Giving back to our community is a top priority for us, which is why we were honored to work on this project for Habitat for Humanity. This project was extra special because it is a house that women built. We designed a warm and comfortable family home while working within the constraints of a limited budget and a small floor plan to be built by female volunteers with minimal construction training and skills. We are proud to say that despite these challenges we were able to address the fundamental problems of space, proportion, light and materials with ease.
We were asked to design a new sanctuary for an existing church, based on the assumption that accommodating this would require a new addition that would double the size of the existing building. Our design solution was to instead claim almost the entire existing building as the new sanctuary, where we reframed the interior ceiling space to make the inside read as one space. We then needed to build only a very small new addition to accommodate the entry and the welcoming room. This new addition faces the street, giving the church’s street presence an upgrade in the process. The welcoming room was designed with wonderfully large windows that instantly give members and guests a sense of invitation and hospitality.
Now housing the council chamber, regional library, and the town’s only indoor pool, we took a vacant and unfinished 5-story office building and converted it into a multi-function facility that serves the town. Twenty-foot spacing is typical for office buildings but the existing structural bay layout was based on 15-foot spacing, which was a key challenge that we accepted and conquered. We developed a very efficient plan that met all of the adjacencies and privacy levels necessary for office space, while meeting the requirements for all of the functions in the building. The indoor pool, which is the only pool in the city and was the basis for the financial case to transform the building rather than to demolish it, was left on the 1st floor and provides a further amenity to serve the well being of the community.
For this design project, we needed to add additional workout space, new locker rooms, and a new daycare space for an existing YMCA building. The key architectural challenge was creating the best possible configuration of interior space when the existing circulation had all levels connected by a ramp.