2023 Award Winners

Architectural Honor Awards / Building

  • InToto Studio

    Riverside Park Pavilion

    "The jury group unanimously felt that this project achieved a high level of synthesis. It clearly draws visitors to the pavilion through its weathering steel uniformity of the color. However, the delight and intrigue are revealed in the intent to maintain connectivity when occupying the gracious circulation passageways within the enclosure. The porous ventilation-conscious exterior enclosure projects an exuberance in embracing the movement of air to contradict the expectation of a traditional disheartening olfactory experience. The dread that accompanies the shared use of a public restroom becomes a delightful universally accessible engaging memorable and perhaps emotionally joyful parting experience."
    ~AIA Philadelphia Jury

    The central aim for the Riverside Park Pavilion is to connect the community to the riverfront, providing a welcoming gateway to a formerly blighted and inaccessible area. The Pavilion is designed to create this sense of connection at both a macro scale, enhancing the role of the park as a vital community recreation asset; and at a micro scale, enriching individual user experience and wellbeing.

    Centrally located at the West Grand Boulevard entrance to the park, and adjacent to the central lawn, riverwalk, and playground/splashpad, the Pavilion creates intuitive connections between these program areas. Walking paths pass directly through the facility, as large sliding doors create portals which also frame views from and through the building to the landscape beyond. The resulting network of spaces promotes walkability, physical activity, and human connection - providing opportunities for gathering and generous passthrough dimensions where paths converge. The Pavilion serves as a community resource that is accessible, welcoming, and inclusive for all: visually, the perforated skin and large sliding doors allow for a sense of awareness and connection of activities, providing selective views within and through the facility; physically, the extroverted indoor/outdoor design provides not just barrier-free access but an inviting barrier-free experience to all users.

    While drawing people into the park, the Pavilion also promotes stewardship of the site and efficient use of resources. Fundamentally this is about economy – about creating a big impact and an engaging experience for users through limited means. The facility is organized around two compact interior volumes, wrapped in a perforated steel skin that opens to connect outdoor spaces, programs, paths, and views - extending the facility outward into the park beyond. The perforated skin and covered passthroughs are also key
    passive design strategies, allowing for natural ventilation and light to filter into the interior. Paved open-air areas within the facility are covered, providing shade and limiting stormwater runoff. The steel panels were shop-fabricated locally from standard sized sheets to reduce construction waste, and integrate hanging connections and operating handles to limit the need for additional parts and materials. The corten panels are part of a limited palette of simple materials designed for durability and long-term value, reducing maintenance costs and discouraging abuse.

    For individual users, the Pavilion provides a wealth of engaging sensory experiences, resulting in a facility which is both human-scaled and human-centered. The perforated panels and open passthroughs allow for air, light, and shade throughout the facility, enhancing occupant comfort while providing multisensory beauty and delight as lighting conditions, ambient activity, and the play of shadow patterns change throughout the day and season. The Pavilion’s layered materiality uses vibrant porcelain tile as a backdrop
    to the activity within, perceptible through the perforated panels and open passthroughs, creating an inviting sense of discovery and delight. The porosity and heightened sense of visual awareness also aids in providing a facility that feels safe to enter and use – helping parents keep an eye on kids and allowing all users to feel welcome.

    Client: City of Detroit General Services Department Landscape Design Unit
    General Contractor: DeMaria
    Structural Engineer: Resurgent Engineering
    MEP Engineer: Peter Basso Associates
    Landscape Architect + Civil Engineer: Wade Trim
    Architectural Photographers: Jason Keen and Curt Clayton

  • SmithGroup

    Anne Arundel Community College Health & Life Sciences Building

    "The clarity of the design embraces a transparent and symbiotic approach to the program, elevating the Community College student learning experience. Terracotta cladding brings a modern interpretation to the typical campus material palette and the resulting design seamlessly integrates within the campus fabric. From an environmental stewardship standpoint, this project’s achievement includes its reduction of indoor water consumption, a (35%) energy efficiency savings above and beyond the code compliant minimum."
    ~AIA Philadelphia Jury

    The first group of buildings on the Arnold Campus of Anne Arundel Community College were constructed in 1968 and share a common aesthetic of horizontal forms, tan-colored brick, copper soffits, and mid-century modern style. The new Health and Life Sciences Building (HLSB) draws from these design cues to create a new and cohesive science quadrangle that mirrors the existing Dragun Science Building to the south. While the new HLSB is the largest building on campus, the design breaks down the overall massing into smaller volumes to respond to the scale of adjacent structures. Terracotta cladding brings a modern interpretation to the typical campus material palette and the resulting design seamlessly integrates within the campus fabric.

    The design of the HLSB reflects the college’s mission to support a diverse community with high-quality, affordable, accessible learning opportunities that transform lives to create an engaged and inclusive society. Creating on-campus study and learning spaces, such as tutoring areas and the Collaboration Gallery for the College’s commuting student body, faculty, and staff, was essential in creating a sense of community and a sense of place.

    To responsibly site the building, the design team employed climate analysis and conceptual performance modeling to optimize the building’s orientation and thermal envelope. Planting beds around the building include more than 1.3 acres of native landscaping from the Chesapeake Bay region, which provides habitat and promotes biodiversity, without the need for mowing, permanent irrigation, fertilizers, or pesticides. Water efficiency strategies are implemented at all scales: low-flow toilets reduce indoor water consumption by 42%; drought-tolerant plant materials eliminate the need for irrigation; and bio-retention gardens treat stormwater from the building roof, improving overall water quality.

