Retrofit Magazine Article “Barn Raising”

GreenSource Magazine Article “Uplifting a Round Barn”

Big Ass Fan Case Study DeTurk Round Barn

View video below for more background on the DeTurk Round Barn 

Alan Butler Celebrates 30 Years with TLCD!

alan butler, tlcd architecture, 30th work anniversary, doyle library, santa rosa junior collegeBy 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!

alan butler, don tomasi, partners, tlcd architecture, celebrating 30th work anniversaryIt 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.


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