Page N3.3. 12 August 2009                     
ArchitectureWeek - News Department
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Michigan AIA Awards 2009

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Architect John W. Allegretti, FAIA, wanted to demonstrate principles of energy conservation, working with nature, and solar design that he had learned in the Peace Corps and under Faye Jones at the University of Arkansas. He and his family decided in 1975 to build a sustainable four-bedroom, 2,500-square-foot (230-square-meter) solar home.

Set into a dune facing southeast, the Allegretti Residence is a super-insulated passive solar collector with an active solar hot water system. Open glazing between heavy beams transfers solar heat into a high-specific-mass interior. The floor was created from two-inch- (five-centimeter-) rigid insulation covered by one foot (30 centimeters) of sand capped by a four-inch- (ten-centimeter-) concrete slab. Stone was obtained from a farmer's field near the site, and the oak floor was built from "shorts" found at a local swap meet.

Energy costs were significantly reduced and remain at less than 50 percent of those of a comparably sized conventionally constructed home.

Detroit YMCA

For the Renaissance Center YMCA, McIntosh Poris Associates was commissioned to create a corporate fitness center that would serve executives, employees, and tenants of the Renaissance Center, a cluster of mixed-use office towers that includes the General Motors world headquarters. The 12,000-square-foot (1,100-square-meter) fitness center was created in an expanse of storefront overlooking the Detroit River and Canada beyond.

The architects, who also designed the Lofts at 400 Parent Avenue in Royal Oak, organized the single-level YMCA space so that the public entry and private areas, such as offices and locker rooms, were kept to the interior, allowing users of exercise machines to enjoy the river view. One group-exercise room faces the river, while another faces the main interior organizing wall. Oak-framed glass walls maintain an open, airy atmosphere in the exercise rooms and offices.

The central challenge was working around the dense pattern of columns, raw concrete, and HVAC pipes and ducts that serve the building above. The architects addressed this with a colorful mural wall that starts in the lobby and wraps around folded planes of the central wall enclosing the locker rooms, depicting abstract scenes of nature and technology. The jury called this "an incredible passageway negotiating the transition between the mall and the Fitness Center, as well as between center and periphery."

Cincinnati Research

The Center for Academic Research Excellence (CARE/ Crawley Building) is a nine-story research building at the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio. Designed by Studios Architecture, with Harley Ellis Devereaux as architect of record, the structure comprises three lab blocks, each set askew from the others. The architects chose a simple material palette of brick, zinc shingles, and high-performance glass.

"This project achieves a balance of simple forms and geometry," lauded the awards jury. "Combine texture to the formal composition and the building achieves a great architectural image."

Redford Diesel Lobby

Harley Ellis Devereaux was also recognized, in the low-budget/ small-project category, for the lobby expansion it designed for Detroit Diesel/ Sterling Western Star Trucks. A nondescript service zone in Redford, Michigan, was transformed into a technological showplace, glowing at night, with elements reminiscent of diesel truck fenders and grilles.

Ferndale Community Center

In the sustainable design category, the jury recognized Affirmations Community Center, a gay and lesbian community center in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale, praising it as "a perfect infill project; clean simple and modern as well as an excellent neighbor."

The LEED-certified project is located on a deep downtown site surrounded by stores. The existing steel structure, along with the block and brick demising walls, were retained and exposed. Luckenbach/ Ziegelman Architects, PLLC distributed the 20,300-square-foot (1,890-square-meter) program across three levels, with punctured floor plates to maintain visual and spatial connections. The front and rear entries are set back and the floor plates are pulled off the facades to allow daylight to penetrate the space.

New decking, roofing, and siding are of high-recycled-content steel with low-VOC finishes, and the new concrete masonry units were manufactured within 50 miles (80 kilometers). The design of the glass fenestration, skylights, and floor openings provide both daylighting and appropriate seasonal control of solar gain. Mechanical and electrical systems are fully automated to limit energy consumption.

Northville Studio

inFORM studio (formerly Van Tine/ Guthrie Studio), which designed the Traverwood Branch Library in Ann Arbor, was also recognized for the interior architecture of its own studio in Northville, Michigan. The firm adapted an early-20th-century Ford Valve warehouse in the historic downtown, adding translucent acrylic, steel, and stained medium-density fiberboard (MDF) while preserving the condition of the found space, creating an open setting to foster collaboration.

"The resulting renovation creates layers of texture, transparency and translucency conducive to contemporary architectural practice," commented the jury.

AIA Michigan conferred its 2009 design awards on May 15 in Detroit.

 

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The forward-thinking design of the 1975 Allegretti Residence in Sawyer, Michigan, earned this year's 25-year award from AIA Michigan.
Photo: John W. Allegretti, FAIA

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Allegretti Architects integrated passive and active solar-energy collection strategies into the Allegretti Residence. The firm also constructed the house, making use of recycled and locally sourced materials.
Photo: John W. Allegretti, FAIA

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McIntosh Poris Associates designed the Renaissance Center YMCA, a corporate fitness center recognized for its interior architecture.
Photo: Michael Collyer Photography Extra Large Image

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The new metal-and-glass lobby expansion for Detroit Diesel in Redford, Michigan, was designed by Harley Ellis Devereaux.
Photo: Justin Maconochie Extra Large Image

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Studios Architecture designed the CARE/ Crawley Building, a nine-story research facility at the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Photo: Brad Feinknopf Extra Large Image

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Steel-and-glass ramping bridges span the atrium of the CARE/ Crawley Building.
Photo: Brad Feinknopf Extra Large Image

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The LEED-certified Affirmations Community Center, designed by Luckenbach Ziegelman Architects, PLLC, was built on a deep infill site in downtown Ferndale, Michigan.
Photo: Lark Photography/ Robert L. Ziegelman, FAIA Extra Large Image

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InForm studio adapted an old Ford Valve warehouse to house the firm's own Northville, Michigan, office.
Photo: Courtesy inFORM studio Extra Large Image

 

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