A New "Intersection" At Penn State Abington
This summer, VMA refreshed the student lounge & activity area at Penn State’s Abington campus, better aligning the space with the school’s focus on enriching the student overall experience. Full-height windows were added to the adjacent corridor and its exterior wall to bring in more natural light, and a vibrantly colorful paint scheme further brightens the space. A combination of fixed and flexible furniture offers a variety of seating for events like movie nights, acoustic performances, club meetings, or study groups.
Penn Law Review & Journal Improvements
Continuing our long-term partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Law School, we recently completed the interior renovation of the Law Review and Law Journal suites. The reconfigured space now includes several small-group collaboration rooms, a conference room (outfitted with the “Daniela” table by Thos. Moser) for larger meetings, and a variety of individual work stations. The overall design is vibrant and contemporary, while still referencing the stereotypical leather & wood finishes of an “old school” law firm office.
WCU Holds Ribbon Cutting For New Business School Building
VMA joined West Chester University’s celebration of the new College of Business & Public Management building. The facility combines flexible classrooms with informal lounge areas to encourage collaborative group work as well as spontaneous interaction (click here for more details). School officials say the building has positively impacted their ability to teach, and that students from all over campus visit the building to study and socialize.
VMA Takes Instagram By Storm
When Daniela Holt Voith became the “lens” of the VMA Instagram account in May, we didn’t expect to gain over 500 followers in less than six months – but we did! We’re thrilled at the overwhelmingly positive response to our presence on the platform and continue exploring innovative new ways to use it. Big thanks to our current followers. If you’re not already, follow VMA today!
Innovative Learning At Meckler Library
The Pennington’s School Meckler Library is complete in time for the start of the new school year. The library was restructured to accommodate Pennington’s strong specialized learning program and to respond to shifting expectations for libraries in contemporary academics. Major changes included an isolated study/special collections room with archival-quality cabinetry to protect and display the school’s eminent collection of signed first-edition literature, and a new ‘Tech’ classroom outfitted with modern workstations and interactive projection systems. Our renovations to Meckler also accomplished one of the school’s longest standing goals to introduce eight new Communication Skills classrooms for the expanded learning center faculty, who teach in single-student classrooms. The renewed and improved library creates spaces that properly serve the individualized needs of the students and gives the school flexibility to meet new challenges in the years to come.
Educational Design For "Generation Z": VMA at NeoCon 2017
How can today’s educational designs best serve millennial students while efficiently programming every inch of available space? That was the challenge addressed by Daniela Holt Voith, FAIA, IIDA, LEED AP BD+C, at her presentation at NeoCon 2017 in Chicago this week. Daniela used examples from VMA’s recent educational projects, like the Kenneth Kai Tai Yen Humanities Building at The Pennington School, to make the case that contemporary educational design must be collaborative, tech-friendly, and multi-functional.
Celebrating the Thos. Moser "Daniela" Table
Employees & supporters of VMA joined the Thos. Moser team at their Philadelphia showroom to celebrate the table’s official debut as well as the longstanding relationship between the two firms. We also celebrated the “Daniela” trestle table, inspired by Daniela Holt Voith of Voith & Mactavish Architects. The piece, made of solid wood with a flip-top and custom base, was originally crafted as part of a new VMA-designed dining facility for The Millbrook School (click here for more information).
New Business College Earns LEED Gold Certification
Hooray! West Chester University’s new Business College received LEED Gold certification. Some of the award- winning features include a state of the art storm water management system, diversion of 80% of construction waste from landfills and utilization of recycled resources in 15% of the building’s materials. Additionally, regional materials were specified, restricting material transport within a 500 mile radius. Yet another example of VMA’s Gold Standard commitment to design innovation. Congratulations Team.
New Office Suites at Penn Law
Over Spring Break, The Penn Law Review and The Journal of Law and Social Change moved into their newly renovated office suites. Both new offices feature a variety of collaborative and shared office spaces as well as individual work stations. While the elegant Penn Law Review suite was inspired by fostering teamwork through collaborative spaces and new meeting rooms, JLASC desired vibrancy and new energy through a contemporary interior and cheerful green furnishings.
