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College of Marin Celebrates Successful Measure C Bond Projects

college of marin, new academic center, mark cavagnero associates, tlcd architecture, ribbon cutting ceremonyCollege of Marin held a celebration Thursday afternoon to mark the completion of the Measure C Bond Program, and the ribbon-cutting for the newly completed Academic Center, which was designed by the team of TLCD Architecture + Mark Cavagnero Associates. Don Tomasi and Brian Wright represented TLCD Architecture at the event, along with John Fung and Olga Kozachek from Mark Cavagnero’s office.

college of marin, new academic center, john fung, mark cavagnero associates, brian c wright, tlcd architecture, ribbon cutting ceremony

John Fung from Mark Cavagnero Associates and Brian C. Wright from TLCD Architecture celebrate a successful collaboration

Situated at the corner of College Avenue and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, the new Academic Center, provides a welcoming front door to the Kentfield campus. The 43,000 square foot building houses 16 classrooms, a 100-seat lecture hall, 3 computer labs, and offices for the college faculty and administration. The building was designed to be fully integrated with the sloping site, carefully preserving many of the heritage oak and redwood trees, and featuring native and drought-resistant landscaping. The project is pending LEED Gold certification.

The celebration was attended by community members, college faculty, staff, board and administration, contractors, program managers, students, and regional elected officials. The mood was festive, with refreshments and conversations centering on the successful completion of the 10-year building program. The college president, Dr. David Wain Coon, led the formal presentation that also included comments by board members, administrators, students and elected officials.

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Brokers Open at Museum On the Square in Downtown Santa Rosa

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On Thursday September 17, local commercial brokerage firm Keegan & Coppin Company, Inc.  hosted a brokers open at Museum on the Square. TLCD Architecture team members joined the group of commercial real estate brokers to explain the history and evolution of the building as well as provide inspiration for future tenants by showing how we have designed our new office space on the second floor.

As part of the brokers open, TLCD shared a few pairs of Google Cardboard viewers with the attendees. To view the 3D renderings, click on an image below from your mobile phone, then insert your phone into the viewer. If you’re not at the brokers open or don’t have the Goggles, come stop by our office and we’ll show you how it works. For those of you with smart phones or tablets, you can also view the renderings but they will be in a dual pane view.

View the work space at TLCD Architecture’s new office at Museum on the Square

View the entry to TLCD Architecture’s new office at Museum on the Square

View the conference room at TLCD Architecture’s new office at Museum on the Square

We’re not only using this technology on our own office design, we’ve started using it for our clients as well. Below are 3D renderings of the American AgCredit headquarters project in Santa Rosa we created which allowed them to view their new space and helped inform their design decisions.

View the kitchen and employee lounge at the American AgCredit Headquarters designed by TLCD Architecture

View the kitchen and employee lounge at the American AgCredit headquarters

View the entry to the American AgCredit headquarters


View the staircase and wine barrel stave wall at the American AgCredit headquarters designed by TLCD Architecture

View the staircase and wine barrel stave wall at the American AgCredit headquarters

View the conference room at the American AgCredit headquarters designed by TLCD Architecture

View the conference room at the American AgCredit headquarters


Carl’s Excellent Adventure: Leadership Santa Rosa Part 1

I recently began my two-year participation in Leadership Santa Rosa, an “educational program intended to develop and equip effective community leaders via exposure to pertinent issues, broad thinkers and the richness of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County.” The program was created by the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce and as a part of Class XXXII, I hope to join the distinguished group of community leaders who have graduated from the program over the years, including TLCD Architecture’s own Don Tomasi (Class VIII) and Jason Brabo (Class XXIV). Through a series of full-day educational and interactive seminars, I will learn directly from experienced leaders about various aspects of our community including challenges we face and opportunities for our future.

mushrooms, gourmet mushrooms, mycopia, leadership santa rosaThe topic for our first program day was “Agriculture” and our first official activity was a tour of Gourmet Mushrooms, a mushroom farm off of Gravenstein Highway north of Sebastopol. Justin Reyes, the Manager for Sales and Marketing, led us on a tour through the facility where they grow seven varieties of gourmet mushrooms that are sold under the Mycopia brand at groceries throughout the United States, including our local Safeway, Raley’s, and Whole Foods. The mushrooms are grown in bottles packed with a special wood based substrate that is first “seeded” with mycelium, then incubated for several months, and finally moved to harvest rooms where the mushrooms grow. Their mushrooms have been certified organic and their operations are highly sustainable, including using very little water and producing very little waste. All of their used wood substrate is sold to local farms for compost and the approximately 1 million bottles in circulation at the facility are continuously reused.

