For some fun good clean fun …
For some fun good clean fun …
Middlebury Community Center Committee unveils design ideas for new Municipal Offices, Visitor Center, and renovations and additions to the Municipal Gym.
Read some more about it: Middlebury Mulls Town Hall
Vermont Integrated Architecture, P.C. is delighted to have been selected to work with members of the Bristol Fire Department to help them plan for a consolidated facility in Bristol. The new plan will incorporate their beloved, existing historic building on North Street. Ashar will lead the charge on this one.
MIDDLEBURY – Andrea Kerz-Murray, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP, will give a presentation, titled “Healthy Buildings = Healthy People,” on Thursday, May 10 at 7 p.m. in Room 304 of the Johnson Memorial Building at Middlebury College.
Murray will discuss her 20 years of professional practice working with people to design buildings that strengthen communities, support local economies, sustain healthy environments and are simply beautiful spaces.
Download the article here.
Andrea Murray was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Acorn Renewable Energy Co-op. Please check out the organization’s website: http://www.acornenergycoop.com/ .
The Acorn Renewable Energy Co-op is a consumer-owned energy cooperative, based in Middlebury, Vermont and serving the 23 towns of Addison County as well as Rutland and Chittenden counties. Its consumer members democratically control the Co-op, which exists to meet the energy needs of its members and the communities we live in.
Planning for the Co-op began in late 2006 among members of the Addison County Relocalization Network (ACORN) energy committee. By 2008, the group had formed an interim Board of Directors, developed a business outline, completed feasibility work on a local biodiesel production facility, filed its Articles of Incorporation with the Vermont Secretary of State and evaluated the opportunity to market wood fuel pellets in its service territory.
By October 2008, the Co-op entered the energy business with its first delivery of 21 tons of premium wood pellets to Co-op members. The Co-op held its first annual meeting in May of 2009.
In addition to wood pellets, the Co-op also provides solar-hot water services, has invested in solar electric projects, and is considering providing home energy assessments and efficiency services for members.
At VIA, it has been our goal to connect our clients with local talent like Lou Nop, of Nop’s Metalworks. We practice in Vermont, where we have the good fortune of access to a large population of excellent craftspeople. Our firm believes that architecture benefits tremendously from partnering with these folks who best understand the materials that create our built environments A current writer’s studio project has exemplified this integrated process.
A local writer owns an old dairy barn that he wanted to turn into his writing studio. The concept for the space is to create a feeling of enclosure at the lower level while opening up the upper level and connecting it to the outdoors.
This concept developed into a loft that rolls on rails, floating through the upper portion of the barn and allowing the client to change how he interacts with his surroundings. Since most of these elements will be built of steel, Lou has been integral in the design process.
This team has adopted the term “farm tech” as a guideline for the construction and detailing of the building elements. The stair in this space is a good example of what we mean. Simple construction, off-the-shelf steel members, and re-used wood treads form the basis of this stair. Elegant design in this case is simplifying the form and expressing the way we build. The photo shows the stair being constructed in Lou’s shop. It is an exciting preview of the transformation of an unused cow barn into a writers’ studio. We are excited in anticipation of the coming construction of the steel-framed loft carriage!
Photos: Nop’s Metalworks and Ashar Nelson
I am sitting in my Introduction to Architectural Design class watching and waiting attentively as my students attempt to draw, from memory, the plan, section, and elevation of Andrea Palladio’s Villa Capra, “La Rotunda.”
I am remembering the Fall of 1993 when I was put to this very task while studying architecture. I was fortunate enough to be in Italy at the time and preparing for a field trip to the Veneto to see Villa Rotunda and several other Palladian masterpieces. My instructor threatened that none of us would be allowed on the bus unless we could draw the building from memory.
I am also sitting here thinking to myself that at least one person in this class is going to go on in life to do something truly amazing in architecture – something that parallels the achievements of Palladio. We know Palladio (and I should credit Scamozzi who championed the project after Palladio’s death) modeled the Villa Rotunda on the Pantheon, and we also know thousands of more recent buildings have modeled themselves on the Villa Rotunda, Jefferson’s Monticello among the most famous.
So why is this building so important? What is it about this building that has endured and seems to transcend time? Is it its perfect geometry and complex symmetries? Is it the durable materials? Is it the bucolic setting – it is after all a farmhouse? Perhaps it isn’t the house our clients come and ask for, at least not literally, but there is something about the experience of La Rotunda that is present in almost everything we do.
At VIA we strive to make buildings that respect, enhance, and interact with their surroundings. We design buildings that could serve many generations to come. We consider the sun, and views, and local materials. La Rotunda is rotated 45 degrees off the cardinal axes as Palladio wanted to be sure all rooms received some direct sunlight. In addition, the views through the building out into the open countryside are overtly emphasized and framed. These are wonderful ways to connect a building to its place, making it belong and withstand changes of style and culture.
Several years from now when the aforementioned student accepts her or his Pritzker Prize (basically the Nobel Prize equivalent for Architecture), I hope she or he recalls being intimate with Palladio, at least for just an afternoon. I hope all my other students consider proportion, light, materials, and their connections to a place no matter where they go or what they do.
And, if you made it to the end of this post, perhaps you’re hooked as well.
A week after graduating Middlebury College, I started as an intern at Vermont Integrated Architecture (VIA). The young firm is already up to its ears working on a range of projects, from a refrigerated apple storage facility to an island-home to an exciting new design for the Middlebury Town Offices.
Principals and founders Andrea Murray and Ashar Nelson served as lead advisers to the 2011 Middlebury Solar Decathlon Team and teach intro. studio architecture classes at the college, which is how I know them. They now advise the promising 2013 SD Team. As read-out-loud-worthy emails come in from students, I chuckle to myself, having been ‘there’ so recently. I feel somewhere between a proud graduate and a sneaky imposter.
The VIA office, located in Marbleworks across from the Medicine Chest and just behind Costellos, is spacious and well-lit, primarily by two large south-facing windows. The space used to be a Yoga Studio, and the smooth bamboo floor, high ceilings, and white walls – now decorated with architectural drawings, both hand and computer-rendered – are appropriately calming. Sometimes the music we play in the office, which we do often, accents this feeling of calm. Other times it does not, but sometimes you need a little action, right?
My desk is by the entrance and my computer faces the door, which keeps me honest as clients and subcontractors come in to discuss projects, or just to say hello. I sit next to Chris Nielson, a Midd and University of Oregon grad, musician, AutoCAD master, and Andrea & Ashar’s number two. I came in last Monday having used CAD only a handful of times, and bothered Chris all week trying to learn the ropes. I continue to bother Chris this (my second) week, but less frequently.
As an intern, I work primarily on editing CAD drawings that have been “red-lined,” which means that Andrea or Ashar have taken their carefully picked-out red pens to physical print-outs. I also get to make site visits, like last week when I visited a barn in Cornwall that Ashar is converting into a writing studio for a Sports Illustrated writer. Hours are relatively loose, which means I can do errands if I need to, or go skiing on a snowy day if I want to. I’m usually here regular shop hours, which are 8 – 5, but plan on taking a few Friday afternoons off.
I look forward to continuing my work at VIA for the next five weeks, and highly recommend the firm to architecture students looking for an internship!
One of 35+ interactive presentations, 50+ exhibits and demonstrations, over 1000 participants, Andrea and three Middlebury College students (Hilary Cunningham, Addison Godine, and Shane Scranton) will present the process and product of Middlebury’s effort in the 2011 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. It is our intent to share with as many people as possible our experience designing and constructing a 100% solar-powered house for Vermont. Yes, it can be done: solar in Vermont. And, we know how. Let our experience help you make buildings that don’t depend on fossil fuel for their operations and maintenance. Let us also show you how we used local materials and expertise to make it happen.
Finally, we’ll let you in on our secret…idea sharing for Middlebury’s 2013 Solar Decathlon entry.
Join us at the event, or contact Andrea Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the presentation or the project.
Along with eight other Vermont firms, VIA submitted a proposal for the design of this 14,000 square foot facility, which will house Hinesburg’s Police, Fire, and Ambulance services as well as a large community gathering space. Adjacent to the building will be a public park intended to serve the community in a variety of ways.
VIA is pleased to have a highly skilled team supporting this great effort, including:
Engineering Ventures (structural engineering)
Otter Creek Engineering (civil engineering)
Pearson & Associates (mechanical, electrical, plumbing engineering)
Chase Engineering (fire protection engineering)
SE Group (landscape architecture)
Erickson Consulting (budget management & cost estimating)
The entire project, design and construction, is up for a bond vote at Town Meeting. If all goes well, construction will begin in the late fall 2012 and the facility complete in the Summer of 2013.
Thank you to our references and our talented consultants for supporting the proposal effort. Thank you to the folks in Hinesburg for this terrific opportunity. We look forward to helping you realize your vision.