New Heights—2021 Architecture Listing

16 architecture projects pushing design in Maine


Maquoit Bay Residence

Simple, clean, functional, durable, and super energy efficient: this interpretation of a New England farmhouse with attached barn is situated to work with the steep grading on the site and to maximize solar orientation, easy accessibility for homeowners and guests, and views out toward Maquoit Bay.

The house is designed to meet the needs of a family of four and their large dog, with provisions for entertaining and aging in place. This is their forever house. Tired of urban living, they relocated to move closer to family and to enjoy the woods, the water, and the more relaxed lifestyle of southern Maine.

The house and barn are attached for easy access throughout the year and for cost savings, with shared bathrooms for the workshop in the garage and the bunk room above. The bend between the barn and the house responds to the grading of the site, breaks down the perceived length of the home, and creates unique and fun corners with views toward the water beyond. The first floor is primarily public space. An open-concept kitchen, dining, and living area and a large deck and screened porch all face east toward the water and south toward the sun. The second floor includes bedrooms, bathrooms, and a “rumpus room” for family activities.

The house is designed to be net-zero, with photovoltaic panels on the roof to offset energy demand and battery back-up designed to offset energy needs for several days in case of a power outage. It features 12-inch-thick double-stud exterior walls filled with dense-packed cellulose, triple-glazed windows and doors, four inches of rigid insulation beneath the concrete slab foundation, deep roof overhangs to control light on the south side, a highly efficient heating and cooling system, and an energy recovery ventilator to circulate fresh air.

Architect: Briburn
Project Architect: Harry Hepburn
Project Manager: Lucas Greco
Builder: Benjamin & Company
Photographer: Irvin Serrano
Location: Freeport
Completed: 2019

Rock Camp

The owners of Rock Camp wanted to preserve their historic log cabin, sited among boulders strewn about the lakeside, but they needed more space for their quickly expanding family.

Drawing from the local vernacular of seasonal fishing camps, the three connected “cabins” sit in a row, with views out toward the lake. The new addition floats above the forest floor, negating the need to move any of the large boulders located beneath the structures. The subdued interior materials palette of knotty pine boards on the floors, walls, and ceiling allows one’s eyes to be drawn out to the surrounding forest and lake. The matte black steel roofing and siding nestle the new structures into the coniferous forest, barely visible from the lake.

Additionally, the project included updating the original log cabin with a more functional kitchen and enlarging the opening to the living room. The log cabin loft was also removed, allowing more light into the space, and the barn boards from the loft floor were repurposed on the kitchen walls. The inclusion of a hidden kitchenette in the addition allows for the uninsulated log cabin to be closed off during the colder months, creating a cozy winter camp.

Architect: Jocelyn O. Dickson
Architecture Project Architect: Jocelyn Dickson
Builder: George Crosson
Photographer: Greta Rybus
Location: Oquossoc
Completed: 2020

Caterpillar Hill House

With the distant Camden Hills as a backdrop, the Gulf of Maine’s Penobscot Bay spreads nearly 40 miles long and 15 miles wide and is scattered with over 200 islands. In between these extraordinary islands, including Isle au Haut, Deer Isle, Vinalhaven, and Islesboro, lie placid stretches of open water favorable for sailing, kayaking, and fishing. Along the rocky coastline are bustling fishing ports, quaint villages, and uninhabited natural allure.

Working closely with the client, the architects created a single-story, waterfront home that features natural materials, seamless indoor–outdoor living spaces, and an elevated structure that provides a framed connection to Penobscot Bay. They intentionally stretched the spaces of the home out side-by-side along the hillside site’s southwesterly facing view. The resulting long and narrow layout will afford each room within the home a view of the sparkling archipelago below. The single-loaded, narrow arrangement of the floor plan naturally provides each space with an abundance of natural light, ventilation, and a more immediate connection to the outdoors.

With architectural clarity, the glassy entrance to the home divides the private bedroom wing from the kitchen, dining, living, and screened porch wing. It also serves as the springboard from which these spaces stretch out toward the expansive view and the warm sun, while delicately floating on piers above the fern-strewn forest floor below.

