Tyson and Billy Architects

Senior Housing News Architecture and Design Awards: Gable Point

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Wow, some exciting news for Tyson and Billy this week!!!  We have been nominated for a Design Award!


Our design for Gable Point has been nominated for the 2013 Senior Housing News Architecture and Design Awards under the category of New Affordable Senior Housing!


The Winners will be announced December 19th so check back!  You can learn more about the competition here: http://shnawards.com/

Exterior front



Tyson and Billy Architects designed a three story wood frame elevator Victorian-style apartment building for low income seniors aged 62 and older.  Fiber cement siding was utilized that featured Victorian details.  The main entrance features a wrap around porch. 
The building features turrets and gables allowing many of the apartments to have rounded living rooms, full kitchens, lots of windows and an open floor plan.  The facility consists of 59 one bedroom units and one two bedroom unit, community room with outdoor patio and seating, library, computer room giving residents internet access, game room with pool table, fitness room and 24 hour on call maintenance and is located on 3 acres within walking distance to shopping and banking.  The main lobby features a fireplace and a player piano.  Each floor features nooks and a central laundry with power operated doors.

Solar Panels

The facility has hot water generated from roof mounted solar collectors, hydronic through-wall heating and electric cooling units in apartments and in common areas heating with high efficiency boiler and cooling by roof top units.
And who could forget the Man Cave!



Tyson and Billy & Life Services Network


For those of you looking for Ron and Kelly the past few days and found them missing … they were at our annual trade show for Life Services Network (LSN) at Navy Pier.

Tyson and Billy Architects is a proud member of LSN which is the largest eldercare association in Illinois. LSN is a complete continuum of services for older adults, and community based services.

The past 40-years of our 93 year design history has been largely dedicated to Long Term Living and Senior Housing design. Through offering full service Architecture and Interior Design we are able to interlace each detail of the project together for results that say “welcome home” to each and every resident.

Nationwide we have designed senior living facilities with the belief that design has the power to evoke a sense of belonging, wellbeing, and community vital to senior living.

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois •  Spring Ridge Independent Senior Living Facility •  Rockford, IL

Tyson and Billy Architects Senior Living Design:

  Our Mission

As Architects, Designers, and Developers we strive to build long term living facilities that bridge your community's needs with beautiful living environments that evoke a sense of belonging and wellbeing.

Our Values:

“Success lies in the philosophy that we can reach the end users and change their lives in a positive way”

            – Ronald G. Billy, Jr., AIA, LEED AP BD+C

 Our Services

Architecture • Interior Design • Planning • Development

Long Term Living Experience

  • Independent Senior Living
  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Skilled Nursing and Immediate Care Facility
  • Market Rate Housing
  • Supportive Living Facilities
  • Independent Housing for Persons with Disabilities
  • Community Living Facilities
  • Intermediate Care for the Developmentally Disabled
  • Sheltered Care Facilities
Lutheran Social Services of Illinois •  Spring Ridge Independent Senior Living Facility •  Rockford, IL

The housing industry is not just our expertise, but our passion and we hope to have the opportunity to share both with you.

Thanks to all those that visited our booth at LSN this year! We look forward to seeing you again next year.

~ Kelly

For more information on Life Services Network visit them here.


In Remembrance

Tyson and Billy Architects is grieved to report that we have lost one of our family members today. Warren Hoover was a critical member of our Florida operations and provided us with the expertise to complete so many of our Florida projects. During the recession and downsizing of our Florida office, Warren remained close to the firm and stayed in our prayers during his battle with his illness.

His contribution to the firm will not be forgotten nor his ever present smile and friendly professional attitude. We celebrate the time we were blessed to have Warren with us, and give thanks for those that come into our lives and we are forever better for knowing them.

We pray for comfort and peace for Warren's family and friends.

~ Ron Billy


Have you found us on Facebook?

Did you know, Tyson and Billy posts daily design tips and trends on our Facebook?

