A Letter to the Editor: Preserving the S.S. United States Ship
Moved by the story and legacy of the S.S. United States currently docked in the Delaware River, Cameron Mactavish wrote a letter to the editors of the Philadelphia Inquirer suggesting the unused ship be transformed into a peace ship, traveling around the world creating bridges of understanding between people of different nations. After this article was published, Cameron was invited to tour this historic ship.
Good Times: VMA Annual Office Party & Kayaking in the Schuylkill
On Thursday, November 19th, clients, colleagues, friends, and family joined VMA at our annual office party. Despite the rainy weather, VMA and guests enjoyed great food, conversation, jazz, and swing dancing! On a bright, early autumn morning VMA headed down to the Schuylkill River Park adjacent to our office and had lots of fun during a kayak photoshoot for our party invitation. The river’s current and our mediocre kayaking skills prevented us from forming VMA in the water. Abandoning this futile effort, we did our best to be photographed all together in view of the camera, smile without squinting, and raise our paddles without getting soaked.
Re-Imagining Church Farm School
As Church Farm School (CFS) approaches their centennial, VMA was selected to develop a master plan to align campus objectives and goals, while further reinforcing their mission. The CFS master plan was approved by the West Whiteland Township Historical Commission. The Preliminary Land Development Application (PDLA) was approved by the township, solidifying the master plan. Church Farm School’s top priorities include the reorientation of the main entrance of campus, creation of a more dynamic and prominent entry to the main academic and administrative building, bringing all faculty housing on campus, a new Student Center and the creation of a consolidated Arts Center.
Grassroots Work For Philadelphia Youth Basketball
We are proud to support the initiatives of the non-profit Philadelphia Youth Basketball (PYB) and their goal to create a basketball safe haven in the Logan section of Philadelphia. This organization plans to positively impact the lives of youth in areas of education and engagement. Our backing of this project includes pro-bono site selection and architectural services. We hope to help create a space which supports the mission of PYB.
VMA Welcomes New Summer Interns
This summer, VMA has welcomed several interns into our office. Three students represented Philadelphia, New York City, and Paris. The interns were able to experience being a part of an architectural office, create 3D renderings and models, attend site visits and meetings, and even support our office softball team. We were sad to see them go, and hope to one day have them back in the office!
Construction Begins At Villanova University!
Villanova University’s dynamic plan to reinvigorate campus life has recently started construction. Replacing two massive surface parking lots directly on Lancaster Avenue, the project consists of new residence halls for over a 1,000 students with student-oriented retail and activity spaces, a Performing Arts Center, a five-level parking garage, and a pedestrian bridge over Lancaster Avenue. In addition to providing much needed on-campus housing for existing students, community benefits will include storm water management, and improved vehicular traffic patterns. All of the buildings are projected to be LEED certified and will incorporate a variety of measures to provide energy savings. This project is in association with Robert A. M. Stern Architects.
Breaking Bread Together At the New Dining Hall for Millbrook School
Construction has begun at Millbrook for a new dining hall. Since their enrollment has grown their existing dining hall no longer serves them well. The dining hall will form a courtyard with Millbrook School’s older dining hall, it will be restored allowing for more intimate dinners or meetings, while the new dining hall will seat the entire school population and support staff. The room will feature a high central volume with lower side isles, providing a variety of spaces, views, and seating options. The courtyard doors will allow students to conveniently eat outside if they so choose.
Head of School Gets a Newly Renovated House at the Hotchkiss School
The Hotchkiss School chose to renovate their existing Head of School’s residence as they prepared to welcome a new Head. Improvements to both the semi-public and private family areas of the house will make it much easier for the building to support official functions. The interior design was completed in conjunction with Executive Interiors.
Trip to Milan: "Salone Del Mobile Milano" Furniture Fair
VMA attended the world-renowned “Salone del Mobile Milano” furniture exhibition in Milan, Italy for the third time. Started in 1920 as a way to showcase Italian made furniture and products, the annual event is now the place to view, discuss, and test out the latest and greatest of interior design offerings. With over 85 acres of exhibit halls, VMA brings the gained knowledge back home to confidently recommend furniture and products to our clients – because we have tested them out first hand!
The Hotchkiss School Opens Farm-to-Table Building
“The Grange” opened in Spring 2015 at The Hotchkiss School. The farm building is the latest addition to the Fairfield Farm Ecosystems and Adventure Team (FFEAT), a program that provides immersion in nature while instilling a sense of responsibility for natural resources on a local and global scale. FFEAT allows students to actively participate in planting, nurturing, and harvesting food that will be stored and processed in the new building. Their goal is to provide 60 percent of the produce served in the dining hall raised on their organic farm. The building embodies the goals of The Hotchkiss School’s Environmental Initiatives.
Steeling Topping Off At West Chester University's Business and Public Management Center
West Chester University’s new Business and Public Management Center is under construction and placed its final steel beam on Friday, April 17th. The celebration took place at the site of the new center where design team members and University officials signed the last remaining beam. It was then hoisted and fastened to the top of what will be the new business hub of West Chester University. Make sure to check back for updates on the project and to visit once completed. This project is in association with Moody Nolan Architects.
