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An Architect’s Perspective on Napa’s Earthquake Repair Projects

Downtown Napa, earthquake damaged buildings, County of Napa, Carithers Building, Main Administration Building

The 6.0 earthquake that shook Napa last August was a devastating blow to many people and businesses in the region – including the County of Napa’s office buildings and employees. After an expedited RFP process required by FEMA, TLCD Architecture was selected to work on the Main Administration Building and the Carithers Building, both County buildings in downtown Napa.

County Administration Building

The County Administration Building is a three-story building housing Public Works, the Planning and Permit Department, the Board of Supervisors, the County Counsel and the CEO’s office among others – some of which were shut down after the earthquake hit. Although the media showed severe structural damage on many historical buildings and homes, modern buildings such as the Administration Building fared much better, suffering mostly from interior damage from broken water pipes and HVAC damage, with some damage done to the exterior shell of the building. Phase 1 work on the Administration Building was limited to the Third floor, which housed the CEO, Board of Supervisors, and County Counsel. Phase 2 included structural and exterior repairs of the building.

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The Carithers Building

The Carithers Building, which houses services such as the District Attorney, Public Defender, Child Support Services and the Assessor/Recorders office suffered similar damage. Broken sprinklers flooded half of the building with an estimated 7,500 gallons of water on two floors, and in turn destroyed the ceilings, carpet, drywall and furniture. Additional interior damage to HVAC units and electrical systems resulted, all of which made the process of rebuilding very complex. Phase 1 for the Carithers Building included portions of the first floor, which housed the District Attorney’s office. Phase 2 included the remainder of the work on the additional floors and offices in the remainder of the building.

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By the time TLCD Architecture was retained in September, the buildings had been stripped down – carpets ripped out, ceiling tiles pulled down and all damaged furniture removed. We were then tasked with fast-tracking a very detailed project that included unearthing additional “surprises” as we dug deeper into the ceilings and walls of the building and marking up as-built drawings to include all of the damage found.

The first task for our team of consultants was to inspect the building and prepare a damage assessment along with repair recommendations for both buildings. Our marked up as-built drawings were then modeled in Revit, which helped coordinate the efforts of our consultant team. The detailed damage assessment reports, including estimated repair costs, were necessary both for developing repair construction documents, and for submitting to FEMA and Cal OES for potential reimbursement to the County.

TLCD had been working with the County on a large tenant improvement project in South Napa for the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) Campus prior to the earthquake. This space proved to be a huge asset for the County and acted as swing space for temporarily displaced programs. TLCD and its consultants provided move management services that helped the County accomplish a complicated series of transfers to ensure all of their staff had a place to work while repairs were being accomplished at the two downtown buildings, as well as work still being completed at the HHSA campus.

We are happy to say we met the County’s Phase 1 deadlines of getting the District Attorney back into their offices on January 3, and the Board of Supervisors back into their new Boardroom by May 5. We are currently working on Phase 2 of the Carithers building and expect to complete the project in September.

Through this process we have learned many lessons, which we will share with our existing and future clients. The biggest take-away is the value of implementing current codes that require proper bracing of ceiling systems, ductwork, piping and even furniture systems.

We are very proud to have been able serve the County of Napa in their time of need. Our commitment and the strong relationship we had developed with them drove our team to accomplish this tremendous goal in a short period of time. Ultimately it was about getting them back into “their homes” as quickly as possible.

Our outstanding team is comprised of:

Why I Love Public Architecture

SRJC Petaluma Student Experience_TLCD Architecture

The career of an architect has its highs and lows. If we are lucky and engaged in our profession we get a chance to design some great buildings. I have been both fortunate and proud of what I have done in the last three decades of practice. Every so often an event occurs that really gives you a sense of the value of what we do.

This morning I attended an end of the year breakfast presented by the Friends of the Petaluma Campus Trust. In the course of the presentation, three first generation college students spoke; Kim Baptista, a full-time parent and cancer survivor; W. Jamar Minor, an Air Force veteran and transplant from Akron, Ohio, and Adriana Lopez Torres, a Mexican born “Dreamer” raised in rural Marin County. The stories of the opportunities and support that the college and staff have been able to provide them with were extremely moving. Even more impressive was their own determination to push on despite a host of cultural, physical and financial obstacles. It was their teachers, counselors, and staff that really made this happen. As architects we just provided a good place for those things to happen. Their lives will be truly different from those of their parents and the college has made it possible.

