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Posts by Don Tomasi TLCD

Rammed Earth Wall Rises at TLCD Project

tlcd architecture, american agcredit headquarters, rammed earth feature wall, sustainable

One of the most beautiful and ancient wall types used in construction is made from “rammed earth“. These walls are constructed using forms much like a concrete wall is constructed, but are instead filled with multiple layers of soil combined with a small amount of cement. The walls are structural, and the results are stunning. The most unique aspect of rammed earth walls, aside from their texture, is the horizontal layering of the different soils that are tamped (rammed) into place within the forms.

tlcd architecture, american agcredit headquarters, rammed earth feature wall, sustainable

Rendering of American AgCredit Reception area with “Rammed Earth” Wall

At TLCD Architecture’s 120,000 sf, 3-story American AgCredit Headquarters Building in Santa Rosa a rammed earth wall is being used as a backdrop for the main reception area. Because of the difficultly of constructing a wall within the building’s steel frame, the wall was completed last week, prior to the steel frame being erected. The forms will remain in place during construction in order to protect the wall; the wall won’t be unveiled until sometime next year!

Of particular note, soils were collected from various geographic areas from across the western United States serviced by American AgCredit. The colors of these soil samples were then matched to soils of the particular consistency necessary to provide the structural integrity required. This prominent wall will reflect the diverse geography serviced by the company, which makes loans for agriculture. It also reflects the fact that soil, along with sun and water, is one of the key components of agriculture.

We all look forward to seeing the results; waiting until next year is going to require patience!

Sneak Peak at the Future of Banking

tlcd architecture, exchange bank windsor, bank branch of the future, ribbon cutting ceremony

Exchange Bank Ribbon Cutting at Windsor “Bank Branch of the Future”

This week the Santa Rosa, California based Exchange Bank held a well-attended ribbon cutting for the grand “reopening” of its Windsor branch. The bank was completely renovated and will serve as the bank’s prototype “Bank Branch of the Future”. The project was designed by TLCD Architecture of Santa Rosa, California in conjunction with DBSI of Chandler, Arizona. Midstate Construction of Petaluma, California was the General Contractor, and Trope Group of Santa Rosa provided furniture specification and installation services. Design of custom furniture was a collaborative effort with DFM Furniture out of San Francisco, who specializes in custom wood casegoods.

Surprisingly, the most unusual aspect of the project isn’t inside; a new outdoor patio offers a casual seating area for customers to relax or do their banking online. It is the only known outdoor bank patio according to those at the opening (if anyone is aware of others, we’d be interesting in knowing!). The patio has been a big hit, and is being enjoyed by many of the bank’s customers.

tlcd architecture, exchange bank windsor, bank branch of the future, outdoor online banking

A customer arriving at the branch is in for a surprise. They are first greeted by a concierge, who accesses the customer’s needs then directs them to the appropriate employee. Then another surprise; it becomes immediately apparent that there are no teller lines. Instead, customers interact with employees at sit-down semi-private offices, or at informal cash bars.

Cash bars are freestanding stand-up tables at which the customer and employee stand side by side during transactions! A “cash recycler” facilitates this informal arrangement. A cash recycler is a complex machine that handles a couple of simple, but important tasks—accepting and dispensing cash. It also stores money securely, keeps an accurate accounting of cash on hand, and automates the cash cycle. Both the cash bars and semi-private offices are equipped to handle any type of transaction

Other important features of the branch include a video conference room where customers can meet remotely with employees at Exchange Bank’s various locations about wealth management, trust services, and other services not provided at the branch. A coffee bar, kid’s area, and lounge give the branch hospitality feel, and make for an inviting environment for customers. Even if you are not yet an Exchange Bank customer, stop by the Windsor branch and check out what the future of banking looks like.

 

Big Stink about Stuck Skunk!

american agcredit, tlcd architecture, construction update, skunk rescued

Animal Control Officer captures rouge skunk

On Friday morning, work crews at the TLCD-designed American AgCredit

headquarters construction site found that a skunk had fallen into a footing excavation overnight. The footings are 8 feet deep, which made it impossible for the skunk to crawl out. The contractor, Jim Murphy and Associates contacted Sonoma County Animal Services and they were able to remove the skunk and relocate it. I have newfound respect for animal control officers after seeing this photo! No news on the skunk, though it’s assumed he’s making a stink in another part of the County… and hopefully avoiding construction sites!

american agcredit, tlcd architecture, construction update, excavation for footing

  Excavation of footing for west side of American AgCredit site

american agcredit, tlcd architecture, construction update, underground electrical conduit