21 Women-Led Architecture and Landscape Architecture Firms in Philly
On April 5th, Curbed Philadelphia featured an article celebrating 21 women-led architecture and landscape architecture firms throughout Philadelphia. Of the 21 firms mentioned, Voith & Mactavish Architects made the list. Author, Melissa Romero emphasized the firm’s extensive experience in designing education institutions and a 2014 interview with Philly.com where Daniela recounted overcoming barriers in her field through the game of basketball.
Kappa Spring Meeting Presentation With West Chester University President Dr. Chris Fiorentino
Thank you for your support! Cameron J. Mactavish & Dr. Chris Fiorentino presented “Honoring the Past While Embracing the Future: A Bold New Business College Comes to Campus” to West Chester University’s new Business College at the KAPPA Spring Meeting. Chris and Cameron shared many stories about the challenges and successes of designing the new business school.
New Thos. Moser "Daniela" Table
It’s here! The new custom flip top Daniela Trestle Table by Thos. Moser in collaboration with VMA’s Daniela Voith.
Restoring the Emma Hartman Noyes House
This past November, Partner John Cluver presented at the national conference Association for Preservation Technology International (APT). As part of the Revisiting Mid-Century Modern track, Cluver discussed affordable preservation of mid-century modern projects. In his presentation entitled “The Lightest Touch: Repairing Custom Mid-Century Windows with a Stock Budget,” Cluver explained how VMA, in partnership with Vassar, restored custom chevron windows at the historical Emma Hartman Noyes House at Vassar College. Designed by Eero Saarinen and built in 1958, the windows faced chronic leaking which was resolved through the selective replacement of several key elements, but retained the integrity of the original design.
Cluver Expounds the Art of Hand Drawing
In October, Partner John Cluver presented at The Art of Architecture conference at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture. In his presentation, “The Art and Craft of Hand Drawing in Historic Preservation”, Cluver explored the dynamism of construction drawings of century-old buildings and how this is reflected in contemporary preservation projects. Central to his discussion was the value of hand drawings through the combination of their utilitarian nature and their timeless beauty.
Delightful Acquaintances In Washington for NBOA 2017
We were happy to see old friends and make new ones at the 17th annual NBOA conference in Washington DC. We were honored to have the opportunity to present with the Pennington School on ‘The Tech-Simple Classroom.’
Phase 1 of Villanova Complete
December marked the end of Phase 1 for Villanova University’s Lancaster Avenue Housing project which comprised of construction of a 1500 car parking garage. Phase 2 signals the commencement of the new dorms which will increase Villanova’s residential capacity by 26%. The new design which encompasses the coined “Villanova Gothic” esthetic, will allow Villanova to house a total of 85% of the undergraduate student body. In conjunction with the new parking facilities, the new residential project will significantly reduce on-campus traffic while increasing a sense of community; a value on which the University is predicated.
VMA Wins AIA Connecticut 2016 People's Choice Award
In addition to the 2016 AIA Connecticut Design Award for The Grange, VMA won the 2016 AIA Connecticut People’s Choice Award. This unprecedented dual honor celebrated the accomplishments of The Grange at the Hotchkiss School for its educational, technical and design innovation. The 2016 People’s Choice Award acknowledges VMA’s The Grange as a “Place That Creates a Sense of Peacefulness.” Congratulations VMA!
Developing Turrell's Detroit Skyspace
With the turn of the new year, James Turrell’s Detroit Skyspace project is garnering support and gathering momentum. Principal Cameron Mactavish recently discussed plans over dinner with the artist and project commissioner Mark Schwartz. Conceived in collaboration with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, the Detroit Skyspace at Gabriel Richard Park, aims to begin construction in the Spring. This unprecedented installation will positively impact the surrounding community through aiding youth and be a harbinger of the city’s cultural and economic renaissance.
