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Posts from the ‘Higher Education’ Category

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’s first LEED Certified project!

Solano College Board Room

The construction of Solano College Building 600 was completed last December and we recently received news that the project has been awarded enough points to achieve the level of Certified under LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovations (LEED-NC), making it the first TLCD project to officially achieve LEED certification!

TLCD Architecture was hired as a consultant to Architect-of-Record, Henley Architects + Associates (now A2R Architects) to work throughout the design and construction process of Building 600, a 13,837sf addition and remodel project at Solano College in Fairfield, CA.  The project includes bright new office space for the Solano College Administration and a wonderful new Board Room addition with high ceilings and a curved transom window that provides daylight across the beautifully crafted Cherry wood dais.

SCC_BLDG600_view1straight

Some of the green features of this LEED Certified project include:

  • High-efficiency HVAC system, designed and built by Peterson Mechanical out of Sonoma, CA.
  • High-efficiency LED lighting, designed and built by Sac Valley Electric out of Sacramento, CA.
  • A new high-reflectivity, Energy Star certified TPO roof over new rigid insulation.
  • New insulation at all existing concrete exterior walls that, combined with other energy efficiency measures, pushed the design to perform almost 10% better than California’s already strict Title 24 Energy Code.
  • Tubular Skylights from Solatube that provide natural daylight into open office spaces and corridors in the building that would otherwise have very little access to daylight due to the small amount of windows in the existing exterior. Even during construction, the contractor could work in the sky lit spaces without any electric lights turned on.

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As the Project Architect for Building 600, I have to give special thanks to Green Build Energy Group, the LEED consultant who helped guide the team across the finish line, and DPR Construction, the general contractor who built the project with an extraordinary level of care and quality.  This project had a lot of budget and schedule constraints, which made LEED Certification an immensely difficult task that could only have been achieved by the wonderfully collaborative effort of everyone involved.

LEED, an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a green building certification program created by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) in 1998 to recognize buildings that take extraordinary measures towards sustainability in the areas of energy and water efficiency, material and resource efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and site design.  Sustainable design is an important part of all the work we do, and we have several projects that are currently pursuing LEED certification, so we know that Building 600 will be the first of many LEED certified projects at TLCD.

 

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

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.

Recognition for the Mendocino College North County Center in Willits

North County Center_extThe Mendocino College North County Center in Willits was recently named a winner in the education category of the North Bay Business Journal’s awards program for Top Real Estate Projects in the North Bay. The North County Center, designed by TLCD Architecture and built by Midstate Construction, opened in the Fall of 2013 and has spurred a growth in the number of students enrolling in classes at the Center. The heart of this facility is the Learning Center, a collaborative learning resource environment with a pair of redwood barn doors that open to administrative space and a wood and glass sliding storefront wall that connects to a computer classroom. The redwood barn doors and redwood board paneling on the interior serves to complement weathering steel panels on the building’s exterior that are slowly oxidizing to a beautiful rust red color.

As Project Architect for the North County Center, this was the first project at TLCD that I was able to work on from conceptual design all the way through construction. When my Mom came to town for a visit, this is the project I took her to see. I am anxious to see the final results of this oxidation process so that the complete design vision can be realized (and so we can do the final photography!). I can’t complain though since I got to work with a couple of folks from the College, Mark Rawitsch, Dean of Instruction, and Mike Adams, Director of Facilities Planning, who had to wait more than 25 years to see the North County Center realized! I guess it’s like they say, all good things are worth waiting for.

North County Center_int

New Academic Center at College of Marin Will Create Iconic Identity

 

college of marin, new academic center, tlcd architecture, mark cavagnero associatesThe new Academic Center for College of Marin is currently at 60% construction and scheduled for completion in April 2015. Located on the corner of College Avenue and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in Kentfield, this project replaces 3 aging academic buildings and Mexican restaurant formerly located on this prominent corner. Set against the backdrop of Mount Tamalpias, the Academic Center will provide a new and iconic identity for the college.

The new building will house classrooms, as well as faculty and administrative offices. A central classroom atrium and a courtyard built around a majestic oak on the upper level will make this a most distinctive academic environment within the college.

college of marin, new academic center, tlcd architecture, mark cavagnero associates

The project is the result of a design competition won in a collaborative effort with TLCD Architecture of Santa Rosa and  Mark Cavagnero Associates of San Francisco. The Academic Center was developed with substantial input from the students, staff, faculty and community in a series of workshops and public forums.