Architect: Whitten Architects
Project Architects: Will Fellis, Russ Tyson Builder: Jon D. Woodward & Sons
Structural Engineer: Albert Putnam Associates Interior Designer: Krista Stokes
Photographer: Trent Bell
Location: Sedgwick
Completed: 2020


The Beach House

This design is based on an elevated plane of planted terraces and decks. Connection to nature and the use of daylight were paramount. Beginning at the top is a pavilion of living space: the yard is on the roof, with a place for tomatoes, furnishings, and a panoramic view of the ocean beyond. Outdoor spaces connect with beautiful steel stairs, which then thread into the center of the house where an open stairwell draws in natural light.

The challenge of embracing expansive views while creating a home for aging in place seeded the design of a raised platform where a primary bedroom suite, living room, dining, and kitchen area provide the ease of day-to-day single-story living with space for a future elevator. Accessory spaces and rooms for extended family members are tucked below the primary living level, within the footprint of a home that was originally on this site. The material palette of wood and weathering steel embraces intricate details and natural texture and prioritizes longevity for a design that centers around aging by the ocean.

Architect: Winkelman Architecture
Principal Architects: Joanna Shaw, Will Winkelman Project Architect: Chelsea Lipham
Builder: Ben Trout, Trademark
Engineer: Albert Putnam Associates Photographer: Jeff Roberts
Location: Cumberland County
Completed: 2020


Island Retreat

At this wooded site on a small island off the coast of Maine, an existing barn was redesigned to include a large gathering space, inside with room for a pool table, comfortable furniture, a coffee bar, and a beautiful stone fireplace. On the exterior, an outdoor fireplace backs up against the interior fireplace, and a bluestone patio extends out to include another lounge space and outdoor kitchen including a grill and pizza oven, all below a large Douglas fir pergola. This great hangout space complements the existing buildings of a summer home for a family of four.

Views from the interior out to the surrounding woods and water are maximized with fully opening barn doors and large roll screens to keep the rooms comfortable. Beautiful Douglas fir timbers and pine shiplap give a warm and cozy feel, while the level of fine detailing elevates the space.

The redesign included adding additional insulation to the roof where there had been visible heat loss in the winters, as well as upgrading the surrounding area to include French drains to keep things dry and clean outside the building. The architects worked closely with the interior designers, who were out west on Mountain Time—a unique situation that only strengthened the coordination between the whole team.

Architect: Kevin Browne Architecture
Project Architect: Kevin Browne
Project Manager: Rebecca Sargent
Builder: TJ’s Fine Woodworking
Photographer: Jeff Roberts
Location: Coast of Maine
Completed: 2019

South Point

South Point abuts the Atlantic on a gently sloped and sandy shoreline. With ocean views stretching to the horizon, the property is a postcard-worthy slice of Maine coastline. The home originally built here, however, did little to acknowledge the breathtaking landscape surrounding it.

A low and dark form, the structure consisted of two separate houses that had been linked together via a haphazard puzzle of tight spaces. The interior included many rooms but almost no views, with few water-facing windows and oversized fireplaces crowding the walls.

The new owners saw past the home’s disjointed floor plan and gloomy finishes to its unique potential as a family vacation destination. Instead of demolishing it and building anew, they opted to renovate the space into a light-filled retreat that would embrace its idyllic setting and invite lively social gatherings.

The sensitive coastal site limited opportunities to expand the home’s footprint and was subject to restrictions against building any closer to the ocean. In a creative design workaround, additional waterfront living space was created by reframing the structure’s facade. A series of gables were introduced on the upper floor to build out an airy primary bedroom and bathroom. A roof deck hugs the suite and transforms the formerly squat roofline into the optimal perch for enjoying salty breezes.

The tiny kitchen was opened and outfitted with birch cabinetry and playful finishes inspired by the spirit of seaside architecture. A waved, recessed ceiling flows from this room into the main living area, where splashes of windows allow for uninterrupted views of the ocean from a comfortable seat on the couch. Between floors, an interior staircase is suspended by stainless steel rods so as to “float” between spaces and allow light to softly filter through. Cohesive design gives this refreshed home personality without the puzzle.