Thos. Moser at Millbrook
In addition to the dazzling chandeliers and picturesque landscapes framed by classical bay windows, the custom Thos. Moser tables at the new Millbrook Dining Hall take center stage. The new Millbrook Dining Hall features signature custom flip-top tables designed by Thos. Moser in collaboration with Principal Daniela Holt Voith. Last fall, Daniela visited the Portland, Maine based furniture workshop to both design and try her hand at the full scale mock-up of these unique pieces. The result? The Millbrook Dining Hall, the hearth of the campus, continues its school legacy of excellence, beauty and timeless tradition.
VMA Wins AIA Connecticut's 2016 Design Award
Voith & Mactavish Architects LLP was honored with the 2016 AIA Connecticut Design Award for The Grange at Fairfield Farm at the Hotchkiss School. Completed October 2015, The Grange is an education center in Lakeville, Connecticut that culminates outdoor learning, the values of farm to table living and cohesive community. Of the jury’s many commendations, the jury states “Among all the projects using the vernacular tradition, this seemed the most appropriate for its purpose and setting. The details of the porch create a memorable image for educational use; the barnlike section for storage, light and ventilation. It is traditionally inspired but technologically modern” Well done team! Here’s to another year of design excellence.
The 111 Navy Chair
How do you save 23 million plastic bottles, and counting, from landfills? The answer…Emeco’s 111 Navy Chair in partnership with Coca Cola. Each chair is made with 111 20 oz. plastic bottles and transforms “disposable” plastic into an object of lasting beauty and design. VMA has featured the 111 Navy Chair in projects such as the Millbrook School Girl’s Dormitory (Left) and The Barn at Millbrook (Center). The Navy Chair, which is used in the Schuylkill Conference room at the home office of Voith & Mactavish Architects, has been featured by Emeco in their collection archive for the past two years (Right). Emeco’s 111 Navy Chair is one of the many ways VMA is committed to traditional yet innovative design that safeguards the inherently parallel legacies of the natural and built environment.
A New Business College for West Chester University
Construction of the new West Chester University Business College was completed this past December. Features of the new Business College include, collaborative classroom seating, break-out work spaces in hallways and a welcoming lobby complete with cozy lounge seating. The elegant yet innovative design, takes cues from the university’s collegiate gothic architecture with double pointed archways framing the entrance, a two story central bay and buttresses. This traditional narrative is complimented by contemporary features such as an inset glass framed entrance and a thee story glass bay framing the elegant central staircase. The new Business College is a fusion of the old and the new, creating a dynamic home for both engaged study and collaboration.
A New Meeting Hall for Millbrook
This January, after months of renovations and final touches from our talented architecture and interiors team, The Millbrook School celebrated the re-opening of Prum Hall. For decades, Prum Hall underserved the community’s dining needs. However, with the overwhelming success of the campus’s new dining hall, also designed by VMA, Prum has been re-born as a center for formal community gatherings. Renamed the Prum Meeting Hall, Millbrook was thrilled to welcome parents for their annual College Workshop luncheon early February. Key to the new design, was maintaining the traditional Millbrook aesthetic and creating a thoughtful fusion of the old and the new.
New Team Additions
This winter, VMA welcomes new staff members for the start of the new year. Ryan Dougherty joins us from Rochester New York and earned his Bachelor of Architecture from Syracuse University. He enjoys riding his bike, playing the guitar and spending time with his 3 year old son. Ryan joins the VMA team as our newest Project Manager. Additionally, this January, Clayton Brandt joins the office from the Department of Growth and Structure of Cities at Haverford College. As part of his Praxis field work, Clayton will assist the team with both rendering and model making. In the future Clayton hopes to develop his passion for design, Architecture and music. From all of us at VMA, Ryan and Clayton Welcome!
TABS Conference 2016
The Association for Boarding Schools (TABS) annual conference was held earlier this December in Washington DC. VMA attendees included Principle Daniela Voith, Senior Associate Sennah Loftus, and Associate Robert Douglas. VMA hosted a table at the conference which boasted a sporting new banner, and attended professional development workshops. The conference was a resounding success as VMA made new friends and new connections!
