Building Blocks - Issue 46
Sep 21 2021 — Tuesday
- Project Focus: Market Street Garage
- Employee Focus: New Employee - Michael West
- Employee Focus: Lance Muscara attains WELL AP Credential
- Tech Focus: FSU Virtual Reality Tours
- Shepherdstown Grand Opening
- South Park Lighting Design
- Thistledown Estates
- Jefferson County Welcome Center
Project Focus: Market Street Garage
The City of Wheeling approached Mills Group to design a 250 space, fully automated parking garage with 10,000 square feet of street level commercial tenant spaces. The structure will also include multiple electric vehicle charging stations, emergency call safety buttons, bicycle racks, and fully glazed elevator and stairwells for visual interest and extra safety.
The façade design is contextual to the historic vernacular architecture and there will be a direct pedestrian electronic access to an adjacent multi-story apartment building (within an adaptive reuse and potential historic tax credit building to the south).
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW!!
Employee Focus: New Employee - Michael West
Michael West recently joined the firm as an Architectural Design Associate in our Morgantown Office. He provides architectural production assistance and design work to the project managers via 3D models and construction drawings.
Originally from Plano, Texas, Michael was exposed to Mills Group projects through several visits to Morgantown to see friends. After receiving a bachelor's in Architecture from the University of Texas, seeing the firm's work, and being charmed by Morgantown, it seemed like the perfect fit.
The achievement Michael is most proud of is receiving his degree in Architecture and accepting a job right after graduation. Another accomplishment he is proud of is recording a folk-rock album that he wrote during his last year at school.
Michael's favorite hobby is playing music, specifically guitar among a few others. He also enjoys listening to music, running, hiking, crafting projects, and playing video games.
Employee Focus: Lance Muscara attains WELL AP Credential
Lance Muscara recently attained the WELL Accredited Professional Credential. The WELL AP credential signifies extensive knowledge of the WELL Building Standard™, how the environment impacts our health and wellness, and a commitment to advancing human health and wellness in buildings and communities.
Lance joined Mills Group in 2016 and is a Senior Project Manager specializing in the technical development of projects.
Well done, Lance!
Tech Focus: FSU Virtual Reality Tours
Mills Group has recently been working hand-in-hand with architectural instructors at Fairmont State University in an effort to share site information through virtual reality (VR) means. Due to the recent uptick in pandemic cases and difficulties in travel resulting from it, FSU instructor Kellie Cole reached out to us to see if our skills in the VR realm could help them perform normal site analysis duties through virtual site visits.
By using our Oculus headsets and the Wander software app, students can travel the streets of their current project site along River Avenue and the Heinz Lofts in Pittsburgh, PA. While virtually travelling they will be better able to understand the space, gain an appreciation for scale, and analyze key points of interest all while staying safe and comfortable in their respective classrooms.
Notable features of using this software/hardware combo are speech recognition for searching, Wikipedia integration for location-based learning, historical jumping to visualize any changes over the passage of time, multiple navigation modes, and much more.
We couldn't be happier to help provide innovative solutions for students during such a difficult time and hope to share their finished design ideas at the conclusion of their project. Stay tuned!
Shepherdstown Grand Opening
We are excited to announce that our firm is opening a new office in downtown Shepherdstown! In the past, we have had the opportunity to collaborate with many clients in the Eastern Panhandle and our goal is to broaden our reach within those communities and the state. Jim King, Senior Project Manager, will head this office and is currently overseeing the renovation of the space in preparation for our grand opening on Thursday, October 28th.
Our new office will be located at 122 E German Street and full contact details can be found here on our website.
South Park Lighting Design
Mills Group met with the client to understand important architectural features of this nearly 100-year-old iconic home and how an updated lighting design and schedule could boost the site's presence at night. Working in tandem with LaFace & McGovern Associates to select low-voltage fixtures and Halterman Landscaping Design to understand installation and technical guidance, Mills Group was able to lay out an effective plan that worked within the client’s budget and gave them a new facelift for nighttime appeal. The new lighting design helps enhance the existing aspects that were being hidden in shadow, gives subtle nuance to new details and landscape, and aides in safety for any pedestrian travel.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW!!
Thistledown Property Owner's Association engaged Mills Group to develop a concept design and layout of a walled entryway for Thistledown Estates. The project design goals were to help discourage the destruction of the area due to unwanted large-scale vehicles and tractor trailers attempting to make wide turns, create new connected space for expanded vehicular parking, and to update the style and layout of the current site to enhance the sense of ownership of those living within as well as create a lasting impression on passersby.
In addition to the proposed walled entryway feature, other design elements illustrated in the schematic design package that either boosted the visual appeal or inhibited large-scale vehicles from entering the neighborhood consisted of large-scale boulders ("landscape hardening") new landscape plantings, lighting fixtures, entry signage, bollard installation, road striping, a new sidewalk location for pedestrian queueing, and a new parking area to help alleviate traffic congestion. The scope of work included site analysis, traffic studies and collaboration with emergency service vehicles, existing conditions documentation, graphic design, concept design through rendered imagery, and cost opinion of materials and construction.
Jefferson County Welcome Center
Mills Group designed an addition to the existing Jefferson County Welcome Center, home to the Jefferson County Convention and Visitors Bureau. A former model home, the building served as an important gateway to the state of West Virginia and the town of Harpers Ferry.
The welcome center was in need of exterior improvements and an additional 1,250 square feet of interior to continue to draw the attention of visitors to the area. Based on the welcome center’s proximity to the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, we approached the project with a holistic design for the building’s exterior envelope to help the center blend into the park-like surroundings. Local precedents lead to the use of exterior materials such as stone, board and batten siding and horizontal beveled siding to accomplish a natural look.
The revitalized interior includes a cathedral ceiling main hall and has been enlarged to house the exhibit hall that will highlight the county’s rich history, recreational amenities, and tourism destinations. Mills Group was additionally contracted upon completion of the addition to design the final interior vinyl graphics and informative signage that depict the landmark historic events and destinations within Jefferson County in a colorful and engaging format.