West Virginia and Florida Projects Earn AIA WV Design Awards
Lofts on 5th – Merit Award
Situated in the historic district of downtown Fernandina Beach, this project adaptively reuses a non-contributing, vacant three-story masonry structure to deliver nine new urban housing units.
The existing, historically inappropriate classical front porch will be removed and all window systems will be replaced. Additions to the building exterior include a new entry covering, new private cantilever balconies, and a new rooftop penthouse providing shared space for all unit owners as well as private roof gardens for the top floor residents.
Requiring and receiving approval from the Fernandina Beach Historic District Council, the design language of the new elements comply with the intent of the National Parks Service Historic Design Guidelines while complimenting the character of the original 1960 era building. New exterior elements are minimal, slightly pulled away and separated from the original construction in their placement and detailed to convey a clear distinction between old and new. Modern, relevant materials appropriate to a current urban housing aesthetic are used throughout the project.
Martinsburg Police Department & Municipal Court – Honor Award
With a growing Police Department and Municipal Court operations the City of Martinsburg was in need of additional space for these services. The city purchased a parcel of property just steps away from City Hall on the corner of West Race and North College Streets that had previously been home to the local Chapter of the American Legion as a possible location for a new Police headquarters and Municipal Court. Working closely with representatives from the City, Police Department and Municipal Court, Silling performed programming services and developed a graphic test-fit as a means to demonstrate how the program could fit in a new building constructed on the purchased property. The massing of the building is a representation of the interplay between solid and void and how that form is created relative to the usage of the spaces within the building. A community room is located on the first level just off of the main public lobby and security screening area. The remainder of the first level consists of a new multi-cell holding area, vehicular sallyport, locker rooms for police officers and other police support spaces. The Police Department is located on the second level with its own separate public waiting area and large squad room with glass façade that provides natural light and views down Race Street to the downtown and the adjacent public parking area that serves City Hall.
The Municipal Courtroom and associated spaces are located on the third level with a spacious public waiting area with an easily visible courtroom entrance and private circulation for staff. Transaction windows for the Court Cashier, Court Clerk and Magistrate are conveniently located off the public lobby. The third level also features a ribbon of clerestory windows allowing natural light into the courtroom and offices located along the perimeter walls.
Overall, the design of this new justice facility is contemporary and relevant within its historic context. It is transparent and accessible while maintaining safety and security. It cares for the well-being of its public users of the courts as well as its judicial and law enforcement staffs, and it is executed in a way that elevates the spirit of place and adds value to its context.
“To say that I am proud of this building, would be a huge understatement. I’m simply elated by it. I think it is the prettiest municipal police department and courtroom in the state of West Virginia. I think it is the most modern and the best that I’ve ever seen in my career, and I’ve been doing this for 36 years,” said Chief of Police Chief Swartwood. “When we all came together to make this happen it ran very smoothly. Silling Architects understood that listening to the needs of my men and women was paramount in allowing us to give our ideas about what it takes to make this police department run with better functionality and higher-efficiency. That’s what you trusted us with and I think it shows every day in this building. How open it is, how transparent it is, with so much open glass, our guys and girls, our men and women, love the natural light that comes into this building. It was just innovative and refreshing when we saw the architecture of this building and how it was going to look even before it was built. We embraced it fully and all our people loved it.”