When TLCD Architecture set out to transform a former telephone switching building in downtown Santa Rosa into a mixed-use project called Museum on the Square, our goal was to turn the windowless structure into a vibrant, urban building with visual appeal. In order to achieve this objective, we overlaid the concrete structure with perforated aluminum panels by McNichols Perforated Metal. Working with fabricator and installer B.T. Mancini, TLCD designed a series of bent panels to achieve a unique sculptural effect. Low and behold, these “origami’ panels (as we call them) ended up on the cover of Commercial Architecture Magazine, along with an article about our use of the perforated metal panels.
Posts from the ‘Civic’ Category
Tom Tomasi, founder of Tomasi Architects in Santa Rosa, passed away at age 92 on September 16th. Tomasi is the “T” in “TLCD Architecture” and his passing has real significance to all of us at TLCD. Tom’s son, Don Tomasi joined his father’s firm in 1984 and helped shape the growth and decision to merge with Lawry Coker DeSilva Architecture in 1993.
After the merger, Tom stayed involved with the firm and brought his design expertise to projects, however Don took over a leadership role – which continues today. It’s not everyday that you experience such a strong family legacy passed down through generations. From the firm’s inception in 1965 to celebrating our 51st year as TLCD Architecture, Tom Tomasi will be remembered as a driving force in local architecture.
Santa Rosa’s city center has long been known as Courthouse Square and it carries a long, rich history. Originally laid out as a plaza in the early 1800’s, it later became the site of a grand County Courthouse. The Square was a lively center of community and political activity and a place where young and old gathered. The 1906 earthquake destroyed the Courthouse and a new one was built on the same site as part of the reconstruction efforts.
By the 1960’s county government had outgrown the Courthouse and it was razed. In the midst of urban renewal, the Square was divided into two parts by varying interests and Mendocino Avenue was routed through the middle. Several decades and many City Councils later, the City of Santa Rosa is moving forward with the Reunification of Courthouse Square. This plan reunifies the Square and creates an urban park and gathering space for residents and visitors alike. With proximity to great dining, shopping and events like the Wednesday Night Farmers Market, it will also serve as an economic boon to local businesses.
TLCD Architecture has been a downtown Santa Rosa business for over 50 years and the architect on many key public projects. In February 2016, the firm moved to our new office at 520 Third Street, which fronts Courthouse Square. The building, a former telephone switching facility, had been abandoned for decades. TLCD’s team recognized the potential to transform it into a contemporary building with urban office space and retail opportunities. Working as part of the development team, this building was designed with the reunification of Courthouse Square in mind as a way to reinvigorate the city center.
Recognized for our role in the revitalization of downtown Santa Rosa, as well as other community projects, the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce recently named TLCD Architecture Small Business of the Year. Principal Don Tomasi, accepted the award and spoke to our firm’s commitment and work culture.
Furthering this exciting momentum are key infrastructure projects including the SMART Train, which is set to begin passenger rail service in late 2016. With stations that include the Sonoma County Airport (also in active expansion mode) and Railroad Square, there will be non-vehicular transportation directly to downtown Santa Rosa. This connectivity will bring a new level of energy and activity to the city center… aka Courthouse Square!
To learn about the City of Santa Rosa’s vision, see the Downtown Station Area Specific Plan.
For more about the history of Courthouse Square, read Gaye LeBaron’s article: Old Courthouse Square has divided Santa Rosa for 160 years.
My story about the second Leadership Santa Rosa program day, Government and Politics, truly began several months ago at the Class XXXII retreat where several of my classmates and I had a discussion about the reunification of Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa, an important and contentious project which has been in the works for many years. That spirited discussion inspired me to complete our homework assignment by attending the City Council meeting in September where the City Council decided to move ahead with funding the project, and that meeting became a tipping point for me to speak out in support of the City Council’s decision by writing a letter to the local newspaper, the Press Democrat.
And so, with my freshly inspired spirit for civic engagement, I entered the City Council chambers again in October to learn all about government, policy, and politics during our program day.