    Project efficiency started with demolition of two existing buildings: a classroom structure and pool house that were beyond their useful lives. 97% of the demolition material was diverted from landfills and sent to recycling centers. Existing trees were preserved wherever possible and the few trees that were removed were milled into wood paneling used inside the new building. More than 25% of the materials used in the HLSB are responsibly sourced, including products with a high recycled content, salvaged materials, and FSC-certified wood. The result is interior spaces that create a big impact with modest materials and means.

    Energy efficiency strategies used throughout the HLSB result in a 35% energy savings compared to a code compliant building, preventing nearly 470,000 pounds of greenhouse gases from being emitted. Interior spaces use a highly efficient radiant cooling ceiling panel to provide space conditioning. Heating and cooling is separated from ventilation demand by using a dedicated outdoor air system. Fritted glass and exterior sunshades reduce undesirable solar heat gain and glare.

    The project’s sustainability vision focuses on human health and uses biophilia principles—human’s affinity for natural settings—as a source of inspiration for the interiors. A natural material palette including wood and glass, and a sky and earth color scheme, reinforce these principles. Low VOC products—flooring, adhesives, paints, and caulking materials—were selected to improve indoor air quality, productivity, and comfort levels. A glass wall between the interior learning commons, the Collaboration Gallery, and adjacent science quadrangle dissolves the boundary between interior and exterior. The stair in the Learning Commons encourages mobility as the building’s occupants move from floor to floor and wing to wing.

    Curriculum focus is paid to experiential learning, and the building features flexible spaces to mimic real-world scenarios. The White Box theater is equipped with projection technology and white boards so it can function as multiple classrooms or a 360-degree simulation theater. At the overall building scale, the automation system is designed to incorporate demand response events. The College participates in a demand response program that looks at campus-wide power reductions during peak events.

    Design for Discovery is twofold. First, the HLSB was the first project at the community college to achieve certification under LEED v4.0. While the Department of General Services required that new buildings meet USGBC LEED Silver requirements, the project achieved LEED Gold certification using cost-effective strategies that promote resource conservation, enhance the health of all occupants, while putting green features on display to educate students and visitors about the importance of sustainable design.

    Second, students are immersed in simulation-based teaching/learning environments where clinics and labs are designed as actual health care facilities. This provides real-world training for these future caregivers.

    Client: Anne Arundel Community College
    General Contractor: Whiting-Turner Contracting Company
    Mechanical Engineer: SmithGroup
    Electrical Engineer: SmithGroup
    Civil Engineer: Site Resources
    Landscape Architect: Mahan Rykiel
    Architectural Photographer: James Ewing

  • TMP Architecture + Bora Architecture & Interiors

    Michigan State University Billman Music Pavilion

    "This is a wonderfully calm and poetic addition with a beautifully balanced façade that addresses the campus to the west and drastically transformed the original entry into a dynamic, light filled space. A sensitive intervention that celebrates architectural conversation across time between old and new. The interior employs consistent detailing and a simple pallet of materials that both relate to the existing fabric while communicating a sense of newness. The rehearsal rooms are well considered and fully resolved with an expressive use of acoustic treatment to achieve both functional and ornamental goals."
    ~AIA Philadelphia Jury

    The College of Music at Michigan State University is consistently ranked among the top 30 music schools nationwide. It is set in the heart of the historic MSU campus in an area noted for its natural beauty just north of the renowned Beal Botanical Garden. Situated among majestic trees, the College consists of two neighboring buildings - the original 1939 Music Building and the Music Practice Building, a 6-story Modernist structure to the northeast. A 1956 expansion of the Music Building, a modest two-story brick and limestone structure, extended its spare collegiate Gothic design to create a sprawling Z-shaped building.

    The project added 37,000 sf to the Music Building, now known as the Billman Music Pavilion, while renovating 8,500 sf of existing space. Restrained by strict footprint limits due to the adjacency of the historically significant Adams Field, the addition along the west side of the original building offers views of this important campus landscape. It gracefully matches the existing structure in scale, form, and material, but also reveals a contemporary approach with spare details and generous glazing. Our design creates a new circulation loop that connects old and new structures around an internal courtyard, improving circulation while preserving light and views.

    The design introduced a series of superior acoustical performance spaces throughout the existing and new buildings. Three large rehearsal rooms along the building’s west side capitalize on views toward the adjacent Adams Field, a fourth overlooks the courtyard, and a fifth anchors the east end of the existing building. Concepted as a collection of independent containers within the volume of the overall building, these generous spaces enjoy total acoustic isolation via floating floors and decoupled concrete walls. Custom acoustic panels line the walls, employing varied materials to achieve the desired acoustic diffusion and absorption characteristics. The program also includes 45 new practice rooms, nine faculty studios, and a new recording control suite.

    Exterior pyramidal roof forms relate to the original mansards, keeping the scale of the addition aligned with the historic building while still providing the volume needed for each room’s unique reverberation needs. A single large skylight surmounts each roof, bathing the rooms with the warmth of daylight diffused by an array of ceiling reflectors.

    A new double-height social space connects directly to the existing main entry, framed by the historic brick and stone façade and extending to a south-facing exterior terrace. This atrium lobby is supported by a new café and offers students a comfortable, sun-filled space to relax between rehearsals, or concertgoers a space to socialize before and after recitals. Interior details in coved plaster ceilings and sweeping stair railings reference the pillowed shapes of rehearsal room wall and ceiling panels and echo elements of the original structure.

