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News from Vermont Integrated Architecture, PC
Fall 2021

 
Old buildings, new technologies, VIA's affordable housing boom - read on for details!

Historic Burlington City Hall
Gets Modern Upgrades

The reconfiguration of Burlington City Hall was completed this summer. The first floor was completely renovated, consolidating and reconfiguring various departments with more secure glass entries to office suites. A new large community room creates space for various departments and groups to meet, while a wellness room and lactation space offer modern amenities for city employees. All historic doors and trim were preserved. The installation of acoustical panels throughout the building will help mitigate the reverb from the beautiful marble adorning the halls and stairway. A new lounge space on the third floor takes advantage of two previously closed off arched windows with lovely views to City Hall Park and Church Street. The project also included a major upgrade to the building’s mechanical system and additional insulation in the attic.

Third floor before (left) and after (right). Freeing the arched windows on the east and west sides of the third floor adds light to the space and showcases a lovely architectural detail.
 
See more of Burlington City Hall
AFFORDABLE HOUSING UPDATE:
Vergennes Community Housing Celebrates One Year
Morrisville Apartment Building Under Construction
New Project Underway in Putney
The affordable housing shortage in our community and throughout Vermont is very much on our minds of late. Shelter is one of humanity’s basic needs and as architects, our job is to help make sure that need is met. We believe that everyone is equally deserving of safe, healthy, energy efficient housing that not only provides shelter, but also fosters community interaction and delight. We are proud to be part of three such housing projects that have become or will become “home” for our fellow Vermonters.
 
Vergennes Community Housing just marked its first year of full occupancy with a celebration on September 24. Residents shared their delight in the apartments’ energy efficiency and amazement at living in a place with no drafts!

 
Continue reading about VIA's affordable housing projects
Powerful New Tool Saves Time
Over the past year, VIA has been getting to know our new favorite tool – the Matterport 3D camera. The camera has two basic functions – capturing scans of three-dimensional space and taking 360-degree photos. VIA primarily uses the camera to document existing buildings in great detail in a fraction of the time it used to take with a measuring tape, pencil, and paper. Scans created with the camera export directly into our Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, from which we can easily add corresponding details and measurements. This expedited process for creating existing conditions documentation allows us to spend less time (and fee) on documenting what’s already there and more time on design. An added benefit is that our clients and our consultants also have access to the scans and can refer to them for measurements or other purposes.

Jesse, who is VIA’s go-to expert with the camera, pointed out another useful function. Before the sheetrock went up in a recent residential project, he took a scan of the structure to document it “as-built,” creating an accurate, photographic record of the systems behind the walls. Should problems arise in the future, the scan can help pinpoint the cause. The 3D camera has proven to be a fascinating way to understand a building and is fast becoming an integral part of our design process. We look forward to further developing our skills with it.
A scan of all four levels of the Brandon Free Public Library.
Tour the scan of Brandon Free Public Library yourself!
VIA Ten-Year Summary of Projects
We recently updated our project infographic; ten years in and we're gradually reaching all corners of the state!
VIA Goes Solar!

VIA is excited to announce that we have purchased 12 panels in Acorn Energy Co-op’s Community Solar Project in Bristol to offset the electricity usage in our Marbleworks office. This investment moves our practice further into alignment with our values – using renewable energy whenever possible and supporting projects that benefit our community.

Read more about Bristol Community Solar
VIA Recommends:
Children's Books About Architecture

We polled the office and came up with this list of some of our favorite children's books about architecture:

  • Old Penn Station by William Low
  • Round Buildings, Square Buildings, Buildings That Wiggle Like a Fish by Philip M. Isaacson
  • Louise Builds a House by Louise Pfanner
  • Mr. Rouse Builds His House by Stefan Themerson (drawings by Franciszka Thermerson)
  • Roberto, The Insect Architect by Nina Laden
  • The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater

- - - Notice - - -

VIA staff will be on our annual retreat on Thursday, November 4. We will not be attending to emails or answering the phone during the day. We will respond to your messages on Friday!


Tip #25

Think Differently About Lawn

Lawn is an ecologically poor groundcover – it is a monoculture that provides no habitat for wildlife and requires time and resources to maintain. Typically, we tend to think about a yard as lawn interrupted here and there with trees or gardens of taller plantings. Try thinking about it the other way around: groves of taller grass, trees, and shrubs intersected with mowed paths that lead to clearings. The size of the clearings should correlate with activities - larger for lawn games, smaller for a picnic table, for example. Notice how quickly your yard will become a haven for insects, birds, and other wildlife, and how much less time you’ll spend mowing! For more inspiration, read this interview with ecologist Doug Tallamy or check out Sara Stein’s books – Noah’s Garden: Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Backyards and Planting Noah’s Garden: Further Adventures in Backyard Ecology.

 
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