Underground electrical conduit for west building

american agcredit, tlcd architecture, construction update, site water line

Site water line installed at American AgCredit

Touring the Largest Collection of Wine Artifacts in the United States

Jim McCormick, California Wine Museum, TLCD Architecture, Museum on the SquareYesterday, a group from TLCD Architecture had the rare opportunity to visit the largest and most diverse single collection of vintage wine related and viticultural artifacts in the United States. Jim McCormick, long-time collector, antique dealer and specialist in wine and viticultural antiquities, led the tour. His collection comprises 30 years of travel, hunting and gathering unique hard-to-find viticultural rarities from the wine regions of the United States and abroad, with an emphasis on California. It includes over 4,500 historical artifacts.

The collection is housed in Jim McCormick’s 2nd floor downtown Petaluma gallery, and in 3 barns located outside of town. We were amazed at the quality and diversity of his collection, but were equally impressed by the excellent condition of the objects; Jim has painstakingly restored each item, arranged them for display, and maintains them in beautiful condition. It is almost incomprehensible that one person can maintain 4,500 objects and the spaces they are housed in. Simply amazing! Jim is knowledgeable about each and every item in his collection, and is exceptionally passionate about what is obviously a labor of love. We feel honored to have been able to visit the collection, and to learn about the intricacies of many of the objects and their historic importance to the wine industry.

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Much of his collection will be housed in the California Wine Museum (CWM), currently being designed by TLCD Architecture in collaboration with exhibit designer David Edquist of EDQ Design. The CWM will be located in Museum on the Square in downtown Santa Rosa and is expected to open in late 2015. The mission of the Museum will be to preserve and exhibit California’s wine heritage, educate visitors about state-of-the-art winemaking plus learn the nuances of wine appreciation.Visitors will be immersed in interactive exhibits of California wine history and wine making that include over a thousand of Jim’s artifacts.

http://www.californiawinemuseum.com (collection)

http://www.californiawinemuseum.org (museum)

http://www.edquistdesign.com (EDQ Design)

Construction Automation: Robo Caterpillars?

Automated Machine Guidance, TLCD Architecture, American AgCredit, Brelje & race Consulting Civil Engineers, Jim Murphy and Associates, Construction Some of the latest construction technology is at work at the TLCD Architecture designed American AgCredit project in Santa Rosa.  Final grading of the site is being accomplished using automation in combination with satellite guidance. It is commonly called Automated Machine Guidance and here’s how it works…

First, using advanced BIM software the civil engineer develops a highly accurate, digital 3D model of the site. After receiving a copy of this model, the grading subcontractor loads a variant of it directly into the onboard computer of GPS-equipped bulldozers. Using GPS and on-site laser-based positioning systems, the equipment operator compares their constantly moving, real-time location with the current site model and scrapes, grades, cuts, and fills – either automatically or with guidance from the onboard system – to unprecedented levels of accuracy.

The civil engineer for American AgCredit is Brelje & Race Consulting Engineers. The General Contractor is Jim Murphy and Associates, and the grading subcontractor is Northwest General Engineering. All firms are located in Santa Rosa.

This process virtually eliminates the need for staking and makes operating equipment easier. It offers the potential to achieve designed grades on the first pass, saving time and expense, and minimizes fuel consumption and associated pollution.

How cool is that?

Museum on the Square: Fiat Lux (Let There Be Light)

 

museum on the square, TLCD Architecture, Hugh Futrell Corporation, Construction Update, Santa Rosa

Views to Taylor Mountain from 5th Floor of Museum on the Square

This morning the upper floors of Museum on the Square were flooded with light as the first exterior concrete panels were removed. Saws with blades as large as 36 inches in diameter sliced through concrete panels weighing upwards of 22,000 pounds each. A large crane then gently lifted the panels to the ground where they will be broken apart and recycled.

A total of 9 concrete panels were removed today, about one third of the total panels that will be removed during the course of construction on this project designed by TLCD Architecture.

Exterior demolition continues on the opposite, Courthouse Square side of the building where exterior precast panels are being removed by jackhammer prior to the removal of the structural concrete walls. On the interior, portions of the concrete floor slabs are being removed to accommodate new elevators and stairs.

The changes to the interior space are going to be dramatic as natural daylight visits this building for the first time!

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Concrete Saws in Action at Museum on The Square!