    The newly reimagined Billman Music Pavilion nearly doubles the size of MSU’s College of Music, creating state-of-the-art, light-filled spaces for students and performers and enhancing the College of Music’s prominence.

    The project utilized a conscientious path of responsible design practices that stewarded existing resources. After many studies, the College of Music decided to retain its existing 1939 facility through renovation and addition instead of a fully new build out. This preserved the site, materials and systems and minimized the project’s carbon impact.

    The Billman Music Pavilion was envisioned as a facility that would support high-performance building systems, low-energy use, and high durability. With the architecture guided largely by the client’s desire to optimize the facility’s acoustics, we designed large rehearsal spaces with displacement ventilation to maintain acoustically compliant mechanical systems with very low air flow speeds, forced supply air, and passive return. To optimize space while meeting program needs, we focused on creating multi-use spaces without compromising on primary function. For example, the jazz rehearsal room doubles as a jazz performance venue. We also sought to use materials responsibly and efficiently; the building’s oak wood doors and panels utilize a reconstituted engineered species mix.

    The interiors were envisioned as inspiring spaces filled with natural daylight for the well-being of occupants. Daylighting was therefore a high priority for the project, specifically in the new rehearsal rooms, with each of those spaces featuring a skylight aperture and generous glazing. This resulted in minimal, if any, artificial lighting needed during daytime classes.

    At the exterior, project priorities included preserving the arboretum-like quality of the historic campus landscape and offering open views across the adjacent Adams Field.

    Client: Michigan State University
    Design Architect: Bora Architecture & Interiors
    Architect of Record: TMP Architecture, Inc.
    General Contractor: The Christman Company
    MEP Engineer: Peter Basso Associates
    Structural Engineer: SDI Structures
    Landscape Architect: Beckett & Raeder
    Acoustical: Kirkegaard Associates
    Theater: Schuler Shook
    Architectural Photographer: Lara Swimmer

Architectural Honor Awards / Conceptual

  • Detroit Mercy SACD Graduate Jack Lavigne

    Manitou Miikana

    "Carefully considered and beautifully rendered, this project celebrates an inclusive approach to planning. The designer explored planning concepts by starting at a regional level considering a variety of factors with an increasing amount of focus and detail. The conceptual designs for the various program elements transformed this planning effort into a believable proposal that would be a benefit to the region. It is a blueprint that is aspirational but grounded in framework."
    ~AIA Philadelphia Jury

    Manitou Miikana explores the potential of developing communal experiences as a means of addressing historical and tourist-related concerns within the Canadian rural landscape. The experience aims to create a social environment for all occupants of the selected region of study, including both indigenous and non-indigenous residents as well as tourists. Not only does this significantly contribute to social sustainability but creates a region-wide inclusive space. The communal-focused nature of this project aims to provide economic sustainability directly addressing concerns voiced by local businesses in regards to tourism fluctuation. Finally, The creation of these experiences also seeks to foster a deeper connection and respect for our natural environment through direct immersion.

    Informed by Manitou Miikana’s framing concepts, the context of this rural landscape was studied independently to facilitate a meaningful analysis and conceptual intervention. This investigation is informed by the concepts of people’s sense of place that exist in a specific location and placeknowing. Placeknowing specifically speaks to the importance of contextually informed design, which is influenced by community understanding and societal interest. Manitoulin Island, situated in northern Ontario, was selected as a site to study the potential and underlying challenges in rural areas due to its unique context, and significant historical impact. The intention of the thesis was to analyze the existing challenges and issues specific to Manitoulin Island as they relate to the increase in tourism and the resulting disconnection between residents and visitors. Observations of resident-tourist dynamics revealed pre-existing issues which relate to the historical disconnections between indigenous and non-indigenous communities. With the issues identified, the investigation looks to create meaningful and engaging communal experiences that will provide a sense of connection to the Island and its community.

    Several methods were used to understand the issues, needs, and challenges specific to Manitoulin, including analysis of historical relationships, community meetings and engagement reports, one-on-one interviews, rural and spatial case studies, and on-site documentation of conditions across seasons. The outcomes of these studies revealed a specific desire for deeper connections between indigenous and non-indigenous residents, while tourism interests were built around a more profound experience relating to the Island’s environment and history, which would strengthen resident and tourist relationships. Multiple frameworks were designed to address Manitoulin at the island, community, and individual scales. These scales are connected through a proposed pedestrian path network that will simultaneously address the lack of community linkages while creating an overall experience that brings attention to the environment, culture and history, building awareness, respect, and understanding to all aspects. This idea also creates pedestrian-focused space for year-round recreational opportunities throughout the region. Supporting pavilions and wayfinding elements were developed, which emulate geological history as well as contemporary and historical Canadian art philosophies, providing further space for collective recreation and education.

    The wayfinding elements are designed to highlight important elements of Manitoulin’s history, ecology, culture, and people in the area relevant to that information. The path itself immerses visitors in the environment and provides accessibility vertically through the Island. This is an aspect deeply connected with the Island’s history.

    Proposed materials are all sourced locally from the island’s timber and quarry assets. The metal used for the project, Tombasil, is copper based and can be sourced locally from mines located in the region. This metal emulates the surrounding environment with textures related to Manitouin’s unique rock landscape.