Architect: Kaplan Thompson Architects
Project Architect: Jesse Thompson
Associate Designers: Richard Lo, Adam Wallace
Designer: Camila Atkins
General Contractor: Bowley Builders
Millwork: Indisco
Photographer: Irvin Serrano
Location: Biddeford
Completed: 2018

Beach Break

As the Maine base for a surfing family, this space required a balance between functionality and visual appeal. Higgins Beach design and building regulations presented an interesting set of challenges that led to creative, forward-thinking solutions.

With a rare uninterrupted view of the ocean, the family requested as many windows as possible while maintaining privacy from the busy main street. The architects chose full-corner window units with minimal framing and structure to maximize panoramic views of the beach. New foundation footings were added and piles were shored up, prepping the home for the next 100 years of beach life. Back-and-forth among the client, the Caleb Johnson Studio team, and the town kept plans in line with code—from roof slope to the addition’s parameters to window percentages.

Functionality was key in design and material preparation. As a surfer’s house, it was essential the space withstand saltwater, sand, and all the seaside elements. Maple flooring was chosen for its durability and natural character. A cleaning and storage room was added for easy rinsing of boards and wetsuits. The kitchen, a main throughway of the home, was kept simple and spacious, taking notes from classic beach house style with clean, white tile paired with blue and rustic tones. All in all, the home captures its family’s identity and the Higgins Beach lifestyle.

Architect: Caleb Johnson Studio
Design Team: Caleb Johnson, David Duncan Morris, Bud Angst
Builder: R.P. Morrison Builders
Photographer: Trent Bell
Location: Higgins Beach
Completed: 2019

Coastal Home

Located in a neighborhood of traditional shingle-style homes, this simple, modern house stands in stark contrast to the nearby houses. Its modest form is designed to take advantage of sweeping views out to Casco Bay; the large doors on the ocean side of the house fold open to engage the interior spaces with the stone terraces and gardens outside.

Large operable windows on all sides provide abundant daylight, fresh air, and a sense of freedom and connection to the site. A second-floor terrace overlooking the ocean view further expands the opportunities for outdoor living.

The use of natural materials strengthens the relationship between the home and its surroundings. Stone walkways, terraces, and countertops are reminiscent of the rocky coastline that stretches out at the back of the house; natural wood trim and exposed wood beams provide warmth and a reference to Maine’s tradition of craftsmanship.

Large sculptural vases are playfully placed at the front of the building. The contrast between the smooth curves of the pottery and the crisp clean lines of the house creates intrigue and a sense of whimsy.

Architect: Simons Architects
Project Architects: Scott Simons, Seth Wilschutz, Emma Olson, Lauren Vorwald
Contractor: Eider Construction
Landscape Architect: Richardson & Associates
Photographer: Robert Benson
Location: Coast of Maine
Completed: 2019

Blended, Efficient, Multigenerational Living

The clients moved to Kennebunkport for its diversity of cultural, social, and outdoor activities. They sought a location offering both an “aging in place” lifestyle and a haven to accommodate visits from their adult children (and someday grandchildren).

They first contacted Maine Preservation and requested a historic assessment of the home. Arron Sturgis and Preservation Timber Framing provided the architectural team with a detailed report of the eighteenth- (or potentially seventeenth-) century English barn, which became the focal point of the restoration. The overall design was inspired by the traditional connected farmhouses you find in New England: the “Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn” approach.

To preserve and restore the barn, it was raised and moved to a different location on the property so that a new foundation could be laid. Once back in place, the barn was restored and converted to an owners’ suite with a bedroom, closets, a bathroom, and a small exercise space. The owner wanted to be able to see the original barn frame and sheathing from the interior, so to achieve this with today’s codes the team stripped the original barn of its siding, added layers of insulation and sheathing, and re-sided the barn with Maine-sourced eastern white pine clapboards very similar to the originals. The result is that, from the interior and exterior, the barn looks nearly the same as it did before, including the original barn doors.

