Good Design Endures

The winners of the 2021 AIA Maine Design Awards


To be honest, I was worried that we wouldn’t see many submissions for AIA Maine’s Annual Design Awards this year, but I was clearly wrong. The pandemic couldn’t stop the Maine Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Maine) from honoring the extraordinary work by Maine-based architectural firms in their much-anticipated annual awards. The projects selected for the annual Design Awards are a mix of commercial, single-family residential, renovations and adaptive reuse, and small projects (with budgets under $250,000). The sole judging criterion? Design excellence. Firms can submit work located anywhere in the world, but it must be designed after 2014 by a registered AIA Maine architect, an associate AIA Maine member, or a current Maine architecture student, and it cannot have been honored in years past. Last year AIA Maine added another element to qualify for an award: they asked that all submitters reveal how their project helps transform the day-to-day practice of architects to achieve a zero-carbon, equitable, resilient, and healthy built environment. The ten measures include design for integration, for equitable communities, for ecology, for water, for economy, for energy, for wellness, for resources, for change, and for discovery. To recognize the work of their allied professionals and professional organizations, this year, for the first time, AIA Maine connected with the Maine Interior Design Association (MIDA) and the Maine Section of Boston Society of Landscape Architects (BSLA) to add a landscape and an interiors award designation. “We included a landscape architect and a registered interior designer into the jurist group to help honor these newer categories,” reveals executive director Jeannette Schram.

The Design Awards program commences with the committee’s search for a jury of out-of-state peers suited to judge designs in light of Maine’s unique geography and history. This year the Austin, Texas–based jury deliberated over a total of 56 submissions before presenting 15 awards. “We believe we have some of the best architects living and working right here in Maine. It is an honor for our chapter to recognize and celebrate the innovative and inspiring work of these local practitioners,” says Schram.

MH+D is honored to present the winners of the 2021 AIA Maine Design Awards.

Institutional + Commercial

Falmouth Memorial Library, Falmouth
Simons Architects

Architect: Julia Tate
Project Team Members: Lauren Angst, Kayla Caron, Ryan Kanteres, Scott Simons, Seth Wilschutz
General Contractor: Ledgewood Construction
Structural Engineer: Ethan Rhile (Thornton Tomasetti)
MP Engineering: Sonia Barrantes, Jacob Staub (Ripcord Engineering)
Civil Engineer: Will Haskell (Gorrill Palmer)
Electrical Engineer: Tim Matthews (Swiftcurrent Engineering)
Landscape Architect: Sarah Witte
Photographer: Ryan Bent

From the Jury:
“The Falmouth Memorial Library Renovation and Addition complemented the existing structure with simple gable forms, which are expressed on the interior and create spacious light-filled volumes. The splashes of warm wood are used judiciously throughout and articulate the various facades.”

Project At-a-Glance:
The additions and renovations to the Falmouth Memorial Library blend new, modern library spaces with the existing, more traditional ones, creating energy-efficient and light-filled spaces for the community. The library was doubled in size without increasing its operational costs or requiring any additional staff.

Project Summary:
The Falmouth Memorial Library had its beginnings in a home the library purchased in 1951. As the demand for services and space increased, the library constructed an addition in 1995, with a large meeting room and additional children’s and adult areas. Since that expansion, there has been a 238 percent increase in circulation, putting a growing strain on the already tight space. In addition to the lack of space, the library was missing a sense of fluidity, which was a large hindrance to its operation. After numerous false starts with other architects, Simons Architects was asked to double the size ofthe library without increasing its operational and energy costs and without requiring any additional staff.

Working closely with the community, they developed a plan that expanded the library from its previous 10,780-square-feet to 18,720-square-feet. The original Iverson House was removed, and two new wings were added to the existing 1995 library building to double the amount of space available for library patrons. The additions were designed to have a feeling of spaciousness and connectivity, allowing for maximum visual oversight as the library increased in size without increasing its staff size. The children’s and adult areas were separated into two wings, linked by an open periodical reading area, with an adjacent public computing area and study rooms. The new gabled roofs of the additions match the angle of the existing gables on the 1995 addition, helping to blend the new with the existing. Large windows provide generous amounts of natural daylight with views of the gardens and courtyard outside. The new, expanded library is a bright and open modern facility with high-performance features. It is a sustainable building that acts as a vibrant hub for community engagement and learning in Falmouth.