    The resulting proposal illustrates that interventions that support communal experiences address more than lacking physical spaces and connections but also emerging and historical issues. Beyond addressing the past and present, significant attention was placed on The developed concepts' ability to shape opportunities for the future. Firstly, the two significant developments were created to maintain flexibility and changing needs. But most importantly the Manitou Miikana system provides room for growth past its current applicability. It opens opportunities for collaboration between communities that can operate outside of the summer months through the support of necessary trail services and new events. These services particularly bring opportunities for local business to expand either their current services or new businesses, creating more jobs and opportunities for residents. These services could include accommodation and food support, trail guide/information, shuttle and luggage transfer, and support of new events that come with the trail. The research and conceptual framing particularly demonstrate the ability to learn from a community and provide a comprehensive strategy rooted in its context. This strategy can influence strategies to engage with other rural contexts in Canada that are similar to Manitoulin Island.

    Client: University of Detroit Mercy

  • INFORM Studio

    Boardman Ottaway Downtown Riverfront

    "An aspirational yet sensitive riverfront proposal that considers critical relationships to water and ecological infrastructure. Access to the Riverfront was prioritized at multiple scales. The design team consistently explored strategies for stitching together the downtown core with the natural riverfront that flows through its gridded arrangement. This is the kind of project that is needed to help catalyze the relationship of our cities to adjacent water infrastructure."
    ~AIA Philadelphia Jury

    The Traverse City Downtown Development Authority (DDA) wanted to develop a conceptual design for a riverwalk and pedestrian plaza on a two-block stretch along the Boardman/Ottaway River in downtown Traverse City. Currently the downtown retail and commercial buildings face away from the river, surface parking lots and concrete walls line areas along the river, and public access to the river is limited. Despite its prominent role in defining the trajectory of much of Traverse City’s past, the river’s place within the urban fabric of downtown Traverse City today is not well defined and feels disconnected.

    The Boardman Ottaway Downtown Riverfront will be a place for people to gather and interact with each other and a place for people to engage with public spaces, the surrounding businesses, and with the river itself. The final conceptual design calls for two new pedestrian bridges over the river, one which will create access to Clinch Park on the Traverse Bay waterfront, a more naturalized riverbank with enhanced amenities including steps, seating, lights, and public art, the conversion of part of the Front Street alley to a pedestrian plaza, and a park-like setting with trees and decorative lighting between various cafes and eating establishments.

    Throughout the Summer of 2022, the design team met with the Traverse City DDA, project stakeholders (local property owners and businesses), and the community in the process of developing three preliminary concepts and then a final conceptual design. The new riverfront redesign is part of the DDA’s “unified plan” for the 1.6 miles of the lower Boardman/Ottaway River.

    This project will help restore wildlife in the urbanize segments of the river and will directly link people to the river and their surrounding ecologies. As the younger generation of Traverse City grows with this project, they will learn about and take pride in the rich history of the river. The Boardman River is going to continue to evolve. This most urbanized segment of the river will connect the city to the greater ecological network and act as a transitionary space between the Bay, Boardman Lake, and the Boardman/Ottaway tributaries.

    The project will develop stormwater systems all along the river and downtown. The systems will include:
    - Rain Gardens to collect stormwater
    - Permeable collection strip, underground detention with treatment
    - Subsurface Collection: Pipe daylights into a rain garden (with overflow weir)
    - Special collection and treatment under refuse areas
    - Planting inlets to collect stormwater as an educational feature

    the design concepts incorporate universal design so that anybody will be able to access and engage with the river.

    The project will encourage healthy lifestyles in that it will connect people with the river rather than having the city turn its back to the river. There will be seating and walking areas that are inclusive to all.

    The project is designed with site features and infrastructure that remain flexible to accommodate future uses.

    Client: Traverse City DDA
    Engineering Structures, Mobility & Lighting: Buro Happold
    Urban Design & Landscape Architecture: Spackman Mossop Michaels
    Stakeholder & Community Engagement: Blue Orange Consulting
    Civil Engineering: Hubbell, Roth & Clark

Architectural Honor Awards / Historic Rehabilitation

  • TMP Architecture + Ballinger

    University of Michigan School of Kinesiology Building

    "The conversion of an existing lightwell that had been functioning as a mechanical core into a dynamic public ‘commons’ breathes new life into a well-worn historic structure. The new commons reclaim the building center by transforming this underutilized space into a dynamic system of ramps and corridors designed to ‘reflect human movement’ that connect three distinct building users under one roof. This project exemplifies the benefits of valuing historic structures and exploring opportunities to transform existing conditions into new spatial experiences."
    ~AIA Philadelphia Jury

    A century ago, when Albert Kahn designed the University of Michigan’s Kraus Building, botany and mineralogy were still cutting-edge disciplines. Kahn met laboratory needs by adopting the innovations of factory design, aimed at maximizing daylight, to an academic setting. It was a pioneering move and the building became a campus icon and a symbol of research excellence.

    The cutting edge of science has moved on. Today, the university’s fourth largest school is devoted to kinesiology, the science of physical activity. As social understanding of movement’s importance to wellbeing grows, so does student interest in kinesiology. This explosion of interest created a need to consolidate the school’s programs into a single home with room for expansion.

    A perfect opportunity to renew the Kraus Building’s relevance – if a way could be found – was to transform the structure for the 21st century while retaining its historical character.