The rest of the design was about providing additional living space in the form of a new kitchen, sunroom, formal two-story library (with room for 10,000 books), office/study, and restored dining and living room spaces within the house and ell. Additional timber frame restoration was done in the ell by Sturgis and his team, as well as a traditionally crafted masonry fireplace and chimney for the living room. The kitchen is a new extension off the back of the original house; however, to pay tribute to the original detail of the farmhouse, the existing siding, trim, and windows all remain visible from within the kitchen. Original flooring was taken from the ell and repurposed for use in the formal library. Existing wide pine sheathings were repurposed for exposed wall finishes. An original window that would have been lost from the addition was salvaged and used in a second-floor study, which has the best views of the landscape. All the new construction, although done with modern materials and practices, has details that are consistent with the style and proportion of the original farmhouse.

The completed project is respectful of the architectural heritage of the 1792 Smith Bradbury house and its Kennebunkport neighborhood. The couple’s young adult children visit regularly from major U.S. cities, bringing a diverse group of friends.

Architect: Benjamin Nutter Architects
Project Architects: Ben Nutter, Rick Bernard
Builder: Spang Builders
Project Manager: Norm Laliberte
Photographer: Sian Richards
Location: Kennebunkport
Completed: 2020

Cozy Bear

Part of a former YWCA camp, this property came with 40 acres, thousands of feet of frontage on two lakes, a sandy beach, three small cabins, and a former infirmary. The clients, who have three children and six grandchildren and who have lived around the world, desired a comfortable home with Scandinavian influences that could serve as a cozy, central gathering space for their entire family while also being connected to the natural landscape.

Knickerbocker Group designed a series of three single-level forms that subsequently become more modern as they stretch away from the camp’s simple cabins: a gable-roofed open-plan living space, a low-pitched dining area with a wall composed nearly entirely of windows, and a pair of bedrooms topped with a shed dormer roof. Each volume is given distinct cladding in vertical and horizontal applications, including reverse board-and-batten siding and prefinished white-cedar shingles, all stained a muted black that mimics the bark of the pines just outside.

The large screened porch is nearly 600 square feet—more than a third of the size of the home—and is designed to be durable and multifunctional, with a granite fireplace, L-shaped custom cedar bench, polished concrete floors, all-weather wicker seating, and a cedar Ping-Pong/crafting/overflow dining table crafted by the homeowner.

White walls are punctuated by black hardware, and colors are taken from surrounding nature: nickel-gap the color of moss, white-oak kitchen cabinets in a sandy shade. Granite flows in and out of the home, including thick slabs that were found on-site and repurposed as a front step, fireplace hearth, and porch column.

The site was disturbed as little as possible during construction, and landscaping was kept minimal, resulting in a cozy lakeside haven tucked under a canopy of trees.

Architect, Builder & Interior Designer: Knickerbocker Group
Project Architect: Rick Nelson
Project Interior Designer: Leah Lippmann
Project Team: Tom Burrill, Derek Libby, Nan Tanner
Photographer: Darren Setlow
Photo Stylist: Patty Boone
Location: The Lakes Region
Completed: 2019

Seal Cove Residence

Ten years ago, this couple from New Jersey purchased a plot of land on a remote island off the coast of Maine on which to build their dream home. The island is inhabited by a small community of 75 individuals, mostly lobster fishers. The directive was to design a solar-powered home for the couple to retire in and where they can occasionally play host to their children.

The clients have a strong affinity for color, which is not often seen in the muted palette of New England architecture. Therefore, color was a crucial component that needed to be woven through the design. The color story for the home takes its cue from the local lobstermen and women who collect their buoys from the ocean, each marked with a unique sequence of colors, and hang them on their houses when they are not being used. This creates a colorful patchwork covering the sides of most of the island’s homes. This look became the inspiration for the multicolored board-and-batten siding, a design derived from the home’s truly site-specific island typology.

Active and passive solar design strategies were used throughout the home. One of the key features is the hallway/greenhouse that acts as a sun space. Heat from the sun is collected through the day within the tiled walls and floor of the space. At night, vents at floor level and windows up high are opened between the hallway and the two bedrooms. Natural circulation draws warm air up into the bedrooms while cool air is returned to the sun space to be reheated.

Architect: LUNO Design Studio
Project Architect: Noel Fedosh
Builder: B.K. Burgess
Photographer: Trent Bell
Location: Isle au Haut
Completed: 2019



Batson River Brewing & Distilling

In the fall of 2019, the Barrett Made team was contracted for the architecture and construction of Batson River Brewing and Distilling’s Portland location. Designed within a building previously used as a maintenance garage for public works vehicles, Batson River Brewing and Distilling would transform the space into a restaurant, distillery, and tasting room in the heart of Portland’s Bayside neighborhood.

