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2014 BEST Architectural/Design Firm: TLCD Architecture

Author: Karen Hart
May, 2014 Issue

“We’re the one firm locally that has the breadth of experience to work on a wide variety of large-scale, complex projects.” —Don Tomasi

A commitment to people, place and craft is the force that’s been driving TLCD Architecture in Santa Rosa for nearly 50 years. But aside from that, when you work with TLCD, you’re guaranteed to have a good time. “We make projects fun and involve clients in a collaborative way,” says Don Tomasi, a principal at the company.
Case in point: It’s not uncommon for the firm to start a project at a new client’s current office space. “We’ll ‘camp out’ at their place to put us in contact,” says Tomasi. At a transit agency in Chico, for example, the firm’s design team went to work there for four days. “Spending three to four days with a client is equivalent to a month of working in our office. It becomes a collaborative project and we get immediate feedback,” he says. What’s more, on this project, the firm invited architecture students from a local high school to work with it.
TLCD Architecture (formerly known as Thomas M. Tomasi Architect) was originally founded in 1965 by Don’s father, Tom, and located in an office on Fourth Street in downtown Santa Rosa. In 1993, Tomasi merged with LCD Architects. Today, TLCD has 30 employees and a reputation for designing environments for education, social interaction and wellness. “We’re the one firm locally that has the breadth of experience to work on a wide variety of large-scale, complex projects,” says Don.
The firm is currently involved in three major projects. Museum on the Square will transform an abandoned, nuclear blast-resistant switching building in Santa Rosa into a dynamic mixed-use project, using “green” technologies. The project is expected to be completed by early 2015 and to play a major role in revitalizing downtown Santa Rosa. Once completed, TLCD Architecture plans to move its offices to the third floor. The building will also be home to Luther Burbank Savings and the new California Wine Museum. Another anticipated tenant will be a street-level restaurant with outdoor dining.
The New Academic Center project at College of Marin is also underway. The new building complex was designed to complement three generations of existing buildings and an arboretum-like landscape while creating a new sense of campus. The project, expected to be completed in March 2015, will include classrooms and computer labs, a large lecture hall, faculty offices, administrative offices and more.
The firm also began construction on American AgCredit’s new headquarters in Santa Rosa in April, and should have it completed by the end of 2015. The 120,000-square-foot building will feature an open, flexible interior work environment and “green” features. Many interior walls will be demountable partitions, and most of the floor area will allow for open landscape furniture systems. Raised floors throughout the building will accommodate under-floor wiring and a displacement air distribution system to provide a highly energy-efficient work environment with superior indoor air quality. What’s more, the carpet to be installed is made from recycled fishnets from the Philippines.
Since TLCD was founded, the firm has completed nearly 2,000 projects and won 15 awards for its work from the American Institute of Architects (Redwood Empire Chapter) and the California Coalition for Adequate School Housing.
TLCD Architecture will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year, and it continues to be committed to sustainable design. “It’s mandated by code, ethical, and is a strong value of our firm,” says Tomasi.



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