    The designers evaluated every aspect of Kraus against the needs of the School of Kinesiology, and determined it was worth preserving the original structure — which had included an inner courtyard.

    After Kahn’s time, the courtyard was cluttered with additions: a massive chiller plant and a ring of low-ceiling buildings along the courtyard perimeter with no historic character, were antiquated technologically, and unsuitable for contemporary research and learning.

    To leverage the courtyard potential, the design removes the modifications from the courtyard and replaces them with a multi-functional infill building.

    As a reinforced concrete “tube,” the infill strengthens the building laterally, doing away with the need for columns and creating a four-story free-span space. Wrapped in curving staircases and overlooked by breakout balconies, this new commons acts as an academic crossroads for students and faculty. By encouraging collaboration, enabling interdisciplinary work, and reflecting human movement, it establishes a new identity for the building and new potential for the disciplines it houses.

    The lowest level of the infill accommodates the high-tech requirements of researchers investigating mobility, such as lofty ceilings for motion capture cameras and overhead harnesses, along with recessed floor pits for equipment and vibration isolation.

    Atop the new infill, a skylight penthouse floods the space with daylight, while in the existing building, the original windows — a hallmark of modernity for the historic structure — are once again accessible. Transformation of the building, now called the Kinesiology Building, has revived Albert Kahn’s spirit of innovation.

    INTEGRATION. The new structural concrete tube in the existing courtyard is the single most integrated element of the project. It lifts the Mechanical Equipment out of the courtyard and up to the roof level. It provides 65’ column-free classrooms and laboratory space. The concrete was cast-in-place with architectural form liners and provides all lateral stability for the building.

    EQUITABLE COMMUNITIES. The Kraus Building is an iconic structure representing UM’s storied history as an academic leader. The restoration of the building benefits the historic and cultural interests of the campus, students, alumni, and community.

    ECOLOGY. Improvements to the landscape were designed to be native and require no maintenance. All existing mature trees were preserved during construction.

    WATER. The Kraus Building was prone to flooding from sheet flow from the adjacent greenspace. Extensive underground stormwater retention basins with infiltration beds protect the existing ecosystems. The landscape was designed to be native/adaptive, requiring no permanent irrigation system.

    ECONOMY. The design team and users developed a layout that would provide the least amount of closed perimeter offices to minimize fixed construction as well as democratize daylight and views. The commons guardrail was designed to be planar with radius non-compound curve transitions for constructability.

    ENERGY. A full building energy model was used to design a BAS system contributing to the 52% reduction from baseline HVAC performance. The envelope was analyzed using WUFI software to study the existing masonry for hygrothermal performance. New windows and airtight envelope paired with chilled beam technology and neutral air temp supply allowed for smaller ductwork, raised ceilings, 30% more daylight, 99% heat recovery, and less fan energy than traditional systems.

    WELLNESS. Ventilation is 100% outside air. Commons circulation promotes walking and stair-use.

    RESOURCES. The envelope and superstructure, floors and columns were preserved and renovated. Existing terrazzo, interior stone finishes and stairs were preserved for sustainability reasons. Overall construction had 22% Recycled content, 20% regional and 89% Certified wood.

    CHANGE. Flexibility is designed into all types of programmatic spaces with accessible flooring, exposed ceiling infrastructure, reconfigurable furniture, and minimal fixed walls in offices.

    DISCOVERY. The University has already conducted informal surveys and produced videos to share with and educate both incoming students and the public.

    Client: University of Michigan
    Design Architect: Ballinger
    Architect of Record: TMP Architecture, Inc.
    General Contractor: Walbridge
    Engineering: Ballinger
    Landscape Architect: Beckett & Raeder
    Cost: Faithful+Gould
    Sustainability: Sustainable Design Consulting
    Lighting Design: The Lighting Practice
    Code Analysis: Jensen Hughes
    Hardware: Jenosky Consulting
    Signage: InkSpot
    Elevator: VDA
    Wind Wake, Acoustics, and Vibration: RWDI
    Low Voltage & Security: Commtech Design
    Architectural Photographer: Feinknopf Photography

Architectural Honor Awards / Interiors

  • PLY+ & Integrated Design Solutions

    The School at Marygrove Elementary

    "Building on the strong bones of this historic school, the design cleverly reinvents the spaces to meet the pedagogical needs of today. This is a wonderful example of tactical embrace of embodied carbon value banking emerging as the pinnacle of what should be elevated in the context of conserving resources through maintenance and repurposing with lighter architectural moves. This project is clearly economical using millwork and updated teaching resources to extend the life of an older building by introducing the K through 5 users to an environment that intends to steward a critical-thinking curriculum and community minded mission. The project successfully stewards the mission to promote wellness, reduce resources and present new life and new opportunities for discoveries."
    ~AIA Philadelphia Jury

    A collaborative effort between Detroit Public Schools and the University of Michigan School of Education, the School at Marygrove provides professional training with a social justice and engineering focus across all grades, all ages and all backgrounds, to support graduates prepare to pursue their passions and contribute to the creation of a more just and equitable future. As part of this transformation, the Elementary Building renovation serves grades K-5 and employs strategic design details to foster a teaching environment where critical thinking and community minded service are central to pedagogical approach.

