Thursday, November 21, 2013

Speaking of Architecture - SlatHouse

Special Guest blog by Elliot Nolter, Intern Architect at Spillman Farmer Architects and Team Leader for the AIA Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter Playhouse Competition & Design Showcase

As some of you know, Spillman Farmer recently completed work on SlatHouse, a full-size children's playhouse for the AIA Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter's Playhouse Competition & Design Showcase. The experience was a great one, and we're happy to use our passion for design to help out the Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley. You can read more about the competition here:

We wanted the playhouse to be something kids not only play in, but on, under, and around as well.  It has the elements of a house, but isn’t.  It has the materials of a pirate ship, without the scurvy crew.  And it has the protection of a fort, but can be invaded by Mom when it’s time for dinner.  The simple, yet versatile design of the SlatHouse allows for the child’s imagination to fill the voids, creating infinite opportunities for play.  The flexibility of the fabric adds another element to the otherwise static enclosure of the frame.  On a daily basis, or as a child ages, the playhouse may take on new forms and new uses by simply “dressing” it in a new way.  The durable fabric can provide protection from rain, a drawing surface for washable markers, or a picnic blanket when laid on the grass. 

Keeping the material palette simple is something Spillman Farmer prides itself on, and being able to do more with less is a valuable lesson to teach children of all ages.  The wood is thermally modified yellow pine - a common material for outdoor use because of its resistance to rot and insect damage.  No chemicals are used in the process, making the wood safe to touch, smell, and for some kids, even taste.  The fabric pieces are heavy-duty vinyl that will provide a bright color and durability that will withstand harsh winters and destructive children, alike.  Our hope is that children will use the SlatHouse in ways we (as adult designers who know what a house "should" look like) cannot imagine.  

SlatHouse is on display at Christkindlmarkt in Bethlehem starting today! Head over before December 22 to bid for a chance to take this playhouse home.  All proceeds from the auction benefit the Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley. 

The Spillman Farmer SlatHouse was built by Spillman and sponsored by:
3 Cubed Studio

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

SFA News - AIA Pennsylvania Citation of Merit

In addition to the Firm Award we announced last week, we’re honored to announce that the AIA Pennsylvania 2013 Awards Jury has selected the Lafayette College Arts Plaza to receive a Citation of Merit.

The Arts Plaza is a raw, open-air space for the arts at Lafayette College in Easton, PA. The structure transformed a former auto-repair facility into a dynamic outdoor teaching space that responds to its natural environment and built context.  The Arts Plaza is an urban “unfill” project; its formerly solid walls were removed to create an open, inviting place in Easton’s urban core. 

The Arts Plaza was selected among 93 project entries by 37 architectural firms in the state of Pennsylvania. Jury Chairman Victor F. Trahan III, FAIA of Trahan Architects said that the jury selected Arts Plaza to receive a Citation of Merit because they felt the idea of an urban unfill project was refreshing and compelling. “The power is in the restraint” Trahan said.

The jury, made of a group of colleagues from the New Orleans area, also commented on the project’s applicability to a variety of low-road urban cores in their home state. Their comments on the project’s humility and restrained vocabulary further contributed to the project’s recognition.

The AIA Pennsylvania Awards Jury:
Victor F. Trahan III, FAIA – Trahan Architects (Jury Chairman)
F. Macnaughton Ball, Jr., FAIA – Waggonner & Ball Architects
Wayne Troyer, AIA – StudioWTA
Cordula Roser Gray, AIA – crgarchitecture
Ammar Eloueini, International Associate AIA – AEDS

Friday, November 15, 2013

SFA News - AIA Pennsylvania Firm Award

Spillman Farmer Architects is proud to announce that the American Institute of Architects Pennsylvania Chapter has selected our firm to receive the 2013 Architectural Firm Award. This was the inaugural year for the award, which honors an architectural firm that has consistently demonstrated a commitment to design excellence and has made outstanding contributions to the profession of architecture for a period of at least 10 years.

Lafayette College Arts Plaza, AIA Pennsylvania Citation of Merit 2013

“Winning the first AIA Pennsylvania Firm Award is truly an honor.  We feel privileged to practice architecture, a profession that we love and which allows us to positively impact the lives of those who work, live, learn and play in the buildings we have designed since 1927,” said Daniel Harrigan, AIA, Spillman Farmer President and one of the firm’s six principals. 

ArtsQuest Center, AIA Pennsylvania Silver Medal 2012

The AIA Pennsylvania Board of Directors served as the jury for this year’s Architectural Firm Award. The Board, representing firms from each AIA Pennsylvania branch chapter, reviewed more than 20 entries before selecting Spillman Farmer Architects.

 Northampton County Historical and Genealogical Society Sigal Museum, AIA Pennsylvania Award of Merit 2011

“[Spillman Farmer’s] body of work represents an imaginative approach to difficult problems, a curiosity about materials, and a strong sense of purpose,” said Jules Dingle, AIA, Awards Chairman for the AIA Pennsylvania and Principal of DIGSAU.  “The thoughtful presentation of their work conveyed a commitment to the value of architecture as a profession, an understanding of the challenges facing contemporary practice, a long history of design excellence, and a palpable ambition to achieve even greater success in the future.”

 Bryn Athyn College Doering Center for Science, AIA Pennsylvania Award of Merit 2011