Log In
Find an Architect   |   Join    |   Sponsorship

College of Marin – Academic Center

Architect / Firm: TLCD Architecture + Mark Cavagnero Associates

Awards:    Year:    Entry Categories:

Awards:    Year:    Entry Categories:

TLCD Architecture + Mark Cavagnero Associates

520 Third Street, #250
Santa Rosa California 95401

Contact Person

Brian C. Wright
(707) 535-5217

Architectural Firm

TLCD Architecture + Mark Cavagnero Associates


Wright Contracting, Inc.
mdavis@wrightcontracting.com 707.528.1172

Project Location: 835 College Avenue, Kentfield, CA
Owner: College of Marin
Completion Date: 09/24/2015

The new Academic Center at the College of Marin was a collaboration between TLCD Architecture + Mark Cavagnero Associates. This project transforms a prominent yet challenging site where the building is nestled among a number of heritage trees and provides the campus a clear sense of identity at the junction of two major thoroughfares. The existing heritage oaks and majestic redwood trees were preserved on the site and together with the north edge of the building frame a new open view into the campus that welcomes the public and creates an exciting presence for the college at this major intersection.

The massing of the building steps down to respect the existing contours of the site and the scale of the surrounding residential and commercial context. The building is carefully sited to help reconstitute the Great Lawn of the original campus master plan -which had been compromised over the years - with a central axis oriented toward the stunning views of nearby Mt. Tamalpais. In creating an edge that engages three generations of buildings on this sloped and wooded site, the building helps to restore the historic quad on campus while enhancing its arboretum-like character.

The building is organized around a main sky lit central atrium and a large courtyard in providing places for informal gatherings. The atrium is naturally ventilated and brings natural light into the central space and all adjacent classrooms. Covered open air circulation runs along three sides of the courtyard providing clear and protected access to all parts of the building while lending focus to the many opportunities for gathering within the academic court.

The new 47,000 square foot facility is a welcoming gateway to the surrounding community and includes 16 classrooms, two computer labs, 100-seat lecture hall, and faculty and staff offices. The transparency of the building allows the academic excellence of the college to be clearly visible within the surrounding community.

The project was the result of a design competition held by the client – with the team of TLCD Architecture + Mark Cavagnero Associates selected for their design. The client was looking for a well-considered solution to replace two aging and inefficient campus buildings and a taqueria located on the most prominent corner or the campus. The presence of a commercial restaurant and parking lot on the corner of the site led to confusion as to the identity of the site for first time visitors. This was compounded by the obscurity of campus buildings on a steep heavily vegetated hillside adjacent. The Academic Center needed to be equally visible at night because of the heavy class load in the evenings and is a beacon to campus and its activities.

The project now provides much more accessible administrative offices, technologically advanced classrooms and far more functional faculty offices. The local residents are able to use the multipurpose 100-seat classroom for a variety of community events. The somewhat derelict commercial building across the street has benefitted from the dynamism of the new building complex.

The building design incorporates sustainability at every level, reflecting the core values of the client, and is expected to receive LEED certification from the US Green Building Council.

Brian C. Wright AIA, TLCD Architecture
Alan Butler AIA, TLCD Architecture
Steve Nuich, TLCD Architecture
Mark Cavagnero FAIA, Mark Cavagnero Associates
John Fung AIA, Mark Cavagnero Associates
Structural: ZFA Structural Engineers - 526.0992
Mechanical: Costa Engineers - 707.292,9177
Electrical: O'Mahony & Myer - 415.218.0629
Civil: Brelje & Race Consulting Engineers - 707.576.1322
Landscape: Quadriga Landscape Architecture & Planning - 707.546.3561
Acoustic: Charles M. Salter - 415.397.0442
Energy: Gilleran Energy Management - 707.528.7318

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *