Seven firms honored at AIANH awards

Seven firms took home the honors at the New Hampshire Chapter of the American Institute of Architects’ 22nd annual awards banquet, held Jan. 20 at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester.

Honor Awards of Excellence in Architecture were given to three firms.

• DeStefano Architects LLC, of Portsmouth was cited for a residence along the southern Maine coast that sits high on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Jurors said, the design “handles complex geometries in a sculptural way. It is well thought out, not just a collision of forms. This was not an easy plan. And the detailing is well worked out, despite the fact that there are a lot of varied materials. This is different from other seaside homes and very site-specific.”

The contractor was Solid Rock Builders.

• Banwell Architects Inc., of Lebanon, and Mitchell Giurgola Architects of New York City received an Honor Award for the new Science Center at Keene State College. The 93,640-square-foot building was designed to include a complete renovation of the existing building and a 37,940-square-foot addition. The addition, with an increased floor-to-floor height, accommodates the laboratories requiring major fume hood exhaust systems. Included are state-of-the-art labs for biology and chemistry along with specialty nuclear magnetic resonance and X-ray fluorescence spectrometer facilities. Dry labs for physics, geology, geography and computer science along with offices were located in the existing building where the floor-to-floor height was insufficient for major exhaust systems. Jurors noted that “each aspect of this design is worked out. The whole design—from resolving the program, the site plan, the building technology, the landscape, and the interiors—is consistently highly resolved.”

Construction manager was Gilbane Building Corp.

• The Manchester firm of Lavallee Brensinger Architects received Honor Awards for two Nashua high schools, the new North High School, and the additions and renovations to the South High School. The jurors awarded the two projects together, because they “strengthen each other and solved the district’s problem of making the two schools equal although one is new and one is old. Both have very high quality, warm and activated interiors that do not look institutional. There are so many things that could go wrong in this sort of program, and they didn’t, which is very notable!”

Nashua High School North is a three-story, 443,000-square-foot comprehensive high school including an integrated regional technology program. The design utilizes a “main street” concept that engages the gymnasium and auditorium assembly spaces as anchors at each end and engages a wide variety of special use and assembly spaces, that are also the spaces utilized by the community on evenings and weekends. Intersecting the main street are two classroom “bars” that house four 500 student academic houses, replete with their own administration and guidance offices.

The Nashua High School South project involved the expansion and renovation of the district’s original 1970s vintage facility. The fundamental challenge of this project was the creation of a facility that is the equal of the new high school in every respect. The design aggressively confronted the existing “box” by carving two interior winter gardens to allow natural light deep into the interior, creating social plazas, and defining the center of the smaller learning neighborhoods. Further improvements include a new sports/health/fitness wing, a 750-seat auditorium, a planetarium, and a dramatic two-story library designed into the original gymnasium. Other features include the creation of a “main street” with realigned main entries at each end, and a completely redesigned parking and vehicular traffic pattern.

• R. Wendell Phillips & Associates Inc. of New London received a Merit Award for the Sts. Peter and Paul Church condominium conversion in South Boston, Mass. In 2001 the archdiocese of Boston requested proposals to convert the church into housing. The architects proposed creating 36 units in the church and eight units in the rectory. The design provides duplexes on the lower level and first floor, two new levels of flats, and penthouse duplexes with outdoor decks cut into the church’s slate roof. The jurors said, “This is an example of good adaptive reuse with great care given to preserving its original elements and for making a real community out of the residence.”

• The Lyme firm of Randall T. Mudge & Associates received a Merit Award for the Corey Ford Rugby Clubhouse at Dartmouth College in Hanover. The materials of the exterior were selected to help integrate the highly visible structure with its residential neighbors. The design includes some sustainable and energy conservation elements including radiant slab heat, heat recovery exhaust systems, natural ventilation, low VOC paint, grade 2 oak, and locally quarried granite. The jurors said the building “speaks for itself. The durability of it works well with its function. It is a nice, solid building.”

Construction manager/contractor was Trumbull-Nelson Construction Co. Inc.

• Daniel V. Scully/Architects of Keene won a Merit Award for the Bellows Falls Waypoint Interpretive Center in Bellows Falls, Vt. The design of the Bellows Falls Waypoint Interpretive Center is essentially a distillation of the town layout. As Rockingham and Canal streets cross and become the town square, bridges and trains cross in this building to create their own square meeting area. Visually, the building is like a train station platform with canopy. It has an information, display and meeting room building that recalls a wooden railroad station. The jury called the project “a piece of sculpture. It is noted for its uniqueness and creativity. That it makes a community proud to own it is a good thing. It is also very whimsical and that is fun to see.”

General contractor was Baybutt Construction Co.

• JSA Inc. of Portsmouth won a Merit Award for The Ridge at RiverWoods in Exeter, a 213,894-square-foot continuing care retirement community that is designed as a shingle-style manor house with a variety of rooflines and heights that embody the casual, residential character of this rural area. Additionally, cottages ranging in size from 1,600 to 1,800 square feet are available, offering an “active adult” experience. The jury commended this project as “so much better than the average of its kind. It is an improvement on a building type and also solves a complex program to a high standard.”

Jurors for the 2006 awards program were Mohamad Farzan, Newport Collaborative Architects Inc., Newport, R.I., Stephen White, dean of the Roger Williams School of Architecture, Bristol, R.I., and Kathleen Bartels, Lerner/Ladds + Bartels Architects Inc., Providence, R.I.

In addition to the design awards, Jeffrey L. Alitz was made an honorary member of AIANH, an award given for distinguished service to the profession of architecture or to the arts and sciences related to architecture in New Hampshire. He was recognized for his many years of providing legal counsel to architects in the state, for sponsoring roundtable discussions for architects and engineers, for conducting seminars on contracts and risk prevention specifically for New Hampshire architects, and for his recent work in defending the state’s statute of repose to the benefit of New Hampshire’s architects and the construction industry.

Winners of the AIANH Intern/Young Architect Design Competition, open to all New Hampshire architectural interns and architects within five years of registration, were: first place, Richard Landry Jr., Landry Architects; second place, Jeff Galvin, Lavallee/Brensinger Architects; and third place, Shawn Bolduc, JSA Inc.

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