Mushroom Mycelial Biomass, mushrooms, gourmet mushrooms, leadership santa rosa

Photo courtesy of Gourmet Mushrooms, Inc.

The tour was incredibly fascinating and I learned a lot more than I ever thought I would while wearing a hairnet. I can’t wait to see what other experiences this journey will bring and I promise to keep sharing them with you! For now, I’ll leave you with a few fun facts about mushrooms:

  • The largest living organism on Earth is a mushroom in Oregon that is over 2,000 acres and can be seen from space.
  • Fungi are their own kingdom, but they are closer to animals than plants.
  • Nearly all plants have a symbiotic relationship with a partner fungi.

Stay tuned for more in my Leadership Santa Rosa Series – there are a lot more adventures to come!

To learn more about the farm Gourmet Mushrooms, Inc. watch this video.

TLCD Architecture: Revit Tips for September

Revit Tip of the Week, TLCD Architecture

Editing Requests | by David Moyer

TLCD Architecture, Revit Tips, BIM

This week’s tip comes from Steve Stafford’s Blog – Revit OpEd. Thinking this might be one of the reasons we find folks owning elements in Models when they have not been in those models recently.

In the past I wrote about how you can become the unwitting or accidental borrower of elements when you create an Editing Request but then close your local file before the request is resolved.

Therefore it is a good habit to Retract (withdraw) any Editing Requests you create before closing your Local file. If you form a habit of creating Editing Requests then also form the habit of Retracting any that are still pending when you leave the project for any reason.

TLCD Architecture, Revit Tips, BIMThis is not a request…






Ideate Explorer | by Leslie Smith

I watched a webinar on Ideate Explorer presented by Richard Taylor. He is a longtime Revit user (pre-autodesk) and refers to himself as a “technical evangelist”. His presentation was very informative and well presented. If you haven’t used this tool…you will – once you see what it can do.

At TLCD Architecture, Ideate Explorer is a Revit Add-in we all have in our add-ins tab.

For easy access you can add this to your Quick Access Toolbar (same thing for other tools you frequently use).

TLCD Architecture, Revit Tips, BIM

TLCD Architecture, Revit Tips, BIM

The webinar provided the top 10 tips

  1. Delete Imports – get rid of pesky .dwg files floating randomly in your project
  2. Audit worksets – by filter by workset you can see if components or elements are misplaced and relocate them.
  3. Audit groups – unfortunately groups sometimes don’t get named in a recognizable way…just what is “group 57” and where is it…
  4. Check Grids, Levels and Reference Planes. Ever place a family and it doesn’t show up cuz it’s hosted to Level 1..but you are working on Level 3…urggghhh
  5. Audit Views and Viewports
  6. Audit Revit Families including in-place creations.
  7. Cleanup Text and Dimensions
  8. Audit Keynotes and Revisions – Easy to get rid of Bid clouds and tags
  9. Review Model and Detail Lines
  10. Scan Element Count.

I especially find #1 Delete Imports useful…since these don’t show up in the browser and can be near impossible to find. There is a brief (1.5 minute) video available on Ideate website demonstrating this feature:

#7 Cleanup Text and Dimensions is very helpful especially when working on those projects we keep pulling forward from the past.

  • You can select all instances of a text style in your project and switch them all at once. Here’s how…
  • To use an old project as the basis for a new project, first open the old project as a detached from central. Save as your new project and Close.
  • Open again and create a local.  Open a new project using the TLCD template (not central just new project)
  • (so you have two projects open)
  • Go back to your Project Local file. From the Manage tab –  transfer project standards from the new project (created from the template).
  • Select the “check none” button and THEN…Select the things you want to transfer.
  • In this case we will choose “text types” and from the popup box choose “overwrite”.
  • Overwrite will catch some but not all font changes needed to match our current standard.