The design acts to leverage the existing rusticated finishes of the industrial, single-story brick, timber, and steel building by accenting the patina of the existing surfaces with selectively detailed architectural millwork and stone and a muted color palette, resulting in a rich layering of textures and tones.

The space consists of several seating areas, allowing for a variety of different dining experiences, from street-side open-air dining to intimate private booths. The space is also designed to be subdivided via a mezzanine with large floor-to-ceiling curtains to accommodate private events.

The client challenged the design team to create bold focal points for each area of the space, accomplished by integrating elements such as a large masonry fireplace in the front dining area and a window wall allowing the distilling equipment to become a visual draw in the back bar. The client additionally required that the space be easy to decorate for events and adaptable to seasonal décor changes. The result incorporates select rustic elements emblematic of Maine’s outdoor lifestyle and blends them with a sophisticated palette of refined detailing and furnishings to create a unique dining experience.

Architect & Builder: Barrett Made
Photographer: Erin Little
Location: Portland
Completed: 2021

Center of Excellence in Autism & Developmental Disorders

More than 40,000 people in Maine have been diagnosed with autism or a developmental disorder. E4H partnered with Maine Behavioral Healthcare, a member of the MaineHealth network, to design a unique behavioral health facility to serve them. The new Glickman Lauder Center of Excellence in Autism and Developmental Disorders has transformed the organization’s services into an integrated treatment, research, and training center serving the full life span. The new center serves Maine families, generates new treatment models and research, and trains the next generation of professionals.

Nestled on a bucolic wooded lot adjacent to Spring Harbor Hospital, the site provides a secure, private location with ample outdoor space. A biophilic approach to classroom design and large activity spaces maintains a connection with nature through abundant natural light and nature-themed products. Interior finishes provide both excellent acoustic control and low VOC emissions in support of evidence-based research on supportive environments for children and adults with developmental disorders. The building also features muted colors, visual navigation cues, and purposeful spaces for retreat, all designed to provide a supportive environment.

Project parameters included adjacency to the hospital to be included in the hospital’s services. Initial soil testing revealed that the soils on-site had limited bearing capacity and substantial sodden areas. Facing cost-prohibitive foundation solutions, the design team developed a single-story building to bring the project in on budget.

Making it one of the greenest healthcare facilities in Maine, the building is designed to meet LEED requirements. A high-efficiency HVAC system using variable refrigerant flow and a dedicated outdoor air system increases environmental sustainability, improves the user experience, and reduces annual operating costs. Photovoltaic panels further improve energy efficiency.

The result is a state-of-the-art building purpose-built to meet the needs of a unique population and support employees in providing excellence in care.

Architect: E4H Environments for Health Architecture
Builder: Langford & Low
Photographer: Ben Gancsos
Location: Portland
Completed: 2021


Ocean Point Casino

The Ocean Point Casino has traditionally served as the heart of a primarily seasonal community located along the East Boothbay peninsula’s southern shore. Many current residents retain fond memories of the original 1905 casino, which was tragically destroyed in a mid-1970s fire and later replaced with a temporary community structure. A series of community design workshops engaging all age groups were conducted to define and prioritize desired programmatic elements and design features for the new building and associated outdoor sports courts.

Programming elements for the new building include a large multifunction meeting/recreation space, a new kitchen, two bathrooms, storage, an office for the seasonally hired activities director, and a meeting/reading room. The design also incorporates a wraparound porch, a key architectural feature of the 1905 casino. Two new tennis courts, a multisports court, parking, and new hardscape/ landscape elements complete the site upgrades. Expanded porch areas provide ample seating for those viewing tennis matches and for parents overseeing children enjoying the adjacent playground and ballfield.

The building design was intended to create a warm, inviting, and flexible environment suitable for a wide range of typical seasonal activities: community dinners and other group social gatherings, fundraising events, yoga classes, arts and crafts sessions, and general recreation. During the project, the architect presented weekly updates concerning overall building organization, materials selections, and architectural details to a project building committee composed of community representatives to ensure that the best long-term value was obtained while working within a tight overall budget and schedule.