We keep in touch with the design news in our community.
Breaking Rockford News ~  the Laurent Home, a Frank Lloyd Wright house, up for auction here in Rockford. Links to Flickr photostreams and news articles through our Facebook page.

National Trust for Historic Preservation: PreservatonNation

We also connect you to top architectural and design projects in our industry. Focusing on innovation we connect you to interesting articles such as our post from today ~  entire buildings made from recycled shipping containers!

CNN: Crate Expectations by George Webster

In architecture and design there's something new everyday. As a design team we strive to stay in touch with trends and cutting edge industry practices.

We share our professional resources with you. Let us be your connection to our fast paced industry.

Give us a Thumbs Up! And we'll keep you in the design loop.

Tyson and Billy Architects, P.C. on Facebook


The 100th Anniversary Butter Cow

Ron Billy - our President, Owner, Commander and Chief,  and the "Billy" of Tyson and Billy Architects - announced a few weeks ago that he was doing something unprecedented ...  taking a vacation!

This post should be filed under, "Reason's to Celebrate" because Ron NEVER takes a vacation. Ever. There are many things we offer our clients and one of the unadvertised perks is the constant availability of our President. You won't find him out golfing, fishing, on lunch, or any combination of activities that consists of not working. You might, however, find him taking your call or answering your email from his son's baseball / football game, his daughters' softball / soccer / cheerleading events, or visiting the Butter Cow …

Ron sets a high standard for work ethic that we are equally inspired by and motivated to keep up with.  So, we cheered Ron on to his well earned and long overdue vacation to the holy grail of state fair attractions, a cow made of 2,400 sticks of butter.

That's not the only place Ron went or visited, but he did bring us back this picture … which sparked as you can image a entire morning of Butter Cow conversations.

What in the world is a "Butter Cow"?? … I asked myself the SAME thing. Thanks to the internet I now am vested with a well rounded knowledge of this attraction. And lucky you - you will now be too... Read on!

Butter sculpting at the Iowa State Fair began in 1911 as a way for the dairy industry to promote itself. Not only has there been a Butter Cow for the past 100 years, but "companion sculptures" are also created in the same form and butter medium as the bovine masterpieces.

The famous Butter Cow consists of 600 pounds of low moisture, pure cream Iowa butter equivalent to approximately 2,400 sticks of butter.

Norma "Duffy" Lyon with her 2003 Ayrshire cow.

If you're trying to put this into terms you can fathom … there is enough butter in the Butter Cow for 19,200 slices of toast, which would take an average person two lifetimes to consume.

Are you amazed now? You should be.

Norma sculpting her first cow in 1960.

Arguably the most famous butter sculptress Norma "Duffy" Lyon began her butter sculpting powerless in 1960 and continued until her retirement 46 years later.

Norma's 2001 John Wayne

Known as the “Butter Cow Lady”,  she has sculpted all six breeds of dairy cows, a Butter Elvis, Garth Brooks, a butter version of Grant Wood's American Gothic, the Peanuts characters, Iowa native John Wayne, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, various animals, and a butter rendition of Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper - which alone used 2,000 lbs. of butter!

1997’s Butter Elvis was a tribute to the singer and marked the 20th anniversary of his death.

The 6 six-foot tall Elvis took 5 days to completed and weighed in at 400 pounds of butter (compared to 600 pounds for the cow).

The 2002 sculpture of the Peanuts characters was a big hit with young Fairgoers.

Norma Lyon was succeeded by her 15 year apprentice Sarah Pratt of West Des Moines - the Fair's fifth and current butter sculptor.

Pratt has created companion sculptures featuring fictional characters such as Harry Potter and Dr. Seuss and famous Iowans such as Shawn Johnson and Brandon Routh, star of “Superman Returns.”

The Butter Cow shared a cooler with Harry Potter in 2007.

The 2008 sculpture commemorated Shawn Johnson.