Here’s where Ideate Explorer comes in handy… TLCD Architecture, Revit Tips, BIM

  • From the Add-ins tab or your Quick Access Toolbar select Ideate Explorer.
  • A box will pop up on your screen. This will float on top of your Revit window or can be pulled off to the side.
  • To globally change the text styles -> select display option “entire project”  -> scroll down to the “text notes” category.
  • All of the text styles used in your project are listed. Expand the tree by clicking on the + symbol.
  • For our example we will change two types 3/32” text (50) and TLCD 3/32” text (1922)
  • Check the boxes for those two text types and all 1972 instances will be selected.

TLCD Architecture, Revit Tips, BIM

Notice 1972 items have been selected…click ok. The Ideate Explorer box closes and you are back in Revit. (note with version 2016 the box doesn’t close and is more interactive)

The Revit properties box will now show those 1972 items are selected.

TLCD Architecture, Revit Tips, BIM



Using the dropdown arrow choose your new text type.



TLCD Architecture, Revit Tips, BIM

Voila! All 1972 instances changed in one quick moment.

Now if you activate Ideate Explorer and go to the text notes…you will not find the two old types listed. But will find your 1972 instances of TLCD 3/32” listed. The final cleanup step would be to purge unused text (Manage tab). I encourage you to explore “explorer”.

Here’s a link to the support page for more info.

Auditing your Revit File | by Carl Servais

We open Revit files all the time, and there’s always this mysterious Audit button that is left unchecked.

TLCD Architecture, Revit Tips, BIM

Should we be checkin’ that box?  Well, here’s some advice from Sash Kazeminijad, an Application Specialist from Ideate:

The Importance of Auditing Revit Models

We have recently had several cases come through tech support in which folks were receiving error messages when attempting to edit their families in Revit 2015 R2. The message states “Family is corrupt and cannot be edited. Please reload the family to repair the project.” Receiving messages such as this one can be a little disconcerting, especially when you are in the middle of a large project. The fear is that the Revit model is corrupt or heading for corruption. In most cases, you may have to look for an archived version of the model or a local file to create a new Central model from, since most corrupt models are difficult to manually repair.

As we discovered, the recent rash of corrupt families within a Revit model has to do when a Revit model was upgraded to Revit 2015 R2. This corruption was more than likely due to the end user not selecting the “Audit” checkbox when opening (or upgrading) their Revit projects for the first time in Revit 2015 R2. Had the “Audit” option been selected, the family corruption issue may not have occurred.

The audit feature in Revit will scan, detect and sometimes fix corrupt elements within a Revit model. So when should you select the “Audit” option?

1. Whenever upgrading a Revit project from one version to another. For example, if you want to upgrade your Revit project from Revit 2015 to Revit 2016, select the “Audit” checkbox prior to opening it for the first time in the newest version.

2. Select the “Audit” checkbox when upgrading ALL models to Revit 2015 R2 for the first time.

3. If your Revit model is starting to take its time opening or you notice general performance issues, then auditing it may improve the time it takes to open your project.

4. If you receive messages such as “Data in file <revit project name.rvt. is corrupt and needs to be manually recovered” or “Family <family name here> is corrupt and cannot be edited. Please reload the family to repair the project.”

5. If you are doing any sort of Central File maintenance, including creating new Central Files.

Remember, it is always a good idea to make an archive copy of your model prior to Auditing and Upgrading to the next release of Revit. The reason being is in case the upgrade process introduces errors or corruption issues that cannot be repaired, or if you find a compelling reason to go back and work in the previous version of Revit.

Autodesk Certification | by Leslie Smith

It’s that time again…

Autodesk is offering Revit 2015 Certification testing for the discounted price of $45. This is a once a year deal – “Open Doors Certification Day”. The testing date is Friday October 2.

