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.
Revisiting Yale's Campus
Returning to a project that was placed on hold a decade ago due to the recession, VMA is again working at Yale University’s Dwight Hall. Home to the University’s umbrella organization for community outreach and social justice efforts. Dwight Hall is the second-oldest building on campus and will receive improvements to help it meet contemporary needs. We anticipate construction starting in Summer 2017.
Finding Inspiration in Chicago
In May, VMA attended the Neocon Conference in Chicago, IL and experience the must-see design products of 2016. Neocon is the leading trade show in commercial interior design and attracts over 50,000 professionals each year.
This summer we were happy to welcome two high school interns, Isabelle and Elisa. Both were able to gain valuable skills in drafting and rendering.
Office Road Trip: Up the Hudson
This July, the VMA team embarked on a New England tour of our projects, both on-the-books and completed. The trip opened with a visit to two projects at The Pennington School in New Jersey and moved on to The Hotchkiss School in Connecticut for another two project visits. Day one finished at Millbrook School in scenic upstate New York with a tour of at least ten projects completed in the past twenty years. Well-rested from a night spent in a VMA-designed Millbrook dorm, the next morning we visited Thorndale Farm, LLC and wound up the whirlwind tour with a pair of preservation projects at Vassar College.
Softball Team Goes For the Win
The VMA softball team played an excellent season in The Philadelphia Architects & Engineers Softball League with a 14-1 record. The team also battled through playoffs to the championship game for the first time since 1994 and suffered a heartbreaking loss.
Girl's Outings Are Lots of Fun
One of VMA’s first projects, the Karamoor Estate, is now the site of an award-winning vineyard. We were happy to return to the property with a group of women colleagues for a tasting and pleasant afternoon of touring and toasting.
The Pennington School Welcomes an Exciting New Building
The Kenneth Kai Tai Yen Humanities Building at The Pennington School opened for classes in January 2016. Born out of a comprehensive plan for academic space and to support new teaching paradigms, this 30,000 square foot classroom building is the first step in forming an academic quad on Pennington’s historic campus. It provides large classrooms, faculty space, and a two-story atrium. Student engagement and break out spaces, and an atrium make for flexibility in teaching, and more space for an interactive experience and small group work. The project received a LEED Gold certification.
Two Recent Grads Join VMA
In June, VMA welcomed new staff to the firm, both recent graduates from Philadelphia-area programs. Caitlyn Kelly is joining our Interiors Studio from Philadelphia University with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design. From Bryn Mawr College, comes intern architect Leah Kahler who has a bachelor’s in both Growth and Structure of Cities and Anthropology.
Two Down, One To Go: New Parking for Villanova
The first two steps, a two-level expansion to an existing garage and a surface parking lot, are now completed. A five-level garage with the capacity to hold 1,300 vehicles is well underway. Combined, these three projects will set the stage for construction in 2017 of the 1,100 bed residence halls, student oriented commercial venues and a pedestrian bridge to complete the transformation of the 21 acre parcel along Lancaster Avenue.
Making Rounds in Austin, Texas
Cameron Mactavish attended the Interface Student Housing Conference. While there he participated as a juror for the 6th Annual Student Housing Business “Innovator Awards”. Since he is currently developing an installation with James Turrell in Detroit, Cameron took the opportunity to visit the artist’s skyspace entitled “The Color Inside” at University of Texas.
AIA National Convention Brings Out 19,000
With the AIA Convention right in our back yard this year, we were happy to showcase some of our favorite VMA projects in the city. Our tours featured: Neighborhood House at Christ Church, LeBow College of Business at Drexel University, and the David L. Kurtz Center for Performing Arts at William Penn Charter School.
A Dining Hall Collaboration at the Lawrenceville School
VMA looks forward to continuing its long working relationship with E. Allen Reeves Construction on The Lawrenceville School’s Abbott Dining Hall. The redesign of the senior class Abbott Dining Hall, originally constructed in 1960 will now look and feel like the late 19th century Peabody & Stearns buildings found on campus while meeting the school’s contemporary programmatic needs.
VMA Awarded In Marvin Architects Challenge
Acknowledging projects which create captivating spaces with their products, Marvin Windows & Doors awarded The Frederic C. Hamilton Math & Science Center at Millbrook School “Best Commercial” project in their 2016 Architects Challenge. We value Marvin products because they are sustainable, customizable, and exhibit high quality craftsmanship.
Signature Pieces for Millbrook School Dining Hall
Daniela Holt Voith visited Thos. Moser’s manufacturing plant, which specializes in the design and construction of handmade American furniture in Portland, Maine. In collaboration with Thos. Moser, Daniela helped guide the creation of a prototype for a custom flip-top table to be used in the soon to be completed Millbrook School Dining Hall. The process involves designing a full scale mock-up for testing in the dining hall itself. Daniela is also collaborating with Deep Landing Workshop on custom light fixtures; this one weighs fifty pounds and will grace the entry hall.
A Night to Celebrate: Annual Church Farm Gala at Longwood Gardens
VMA attended the school’s “Nighttime in the Garden” event held in the Palm House Garden. The Gala featured a performance from their choir and a live auction, with fundraising exceeding the desired goal.