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For nearly 30 years I have been working on the development of the Petaluma Campus of Santa Rosa Junior College. When I began, the campus was a group of portable buildings behind the giant plaster chicken at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds. In 1995, I was immensely proud to be at the dedication of the first phase of the new campus built on a forty-acre site in east Petaluma. Almost 15 years later I was even more proud as the second phase of the campus’ development ushered in a new era for Petaluma,  providing a full range of community college opportunities. As with most building dedications, we accept the accolades, head home, and don’t often get a chance to appreciate the post-occupancy life of the buildings. Hearing the student’s personal stories reminds me of how proud I am to have played a part in an institution that can have such transformative results. It is personal stories like these that really make my professional life worthwhile.

 

TLCD Architecture: Revit Tips for June

RevitTipOfTheWeek

To Pin or not to Pin by David Moyer

A quick tip for you this week on the fine art of pinning. Ever try to move something only to find it was pinned and you had to unpin it first? That of course is easily solved, but what about when you want to move some things but not others that are in the same area of your model?

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You can reverse the process and use the Pin Selected Elements Tool down in the bottom right of the application window to control what moves and what does not.

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For example you are reconfiguring a furniture layout, but when you select the elements to rearrange them you end up getting the floor below selected instead of the furniture you wanted.

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Oops – didn’t want to do that! So execute an undo and pin the floor right…

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However, this just keeps the floor from moving; it still is the thing getting selected when you are trying to select the furniture with a crossing selection. Now it just does not move on you, so at least you do not need to undo a command.

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So then how can you get those tables and chairs selected? One at a time? No there is a better way – The problem is that your Pin Selected Elements Toggle is not cooperating. (It is set to select pinned elements.)

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All you need to do is change the status of your Pin Selected Elements Toggle to not allow the selection of Pinned elements by clicking on it.

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The icon changes to now show a red “X” with the pin to let you know that pinned items will be ignored in selection processes. Now you can crossing select that furniture without a problem.

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This can be especially useful with CAD backgrounds. Also remember to check the Pin Selection Toggle if you are having trouble selecting something in your model – it might be pinned and the toggle could be set to not allow pinned elements to be selected. Of course it could be one of those pesky design option situations or something else entirely, but at least this is one more thing you can check to help keep Revit frustration at bay.

Detectable Warning by Carl Servais 

I received an excellent question the other day about how to model detectable warning surfaces.  This is an excellent example where I like to refer to the Shakespearean adage:

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“To model or not to model, that is the question.”

In answer to the question of modeling detectable warning surfaces, I have never modeled the actual domes.  To represent the domes, I always use a surface pattern that works at a scale when shown in plan, but also looks decent in 3d views.  Since we typically have fairly flat sites and we have generally modeled the site topography as floors (for simplicity’s sake and because Revit’s topography tools are not great),  I have always divided the floor surface and painted the area of detectable warning with a material that has the dome pattern.  If you have modeled all the site elements with topographic surfaces, you will not be able to show surface patterns since Revit topographical surfaces do not support materials with surface patterns.  You should consider doing at least the hardscape elements as floors in order to produce surface patterns.

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For the detectable warning surface areas, I create a new material called “Truncated Domes” and set the surface pattern to “circles 2”, a model fill pattern that is in the TLCD template.

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Spelling / Abbreviations by Leslie Smith

Spelling

Nobody is perfect.

Soooo…use the handy dandy tool “Check Spelling” to confirm/correct text in your Revit projects.

From the Annotate Tab → select Check Spelling

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Note: Diligent visual checking is still required…Revit is looking at views not your sheet naming or project titles…since these are labels. It also doesn’t include keynotes.

Keynote Manager red underlines suspected misspellings so they can be easily spotted and corrected.

Abbreviations

We recently revised the abbreviations on the title sheet in the TLCD template. These are contained in a schedule format now, unfortunately you cannot insert schedules individually (as in insert from file like details).