    The Marygrove education campus has been important to Detroit’s Northwest neighborhood since its founding as an institution started by women, for women, in 1922. The urban decline in the adjacent Fitzgerald neighborhood prompted a 2017 city-led revitalization effort which coincided with the 2019 closing of Marygrove College. In response, the Kresge Foundation, U-M’s School of Education, Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD), and Starfish Family Services joined forces to envision and enact an ambitious cradle-to-career educational campus transformation. A planning and phasing strategy is guiding the campus transformation to provide access to education, professional opportunities, and health and wellness support for the surrounding community. The school components will be the first P-20 programs implemented in Detroit to provide “cradle to career” mentorship with a collaborative, justice focused, and project centered curriculum. The Elementary building provides a K-5 teaching environment within this framework.

    The renovation charge emerged from conversations with teachers, students, and parents through community engagement activities in addition to weekly meetings with representatives from DPSCD, Marygrove Conservancy, and U-M School of Education. This collaborative discovery process connected design opportunities with lessons learned in the realms of education, restorative justice, historic preservation, facilities operations, and wellness. Several central values and key design goals emerged from the discovery process including the integration of collaboration and maker spaces within classroom floors, ensuring access to the gymnasium for all grades through the addition of designated egress routes, and providing strategic visual transparency into classrooms and common spaces.

    The programmatic and spatial desires identified in the discovery process presented a central design challenge when balancing the introduction of new spaces and transparency within a historic building. Specifically, the building’s double loaded corridor was designated as a historically significant feature and was also a space identified by educators as in need of updates to help build the community and connectivity envisioned. We approached the renovation of this space with a particular focus on optimizing impact with small amounts of new materials introduced to meet both needs. A detailed corridor analysis established alignments between historic features and opportunities to integrate new millwork or glass in openings no longer serving historic functions. Classroom size adjustments coordinate with existing openings which are animated with colorful flooring and paint.

    Our approach toward strategically maximizing impact is expressed in the classroom renovations through the design of custom millwork. These elements enabled flexibility to adjust classroom sizes without impinging on historic corridor or exterior window wall elements. These insertions also provide storage, sinks, counter space, benches, chalkboards, and transparency. On the first floor, restrooms are integrated into these dividing elements serving the kindergarten and first grade classrooms. Overall, the new millwork introduce vibrant color, strategic transparency and functionality while meeting budget constraints by repeating solutions on each floor.

    Wellness is supported throughout the building through the inclusion of spaces devoted to restorative justice, sensory focused special education spaces and special attention to the acoustic environments of common spaces throughout. The media center, reading room, gymnasium, restorative justice center, and maker spaces also deploy color and form to engage the children’s sense of curiosity and encourage experimentation and exploration. These spaces provide reading pods, flexible seating, and dynamic ceiling baffles which also perform acoustically. Accessibility to the gymnasium is accomplished with the addition of dedicated egress for K-1 students and to the building by relocating the main entrance to the first level (historically served by a stair to the second level). A historic chapel is enlivened with playful reading shelves and a space for informal performances. Throughout, the beauty of the historic character of the building is elevated with the vibrancy of strategic design elements in service of this new educational model and the promise of a more just and equitable future.

    Cleint: Marygrove Conservancy
    Design Architect: PLY+
    Architect of Record: Integrated Design Solutions (IDS)
    General Contractor: Barton Malow
    Design Partner: Morcillo Pallares + Rule Arquitectos
    ES + MEP Engineer: IDS
    Structural Engineer: IMEG
    Architectural Photographer: Jason Keen

  • Omilian & Morin Architecture & Design

    La Ventana Café

    "The irregularity of the space is tamed by the equally irregular service counter and asymmetrical seating platform which together help to both connect and separate the various programmatic elements of this neighborhood coffee shop. Described as a human-scale space for social interaction, La Ventana Café and its distinct seating / socializing ‘stations’ make it the optimal space for community gatherings and social integration. It is a compelling and successful study of creating a range of seating environments within a very tight space."
    ~AIA Philadelphia Jury

    La Ventana Café is a neighborhood coffee house, community meeting place and cultural event space, located in Detroit's Eastern Market neighborhood. It opens onto the Gratiot Avenue thoroughfare and Market, the neighborhood street Riopelle and into the communal courtyard it shares with a sustainable florist, and small business spaces. In doing so, La Ventana is situated as the public meeting place and crossroads for a diverse range of patrons from many communities, and creates a walkable, inviting and human-scale space for people to convene, exchange ideas, collaborate and enjoy high quality food and beverage equitably-sourced from the local community. In addition the cafe hosts poetry readings, group gatherings, art shows and musical performances on their custom high-fidelity sound system making space for Detroit's rich music history to continue to flourish and delivering those riches to the ears of the community. This is all part of La Ventana's mission to provide physical and mental health, wellness and enrichment through it's mediums of food, beverage, arts and music, and to do so in a way that drives economic activity and employs local Detroiters.

    Flexibility and adaptability of the design were paramount values to this project allowing it to accommodate a range of uses throughout the course of a day, over the changing seasons, and in nimble anticipation of expanding food and beverage programs, future uses and emerging user interests. One of our major programming concepts was to create unique spaces, each of which can be occupied in its own manner, while maintaining visual and accessible connectivity between them. Our design acknowledges and celebrates the fact that people have a wide range of needs and use space differently. To this end, we created four distinct seating options. Peninsular bar seating promotes visual and verbal connection between those seated. In-turned double-decker amphitheater style seating on a raised platform gives the feel of sitting on a communal front porch or row-house stoop, while also functioning as audience seating during special performances and as a stage. Two-top tables are populated by couples or individuals, while booth seating accommodates groups in an intimate enclave. The dynamic form of the cast concrete bar winds its way through the space, ultimately transitioning through the exterior wall and reemerging in the permeably-paved courtyard where walk-up service is available through three new windows that create a visual and performative link between interior and exterior, and allow bar space for customers in an open-air context. The courtyard itself is a flexible open space that serves as an extension of the cafe in warm weather and as an activated outdoor event space.