"Lazy River Out, Social/Study Areas In" Trends in Student Housing Design and Architecture"
VMA attended the 2015 Interface Student Housing Conference in Austin, TX. At the conference, Cameron Mactavish, alongside four fellow leaders in the student housing design industry discussed what makes university student housing projects successful in today’s market during a panel titled: “Lazy River Out, Social/Study Areas In: Trends in Student Housing Design and Architecture.” Cameron also spoke during the “Hot Projects Development Showcase,” detailing how these trends helped shape two very different student housing projects at West Chester University.
Daniela Holt Voith Reappointed as Senior Lecturer at Bryn Mawr College
Congratulations to Daniela Holt Voith on being reappointed for a six-year term as Senior Lecturer in the Growth and Structure of Cities Department at Bryn Mawr College. Daniela has taught within the department since 1984 offering two studios per year in architectural design and advising of senior design theses. She is an alumnae of the program, and was, in fact, the first person to enroll as a Growth and Structure of Cities major in the fall of 1971.
Bryn Mawr Film Institute Is an Urban Land Institute Award Finalist
The Bryn Mawr Film Institute has been selected as a finalist for the 2015 Urban Land Institute (ULI) Philadelphia second annual Willard G. “Bill” Rouse III Awards for Excellence. The design awards acknowledge outstanding projects completed within the last five years with fifteen finalists chosen by a jury of distinguished ULI members. The awards also honors the late Bill Rouse, founder and chairman of the board of Liberty Property Trust and a philanthropist who loved Philadelphia.
Dissecting Classroom Design & Technology at SCUP
Senior Associates, Sennah Loftus and Robert Piasecki presented “Trends in Classroom Design & Technology” at the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP) conference. The interactive seminar demonstrated that traditional lecture-style classrooms no longer dominate the typology, but are now used in conjunction with flexible, case study, and collaborative classrooms. They presented case studies to illustrate these evolving pedagogical goals and instructional technologies, their integration into the architecture, and resulting 21st century learning environments. Co-presenters were Larry McIntyre of Acentech, and Matthew Stocum, Associate Director of Technology of Drexel University.
Preserving an Iconic Theater
John Cluver presented the story of the Bryn Mawr Film Institute as part of the Lower Merion Conservancy’s Historic Preservation Lecture Series. John outlined the origins of the 1920s theater, originally known as the Seville Theater, and the rehabilitation of the theater into an independent Film Institute with the second largest membership base in the country.
Daniela Holt Voith on the Airwaves with Women @ Work Radio!
On October 8th, Daniela joined radio host Laura Zarrow for a lively discussion concerning her path to architecture, early years of practice, and the formation of Voith & Mactavish Architects LLP. Daniela also spoke about the importance of educating women and her architecture studio courses at Bryn Mawr College in addition to community work such as serving on the Zoning Code Commission and Community Design Collaborative Advisory Council.
Millbrook School's New Dormitory Opens for Fall Semester
West Hall, the newest building built on the campus of Millbrook School, houses 44 boarding students, 22 day students and four families. Along with a newly created amphitheater facing the east façade, the dormitory creates a new quad on campus that includes a boys’ dormitory, athletic center and the Chapel. Dormitory amenities include large and small lounges, a kitchen, washers and dryers located on each floor, and a mud room for boots, coats and athletic equipment.
Daniela Holt Voith Nominated to Community Design Collaborative Advisory Council
Congratulations to Daniela on her nomination to the Community Design Collaborative’ s Advisory Council! She will join a diverse, go-to group of experts who help the CDC think tactically and strategically. The Community Design Collaborative provides pro bono preliminary design services to nonprofit organizations in greater Philadelphia, offers unique volunteer opportunities for design professionals, and raises awareness about the importance of design in community revitalization.
A Phoenix That Rose From the Ashes at Wilmington Friends School
The Upper School Performing Arts Center and Gymnasium at Wilmington Friends opened in Fall 2016. The ribbon cutting ceremony featured a commemorative video detailing the amazing story of a building that rose from the ashes following a tragic fire in April, 2012. With dedicated support from the community, staff, alumni, and students, the school now boasts a theater and renovated gymnasium both accessed through a new three-story atrium.
Preservation & Sustainability Go Hand In Hand
John Cluver led a compelling conversation about the inherent relationship between sustainability and historic preservation at the 2014 Tri-State Sustainability Symposium hosted by the Delaware Valley Green Building Council. The event was informative and proved once again that Philadelphia is at the forefront of the sustainability movement.
"She Used Basketball Skills to Become a Leader In a Profession Dominated By Men"
Daniela Holt Voith was interviewed and featured in the Daily News column, Talking Small Biz. The column’s writer, Michael Hinkelman, interviews local entrepreneurs about how they started their business. Daniela spoke about her educational background, VMA’s history and philosophy. She also expanded upon the challenges of growing an architectural practice.