Pathway Approach to a New High School & Career Technical Center, Sanford
Lavallee Brensinger Architects

Architect: Rich Pizzi
Project Team Members: Chris Drobat, Julie Spence, Chris Urner, Lance Whitehead General Contractor: Hutter Construction Corporation
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
MEP/FP: Rist-Frost-Shumway
Civil Engineer: Sebago Technics
Geotechnical Engineer: S.W. Cole Engineering
Lead Interior Designer: Ryan Tirrell
Interior Designer: Christina Mellor
Technical Leader: Carmine Deblasi
Acoustical Consultants: Cavanaugh Tocci Associates
Radon System Designer: Air & Water Quality Commissioning Agent: NV5
Education Planning: New Vista Design
Theater Consultant: High Output
Food Service: Crabtree McGrath Associates
Photographer: Siri Blanchette (Blind Dog Photo)

From the Jury:
“The thoughtful planning of this new high school and career technical center creates multiple communities within a large school, facilitates easy way-finding, and maximizes daylight. The jury appreciated how learning and collaboration were celebrated throughout, creating a space that supports the curriculum goals and students’ career preparedness.”

Project At-a-Glance:
This high school and technical center created an integrated secondary school that would enhance the student experience by highlighting learning opportunities and increasing student interest in career and technical education. Complementing the learning communities, a large agora stair is the heart of the school, designed to bring the students together.

Project Summary:
The high school and technical center, serving 21 communities, sought to create an integrated secondary school that would enhance the student experience by highlighting its unique opportunities and increasing student interest in career and technical education. The curriculum bridges between typical high school areas of study and specific career pathways, were strengthened through a thoughtful design that co-located specialized labs with related learning areas. The phrase “integration with purpose” was coined to describe the facilities’ co-location of similar programs.

The 332,000-square-foot facility is organized into four career pathways, each with its own identity, allowing students and teachers to craft a learning experience tailored to the student’s interests. Career pathways, which operate as schools within the school, include science and technology, business and marketing, arts and communications, and health and human services. Each pathway offers different technical labs and delivery methods to implement common curricula like math, history, and literature. The design responds accordingly, offering different identities through color and display. The pathways accommodate a range of learning styles via numerous differentiated instructional spaces. Corridors designed with technology-rich collaboration spaces encourage small group and individual learning. This pathway approach supports the curriculum, facilitates learning and socializing, and encourages student independence.

Complementing the smaller learning communities, the heart of the school is a large agora stair. This space is designed to bring the school together and serve a variety of functions from presentation to dining to speaking to lecturing. Venues like the 920-seat performing arts center connect seamlessly with modern technology and related learning spaces such as a music suite, video production labs, and a TV studio—a community broadcast area. Large spaces, like the competition and practice gyms, offer further community use. From the start, the design intention was a completed educational facility that is also an outstanding community center.

SeaWeed Company, South Portland
Caleb Johnson Studio

Architect: Patrick Boothe
Principal: Caleb Johnson
Architectural Designer: Lydia Mather
Interiors Architect: Mariam Mojdehi, Meredith McDaniel (MAAM)
General Contractor: Keith Levan (Woodhull Construction)
Structural Engineer: Structural Integrity Consulting Engineers
Civil Engineer: Mike Tadema-Wielandt (Terradyn Consultants)
Roofing: C.O. Beck & Sons
Audiovisual: Tucker & Tucker
Front Custom Canopy: Cumberland Ironworks
Earthwork: Les Wilson & Sons
Landscape Designer: Soren deNiord Design Studio
Landscape Installation: Pinnacle Landscape & Design
Millwork: Woodhull Millwork
Security Design Consultant: Jim Landau
Branding Consultant: Might & Main
Photographer: Trent Bell

From the Jury:
“A new retail experience within SeaWeed is elevated to a modern standard. It was refreshing to see restraint as well as an architecture that moves beyond the old days of dispensary experiences. The jury felt that the project hit it out of the park on all design disciplines. The stormwater was integrated into the landscape approach, the interior materials and forms supported and complemented the architecture, and the overall tenor and rhythm of the architectural moves created a simple yet refined experience for the users. The muted palette and play-on texture of the SeaWeed Company interiors create a relaxing, spa-like atmosphere. The angled wood ceiling and decorative wood panels bring added interest to a clean, simple aesthetic.”