Completion of the Curtis
This past December, VMA celebrated the completion of their renovations on The Curtis. With a focus on the atrium, the historical space was transformed through new armatures, pilasters, and acoustical renovations. The Curtis, which takes cues from the Beaux-Arts style, primarily utilized red brick and white Vermont marble in the initial design. VMA preserved these building materials over the course of the restoration process. Four armatures, each befitted with a “C” at the apex, span the 57 foot atrium, calling to mind the wrought iron and glass ceilings of public passages in Italian and French cities. While the armatures sparkle with LED lights, the columns are washed with a soft light from the new sconces. These architectural components work together to combine the awe inspiring grandeur of the atrium, while increasing the quality of comfort in the space. The new amenities appeal to employees and visitors alike.
Jubilant Reception of New Episcopal High School Student Center
This past December construction of the new student center at Episcopal High School came to a close. Originally a student gymnasium built in 1912, the conversion features double height space, a new welcoming entrance and transparency to highlight activities both inside the building and on the athletics field outside. Students met VMA project managers with jubilant applause at the center’s opening celebration. Share the joy in the video link below.
Holiday Office Party
On the Friday before Thanksgiving, we opened our doors to our clients, family and friends to celebrate another year with us. We spent the day decorating, preparing vegetables for the meal, and sprucing up for arguably our favorite event of the year. We enjoyed the special night accordingly!
Design on the Delaware
Design on the Delaware took place this past November at the Philadelphia Convention Center. Associate Robert Douglas presented at the convention, the theme of which celebrated informal learning spaces. In the spirit of this theme, Douglas presented VMA’s Pennington School Project, highlighting the project’s emphasis on student empowerment and pedagogical innovation.
Traditional Building: Update
Our Girl’s Dorm at the Millbrook School has been selected to be on the cover of Traditional Building’s October Issue. The accompanying article narrates the design’s vision, unfolding, and the end result. Now inhabited by 44 boarding students and four faculty families, the completed project truly feels like home.
Thomas Moser Opening
Welcome back to the city Thomas Moser! A VMA contingent was on hand to welcome Thomas Moser back to downtown Philadelphia at the official showroom opening in November. Their beautiful handmade furniture is crafted at their Maine headquarters. It was a true delight to see the collection in person.
Awards Season Update
We have been fortunate to have a fruitful season, having garnered four awards this fall. The Grange at the Hotchkiss School was awarded two AIA Connecticut awards. The Thorndale Farm LLC, a project we completed in association with G.P. Schafer Architect PLLC, won the 2016 Institute of Classical Architecture Stanford White Award. Additionally, our design for the Bryn Mawr Film Institute won the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Award for Stewardship. It is always an honor to have our peers love our buildings just as much as we do.
Pennington Projects Completed
This fall, Voith & Mactavish Architects celebrated the completion of Stainton Hall and the Old Main building at the Pennington School. The historic Stainton Hall, once tragically consumed by fire, received a single storey renovation that unites the math and science programs, as well as an innovative new middle school. The Old Main renovation involved the design of a new admissions suite, learning center and classrooms. In addition, VMA created a new connection between admissions and the dining hall as well as a new entry-way for campus administration.
Community Design Collaborative Annual Bowling Ball
In September our team of “expert” bowlers participated in the Community Design Collaborative annual fundraiser. The bowling fundraiser supports the organization’s efforts to provide pro bono design services to local nonprofit organizations. While our team did not win the grand prize for overall team score, we are proud to announce that our team brought home the award for “Best Male Bowler” courtesy of Brandon Robilotti. Go Team!
Class In Session
At Voith & Mactavish Architects we design innovative classrooms, but we also enjoy teaching in them! This fall, partner Daniela Holt Voith celebrates her 32nd year of teaching at her alma mater, Bryn Mawr, in the Growth Structure of Cities Department. Senior Associate Robert Piasecki, teaches Professional Practice at Drexel University where he is the recipient of the 40 Under 40 distinguished young alumni award. Associate Fauzia Sadiq Garcia, alumna of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, teaches sophomore studio at the Architecture Department at Temple University.