BUT… there’s always a workaround…if you want to update existing projects to the new schedule you can:

1.     Start a new project (non workset)

2.     Insert from File the title sheet from one of the DSA or AHJ sheet sets (this brings in the abbreviation schedule)

3.     Then you can right click on the schedule in your browser – copy to clipboard.  Then paste into your current project.

4.     Place the schedule on your title sheet (it should lay down on sheet nicely split into 3 columns).

Please note that the new abbreviations do NOT include periods.

You can quickly swap out abbreviations project wide by using the Find/Replace feature (also on Annotation Tab)

(Again this doesn’t work in keynotes – but does for text notes – see below)

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If a project specific abbreviation is required, it should be noted on your title sheet in the drafting view “Project Abbreviations”.

For revising abbreviations in keynotes use the search / replace function in Keynote Manager.

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These few adjustments go a long way toward improving the quality and consistency of our production drawings.

Past Revit tips can be found here and here.

Design Competition Fuses Primary Care and Mental Health Services

tlcd architecture, healthcare design, integrating primary cary and mental health, jason brabo, design competition

The healthcare landscape is always changing as providers evolve the framework for care and adjust capital plans to maximize shifting reimbursement models, stay current with medical technology and respond to shifting political priorities and societal demands. In recent years, the Affordable Care Act and the cry for improved mental healthcare services have pushed the industry to increase outpatient primary care and mental health capacities. This trend is leading some in the industry to cast away old notions and stigma – and seize the opportunity to make mental health an integral part of primary healthcare.

In a recent design competition, TLCD Architecture explored how the fusion of mental health and primary care could be supported in the built environment. The resulting outpatient campus brings primary care and mental health together in a unified, community-focused design while addressing privacy and security concerns. The concept of total patient wellbeing begins with easy access for patients and incorporates healthy opportunities of exercise, farmers markets, community activities, health education and medical care. Giving people a reason to visit the site on a regular basis for everyday activities serves to promote health and wellbeing.

tlcd architecture, healthcare design, integrating primary cary and mental health, jason brabo, design competition, outdoor plaza, food trucks, kid play areas, indoor outdoor stair

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During the design process TLCD Architecture used our own healthcare experience that includes recent work on acute and outpatient mental health facilities, as well as assembling a team of designers, planners and engineers with diverse backgrounds to bring fresh perspectives to the discussion. We also used the growing body of research that brings these ideas into focus and provides motivation for healthcare providers to integrate primary care and mental health services that result in improved patient care, financial efficiencies and increased marketplace appeal.

As designers, TLCD Architecture believes that it’s our responsibility to bring design and operational innovations and new thinking to our clients so they are well informed as they make decisions that shape the future of healthcare.

For more information visit these resources.

Integrated Behavioral Health Project

Behavioral Healthcare

Article: More ACOs Look to Behavioral Health

World Health Organization

Report: Integrating mental health into primary care: a global perspective 

tlcd architecture, healthcare design, integrating primary cary and mental health, jason brabo, design competition, outdoor plaza, food trucks, kid play areas, indoor outdoor stair

Windows on the Square

 

tlcd architecture, hugh futrell corporation, museum on the square, urban renewal, loft office space

The Museum on the Square project will create a new architectural presence in downtown Santa Rosa.

After many months of sawing, grinding, dust and demolition, the scaffolding for the Museum on the Square project in downtown Santa Rosa came down today revealing a new presence for the repurposed AT&T telephone switching building. Soon to be followed by a new perforated metal skin, todays unveiling shows the possibilities for an engaging new architectural presence on the square.

This week also saw the beginning of the tenant improvements for Luther Burbank Saving’s new headquarters on the fourth and fifth floor of the building. A construction elevator has been erected on the south face of the building and job boxes for the subcontractors were being hoisted by crane to the upper floors.

See the Press Democrat Article here

PRAXIS: practical application of a theory

What is your work environment like? Does it motivate and energize you? Well it should! Each workplace has an optimum environment in which to achieve maximum functionality and purpose. As architects we are often called upon to understand and develop what this might be. Most of the time this moment in the design process is called programming, but there’s an even more important stage prior to that. Analysis! Developing a strong base of information can begin to inform designers beyond the norm and make something really unique for a client (or ourselves). This process of investigation, research and critical thought allows us to map information from all influences of a project.