Project At-a-Glance:
A Maine-made marijuana retail space in an approachable setting appeals to a broad range of customers.

Project Summary:
When a Maine cannabis retailer was ready for a brick-and-mortar shop, the space needed to echo the professional, high-quality product and service. Maneuvering state and federal laws around retail cannabis’s legality and the schedule was an ongoing obstacle. But the client’s clear vision and dedication to the design and architecture would anchor the project throughout production.

The building is separated from the surrounding commercial spaces, cutting a low profile just below the road and tucked into a corner adjacent to expansive natural wetlands. Upon arrival, the cedar-clad structure doesn’t shout to be noticed; it reveals itself slowly, and you experience it with a subtle impact. The design focused on a clean, upscale vibe, unlike your average cannabis shop. The 3,000-square-foot space is flooded with natural light and allows for open interaction without crowding. The ceiling has an inverted hip truss that creates a vaulted space and opens to the backside of the building. Woodhull of Maine completed custom millwork from Maine ash that serves as a backdrop to showcase products and encourage customer engagement.

Single-Family Residential

House on a Wharf, Brooksville
Elliott Architects

Architect: Elliott Architects
Project Architect: J.T. Loomis
Project Team Members: Matt Elliott, Maggie Kirsch, J.T. Loomis
General Contractor: M.K. Purvis Construction
Structural Engineer: Becker Structural Engineers
Interior Designer: Lisa Morris By Design
Lighting: Peter Knuppel Lighting Design
Landscape Architect: Richardson & Associates
Photographer: Trent Bell

From the Jury:
“House on a Wharf is a handsome house with beautifully composed spaces. A theme throughout our jury conversation was the subject of restraint and calibration. This house exhibited a level of rigor that is commendable. The small footprint and streamlined floor plan contributed to the beautiful architecture. It is an inspiring form perched along the northeast shoreline.”

Project At-a-Glance:
This new residence on a coastal harbor occupies roughly the same footprint as the original early-twentieth-century building. A deck wraps the first floor, grounding the new building and creating outdoor spaces that take advantage of the inimitable site, providing a connection to the tiny guesthouse/studio that sits adjacent.

Project Summary:
The old structure had many uses over the years. In addition to servicing the steamers arriving along the coast, it at various times functioned as an apartment house, a laundromat, and a summer home. To shore up the site, its stone wharf was raised and the new house placed on piers to comply with floodplain regulations, elevating the structure above the high tides that periodically washed into the living room of the existing house.



Loon Lake Retreat, Lakes Region, New Hampshire
Whitten Architects

Architect: Tom Lane
Project Team Members: Tom Lane, Jesse Patkus, Russ Tyson
General Contractor: K.P. Hood Construction
Structural Engineer: Albert Putnam Associates
Interior Designer: Heidi Lachapelle Interiors
Cabinetry: J.A. Joy Custom Woodworking
Lighting: Reflex Lighting
Landscape Designer: Soren deNiord Design Studio
Outdoor Concrete Furniture: Ken Hood
Photographer: Trent Bell

From the Jury:
“The Loon Lake Retreat is a sweet, small residence that is nicely crafted with a subtle palette of materials and playful details.”

Project At-a-Glance:
Like a fresh-cut log, this small, contemporary cabin nestled in the woods along a quiet lakefront in New Hampshire features a dark, timber exterior, punctuated and lined with warm, amber accents throughout.

Project Summary:
The clients have deep roots in this small town in New Hampshire situated between the lakes region and the White Mountains. They imagined a home that expressed enduring ties to this place while reflecting a breadth of ideas learned abroad.

The property is a peaceful lakefront plot featuring tall pines and hemlocks. An initial challenge in gathering understanding and inspiration was the existing dilapidated cabin that occupied the site. The sprawling structure presented a psychological challenge to imagining a fresh, natural site and potential architectural intervention. The architects determined that the new house footprint, being smaller, would sit inside the existing cabin footprint to maximize views down the lake and receive winter sunlight while minimizing site impact. A screened porch situated on piers could be nestled in the woods with minimal impact to the earth and surrounding trees. The porch appears like a lantern from the woods and offers another point of view to the site.

