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.
Student Center Here We Come @ Episcopal School
Demolition has begun on the 12,000-square-foot Stewart Student Center at Episcopal High School to transform an existing 1913 gym. The renovated space will act as a central hub of community, including workspaces, a café, TV room, mail room, game tables, and the school store. Completion is scheduled for the start of the 2016-2017 school year.
VMA Hosts Interns as Part of Our Outreach Program
With strong Bi-Co roots and five in-house Bryn Mawr and Haverford College alums, we were pleased to welcome two Growth and Structure of Cities students as interns during December. The interns were given a well-rounded experience through their contributions to physical and sketch-up models, renderings, and site visits.
Deliberations in Detroit - Skyspace and Friends School of Detroit
Cameron Mactavish participated in a design charrette with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and renowned artist James Turrell for a public art project named “Detroit Skyspace.” While still in the Motor City, he made an additional stop at the Friends School in Detroit to engage in a discussion about the re-opening and re-visioning of Michigan’s only Quaker school.
Opening Night: Curtains Drawn At the New Theater For the Baldwin School
VMA was pleased to attend and celebrate the first recital for the opening of the newly constructed Simpson Center for Performing Arts in Honor of Louis Goutman. We were impressed by the theatrical performances and foresee astonishing future success for the performing arts students at The Baldwin School. The project transformed a 1970’s gymnasium into a flexible, multi-purpose theater to support the talent and education of the Baldwin creative youth.
Stanford White Award Presented to VMA For Millbrook School's Math & Science Center
Daniela Holt Voith, John Cluver, and Isabella Bartenstein attended the 2015 Institute of Classical Architecture’s Stanford White Awards in New York City. VMA was honored with an award in the Commercial, Civic, and Institutional Architecture category for the Frederic C. Hamilton Math & Science Center at Millbrook School. Congratulations to the project team and Millbrook School!
VMA Discusses Their Architectural Philosophy
Daniela Holt Voith and Cameron Mactavish presented “Present and Future: Innovation within the Context of Tradition” at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia during the Roger W. Moss Symposium. During the talk, Daniela and Cameron discussed their architectural education and how it set a philosophical background for the work of Voith & Mactavish Architects LLP. Daniela and Cameron outlined the Philadelphia of 1988 they faced at the founding of the firm, and how the city has evolved and improved since. They also noted their favorite architectural landmarks in Philadelphia and how these places have influenced their work.
New Senior Associates and Associates at VMA
We are proud to announce new Senior Associates and Associates. Sennah Loftus, LEED AP, and Robert Piasecki, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, are now VMA’s Senior Associates. Fauzia Sadiq Garcia, AIA, LEEP AP BD+C and Robert Douglass, LEED AP BD+C are now Associates. Congratulations Sennah, Fauzia, and Robs!
VMA Presents on Flexible & Collaborative Classrooms
VMA Senior Associates, Sennah Loftus and Robert Piasecki presented at the Delaware Conference & Trade Show. The conference features cross-discipline exploration, social events, and networking for design and building professionals to gain a deeper knowledge of practices and products. Sennah and Rob’s interactive presentation titled “Trends in Classroom Design & Technology”, demonstrated that traditional lecture-style classrooms no longer dominate the typology, but are now used in conjunction with flexible, case study, and collaborative classrooms. Co-presenters were Larry McIntyre of Acentech, and Matthew Stocum, Associate Director of Technology of Drexel University.
Conversations with Philadelphia's Radical Traditionalists: "The Offices"
Cameron Mactavish along with co-presenters Angelo Alberto and Stephen M. Bonitatibus, participated in a lively panel discussion presented by Institute of Classical Architecture & Art titled, “Conversations with Philadelphia’s Radical Traditionalists: “The Offices,” concerning the lineage of traditional architecture at the Franklin Inn Club in Philadelphia. Conversation included stories about the good old days before computer assisted design. Drafting was once concerned with how to correctly cast shadows, grade watercolor washes, and pen line weights. Overall, the discussion centered on the importance of maintaining an architectural lineage, and the exchange of vital knowledge from one generation to the next through mentorship.
10th Anniversary: A Big One for Bryn Mawr Film Institute
Congratulations to the Bryn Mawr Film Institute for reaching 10 years of success as a film and theater institute! The Institute has made outstanding contributions to both the Bryn Mawr and film communities since its inception. VMA is proud to have played a part in the restoration of the BMFI, allowing it to better serve its mission, and see it flourish.
New Team Additions
VMA welcomed three new staff members to the office in the first quarter of the year. Jeffrey Peters joins us with a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from Drexel University where he was a finalist in The Michael Pearson Architecture Prize. Markisha Evans joins our office with a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and will be assisting with marketing and communications. Brandon Robilotti is a Haverford College graduate who will assist our team with marketing efforts and proposals.
Melding Farm-to-Table Into Student Curriculum
Daniela Holt Voith; Drew Castertano, Headmaster of Millbrook School, and Josh Hahn, Assistant Head of School at The Hotchkiss School, presented at The Association of Boarding Schools conference “Farm to Table: Food in the Boarding Community Residential & Student Life.” The talk explored how to grow, store, process, prepare, and serve food in a sustainable manner in a boarding school community and how to actively engage students through curriculum. Drew and Josh both spoke about their respective school’s efforts to farm, and procure local and seasonal food, encourage students’ awareness and participation, and provide great experimental learning opportunities.