The topic of Class XXXII’s first Leadership Santa Rosa program day was Agriculture. After our fascinating pretour of a mushroom farm in Sebastopol, I was excited to see what the day would bring, but not so excited about starting at 6am. Ugh! I can’t complain too much though, since our first stop was the Bucher Dairy, a 2nd generation family-owned organic dairy farm on 360 acres near Healdsburg, where they are up every day at 1am to start milking the cows. Yikes! They have 700 dairy cows producing milk for Clover Storneta, and in recent years planted a 40 acre vineyard to support their own wine label, Bucher. I learned a lot about how the farm operates and how they have integrated new technology over time to increase efficiency, including creating their own “plate cooler” that works like a heat exchanger to passively cool the milk with stored water.
Our next stop was Santa Rosa Junior College’s Shone Farm for a panel discussion with Tony Linegar, the Sonoma County Agricultural Commissioner, Karissa Kruse, the President of the Sonoma County Wingrowers, and Doug Beretta from Beretta Family Organic Dairy.
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.
The 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.
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.
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!
TLCD 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.
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.
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.
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!
Next, 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. 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.
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:
View video below for more background on the DeTurk Round Barn
By Brian C. Wright, Principal | Project Manager
We live in earthquake country and for most Northern Californians’ the possibility of a major earthquake is etched into our consciousness. When the Napa Earthquake struck last August, the 6.0 magnitude quake made national headlines. Images of damaged downtown buildings, wine barrels collapsed into piles and homes leaning sideways were everywhere on the media.
For those of us with friends and family in Napa County, our first reaction was to make sure everyone was safe and to offer our help. I grew up in Napa and the recovery effort began on a personal note for me. Within hours of the earthquake, my sister and I were cleaning up damage and debris at our 94 year-old father’s home. Even without structural damage, it was amazing to see how devastating an event like this can be. There was overturned furniture, dislodged doors, contents literally thrown out of the refrigerator, and of course broken glass everywhere. One of our clients at Napa Valley College had his chimney collapse into his living room – something you don’t see everyday.
In the immediate days following the earthquake, my involvement would take a turn, as TLCD Architecture was selected to work with the County of Napa to assess and repair their damaged buildings in the downtown core. The team assembled for the earthquake repair projects was more than just a slate of companies able to perform the work. This quickly became a close-knit team that worked tirelessly to meet the constantly evolving and unforeseen issues that arose in the days and weeks following the earthquake.
In any emergency, citizens rely on County services for help and support. Many of these important functions were housed in two critical buildings that were damaged – the County’s Main Administration Building and the Carithers Building. In addition to the actual repair work, we were tasked with moving people into swing space to ensure minimal disruption of services. Fortunately, TLCD had been working with the County on a tenant improvement project for the Health & Human Services Agency (HHSA), and this large-scale campus provided the space needed to accommodate teams that were displaced. Juan Arias, the County of Napa Capital Projects Manager shared his thoughts: “The work product and flexibility shown by TLCD in program and project development for our Health and Human Services Agency has been second to none, particularly in light of the earthquake-related needs for relocation of people and departments.”
Every project we work on is a team effort with our clients, but the circumstances surrounding the Napa earthquake took this to another level. The degree of communication, coordination and oversight required to keep so many moving pieces in motion was truly extraordinary. Project Architect, Dennis Kennedy, has been with TLCD for 28 years and played an integral role throughout the scope of these projects. He summarized his experience best: “I feel very fortunate to work for a firm that values relationships and puts resources where they are most needed. My priorities for the last year were the projects for the County of Napa and I feel an immense sense of pride and accomplishment in what we’ve achieved.”
Reflecting back on this last year, the word that most encapsulates my experience is “connection“. In addition to growing up in Napa, a big portion of my career with TLCD Architecture has been focused in Napa County – from major campus bond improvements at Napa Valley College, to the historic renovation of Vintage Hall at St. Helena High School, and in recent years, our work with the County of Napa. When this disaster struck last August, the quality relationships we had formed with the County were only made stronger through the rebuilding process. The entire project team has connected on a deeper level because we came together to do the right thing. We also 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. For more technical information TLCD’s work on the County Buildings, click here.
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.
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.
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:
- TLCD Architecture
- Construction Manager – DPR Construction
- Structural Engineer – ZFA Structural Engineering
- Mechanical/Plumbing Engineer – Costa Engineers Inc.
- Electrical Engineering & Lighting – O’Mahony & Myer
- Waterproofing – SGH
- Furniture Services – Facilities by Design
- Move Management – Visions Management
- Audio/Visual – Charles M. Salter Associates Inc.