2010’s Dr. Suess’s Green Eggs and Ham (pictured here in progress) added a faniciful element to the butter cooler.

Other Notable Companion Sculptures across the years:

1939 companion sculpture

J.E. Wallace sculpting his last sculpture - Davey Crockett with a grizzly bear.

In 1990 the butter cow shared a cooler with a draft horse.

Fun facts on the Butter Cow …

Much of the butter is recycled and reused for up to 7 years.

The Butter Cow is not solid. Instead, it starts with a wood, metal, wire and steel mesh frame.

The Butter Cow is approximately 5 ½ feet tall and 8 feet long.

The temperature in the butter cooler is 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nationally, butter sculpting was suspended during World War II when there was a butter shortage, but as soon as the war was over, butter sculpturing was revived. (Fun Fact: The Iowa State Fair was not held from 1942-45.)

A butter President Coolidge accompanied the Butter Cow in 1925. A sign in front of them read “Keep Cool with Coolidge.”

On three occasions the Butter Cow actually “produced” milk ... this was done with a recirculation pump.

Need More Butter?

Don't fret … the thoroughly modern Butter Cow has its own Facebook page and IowaStateFair.org has a wealth of information and a slide show of the 100 years of the Butter Cow.

Thanks Ron for attending the Iowa State Fair and sparking this post. I do believe I see a office field trip in our future!

~ Kelly

Credits & Pictures for this post belong to IowaStateFair.org


A Rebarsaurus Sighting!

We have such wonderfully talented individuals in our office, who in turn have wonderfully talented families as well.

This post hails from Lori, our guardian at the gate of our office, and our #1 multitasking, does it all Executive Secretary.
She's off later this week to take "Rebar" here to her mom in Northern Wisconsin … which in turn throws the rest of us into a frenzy. We have trouble surviving without Lori.  I'm panicking already. *Egad.

Can't you just pack and ship Rebar to your mom?! Oh, he's 16 feet of welded rebar from nose to tail? Hmmm. Never mind.

I asked Lori to take a few pictures and give us a quick overview of how this fantastic Rebarsaurus (Rebar for short) came to be.

The Story of Rebar

Rebar was inspired by a large metal sculpture my mother saw in the yard of a pottery store up north.  She wanted to purchase it, but much to her disappointment it was not for sale.  She mentioned to my husband and son years ago that they should make one for her.  She wanted a large scale metal piece to set on her septic mound as yard art and a conversation piece, which he certainly is.  Last Christmas constructing Rebar the metal dinosaur was put into motion.

Created by my son Ryan who was 18 years old at time and anxious to practice his welding technique he learned in welding class in high school, and assisted by his dad Jeff.

Rebar's head is made from the metal of a posthole digger, eyes are giant washers, body of structural rebar rods, and his spikes are made from recycled sheet metal.

Rebar will be travelling north (finally) to his permanent home in Bayfield, WI.  I can’t wait to see all of the looks we’ll get on the highway with him on the trailer.  What fun!

~ Lori

Make sure next time you are in our office you ask Lori how she and her husband originally brought Rebar home from the shop he was created in to Lori's house. Let's just say 16 feet of metal sculpture is a doozy to transport.

In the meantime, wishing Lori, her husband, and Rebar, of course, a safe journey to his new home.

Thanks for sharing this with us Lori. What a great piece of art and amazing work by your husband and son!

~ Kelly

P.S. Lori's family is currently not taking commissions for metal sculptures, but I think they should =)


Tyson and Billy Architects Blog


As part of our campaign to advertise ourselves, we've got a new blog page (clearly, you already know about it if you are reading this), as well as twitter, facebook and linkedin sites.

What we hope to accomplish with our new networking venues, as well as with this blog, is to give you, our friends, users and readers, more insight into us as a firm, and insight into us as profession.  So, keep checking back as we will have updates, and any questions or suggestions for topics to blog about, shoot them our way!

Now, get outside and enjoy the sunshine!