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Creative construction earns NH architecture awards

January 23. 2017 1:39PM
This home in Orford, designed by Haynes & Garthwaite Architects, of Norwich, Vt., received an Honor Award in the Annual Excellence in Architecture Design Awards. (CAROLYN BATES PHOTOGRAPHY)

BEDFORD -- Restraint was rewarded by the judges this year for participants of the 2017 Annual Excellence in Architecture Design Awards.

The American Institute of Architects New Hampshire Chapter announced the winners at its annual meeting and awards banquet Friday at the Manchester Country Club in Bedford.

The awards recognize “architecture that exemplifies excellence in overall design, including aesthetics, clarity, creativity, appropriate functionality, sustainability, building performance, and appropriateness with regard to fulfilling the client’s program.” 

Selected from 44 submissions, 10 projects from nine architectural firms were recognized. Two buildings were also noted in the Annual People’s Choice Awards, based on voting by the public. 

The program, now in its 33rd year, was developed to recognize and encourage excellence in architectural design in New Hampshire. 

The 2017 jury was comprised of architects from South Carolina: Jane Frederick, Kate Schwennsen, Earle Hungerford and Tom Savory.


Project: River House, Orford, New Hampshire.

Architect: Haynes & Garthwaite Architects, Norwich, Vt.

General Contractor: Naylor and Breen Builders Inc.

Landscape Architect: Janet Cavanagh Landscape Architect.

Interior Design: Redmond Interior Design.

Details: Located on the banks of the Connecticut River, this four-bedroom home was designed to capture the character of a New England farmhouse and was sited to preserve as much farmland as possible while providing views up and down the river from the principal rooms. The house and barn define an outdoor room that frames a visitor’s view across the river to Vermont. The barn contains a studio apartment, an office, a workshop, a boat room and equipment storage. The rooms in the house are modest in scale and the layout is informal. The energy performance of the house approaches net zero.

Jury Comments: The jury was impressed with the restraint in the design of this project. Before reading the architect’s statement, we were reminded of Shaker buildings, which is an allusion the architects also make, explicitly. At first glance, the house and barn, in fact, almost appear to be truly vernacular, like a happy compositional accident, devoid of the self-conscious hand of the architect. 

Perry Dean Rogers Partners Architects, Boston, designed the new library at Southern New Hampshire University, which received an Honor Award in the Annual Excellence in Architecture Design Awards. (CHUCK COI)


Project: Southern New Hampshire University Library, Hooksett.

Architect: Perry Dean Rogers Partners Architects, Boston.

Construction Manager: Harvey Construction Corp.

Civil Engineer: TF Moran Inc.

Structural/Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing/Fire Protection Engineer: Rist-Frost-Shumway Engineering P.C.

Landscape Architect: Carol R. Johnson Associates, Inc.

Details: The new 50,000-square-foot library, completed in September 2014 with a construction cost of $20 million, sits at the heart of the 300-acre SNHU campus in Hooksett. The main goal of this project was to create a signature building that would communicate the centrality of academics, positioning the learning commons at the crossroads of the student experience. 

Jury Comments: The jury was initially drawn to the clarity of this project’s plan, which tracks through in the building massing, and is further articulated in the skin and glazing. We appreciated the simple choice of two primary exterior materials — granite and wood — and how they interact, with the wood revealing itself from behind the granite façade. The way in which these materials, and the glazing, are tied together through a consistent, playful rhythm is also delightful. 

Perkins + Will, Boston, designed the Keene State College Living Learning center, which received an Honor Award in the Annual Excellence in Architecture Design Awards. (ANTON GRASSL)


Project: Keene State College Living Learning center, Keene.

Architect: Perkins + Will, Boston.

Contractor: Engelberth Construction Inc.

MEP/Civil Engineers: Rist-Frost-Shumway Engineering P.C.

Details: The Keene State College Living and Learning Commons is a first-year resident hall and the school’s first Living Learning Community. The project is a gateway connecting the east campus entry on Wyman Way to the east/west axis of Appian Way and the future development zone, which includes the Redfern Arts Center and the Visual and Media Arts Center.

Jury Comments: The jurors all agreed that this was a beautiful project, beautifully presented. As is probably obvious by now, a common theme for our jury was “restraint,” which this project exemplifies. At the same time it exemplifies another favorite theme: “playfulness.” It is both restrained and playful. 

TMS Architects, Portsmouth, designed the Lakeside Maine Cottage in Bridgton, Maine. The project received an Honor Award in the Annual Excellence in Architecture Design Awards. (ROB KAROSIS PHOTOGRAPHY)


Project: Lakeside Maine Cottage, Bridgton, Maine.

Architect: TMS Architects, Portsmouth.

General Contractor: Phil A. Douglass Inc.

Interior Designer: Cebula Design.

Details: This newly constructed Maine cottage was built within the confines of a previously razed camp that was located within close proximity to the water’s edge on a sizable lake in southern Maine. The owners’ goal was to design a comfortable, casual Maine woods-style cottage that reflected its natural lakefront setting. The architectural character and detailing of the home replicates the historic architectural elements found in many of the turn-of-the-century cottages throughout this lakes region of Maine.

Jury Comments: The jury called this project the “Storybook Cottage.” We were taken with how well the design matched the narrative, convincingly solving the problem, as stated simply by the architects: “to draw inspiration from the site, in the spirit of the original camp, and to focus on a simple design built on the client’s core values, that would be comfortable and well-integrated into the surrounding nature.” 