Here’s the link to Ideate:

Whether interested in certification or not it’s always good to invest in self-learning. This is a screen shot of the exam prep “roadmap” provided by Autodesk. It’s a good checklist to see where you are with your Revit skills.

TLCD Architecture, Revit Tips, BIM










Game On… Architectural Renderings Go Interactive

Angel the Office Dog, TLCD Architecture, Virtual Reality RenderingNick Diggins, Designer 

Architecture is a complex process that is integrated with massive amounts of information requiring coordination between many parties. We use software specifically developed for this type of information management (BIM), but what’s so interesting is all this information is imbedded in a digital 3D model. We are constantly finding new ways to use and extract this information throughout the design process.

The current hot trend in design visualizations is the integration of virtual reality (VR) rendering into the Revit (BIM) workflow. I’ve had a lot of fun sharing this new type of presentation with clients, staff, friends – even Angel our office dog tried it out using Google Cardboard. After showing my 9-year old son this cool technology, which literally puts the viewer in the space, I realized it’s already out of date when he said, “Dad, all you can do is look around.” It hit me that the future is here. His generation will be expecting software that enables true interactive immersion. What if we, as architects, can design workflows that allow the user to interact with a space while it’s still in development – much the same way we build physical models to critique and explore ideas?

A physical model has always been an easier tool for sharing ideas than technical drawings. A model isn’t static – you can pick it up, rotate it, move around it, and feel what the idea is in a physical solution. Models are the universal language of design and they help us understand the concept of three-dimensional problem solving. In the digital landscape it’s quickly changing how we share ideas with each other and our clients.

TLCD’s culture is very supportive of testing new software. If you follow trends in new techniques of rendering and architectural visualizations, you may have seen some examples of interactive environments taking off recently. There are many resources for starting this workflow and one that we’ve been testing recently is Unreal Engine 4. We took this software for a test drive and modeled our new office space. Rather than strapping on VR goggles, our staff can walk through our new office and experience it from the comfort of their own computer monitor (view video above).

On the more technical side, how does this type of software change our current workflow? For a current static rendering like the one shown in the first part of the video, we can prime a digital model for rendering pretty quickly. Using the power of our render farm, we usually run 80 cores (CPU’s) resulting in one render after a few hours. Not too bad considering we used to wait days for the same output only a few years ago.

Now if you want video, you are looking at a lot of time and resources to develop an in-house animation that is usually under a minute in length. At the end of multiple days of work you have an amazing video to share with clients and others (and everyone loves movies, right?) That thirty-second video loses its sparkle when you realize that you need to change something in the design as a result of meeting comments. Usually you can’t re-render a whole walkthrough because of tight schedules – but what if you could? What if it was just a part of the standard workflow and you could render the space and were allowed to change views or make a movie within minutes?

Why not turn the scripted walkthrough into a “game” and let someone else walk around and experience it in real time! This is the direction we are headed at TLCD… and virtual reality is just fuel to the fire. Integrating the visual experience with a physical/digital experience is so exciting to us as architects because we are integrating it into our early designs as a linkable workflow. Immersing yourself deeper into an environment is an architectural experience beyond the average visual.

Learning to craft a visualization to create an interactive experience is the new art of rendering. Video game developers have been doing this for years and the most current digital environments are so immersive it almost feels real. This way of sharing a design brings in thoughts of simple actions infused with realism – like adding sounds of the city when you open a door. We see so many possibilities for this in the near future. Imagine an environment that allows end users to experience the space and use it as a learning tool with interactive virtual diagrams.

Our goal is to integrate this software into our designs to create new modes of integrated thinking for clients who are looking for innovation and value for their project. At the moment, we are only designing buildings, but soon we might be creating worlds! This is too much fun to be had all alone, come join us!

Angel the Office Dog, Nick Diggins Designer, TLCD ArchitectureNo animals… or architects were harmed in the making of this blog post. Most days Angel can be found at our office brightening people’s days while stopping by their desk for a treat or pat on the head. Nick can be found any number of places…job sites, his work station, client meetings, or low crawling to sneak up on his unsuspecting coworkers!

Milestone Celebration for American AgCredit Headquarters

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.)

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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!


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