Architect: McGranaghan Architecture
Principal Architect: Patrick McGranaghan
Master Planning & Builder: Knickerbocker Group
Photographer: Darren Setlow
Location: East Boothbay
Completed: 2020


The project goals of this renovation were to transform a 1980s office building into a modern, secure, and vibrant workplace environment that reflects the client’s mission and values to the staff and clients alike.

The imposing brick facade of the existing building was transformed from a brick wall with few lookout points to a much more inviting presence in the community with the introduction of large windows. A portion of the existing building was removed in order to provide a new accessible entrance for visitors as well as convenient parking. The public sector entry is designed for staff safety and security without appearing to be a barrier to the public.

Skylights were added above the existing communicating stair as well as at a new curved stair in order to fill the work environment with light and to encourage walking between floors instead of using the elevator. A fitness center is included in the project to promote staff wellness as well as a café with both indoor and outdoor seating areas. A garden for staff was also developed at an existing pond on the site.

The hard rectangular form of the structure was mitigated with the introduction of the curved communicating stair in conjunction with skewing the axis of some work-stations. Careful attention was paid to the selection of sustainable materials, including the use of reclaimed wood at feature walls throughout the project.

Sustainability and environmental impact were also addressed during the design. New insulation and vapor barriers as well as high-performing windows were added to the existing exterior envelope. The roof insulation was increased, and the structure is designed to accommodate the addition of solar panels in the future.

Architect: Harriman
Principal in Charge: Mark Burnes
Principal Design Architect: Judy Johnson
Project Architect: Christina Porter
Landscape Architect: Thomas Emery
Builder: Landry/French Construction
Project Interior Designer: Peter Pinkerton
Photographer: Siri Blanchette
Location: Augusta
Completed: 2020

Knickerbocker Group Portland Offices

Located in a former Portland Department of Public Works warehouse, Knickerbocker Group’s 6,200-square-foot Portland offices showcase the firm’s focus on craftsmanship and innovative design.

Initially a raw industrial shell, the space now has restored brick exterior walls, white-painted ceiling beams, and ductwork that create a unifying palette. To provide light and views, a central core contains the kitchenette, server space, four private bathrooms and a shower, and a mother’s—or focus—room. Wood-toned workstations, which boast sit–stand desktops and closed storage, ring the windowed perimeter, bringing light into interior offices that feature all-glass walls. Overhead lighting is zoned, dimmable, and connected to efficient occupancy sensors. Functional and decorative acoustical treatments, such as wavelike felt panels that float above a meeting table, minimize sound echoing.

The natural beauty of wood and craftsmanship are highlighted throughout the space, from the live-edge conference room table—locally made from a fallen oak tree in downtown Saco—to the custom, built-on-site walnut acoustical panel wall that is backed with sound-absorbing material. The ADA-compliant, walnut kitchenette has touch-latch cabinets, concealed appliances, and an ash counter-height table that can be used for eating, working, or a brief meeting with a vendor or coworker.

Welcoming design details are reminiscent of a residential property: planters handmade by a local ceramicist are filled with ferns and succulents, a Soumak wool rug softens a poured concrete floor, walls are in deep green nickel-gap with carefully mitered corners, and art is hung gallery style. The outdoor deck—where native grasses and hop vines swish in the Casco Bay breeze next to lounge areas that encourage gatherings—uses a modular system that floats on the roof to avoid penetrations and is designed for maximum privacy with minimal weight.

As the firm is both design and build, seamless in-house coordination and real-time decision making kept the jobsite running safely during COVID lockdowns. Today, employees work in a history-and nature-inspired space that encourages creativity and cross-disciplinary collaboration. MH+D

Architect, Builder & Interior Designer: Knickerbocker Group
Project Interior Designer: Angela Ballard
Project Architect: Michael Belleau
Project Team: Tom Burrill, Nick Gray, Sam Kapala, Rick Nelson
Engineer: RFS Engineering
Landscape Design & Installation: At the Garden Gate
Workstation Design: Exterus Business Furniture
Photographer: Trent Bell
Location: Portland
Completed: 2020

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