The 1,500-square-foot T-shaped plan implies two courtyards, extending the domestic zone of the home into the landscape. Granite boulders emerging between hardscape express the splice of the architectural intervention with nature. The entry courtyard lies to the north, and the south courtyard gestures toward the fire pit and lake. The living space, housed in the vertical leg of the T, opens with glass sliding doors and a corner window to the lake. The horizontal leg of the T contains the bedrooms and bathrooms. The owners’ bedroom opens to a private patio with an outdoor shower facing the lake.

The house is clad, like a cut log, with dark bark and amber wood. The dark siding is western red cedar stained black. The amber siding undercover, along the entrance axis, is Douglas fir with a natural oil finish.

Whipplewood, Standish
Winkelman Architecture

Architect: Eric Sokol
Project Team Members: Eric Sokol, Will Winkelman
General Contractor: Tom West
Structural Engineer: Albert Putnam Associates
Civil Engineer: Albert Frick Associates
Photography: Jeff Roberts

From the Jury:
“The Whipplewood Residence truly blends the program of an artist’s home with the steep, heavily wooded, linear site. You arrive at a concrete fortress, which dissolves toward the landscape. The design includes a variety of quirky details, including a beautifully crafted wooden spiral staircase.”

Project At-a-Glance:
Whipplewood is an artist’s home that blends into the trees and wooded landscape of a steeply sloping site. The structure was designed to reach up into the treetops but also anchor solidly into the hillside, weathering naturally over time within its surroundings.

Project Summary:
The goal of the project was to replace the owner’s old cottage, which had burned down, with a small, low-maintenance structure that would appear to be something of an extension of the natural landscape. Since the old cottage was close to the water, nestled among stands of tall mature trees, integrating the new building into the site and weaving it into the treetops was of critical importance.

The back of the house is a sculpted concrete base nestled into the hillside and growing out of the ground to be visible to the exterior. This is meant to be durable and maintenance-free and was also a nod to the history of the fire with the old cottage. More importantly, it fits the vision of something emerging from the topography of the site while simultaneously being softened and reclaimed by the surrounding vegetation over time. To the water side of this base are large glass panels set inside a frame of steel and reclaimed timbers, looking out to the views of the treetops and the lake.

The arrival to the house is on the upper level, tethered to the back of the hillside, where guests leave their cars. A three-story plan emerged, with an entry/mudroom and wet bar at the top, accessible from the parking area via a sculpted footbridge. Beyond this entry, the room is an open deck and rooftop garden, cantilevered out into the treetops. Below this is the kitchen and main living area with another cantilevered deck, and under that, burrowed into the hillside, is the owner’s suite. All three levels are connected by the central jewel of the house: a continuous helical stair, an element that the owner modeled and fabricated from reclaimed heart pine timbers using a combination of CNC machines and hand tools.

Woods & Water, Peaks Island
Rachel Conly Design

Principal Designer: Rachel Conly
Architect: James Gauthier
General Contractor: Thompson Johnson Woodworks
Structural Engineer: Dovetail Consulting LLC
Civil Engineer: Engineering Assistance & Design, Incorporated
Landscape Architect: Charlotte Maloney Landscape Architecture
Photographer: Rachel Sieben

From the Jury:
“Although Wood & Water is a small project, it packs a punch with two striking elements that make the writer’s studio a modern jewel. First, the modestly responsible footprint is a strong statement. And secondly, the dogtrot and how the building situates itself into the landscape speak to the careful articulation of the indoor–outdoor experience. It felt important for the jury to honor this humble work that is honoring a breathtaking landscape.”

Project At-a-Glance:
Woods & Water is a studio created for writing and retreat on an island in Maine. It was designed to thoughtfully integrate with the natural beauty of the surroundings, while also being energy-efficient, durable, and made of low carbon footprint materials.

Project Summary:
Woods & Water was designed for a couple who relishes early morning hours and the serenity of the water’s edge. The clients were interested in a place that would sit quietly on the land that they love and foster enjoyment of the outdoors. It is a place for creating, sleeping, and being.

