ZMM, E.T. Boggess take top design awards

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The new headquarters of the West Virginia Housing Development Fund in Kanawha City won a top honor award for its designers, ZMM Architects, at the annual AIA West Virginia Design Awards banquet in Charleston.
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Todd Boggess removed ceilings in the former main Princeton Post Office, revealing a metal grid and wooden decking above the new reading room of the Princeton Public Library.
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Architect Todd Boggess won an honor award for preservation for restoring Alex Mahood's original 1935 art deco/Greek revival exterior of the old Princeton Post Office.
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Plainly visible on a bluff overlooking Interstate 79 in Fairmont, the Mon Power Regional Headquarters serves as the control center for FirstEnergy's multistate electrical power grid. It was designed by Omni Associates.
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A former furniture store, the Capital Centre in downtown Huntington is now home to a design shop and law firm. The restoration was designed by Edward Tucker Architects.
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Eligible for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, the Spring Mills Primary School in Martinsburg saves energy costs in many ways. It won a sustainable design award for Williamson Shriver Architects of Charleston.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Architects from ZMM Inc. brought new life to an old industrial site by designing a handsome glass and brick office building on the former Owens-Illinois glass plant property in Kanawha City.Todd Boggess brought new life to a piece of Mercer County history when he rediscovered the original lines and details of the former Princeton post office, now home to the Princeton Public Library.The two projects won top honors Saturday at the 2012 AIA West Virginia Design Awards Program, held at the Embassy Suites hotel in Charleston. The annual awards, sponsored by the state chapter of the American Institute of Architects, recognize the best efforts of members of the group.ZMM architects drew up several different concepts for the new offices of the West Virginia Housing Development Fund before settling on the two-story design -- partly to stay within the client's budget, but also to help blend with the residential neighborhood just across 57th Street."The primary goal was to get light into the interior spaces, so all employees would get views and lighting," said David Ferguson, one of the principles from ZMM."They had a little over 100 employees. The challenge was to get them in an environment where they felt good about themselves, and aren't boxed into cubicles."Large expanses of glass along the two long walls let light reach the center of the building, he said. "A lot of the cubicles have glass fronts. We used a lot of color -- oranges, reds, earth tones -- on wall surfaces, chairs, accent colors throughout the building."Although the owners didn't seek LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification as former director Joe Hatfield once indicated, the building has lots of environmentally friendly features."It has day-lighting, with sun shades on the exterior glass that help control light coming into the building. It has sensors that detect the day-lighting and automatically turn down interior lights as the natural light increases," Ferguson said.At the left end of the front facade, an inverted U of white bricks extends above the roofline, contrasting with the glass front and red brick side wall."That accentuates the entrance and lets you know where to enter the building," he said.ZMM won an honor award for excellence in architecture for the $8.5 million project, which opened in October 2011. E.T. Boggess Architect Inc. took home an honor award for preservation for its library project in downtown Princeton.Todd Boggess, president of the firm his father, Ted, founded in the '60s, said library directors chose him to carve out a library in the building the Postal Service occupied from 1935 to the early 2000s."The post office itself was mostly blocked off from the public," Boggess said. "There was a little lobby, with post office boxes, but the main space was nothing to write home about -- a work area, but it had big windows."
As government agencies sometimes do, the Postal Service altered the design, adding dropped ceilings, removing light fixtures, hiding windows."Over the years they put metal panels over the windows. They covered the outside, so instead of seeing the beautiful windows you saw a brown metal panel. The original design was a great design."Bluefield-based architect Alex Mahood designed courthouses, town halls and elegant homes throughout Southern West Virginia. The post office, with its Greek revival arched windows and art deco ornaments, is typical of his work, Boggess said.
"It has great scale. It's monumental in nature. Over the years they reduced the quality of the space. With our redesign, it was to reconnect to the original space, let lots of light in."In the reading room, we removed the old ceiling and exposed some old wooden decking. We added some suspended raised panels over the windows and it channels the light into the reading room."The $4.2 million project was complete in the summer of 2010.
Also Saturday, judges presented three merit awards:
  • Omni Associates of Fairmont won a merit for its design of the Mon Power Regional Headquarters in the I-79 Technology Park.
  • The $50 million, 48,800-square-foot facility serves as the multistate operations center for the electricity transmission grid of FirstEnergy (formerly Allegheny Energy).Omni had a dual challenge: Create a bold design with visual impact to motorists driving along Interstate 79; and provide energy efficiency for the utilitarian side of the building at a time of rising energy costs.The facility earned LEED certification from the Green Building Certification Institute.
  • Edward Tucker Architects, Huntington, won a preservation merit award for its work on the Capital Centre in Huntington's downtown historic district.
  • Tucker's challenge was to completely renovate the former Dickinson Furniture store, which closed in 2008, and create a 29,000-square-foot office/retail center.The first step was to remove the 1960s "urban renewal" addition of exterior plaster panels that covered up all second- and third-story windows and an arch over the main entry. He restored and repaired the original 1920s-vintage stucco and masonry façade.Interior renovations followed: A first-floor store space and new lobby for the upper floors, which includes an old staircase from the furniture store; and upstairs offices for law firm Jenkins Fenstermaker.The owners, Capital Venture Corp., earned federal historic tax credits to help pay for the project. 
  • Charleston-based Williamson Shriver Architects won a merit award for sustainable design for its Spring Mills Primary School project in Martinsburg.
  •  The $12.7 million building, funded through the state School Building Authority, is targeted to be the SBA's first LEED-certified "green" school.Like other award-winning buildings it incorporates day-lighting through its north-south classroom orientation, oversize windows with sunscreens, high ceilings and light sensors.Other innovative features include waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, a kitchen composting system and a green cleaning program.Opened last fall, the school also focuses on the environment through its curriculum. Students in early grades learn about recycling, composting, gardening, wildlife and healthy atmospheres.Three architects from the Louisiana AIA chapter judged 17 entries in the design awards this year. Unlike past years, there were no craftsmanship entries.  Reach Jim Balow at balow@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.
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