Project: Atrium Medical Center, Hudson.

Architect: Lavallee Brensinger Architects, Manchester.

Construction Manager: Hutter Construction.

Landscape Architect: Blackwater Design Ltd.

Details: This growing international medical device manufacturer engaged Lavallee Brensinger Architects to assist in finding solutions to space needs and a desire for facilities that enhance work environment and brand. Lavallee Brensinger Architects led a feasibility study to assess the comparative benefits of possible new sites versus the adaptation and expansion of existing facilities. The availability of modestly priced quality office space tipped the scales in favor of existing facilities, resulting in the acquisition of an office building and site with capacity for additional development. 

Jury Comments: The before-and-after images of the main entry to this project caught the jury’s attention immediately. As we looked further, understanding the strategy with which the architects efficiently reprogrammed the loading dock to become the main entry, repurposed the previous main entry into a private executive entry, and then moved the loading dock to the back of the site, the jury agreed this project deserved a merit award. 


Project: Great Rhythm Brewery, Portsmouth.

Architect: Winter Holben, Kittery, Maine.

General Contractor: Owner, Scott Thornton.

Details: Winter Holben architecture + design, in close collaboration with Great Rhythm Brewing Co., created the entire design vision for the adaptive re-use of an underutilized waterfront industrial building to become a dynamic customer experience and state-of-the-art brewing facility. Key features of the design include: a striking presence visible from over 1,200 feet away, a welcoming entrance, a tasting room with views to the outdoor environment and brew house, and a visitor destination that complements the revitalized West End neighborhood of Portsmouth.

Jury Comments: Another before-and-after project, the photos of this transformation, achieved at a modest $50/square foot, say it all. The jury commended the choices made by the architects in every aspect of the design. A few simple gestures on the front façade — super graphics, a wood entry box and vertically stacked reclaimed windows — create both an elegant composition and an unmistakable image for the brewery. 


Project: Lakeside Accessory Building, Squam Lake, Sandwich.

Architect: Cormack Construction Management, Madison.

Landscape Construction: Belknap Landscape Co.

Details: This unique lakeside shelter was designed in conjunction with, and to complement, a nearby family home. The program for the building is to provide secure storage for small watercraft, equipment and beach paraphernalia, as well as provide a gathering space for a large family and friends. Its geometry was controlled by the site, but materials and details made the building unique. 

Jury Comments: The first image in this presentation, from the vantage point of the stone steps, as if the visitor has just happened upon this handsome small structure, captured the jury’s imagination. The restraint of the design, with careful attention to detail, is pleasing, and the decision to depart from the otherwise monochromatic palate, in the stain of the doors, pulls the composition together subtly, giving this small structure a sense of presence.


Project: Holderness School Outdoor Ice Rink, Holderness.

Architect: H.L. Turner Group, Concord.

Construction Manager: Milestone Engineering & Construction Inc.

Details: “Cold and Bold” is the motto of the Holderness hockey program, a heritage of an outdoor hockey program that provides a distinct home rink advantage. In 2014, with the existing rink roof in structural failure, this private boarding school, together with its construction manager, commissioned the Turner group to provide full design services. Working as a team with the owner, consultants and contractors, the group was able to demolish and construct a new rink for the following hockey season.

Jury Comments: The jury was immediately impressed with the obvious economy of means in this design. By judiciously integrating wood elements as entry features, with thoughtful joinery and base detailing, the architects have successfully transformed a straightforward, pre-engineered building into a reference to rural New England vernacular architecture. 


Project: University of Connecticut NextGen Hall, Storrs, Conn.

Architect: JSA Inc., Portsmouth.

Bridging Architect: Newman Architects, New Haven, Conn.

Construction Manager: KBE Building Corp.

Details: NextGen Hall, a 720-bed residence hall, supports growth through Living Learning Communities. Collaboration between various programs, faculty and staff foster innovation and community. NextGen Hall contains residential spaces; offices for Residential Life and First Year Programs & Learning Communities staff; and spaces for academic success, innovation and community building.

Jury Comments: This project receives a citation for both its response to context and its well-organized, bright interiors. By opening up the C-shaped plan, the building sensitively addresses the residence halls to either side, approaching each with an orthogonal orientation, tying all three buildings together.


Project: Hanover Residence, Hanover.

Architect: Haynes & Garthwaite Architects, Norwich, Vt.

General Contractor: Estes & Gallup Inc.

Landscape Architect: Mary Zebell Garden Design & Site Planning.

Interior Design: Redmond Interior Design.

Details: This shingle-style home located at the edge of the Dartmouth College campus is sited at the top of a hill that slopes down to the Connecticut River and has views into Vermont through a screen of mature trees. The design, massing and detailing allow the house to fit into the context of early 20th-century buildings and breaks down the scale of the structure. The garage doors and drive court are hidden behind the ell to minimize the impact of cars.

Jury Comments: The jury’s phrase for this project was “refined elegance,” both for the project itself and, equally, for the presentation. The shingle-style language chosen by the architects appears appropriate for the context, and great care has been taken to maintain a rich, well-articulated stylistic consistency throughout the design.


Each year, the American Institute of Architects New Hampshire chapter holds a People’s Choice Awards program. The winners are selected from all of the submissions to the Design Awards program and are voted on through the AIANH website.

This year’s winner among the residential projects was Stella Maris by DeStefano Architects of Portsmouth. In the commercial category, the winner was The Holderness School Outdoor Ice Rink in Holderness, designed by The H.L. Turner Group Inc. of Concord.

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