    Detroit has an abundance of existing buildings which teach us the history of the city and of its people. If we are sensitive to it, we can learn of ambitions, intent, surprises, triumphs and tragedies through a narrative process of discovery. Shaved into a triangular wedge by the diagonal of Gratiot Avenue, the building's form makes futile any attempt to work within a rectilinear grid mentality. Instead we embraced each of the building's unique angles and let them inform the geometries of the design. The result are built components which are dynamic and intriguing, as well as inherently nested into the building's shape such that flow through and connectivity between areas and objects in the design are seamless and natural. We let the seven foot sill height of the original windows beckon us to rise up to it with a raised platform and two-tier seating in order to incrementally reveal the views they offer. Similarly the programmatic history of the building as the former location of techno pioneer Juan Atkins's seminal music label Metroplex, was of great inspiration, and led to the expansion of the program to include DJ and live musical performances as well as the inclusion of a custom hi-fi sound system designed and built in Detroit. Over the years we have learned that when integrating a project with this level geometric complexity into an existing building, the construction team needs to share our ethos of respect and reverence for context. To that end, we assembled a team, 80% of which was comprised by Detroit artisans and fabricators who showed tremendous pride in their work and care for the hundred-year-old building, while keeping revenues from the work in the city. Working with this level of sensitivity towards buildings' physical and human histories is always fruitful and ensures that with each adaptive reuse project we are respectfully adding a new chapter to a cumulative story rather than rewriting it.

    Client: Juan Perez & Katherine Perez
    General Contractor: Shaw Construction and Management Co.
    Mech. & Plumb. Engineer: Potapa - Van Hoosear Engineering, Inc.
    Elec. Engineer: ETS Engineering Inc.
    GC: Shaw Construction and Management Co.
    Metal Fabrication: Umbel Studio
    Concrete Fabrication: Line Studio
    Cabinetry Fabrication: Argonaut Studio
    Custom Audio: Bing Audio - Daniel Tomczak
    Architectural Photographer: Christopher Lark

Architectural Honor Awards / Single-Family Residential

  • Iannuzzi Studio


    "A strong programmatic parti that engages both interior and exterior spaces combined with simple forms, a strong but limited palette of materials and finishes, a respect for the existing landscape, and bright, warm spaces recalls the rural farmsteads of Michigan and the northern Midwest in an elegant yet playful manner."
    ~AIA Philadelphia Jury

    Briarcliff is set on a park-like 3.5 acres in historic Franklin, Michigan. A house in two acts, it balances an elegant form and façade with a dramatic, playful interior—fitting for a private, close-knit family passionate about music and theater.

    The home’s design was inspired by the classic form of rural Michigan farmsteads—collections of gabled-roof structures built over generations. These familiar forms connect the home to its historic context but are articulated with contemporary building techniques and innovative detailing.

    The home’s functions are separated into four distinct pavilions, connected by flat-roof “bridges”, creating clear separations between private and public zones. The programs of the four pavilions are 1) primary bedroom suite; 2) living and entertaining; 3) private family area; and 4) garage. The largest pavilion (Living and Entertaining) runs side-to-side across the property in an uninterrupted volume that features exposed steel bents, expansive glass looking towards the rear wetlands, and a wall of custom millwork creating privacy from the front yard. Set opposite the expansive glass wall is a thin ribbon of high windows encouraging cross-ventilation across the intentionally narrow space. The pavilion is bookended with striking complementary forms that house, on one end, the hearth, clad in cedar and blued steel, and opposite it, the kitchen, featuring stainless steel counters and panels of emerald green urethane and walnut. Eco-friendly, high-performance Structural Insulated Panels form the roof diaphragm, allowing 12-foot spans between the steel bents without need for rafters or a ridge beam.

    On the exterior, all materials were selected for their durability, longevity, and ability to be fully recycled at their end of life. Clear, vertical-grain cedar planks clad the gable ends of each pavilion, accentuating their height and lightness. The naturally rot-resistant cedar is left intentionally unfinished avoiding annual reapplications of stain. The cedar will age with each passing season as the building melds into the landscape. Adjacent to the cedar-clad gable ends, the lower and broad facades are clad in high-density cement fiber panels to ground the building and accentuate the length of these elevations. The cement panels are highly durable, low-maintenance, and have a long lifespan. Moreover, the panels were pre-fabricated so that no on-site waste was generated during their fit and installation. The cement fiber panels meet the cedar planks at a uniquely detailed “eyebrow” that creates a delicate shadow line over the monumental sweep of the gable ends. Both types of cladding are installed as rear-ventilated rainscreen facades, a green building technique that improves energy performance, reduces heating and cooling needs, and increases resistance to moisture and mold growth. Standing-seam steel panels form the pitched roofs giving them a life span of 100 years or more. The panels have a high recycled content and are fully recyclable at the end of their lives. A steep 14/12 pitch ensures that water and snow loads are moving quickly off the building. The flat roofs over the connecting hallways are covered in vegetated trays of native grasses to reduce rainwater runoff, encourage biodiversity, and regulate indoor temperatures. The net effect is a high-performance, low-maintenance structure.

