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West Valley College Entry Project: More Than Just Signs

West Valley College, Entry Project, TLCD Architecture, Oak Nursery, Historic Palm, Signage, Drought Tolerant Replacing entry signage and more than an acre of gopher infested turf at West Valley College in Saratoga seems most appropriate given Governor Brown’s recent statewide mandate for a 25% cut in water use. This project was conceived to highlight the identity of West Valley College on the main approach to campus. It also aimed to replace the turf with drought resistant plantings. The project, led by TLCD Architecture ultimately added a few more unexpected and interesting elements.

The signs themselves are bold new statements of West Valley College’s identity and take a fresh approach to the campus’ existing trademark logo. Designer Dickson Keyser of the GNU Group created sculptural leaf elements that stand out from the body of the three new signs and add animation to the ensemble. The 60 foot long main sign and the two electronic reader boards are made of self-healing Cor-Ten steel and merge seamlessly with the drought tolerant landscaping and the storm water recharge basin at the base of the site.

West Valley College, Entry Project, TLCD Architecture, Oak Nursery, Historic Palm, Signage, Drought TolerantThe West Valley Campus is centered on a meandering creek lined with stunning, mature oak trees. Many of these trees have reached the end of their life cycle and are dying off. At the top of the Entry Project, Quadriga Landscape Architecture established an “Oak Nursery”. Over time this nursery will provide stock to replant the deceased trees, keeping the oak lined central spaces of campus vibrant and alive.

Two historic palms were relocated from the location of the original farmhouse that preceded the college, when the site was orchard lands. They have been moved from an unnoticed location in the middle of a parking lot to create a fresh reminder of the history of the land.

The two reader boards are intended to announce campus events. WVC Director of Communications and Technology, Scott Ludwig, has programmed them with inspiring words that rotate on ten-minute cycles. Scott told me yesterday that students now walk up to him a spontaneously exclaim “Collaborate!” or other words of the moment, taking their cues from the reader boards.

The campus and nearby community has taken notice of the change and is appreciative of the dynamism of the statement. Over time, as they discover the other elements, it will become an even richer experience.

West Valley College Entry

“Before” view of West Valley College Entry

West Valley College, Entry Project, TLCD Architecture, Oak Nursery, Historic Palm, Signage, Drought Tolerant

“After” view of West Valley College Entry

Modern, Energetic and Flexible Work Places are Emerging in the North Bay

KI.com, furniture solutions, movable partitions, office design, tlcd architecture, american accredit, architecture

An example of the movable sound insulated glass walls that are going to be used in the American AgCredit building.

TLCD Architecture’s approach to a project fully integrates architecture and interior design to create modern and energetic work places. One project, which has been getting a lot of attention, is the 120,000 SF American AgCredit Headquarters building at the Airport Business Center in Santa Rosa.

The North Bay Business Journal recently did a piece on “Designing the New Workplace” which looks at how the design of modern work environments are focusing on flexibility and encouraging collaboration.

Suzanne Nagorka, TLCD’s Director of Interior Design, was interviewed for the piece and describes how American AgCredit’s new headquarters was designed specifically for the financial institutions’ changing needs – including movable sound-insulated partition walls that can be reconfigured.

Over our 50-year history, TCLD has worked closely with a variety of clients on office planning solutions for private sector, public sector, healthcare and financial markets and we are always looking for ways to innovate and best meet our clients’ needs.

Read the full NBBJ article here.

How Many Architects Does It Take to Pack a Food Box?

That’s a rhetorical question because you can never have too many architects helping out at their local food bank. TLCD Architecture had a team volunteer at the Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB) last Friday and it was both gratifying and a great team building exercise. A staff member gave us a tour before we settled in to pack food. Within 90 minutes we had packaged and loaded nearly 5 palettes of food boxes. Anyone remember the “I Love Lucy” episode where the assembly line items are flying by? It felt that way at first, but we got the hang of it!

We heard that the facility needs 1200 volunteers each month to get food processed and packaged, so we will definitely be back.

 

 

TLCD’s Carl Servais Takes on Winter in DC for AIA Grassroots Conference

As the 2015 President of the AIA Redwood Empire Chapter (AIARE), I recently had the privilege of traveling to Washington DC for the annual AIA Grassroots Conference. Over 600 architects and administrative staff gathered together to advocate important legislative issues with our representatives on Capital Hill, to receive leadership training, and to network and collaborate with each other to find ways of better serving the AIA membership. I met with AIA leaders from chapters all around the country, from coastal Louisiana to northern Minnesota. Many of the folks I spoke with had issues similar to what our local chapter faces: how to best serve a diverse set of professionals from a vast geographic area with limited resources and how to motivate and inspire the emerging professionals who will carry the leadership torch of our future. There are no simple or easy answers to these questions, but I met lots of inspiring colleagues and I returned with a renewed sense of focus and energy, and with a handful of ideas that I will bring to my fellow directors on the AIARE Board.

Here are three of the highlights of my trip:

As an architect, of course the first thing I had to do after arriving was to walk the Mall. What I hadn’t realized is how beautifully the many historical buildings and monuments are lit up at night. I grew up in Wisconsin, so the cold winter night was no problem for me.

On the first day of the conference, my schedule didn’t start until the afternoon, so I took advantage of the free time by waiting in line to see oral arguments of the so-called “Obamacare” law at the Supreme Court. I waited for about 2-1/2 hours to get in, and I only got to sit for about 3 minutes in the courtroom, but it was well worth the wait to see the court in action. Fortunately, there were about 200 protestors providing entertainment for everyone waiting in line.

Finally, Wendy Young, the AIARE Executive Director, set up meetings for us to meet with 5th District Congressman Mike Thompson, and 2nd District Congressman Jared Huffman. After receiving training from the AIA federal advocacy team about the important legislative issues that were on the table, I was prepared to discuss the following:

1. Protect and enhance the Federal Historic Tax Credit (HTC).

2. Cosponsor the Safe Building Code Incentive Act, which encourages states to voluntarily adopt and enforce nationally recognized model building codes for residential and commercial structures in order to qualify for additional post-disaster FEMA grants.

3. Cosponsor the National Design Services Act, which extends to architecture graduates student debt relief in exchange for work in underserved communities.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature intervened and dumped 6 inches of snow the day of my meeting, thereby effectively shutting the government down for the day. We still made the trek up to Capital Hill and had the opportunity to meet with Scott Rasmussen, Congressman Huffman’s Legislative Assistant. I think I made a good, confident presentation of the legislation we were there to promote and I went away feeling great about having advocated for our profession.

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.

150312-01

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.

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