The 750-square-foot studio is divided into two distinct halves, sharing one roof and woven together by 1,000 square feet of white cedar decking. Sitting on a bluff of spruce and pine overlooking the sea, the structure’s minimalist form and material palette create a space for stillness, contemplation, and inspiration. Vertically installed cedar boards line the monolithic western face and are interrupted only by a framed entry view of the horizon. The elevation hugs the ground, resting comfortably in the company of boulders. In contrast, the eastern side of the studio is raised high above grade, opening wide to the ocean and sky with large sliding doors and generous window glazing. The northern half contains a spacious writing studio, the southern half contains sleeping and bathing spaces. The outdoor passageway around and between the two structures celebrates the unique beauty of the site, with places to retreat and places to expand among tree limbs and the blue sky above.

The studio was designed to be carbon-conscious and to meet high standards of energy efficiency. The wood-framed building includes materials that were carefully selected for durability, beauty, and low carbon footprint. The untreated siding, decking, and pergola were constructed from locally sawn white cedar. Cabinetry, flooring, and wall accents were made of rift-sawn white oak. Other materials include dense-pack cellulose for insulation and air-tight, vapor-open membranes for air sealing. “We feel like we have a front-row seat to nature,” the couple says.


HELM Restaurant, Portland
Stephen Blatt Architects

Architect: Steve Hoffman
Project Team Members: Jessie Couture, Steve Ruszkai
General Contractor: Halcyon Built
Food Service Consultant: Thomas McArdle (TJM Consulting)
Mechanical Systems Engineer: Kurt Magnusson
Photography: Erin Little

From the Jury:
“The HELM restaurant creates a welcoming yet intimate dining experience. The custom curved oyster bar, banquettes, and storage solutions elegantly solve various design problems. The tambour and wood-slat ceiling designs create a cohesive palette and establish a clear design language throughout the space.”

Project At-a-Glance:
A 50-plus-seat restaurant in the newly developing Foreside district along Portland’s eastern waterfront is inspired by the client’s passion for the Maine landscape and their vision for providing a refined dining experience.

Project Summary:
The client asked for a space that is fine-tuned to the experience of the diner and the kitchen and service staff alike; a space that is elemental, but sensuous; a space that echoes the beauty of the rocky Maine coast, without reverting to tired imagery and the clichéd tropes of “lighthouses and lobster traps.” The design realizes these poetic aspirations through its materiality and the artful crafting of the infrastructure that supports hospitality service. With subtle references to minimalist early modern design of the ’30s and ’40s, the room is defined by discreet elements set in an open “raum-plan” spatial field: bar, host station, oyster station, server’s station, and kitchen pass-through are each deployed as pieces of an integrated, functional, and aesthetic composition that facilitates the service and shapes the diner’s experience. A palette of gray, terrazzo-flecked concrete that evokes the granite-strewn beaches of the seacoast is accented by banquettes and paneled walls of rich natural wood grain, which in turn imbues the space with the tawny hues of Maine forests. A delicate wood-slatted ceiling provides a branch-like rhythmic overlay above the free-form plan and acts as an acoustical baffle. The slats conceal linear HVAC registers and recessed lights, removing visual clutter and highlighting milk-glass globes and sleek black-steel cylinder lights that drop from between the wooden boards. Glassware and bottles that catch the light are arranged around the room like museum objects in refined steel and glass vitrines.

Renovation + Adaptive Reuse

Damariscotta River View Cottage, Boothbay
Whitten Architects

Architect: Jessie Carroll
Project Team Members: Jessie Carroll, Rob Whitten
General Contractor: Marden Builders
Structural Engineer: Albert Putnam Associates
Interiors Consultant: Krista Stokes
Landscape Consultant: Richardson & Associates
Landscaping Subcontractor: Sunset Knoll Landscaping
Photography: Trent Bell

From the Jury:
“The jury appreciates the level of care taken with the Damariscotta River View Cottage Renovation. It is an artful move to recognize how to transform an existing structure like this, including reclaiming interior space for an outdoor room.”

Project At-a-Glance:
Above the Damariscotta River, this home required substantial renovations. The design included the partial demolition of the existing building, reconstruction of primary spaces, and finishing of previously underutilized spaces—all to maximize southern exposure and increase river views. The landscape was renaturalized and reprogrammed for an indoor–outdoor living experience.

Project Summary:
The New York–based clients sought this incredible property, situated high above the Damariscotta River, to be near dear friends. The eastern river view shines in the morning and hums with lobster boats. Long views extend to South Bristol and open waters beyond.