    Through a collaborative approach with the landscape architect, the siting of the home was minimally disruptive to the landscape, and in particular creates a feature of a hundred-year-old American Elm and Climbing Hydrangea. Native grasses reduce the need for irrigation, while a crushed gravel driveway and pervious paving reduce rainwater runoff. The home is nestled into the topography, built into knolls, some of which have been “sliced” with Corten steel retaining walls. From the perimeter of the site, the house seems tucked behind rolling hills, while a submerged motor court and Corten-walled walkways face the house. The combined effect is to aid privacy and control road noise while revealing the clients’ whimsy and playfulness as you near the home.

    The layout of clustered pavilions creates a sense of the building unfolding as it is experienced. The home’s zones were carefully positioned with respect to environmental factors such prevailing winds, seasonal sun angles, and balancing privacy and view. Windows frame views of the beautiful natural setting and other components of the home itself. In this way, the outside is constantly invited into the home, for an ongoing conversation among the modern exterior, the warm interior, and the natural surroundings.

    Briarcliff is rooted in the human impact that our buildings have on the environment. Passive design strategies, green roofs, high-performance building envelope, resilient materials, and a deep respect for the landscape are key features of this elegant yet playful home.

    General Contractor: Thomas Sebold and Associates
    Structural Engineer: Robert Darvas Associates
    Interior Designer: Elizabeth Fields Design
    Civil Engineer: Nowak + Fraus
    Architectural Photographer: Rafael Gamo

Architectural Honor Awards / Small Project

  • INFORM Studio

    Roger Williams Park Gateway Center

    "Strong 'Gateway' expression related to local cultural context and example of net-zero energy and sustainable design. This project was uniquely positioned to market the need to appreciate the ecological environment by subduing the energy footprint of the building to make way for enhancing the human impact delivered by the outward need to reach eyeballs. Considering the longevity of this project the optimistic intent is tactfully disproportional to the architectural moves that encourage human behavior to change. The building is a hospitable concierge of a just and childlike understanding of what it means to be."
    ~AIA Philadelphia Jury

    The Roger Williams Park Gateway Center provides a new urban park and northern entry point into the historic Roger Williams Park, the crown jewel of the City of Providence. The site marks the midpoint of a cultural corridor that began to form over 60 years ago, transitioning into a diverse and proud Latino community. The design response aims to preserve identity and inclusivity, developing a welcoming gateway for residents and visitors and serving as an economic catalyst along Broad Street.

    The gateway center is designed to be an extension of the neighborhood, erasing the strong boundary and threshold conditions that currently exist between the park and Broad Street. It pays homage to the vibrant colors of local parades and festivals, draws upon the energetic facades of homes and Latino businesses which line Broad Street. Conceptually the park will always be open, a model of inclusivity for visitors and residents alike, reflecting a commitment to welcoming all people.

    Aligning with the City of Providence’s Green Initiative to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, this Net Zero Energy project will provide on-site photovoltaic energy production ensuring that no fossil fuels will be used to power the facility or site. The project also employs a passive stormwater management system, easing the burden on the city and mitigating water runoff through native drought tolerant planting and impervious paving. This project is removing blacktop from the city and returning it to the public as an amenity.

    Net Zero Strategies - Reducing the need for energy by optimizing daylight, introducing natural ventilation, and taking advantage of solar thermal heat gain in the winter and minimizing solar heat gain in the summer were the determining factors in the massing & orientation.

    Solar panels generate renewable energy on-site for the entire project, and are optimized for maximum sunlight exposure. Photocells, timers, and LED lighting help save energy and money, while ENERGY STAR office equipment and computers reduce energy costs.

    Monolithic limestone walls of the entry gateway recall the classical design of the RWP Temple of Music and create a thermal mass. This allows the walls to store and release heat, reducing heating demands and temperature fluctuations in the building using a passive solar strategy. Design has a strong exterior with continuous insulation and moisture/air barrier that exceed ASHRAE and current Energy Conservation Code. Envelope design uses locally sourced materials with high recycled content. The building uses high-performance glazing with low-E coatings to increase insulation and reflect heat. Windows are placed strategically to enhance natural light and provide views, while suncontrol shading devices like vertical fins and overhangs improve heat control.

    Rainwater harvesting reduces stormwater runoff and erosion, and promotes water conservation. This also reduces demand on potable water and demonstrates value for educational purposes. Water-efficient plumbing fixtures and photovoltaic water heaters are used to conserve water and energy in restrooms.

    Thermal chimneys use natural ventilation to cool the building. Operable windows at ground level let cool air in, while clerestory windows let warm air out. Fans will provide additional cooling for occupants.

    The Gateway Center is poised to increase community access while reinforcing its own identity as a destination through diverse programming, sustainable initiatives and educational opportunities, all of which are fundamental drivers and organizational tools employed throughout the design process. Gather, Play, and Discover are simple yet profound principles that are used to organize the design and pedestrian flow, transitioning from an urban context to one of wilderness.

    Client: City of Providence
    General Contractor: TAVARES Construction, LLC
    Structural Engineer: Atlantes Design
    Landscape Architect: Design Under Sky
    Civil Engineering: Green International Affiliates
    Mechanical Engineering: GreenPath Design
    Electrical Engineering: INFORM Studio
    Fabrication of Fins: SITU Fabrication
    Architectural Photographer: Steven Kroodsma