Museum on the Square, TLCD Architecture, Hugh Futrell Corporation, Mixed-Use, Renovation

Crews saw through concrete on 3rd Street side of Museum on the Square

This week heavy-duty concrete saws began cutting through walls as thick as 15 inches at Museum on the Square.  This existing 5-story building, formerly a nuclear blast resistant telephone switching building, was constructed without windows. The building is now being converted to retail, office and museum use, necessitating the removal of large portions of the concrete walls.

The saws are mounted to rails that are attached to the building walls.  Blades as large as 3 feet in diameter slice through the concrete.  A very small length of the total perimeter of each new window opening is left uncut.  Once all of the new window openings have been cut in this manner a large crane will be brought in, the final cuts will be make in order to free the panels from the building structure, and the panels will be lowered to the ground to be demolished, then removed.

Currently concrete sawing is occurring on the south face of the building. On the more visible north side – from Courthouse Square, there are two layers of concrete. The outer, precast concrete panels are being removed by jackhammer before the structural concrete can be removed. Concrete is also being removed on the interior of the building to accommodate new elevators and stairways. Interior demolition of walls, ceilings and equipment is nearly complete.

Check back for further updates!

Groundbreaking at Santa Rosa’s American AgCredit Headquarters

American AgCredit, Headquarters Building, Groundbreaking Ceremony, TLCD Architecture

Approximately 200 people turned out yesterday for the formal Groundbreaking Ceremony for American AgCredit’s new 120,000 square foot headquarters building in the Airport Business Center, just north of Santa Rosa.

Designed by TLCD Architecture, the iconic zinc-clad structure will feature three floors of office space wrapping around an enclosed outdoor courtyard, two roof decks, and three “sky bridges”.

Several executives and board members from American AgCredit, along with Sonoma County 4th District Supervisor Mike McGuire spoke about the project, American AgCredit’s recommitment to keeping its headquarters in Sonoma County and how the project will allow the organization to accommodate projected growth. Then Supervisor McGuire along with representatives of American AgCredit, TLCD Architecture, and JMA Construction dug the ceremonial first shovelfuls of dirt. Following the ceremony, guests and dignitaries enjoyed snacks and beverages under a agent on what proved to be the hottest day of the year to date!

Construction will last approximately 18 months, with completion scheduled for November of 2015.

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Savannah: America’s First Planned City

Savannah, Georgia, State Capital, Don Tomasi, Oglethorpe PlanDon Tomasi, AIA

Last week my wife and I had the opportunity to visit Savannah, Georgia. I have been interested in visiting Savannah since first hearing about it in an architectural history class more than 30 years ago!

Savannah was established in 1733 and was the first colonial and state capital of Georgia. It was Georgia’s largest city until 1880 when it was surpassed in size by Atlanta. The City is steeped in history, and in many respects is the quintessential southern city. But my interest in visiting Savannah is primarily due to the city’s unique urban design; Savannah is known as America’s first planned city, and is a National Historic Landmark District visited by millions every year.

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Savannah’s plan, know as the Oglethorpe plan, consists of a series of wards surrounding 22 central squares, with trust lots on the east and west sides of each square for public buildings and churches. I found that the experience of walking through the town to be truly unique. The 22 squares are richly landscaped, with large arching trees that create an abundance of shade. From almost any given point in the historic district one can see at least two other squares, which are spaced only 2 blocks apart to the north, south, west and east. Standing in the middle of any given square offers views of 4 adjacent squares.

The effect of the urban grid is of a small-scaled community in which vehicular traffic is subordinate to the pedestrian environment. Though designed more than a hundred years before the advent of the motor vehicle, the network of squares easily accommodates traffic, while providing an integral traffic “calming” system. As a result, wandering through the historic district is a unique and truly pleasurable experience, enriched by historic buildings at every turn, and numerous points of historic interest.

 

At Last! Demolition of AT&T Building Begins

 

museum on the square, tlcd architecture, hugh futrell corporation, santa rosa, mixed use

After 7 years of planning, redesign, and changing political winds, TLCD Architecture’s Museum on the Square project is finally underway! A front page article in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat this morning discussed current demolition activities and the upcoming removal of 18 inch thick concrete walls. Large sections of concrete will be removed from the currently windowless building by means of industrial concrete saws, lowered by a large crane onto flatbed trucks, then removed and recycled. As developer Hugh Futrell noted, this will be a particularly exciting phase of the project. In my opinion it can’t happen soon enough!

This 100,000 square foot landmark downtown Santa Rosa project will be completed in early 2015. We will call the 3rd floor home and are currently busy designing our new office. Stay tuned for details!

museum on the square, tlcd architecture, hugh futrell corporation, santa rosa, mixed use

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