Substantial renovations were required to improve the home’s relationship with its surrounding context and meet the new owners’ needs. The existing home faced the street with three large garage bays surrounded by suburban landscape. Primary spaces had limited southern exposure due to a split-level addition. Small openings belied the stunning nearby water views.

The site-specific design included demolition of the split-level bedroom wing to bring in sunlight to the main living spaces. The former living room was rebuilt to accommodate taller wall heights and larger openings for better views and daylighting. Interiors incorporated minimal detailing and a restricted palette to emphasize the windows and views beyond. A hidden door in the millwork provides access to an oversized butler’s pantry, laundry, and mechanical room, keeping new, essential utility spaces out of sight but accessible.

A new screened porch replaced the southern bedroom wing, serving as an evening destination with proximity to entertaining spaces. This heavy timber structure holds screen panels that maximize views of the river and forest. The covered connection to the dining space provides year-round firewood storage and access on rainy days.

Guest rooms were relocated into the previous garage bays, utilizing the existing footprint. The new, open-tread stair leads upward to create an owners’ suite, which features a cleanly detailed bathroom and a rehabbed second-level deck overlooking the river.

Landscape architects renaturalized the property, bringing native plantings to the building’s edge, incorporating sitting and grilling terraces as well as a destination fire pit. The reconsidered and the reprogrammed landscape provides an indoor–outdoor living experience ideal for Maine’s coast.

NYA Learning Commons, Yarmouth
Simons Architects

Project Manager: Adam Wiles-Rosell
Project Team Members: Scott Simons, Adam Wiles-Rosell, Philip Chaney
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
Photography: Ryan Bent

From the Jury:
“The NYA Learning Commons renovation made a huge impact on a limited budget, preserving a historic structure while reinventing it as a modern learning space. Smart sectional moves increased daylighting, and improved accessibility has transformed and reinvigorated the building, creating an inviting space that respects the building’s history while contributing to the future of the campus and its students.”

Project At-a-Glance:
Originally a gymnasium that was converted into academic space, the learning commons lacked ground-level accessibility and access to natural daylighting. Simons Architects’ goal was to reimagine the existing space in a way that would provide an environment for collaboration while offering students a variety of spaces to engage in learning.

Project Summary:
A 2017 master plan effort highlighted several areas for improvement on the school’s campus. This project, which was a former 1930s gymnasium wing added to the main academic building that served as the school’s library,

was selected as the first project to undertake. Serving students K–12 and considered to be the hub for learning and student activity on campus, the existing ground-floor library and upper-floor student lounge needed attention. The design approach reconfigured these two spaces into a unified learning commons that includes student study rooms and faculty offices while addressing significant life-safety and ADA upgrades.

Initially, the team developed alternative concepts for renovation and addition. The limited budget of $800,000 meant that they needed to work within the existing footprint. Honoring the history of the 100-year-old building, they determined that removing the existing floor and its structure could allow for opportunities for greater interior volume and natural lighting. The new upper floor was designed one foot higher than the previous level and was held back from the exterior wall to create a sense of place for students to read, study, and gather. Existing arched windows were removed, and the sills were cut to the floor to allow more natural daylight to enter the space. Along with the exterior glazing, a new terrace and accessible entrance helped to create a stronger sense of cohesion with other campus buildings. The transformation of the learning commons has injected new life into the school’s campus and revitalized an existing building.

Telecommunications Building Renovation at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
Oak Point Associates

Architect: Kenneth T. Weston
Project Team Members: Jason Karlin, Bryan Laroche, Robert C. Tillotson
General Contractor: Charters Brothers Construction
Structural Engineer: David Martin
Civil Engineer: Daniel Phillips
Electrical Engineer: Wayne Whippie
Mechanical Engineer: Christine Lyle
Fire Protection Engineer: Laura Clebak
Geotechnical Engineer: R.W. Gillespie & Associates
Interior Designers: Sarah Smith, Sara Matthew
Landscape Architect: Kerry Peiser
Photographer: Randy Williams

From the Jury:
“This submission garnered the most debate during jury deliberation! Often we assume the goal of architecture is to be welcoming, but at the core of this renovation is a dichotomy between a pleasing interior for its inhabitants and a “prickly” and provocative exterior for the campus community. It is an unusual design challenge that emerges with the innovation—and nice articulation—of a unique facade, which pushes the single-component, insulated metal wall panel from ordinary to extraordinary.”