Reflection is another key piece of our design process. We gather all the findings from the analysis stage and move to graphic representations as tools for idea generation and critique. For instance, the Praxis infographic below breaks down one idea to it’s simplest form by graphically telling a story. In this example, “the way we work” was a key element for developing the design of our firm’s new office. Rather than just laying out how many people and offices get implemented into a floor plate, we dove into our office culture. We really wanted to understand what would empower our designers and staff. Read on after the graphic…

tlcd architecture, design process, work environment, office design, renderings, visualization, infographicAt TLCD Architecture’s new office, which is currently in design, we are consciously surrounding ourselves with our work – a sort of demonstration space to show what we are doing at any given time. You may visit one day and see a process of design happening right in front of you… creating spontaneous interactions between people across multiple projects. Design feeds off of strong studio cultures, and to strengthen ours, we are embracing the process of design and implementing it even further into our own space.

The practice of architecture and designing space for people is an amazing experience that TLCD gets to participate in everyday. We thought our own office space should share this process and not hide it. As we move to the next phase of design, we will begin to activate the space through the use of models, renderings and other visualization techniques. Recently, our staff got together to see what the new office space could look like using a new iPhone app and a simple cardboard box.

The built environment is in constant evolution and it’s a very exciting time for architecture and technology. Having the right team to take you to new levels means that we have to constantly be able to adapt, evolve and learn from each other. Our team thrives off the mutual respect, creative energy and ideas we can generate together. We can’t wait to show you what this looks like at TLCD’s new office, but more importantly to put it into action for our clients. Stay tuned!

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Improving Mental Health Care in Sonoma County

A small but important TLCD Architecture project was featured in an article, ‘County Overhauling Mental Health Services for Those in Crisis’ in today’s Press Democrat. The Sonoma County Crisis Stabilization Unit is a new facility that will replace the existing, outdated facility currently housed in the old Sonoma County (recently Sutter) Community Hospital complex on Chanate Road.

The Crisis Stabilization Unit will expand and improve the County’s emergency mental health services which treat 4500 clients each year. This new, larger facility located at The Lakes business park in west Santa Rosa will be more accessible to the clients they serve and visible to the community. In addition to providing services to adults, it will also provide much needed services to adolescents who are currently among the most underserved in the North Bay mental health care community. Project Manager Jason Brabo, Project Architect Carl Servais, Project Captain Julie Wycoff and Interior Designer Domenica Sheets are the project team.

The 15,000 sf unit is a Tenant Improvement in an existing business park and has been designed to meet the specific needs of the clients and staff. It will serve those who come in on a voluntary basis as well as those who arrive involuntarily or by law enforcement and will provide a calm, clean and welcoming place for them to access treatment.

Inside the Aurora Santa Rosa Hospital. TLCD Architecture recently completed renovations at this mental health hospital in Santa Rosa, CA. The finishes selected create a warm, welcoming atmosphere conducive to healing. The same design approach is being used in the Sonoma County Crisis Stabilization Unit.

Inside the Aurora Santa Rosa Hospital. TLCD Architecture recently completed renovations at this mental health hospital in Santa Rosa, CA. The finishes selected create a warm, welcoming atmosphere conducive to healing. The same design approach is being used in the Sonoma County Crisis Stabilization Unit.

The Crisis Stabilization Unit is the second mental health services project TLCD has worked on – the first being the recently completed 95-bed Aurora Santa Rosa Hospital, mentioned in the article.

Mental health facilities present a wide range of design challenges and requirements. Clients need a safe and secure place in which to be treated where they cannot harm themselves or others, and the built environment should support that. Staff also need to be able to observe and monitor clients at all times. The finishes play a large role in creating a warm and welcoming environment while also being durable. The right finishes and color palette can help create a hospitality feel rather than an “institutional” feel. Natural lighting is used as much as possible because evidence has shown that natural light helps balance moods and aids the healing and recovery process. As Stephen Parsons, client case manager at the facility noted in the article, “It will be the kind of place where people who walk in will feel welcome.”

TLCD’s design team has worked closely with the Crisis Stabilization Unit care providers to create a space that will greatly improve emergency mental health care for Sonoma County residents. The work is interesting, complex and challenging. It is also very satisfying to know that the work we do will help improve care for some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

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