Building Blocks - Issue 44
Jan 27 2021 — Wednesday
- Project Focus: Terrace Heights
- Employee Focus: Victor Greco
- 15th Anniversary Milestone
- Tech Focus: Render to Reality
- Our Lady of Peace
- Cottrill's Opera House
- Maple Drive
Project Focus: Terrace Heights
Terrace Heights, once featured in TIME Magazine for its modern design and amenities such as state-of-the-art GE appliances and intercoms, is being upgraded through creative solutions of the Mills Group design team.
These vintage-style apartments are convenient for WVU students and young professionals. Next door to the WVU College of Law along University Avenue, Terrace Heights is conveniently located between the WVU’s Downtown, Evansdale, and Health Sciences Campuses.
Unique floor plans showcase mid-century modern design elements such as floating stair treads, textured brick and block interior walls, exposed beams and sunken floors.
European-style corridors, gardens, private exterior spaces and public common spaces dote the walkable community with lush landscaping. The existing pool is planned to be infilled to provide public gathering space with an outdoor grilling area, fire pit, and synthetic turf lawn.
Taking advantage of the terraced topography and views of the Monongahela River valley and beyond, renovations include a public rooftop terrace including a hot tub and leisure area. The exposed southern-orientation of the roofs create opportunity for passive renewable energy such as photovoltaic array.
Employee Focus: Victor Greco
We are excited to announce that Victor Greco, Principal Architect, was recently appointed to the West Virginia Foundation for Architecture Board of Trustees! The West Virginia Foundation for Architecture provides scholarships for deserving West Virginia students in accredited architectural programs across the country. Vic’s role is to aid the Foundation’s efforts to enlarge the public understanding of architecture and its allied fields, carry out programs and projects for improving the human environment for living and working in WV, and establish awards for meritorious work in architecture.
If you would like to donate to the Foundation, please click here.
15th Anniversary Milestone
2020 marks the 15-year anniversary of our firm. In the past 15 years, we’ve worked on more than 2,000 projects. While we’ve experienced exponential growth, we’ve maintained a clear vision for the design of new structures that encompass the rich architectural character of the past. Each day, we practice our mantra of “designing on the principles of the past and preserving for the future,” with a focus on strengthening our historic downtowns and communities through contextual design.
In November, we hosted a two-day event to celebrate our anniversary and the grand opening of our new office located at 88 High Street in Morgantown, WV. The new downtown office is a reflection of the firm’s commitment to community and to the adaptive re-use of existing buildings.
Tech Focus: Render to Reality
The old adage, "a picture is worth a thousand words" is never more true than in the design world. When a client or designer have an idea or inspirational take on a project, there is no better way to share these goals with each other than with illustrative and accurate renderings and imagery.
So often, when a client or designer use an aesthetic design term like, "woodsy," "classic", or "modern" to explain a desired style, it may trigger slightly different referential images for each person. The underlying hope in using terms like this is that both parties would grasp the concept and be on the same page about what is being described. In most successful situations, this may be all that is needed and the story ends here. Sadly though, not every exchange of ideas works that seamlessly and designs can meander into finished projects that might not be exactly what was envisioned.
At Mills Group, we've found that there is no greater value added to a project, especially at early stages, than to have an organic discussion of goals through shared design imagery. These shared graphics have shown to be a key factor in the design process that helps push us the last mile to connect in ways that other forms of discourse just cannot. By working with the client through deep discussions, sharing of precedents, and iteration after iteration of modeling imagery, we can ensure that the goal of the client is exactly what we are designing. The rendering and animation software we utilize also has the added benefit of being entwined into the entire work flow (site analysis to finished construction documents) so that the project matter and thought processes never leave the hands of one system. In addition, the ability to so fully realize ideas for clients can sometimes produce unexpected results and bring new understanding to project details that weren't foreseen from the outset.
Our Lady of Peace
Construction is complete on the Our Lady of Peace Parish and School addition in Wheeling, WV. The 5,058-square-foot two story building is an addition to the existing elementary school. The first level features a gathering hall for parish and school events, a new preschool classroom and an ADA accessible restroom. The second level consists of a large multi-purpose classroom and restroom.
Cottrill's Opera House
Alpine Heritage Preservation hired Mills Group to provide architectural services for the rehabilitation and reuse of Cottrill’s Opera House building in Thomas, WV. The scope of work includes an existing building evaluation, existing conditions documentation, code study based upon proposed use and program elements, conceptual design, and visualization.
A system of heavy timber structural shoring, installed in 2003, makes the use of traditional measuring methods impractical. Instead, our team of experts gathered a 3D laser point cloud scan of the 1903 building to serve as the basis of detailed existing conditions and conceptual plans.
Mills Group provided full architectural services for the mixed use commercial project on Maple Drive in Morgantown, West Virginia. The project encompasses 12,000 square feet on two floors with a contemporary design. Our services included the core-and-shell design for the entire building. Additionally, we provided full services for the 6,400-square-foot interior tenant fit-out for Northwestern Mutual on the second floor, reflecting a modern design aesthetic aligned with the Tenant’s corporate branding. The first floor is configured for multiple retail tenants.