Project At-a-Glance:
The project involved a second-story addition to the existing telecommunications hub for the UNH campus. The addition utilized a single-component, insulated metal wall panel system with a variegated color scheme and shadow-casting fins to provide visual interest along the side of the building facing a major campus walkway.

Project Summary:
Welcome—but please, don’t come in. This became the central paradox and design challenge of the project. The client needed a second-story addition to a 3,600-square-foot, occupied telecommunications service building in the heart of a busy university campus. The architects were asked to make the addition welcoming, but very few people passing by would need to enter the building (it is by appointment only). This addition/renovation project challenged the design team to creatively balance the need for occupant privacy with a very public facade that would front a pedestrian walkway at the center of campus.

The charge was further complicated by the need to keep the existing ground floor occupied and operational while the second story was constructed above the computer servers that are the communications hub for the entire campus. Furthermore, research determined that the existing one-story building was constructed on piles; so, not only did the design solution need to be erected quickly, the 3,800-square-foot addition also had to be lightweight.

A single-component insulated metal wall panel was both light and quick to install. Taking cues from expeditious tilt-up construction methods, the wall panels were envisioned as a single span from top to bottom. A variegated color scheme was used to create visual interest, and shadow-casting fins were added to keep the eyes moving quickly across the staccato rhythm. To avoid expensive foundation work, the stair connecting the new story, which fell outside the existing footprint, was hung from the roof framing. The playful pattern is inviting to look at, but contrasting the colors, materials, and forms with those of the neighboring academic buildings was intended to make it clear that this is not likely your destination, thereby fulfilling the paradox of the original brief.

Small Projects

Surfer Studio, York
Caleb Johnson Studio

Architect: Patrick Boothe
Principal Architect: Caleb Johnson
General Contractor: Nick LaVecchia
Photographer: Nick LaVecchia

From the Jury:
“This tiny building is both refined and quirky. The details are clearly thought through, and it lifts the spirit and delights the senses. We loved the restrained use of materials.”

Project At-a-Glance:
A previous client requested services to develop a cost-effective, energy-efficient outbuilding that would complement his existing home to be used as a studio space and loft.

Project Summary:
Nick and Molly LaVecchia, owners of the Surfer Home, asked Caleb Johnson Studio to design a studio space that would be energy-efficient, economical, and distinctive. The floors, walls, and roof are all built of SIP panels. Nick volunteered to be the general contractor for the building and was not scared off by the studio’s request for site-built glazing.


Establishing Socially Inclusive Environments: Supporting Multigenerational Populations in an Urban Context, Portland
Jordan Stickles

Photographer: Jordan Stickles

From the Jury:
“The student project underscores the potential for architecture to engage pressing contemporary issues and provide innovative solutions. While the jury was thoroughly impressed with the investigation itself, including a multitude of diagrams, plans, sections, models, elevations, wall sections, and visualizations, the importance of the project resides with the inhabitants themselves. The project carefully articulates socially inclusive spaces that bridge age and abilities.”

Project At-a-Glance:
This project, located in Portland, focuses on the reintroduction of the community as a source of support for those suffering from Alzheimer’s. This socially inclusive environment merges multigenerational populations and promotes empathy by caring for the elderly community through the convergence of people and tactility for intuitive wayfinding.

Project Summary:
Multigenerational living, important in certain cultures, is not as traditional in the United States. Culturally, the United States places more value on the individual than on our ability to collectively support each other. In facilities such as assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and hospice centers, other individuals take care of elders’ essential needs as America’s current financial system makes it difficult for loved ones to be cared for by family members.

The United States’ living system of demographic separation does not work for communal integration. This project provides a cultural shift in thinking about how we as a community can live together, with people of different ages, including the elderly. In this paradigm, the elderly program is placed alongside those in affordable housing, a preschool, and a research center, establishing a socially viable environment for residents, locals, and visitors. Located in Portland, this multigenerational environment resides within a reviving urban downtown, enveloped by the growing community. As Maine’s elderly population grows faster compared to the rest of the United States, communal housing for seniors, those with Alzheimer’s, and young adults will combat the issue of isolation typically felt by the elderly population.

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