Architecture of Wine

Bay Area Firms TLCD and BNBT Picked for SSU Wine Spectator Learning Center Construction
January 27, 2016

Santa Rosa firm TLCD Architecture and San Francisco's BNBT Builders have been chosen to partner on design and construction of the Wine Spectator Learning Center at Sonoma State University. Crews expect to break ground on the $9.1 million project on June 1 with completion and grand opening set for summer 2017.

As part of the university's Wine Business Institute, the Wine Spectator Learning Center at Sonoma State will be an education and industry hub designed around advanced technology classrooms, a student commons and gardens, and a collaborative space for faculty and business leaders.

"As the educational nucleus of a thriving regional economy, it was important to us to engage local professionals on this project," said William Silver, dean of the School of Business and Economics. "Over the coming months, a cutting-edge facility will take shape on campus, designed and built to provide the university community a teaching and learning environment that meets its demands and exceeds expectations as one of California's leading institutions of higher education."

The center will be located in the former Student Commons building on campus. The project involves interior and exterior renovation of the building to meet advanced learning and education requirements, and to support the executive, professional, and degree programs of the Wine Business Institute, including all activities, events, and research projects.

"The planning process so far has been comprehensive and well-coordinated, and bodes well for our ambitious timeline and our vision as the global leader in wine business research and education," said Ray Johnson, director of the Wine Business Institute.

Exterior features of the building will include extensive international-themed gardens on the north side, adjacent to the campus lakes. The south side will showcase a second garden with grape vines and the "Student Success Pathway," including flagstones with student names linked to a scholarship dedicated to first generation college students and children of vineyard and winery workers. The classrooms, student commons, faculty-industry hub, and overall interior of the building will be equipped with advanced technology features such as multi-point video conferencing, video production with broadcast capabilities, and multi-media exhibit and research stations.

"It is a real privilege for the opportunity to be involved in such an innovative project," said Brian Wright, principal at TLCD Architecture. "Sonoma State University and the Wine Business Institute have taken a very sustainable approach by revitalizing one of the original campus buildings. We believe the transformation will be truly stunning, and provide a perfect home for this forward-thinking regional and international program."

David Becker, principal of BNBT Builders, said, "Our team is excited to be back on campus and partnering again with Sonoma State University. This project will reshape how generations of students learn about the wine business."

Project contributors to date include the Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation; Alpha Omega Winery and Tolosa Vineyards and Winery; American AgCredit; Bouchaine Vineyards; Charmer-Sunbelt; Korbel Champagne Cellars; Wally Lowry, Professor Emeritus of Business at SSU; Peter Michael Winery; Pierce Education Properties; The Rubin Family of Wines; and Young's Market Company.

The Wine Business Institute is an education and research institute of the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University. Its programs are administered in partnership between the School of Business and Economics and the School of Extended and International Education. For more information visit

Media Contact

Nicolas Grizzle