Thursday, May 26, 2011

Living in the Brownfield

FINGER LAKES MUSEUM - We have been doing a little image archiving at Spillman and wanted to share our visions of the Finger Lakes Museum with our readers.  Three very different concepts were proposed for the same site in upstate NY.

scheme 1 - dapple concept

scheme 2 - ravine

scheme 3 - glacial

hope these images inspire some of you to do some sightseeing this memorial day weekend!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Speaking of Architecture - Scot Horst of the USGBC talks with Spillman Farmer Architects

Christa Kraftician, Principal at Spillman Farmer Architects, caught up with Scot Horst, SeniorVice President of LEED, from the Unites States Green Building Council (USGBC) recently and had the opportunity to talk with him about his visions for the future.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


WOOD - During my travels through northeast Pennsylvania I came across these great kilns used for drying lumber –probably Pennsylvania ash getting ready to become Louisville Sluggers. I saw these incredible piles of lumber whose regular stacking and relentless rhythm reminded me of a Peter Zumthor building.

Wood is a living breathing material that tells a story long after it is harvested. You get an understanding of how it was cut or how old the tree was through its grain patterning. Have you ever had a solitary moment in a building that is constructed entirely of wood? It smells great and it sounds a bit like a symphony when the wood expands, contracts and checks. Needless to say, one has to factor these nuances into the design when detailing with wood. When it is done right, it can elevate the design to extraordinary heights.

Take, for example, the Shaker oval box.

Shaker design is absolutely elegant in its materiality, simplicity, form, function, and craft. The oval box is an extraordinary example of this. The box is comprised of two materials: maple and pine. Pine was chosen for the top and bottom because it was easy to work with and readily available. Maple was chosen for its sides because it was easily bent into shape. Notice the beautiful seam, which is called a swallow joint. This is designed for the box to take expansion and contraction as the wood does its thing. The box embodies the spirit and philosophy of Shaker design which is ”don’t make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both necessary and useful, don’t hesitate to make it beautiful.” I would add “as long as it is an inherent part of the design and doesn’t interfere with its function.”

Friday, May 6, 2011

SFA News Worth Noting

SWEET - The Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA PA) has awarded SFA two Citations of Merit for Architectural Excellence: The Grant R. Doering Center for Science & Research in Bryn Athyn PA, and The Sigal Museum in Easton PA.

These two projects were selected out of nearly 100 entries submitted by architects practicing in Pennsylvania of projects completed throughout the country and around the world. We are honored to be among the top firms in our state - the work being created by Pennsylvania architects is significant and impressive!

SFA's Design Principal Joe Biondo was on hand to receive the awards. When I asked him the significance of these two projects (which are quite different from one another), his thoughtful reply was "While each project is unique, both speak to SFA's mission to create meaningful, lasting, and authentic places that resonate with local and regional history." Couldn't have said it better myself!

Wanna see more? You'll find a treasure trove of juicy photos, renderings, and plans on SFA's Flickr site.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Living in the Brownfield

CAPTURE - I had the luck of the draw last week and got to spend all day tuesday on a former brownfield site, artsquest center at steelstacks, with paul and brad from paul warchol photography.  Needless to say we're super excited to have paul on board to capture the spirit of the place and the design spillman farmer architects just completed there.  Keep your eyes open for some great photos in the near future, but in the meantime go look at the past goodness that comes into focus under paul's direction.


CONCRETE - I recall working with my grandfather in the concrete trade doing flatwork; sidewalks, patios and porches. I became fascinated with this seemingly unnatural fluid material that would take the shape of its container and become solid in a matter of hours.  We all can relate to the process of how a building is made.  Textures, uneven surfaces, hand made and natural materials give a building human scale.  Imagine how the natural elements will improve the overall appear of that material or building over time. Sunlight and shadows trace the surface from different times of day, rain will pass over the material dirt will collect. Building surfaces could become art.