Seven West Virginia buildings, including a Morgantown elementary school and a Girl Scouts building in Charleston, were honored with awards from the American Institute of Architects at its dinner for the West Virginia Design Awards earlier this month.
“The architecture profession always wants to recognize and promote the outstanding work of their peers and highlight the importance of their work of the past year,” said Jonathan Adler with the AIA-WV chapter.
The winning projects exhibited sustainability features, extraordinary detailing and designs that mirrored the building’s purpose.
Entries were judged by Gina Hilberry who serves as the president of the AIA-St. Louis chapter.
Assemblage Architects was the only out-of-state firm to win an award. The firm received an honor award for excellence in architecture for its multi-purpose building at Camp Dawson.
The other honor award for excellence in architecture in sustainable design went to Williamson Shriver Architects for its Eastwood Elementary School project in Morgantown.
The project consolidated Easton and Woodburn Elementary Schools. The School Building Authority wanted the school to meet LEED silver certification sustainability standards.
“There are a lot of demands and expectations there that need to be met at that level,” said Ted Shriver, lead architect for the project.
Shriver said there are a number of ways to go about meeting that certification, geared toward energy savings and sustainability.
“We looked at the ones that made sense for the location and type of facility that we were designing,” he said. “With sustainability there are some things that cost more than others. And there is only a certain amount of dollars that can be spent on a project so it’s a balancing act to make sure we meet the standards but also make sure it’s the right thing based on costs.”
The building is designed to take advantage of natural lighting for classrooms. The rooms are equipped with oversized windows and include high, sloped ceilings and light wall colors.
The school saves water by using waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets and reduced-flow kitchen equipment.
The 22-month project cost roughly $16 million.
The property where the school stands once housed mobile homes and farmland that was owned by West Virginia University.
“In some ways it was a shame to ruin that farmland,” Shriver said. “But I felt like from the very beginning that the school needed to somehow look like it still had some of that agrarian architecture to where it resembled the original land.”
The grass out front is a special breed that doesn’t grow too high and thus doesn’t need mowing. The stonework on the building, the lantern-type light fixtures and natural wood products brings a natural farm feel to the school, Shriver said.
The Charleston-based architecture firm ZMM received three merit awards for projects at the Southern West Virginia Community & Technical College, Huntington East Middle School and Girl Scouts Black Diamond Council Volunteer Resource Center.
“We were excited about the diversity of projects we got to work on,” said ZMM architect Adam Krason. “They were all so unique.”
The firm helped the local Girl Scout Council design its new resource building just a few blocks away from its office on Charleston’s West Side. The project was honored for its interiors and graphics.
“I was so excited when the Girl Scouts choose that location for their project,” Krason said. “To see that sort of investment on Charleston’s West Side is really phenomenal.”
ZMM talked with a group of Girl Scout members about what they envisioned for the space and then worked with Paramount Builders in St. Albans to create that.
Krason said there was a clear vision for what the client wanted out of the re-purposed building.
“It was really a female lead team that designed the Girl Scouts building,” Krason said.
Krason sees more people trying to re-purpose buildings because of budget constraints and sustainability.
“Construction is expensive whether you are talking about new or a thorough back-to-structure renovation,” he said. “Typically it is less expensive to renovate still, because you are salvaging at least the structure. It’s just about re-thinking what can be done with an existing building.”
At the Applied Technology Center at the community college Krason said it was all about listening to the client.
“First Lady Tomblin had a clear vision for the project,” he said. “The finished building really reflects what the building is used for … technology training.”
ALPHA Associates received a merit award for renovation for its work on the Clear Mountain Bank in Reedsville. OMNI Associates received the last merit award for preservation for the First Ward School Apartments in Elkins.
Reach Caitlin Cook at 304-348-5113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.