TLCD Architecture Recognized at AIA Redwood Empire Design Awards

On Saturday evening at the American Institute of Architects, Redwood Empire Chapter 2014 Design Awards, TLCD Architecture was honored to receive two awards for outstanding projects. The program, juried by a distinguished panel of architects from the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Chicago recognizes design excellence in the North Bay.

tlcd architecture, AIA Redwood Empire Design Awards, Merit Award, Luther Burbank Savings Branch Headquarters

TLCD received a Merit Award for the Luther Burbank Savings Headquarters Branch in downtown Santa Rosa. This project converted the former Traverso’s deli into a striking, modern building that marks the western entry into downtown Santa Rosa. This project has received other accolades, but this is its most prestigious award to date.

mendocinocollegelakecenter_tlcdarchitecture_interior

mendocinocollege, lake center, tlcd architecture, AIARE Citation Award

TLCD’s second award of the evening was a Citation Award for the Mendocino College Lake County Center in Lakeport. This new satellite campus is boldly modern, yet fits comfortably into its rural environment. The buildings are carefully oriented in relation to an adjacent creek and views to nearby hills. The Lake Center was awarded an IIDA Northern California Chapter Honor Award earlier this year.

“TLCD is a firm with a fascination for creative possibilities. Our work represents a contemporary vision of what our communities can be, while deeply respecting the architecture and character that makes this region unique. We are thrilled to have our work acknowledged by the design community”, said Don Tomasi, Principal.

Lowery Student Center – Transformation Inside and Out

Lowery Student Center Entry and Courtyard View

Lowery Student Center Entry and Courtyard View

From outdated library (view spectacular new Library here: Mendocino College LLRC) to the Lowery Student Center this project shows how an existing building can be repurposed for additional important functions. Since the new library location would essentially displace all existing student center functions on campus (bookstore, student lounge and café / dining) it was decided that the old library location would be a perfect fit for their relocation. To this end Midstate Construction deftly handled the idiosyncrasies of working in an older building.

By opening the western wall of the building a dramatic entry element was realized. Entering the main gathering space, campus users can easily navigate between the student lounge (complete with pool table and gaming devices), bookstore, or the greatly expanded Schat’s Café and dining area. This is a great place to get morning coffee, a Danish, and maybe finish the homework in a relaxed setting! The light filled spaces are accented with warm, rich recycled redwood paneling by Viridian.

It was also a great opportunity to consolidate all of these functions around a wonderful new courtyard. The courtyard now serves large campus gatherings and student activities. In a time where campuses find it hard to persuade students to stay on campus, beyond class time, this consolidation / modernization is sure to help on this campus.

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Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State Receives $3 Million Gift

Sonoma State University, Wine Business Institute, TLCD Architecture RenderingThe press was lighting up this week at the news of a $3 million donation for the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University. The transformation of the former University Commons building to the home of the 16 year-old wine program is being supported through generous gifts from key partners in the wine industry such as Marvin Shanken of the Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation.

TLCD Architecture is pleased to be working with Sonoma State on designs for the Wine Institute and we have enjoyed the opportunity to help create an innovative and collaborative learning center that will support wine business education, both locally and internationally. Look for future updates as this exciting project moves forward!

Read full article in North Bay Business Journal

Read full article in Press Democrat

wine business institute, sonoma state university, tlcd architecture rendering

wine business institute, sonoma state university, tlcd architecture rendering wine business institute, sonoma state university, tlcd architecture rendering

 

IIDA Northern California Honors TLCD at 2014 Awards Gala

TLCD Architecture, Mendocino College Lake Center, IIDA Northern California Honor Award

Mendocino College Lake Center by TLCD Architecture

At an evening ceremony held on March 19th, TLCD Architecture received an Honor Award from IIDA Northern California for the interior design of the Mendocino College Lake Center (click here to view award). The annual event, held at the beautiful Fox Theater in downtown Oakland, celebrates the very best in interior design. Nate Bisbee, Suzanne Nagorka and Domenica Sheets were present from our office and enthusiastically received the award in front of a packed house.

“We are so pleased that the IIDA jury chose to recognize the modestly-scaled project in Lake County as one of this year’s recipients. The new Lake Center Campus is the result of a 4-year long collaboration with Mendocino College staff and faculty. We could not be happier with the outcome! For our team of collaborators, this honor is a great way to recognize the tireless efforts of those who made the project a reality. We hope you appreciate the palette of simple, natural materials and the genuine care we put into the details,” said Nate Bisbee, lead Architect and Designer.

In 2013, TLCD Architecture received the IIDA NC Honor Award for the DeTurk RoundBarn. Back-to-back wins have us feeling well-loved!

Click here to view all the IIDA NC Award winners.

 

 

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