Making Spaces Into Places

February 25, 2015

St. Mark’s Lutheran Church

Like many established churches, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Hagerstown, MD has not had an update to their facility inRead more →

January 1, 2015

West Virginia Residence

A 12,000 square foot residence nestled in the woods of the rolling countryside of West Virginia. The placement of theRead more →

December 5, 2013

APUS Finance Center

American Public University Finance Center The renovation of an existing warehouse, located next to the University’s Academic Center, into aRead more →

December 5, 2013

Middletown War Memorial

The Town of Middletown, MD had an existing memorial for local World War II veterans that was dedicated in 1947.Read more →

December 5, 2013

APUS Academic Center

Certified LEED Gold, this 45,000 square foot, four story administration building houses the University’s Admissions Department and was the firstRead more →

December 5, 2013

City of Hagerstown

Tucked between the historic Masonic Temple, Tristate Building, Walker House, and Schindel Rohrer, is a 200 space precast concrete parkingRead more →

December 5, 2013

Sycamore Springs Farm

Sycamore Springs Farm posed a challenge in creating a modest addition to an historic stone farm house while maintaining theRead more →

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St. Mark’s Lutheran Church

Like many established churches, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Hagerstown, MD has not had an update to their facility in over 50 years. MSB Architects was hired to assess the needs in their existing building and prepare a master plan complete with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility improvements and programmatic changes. While it is important to resolve the ADA accessibility issues, what St. Mark’s really needed was a clear front entrance. Like most churches in urban areas, there is a main entrance into the sanctuary, but the parking lot is near the rear of the building, making it more convenient for most individuals to enter another way. Once inside the secondary entrance, parishioners have to travel through several rooms to get to the sanctuary, which is not ideal for moving people through the space. Combined with several elevation changes on the first floor, some changes were needed to make the best use of the space and keep the congregation safe.

Our solution was to design a new main entrance and convert the adjacent space into a small, informal gathering area, perfect for socializing before or after services. The new entry space will be two-stories and have similar architectural character to their existing sanctuary. Not only did this solution provide them with a new entry, but it also allows for the staff in the second floor offices to see the entrance and properly meet guests. After a careful study of the first floor elevation issues, we were able to address the issue through the use of a two sided elevator near the sanctuary. This provides access to every space on the first floor, the basement and second floor, except the auditorium. Access issues to the auditorium were solved through the design of a simple ramp. Our design concept provided solutions that St. Mark’s had not previously considered. Our out of the box thinking for the final master plan layout should meet the church’s needs for the next 50 years.

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West Virginia Residence

A 12,000 square foot residence nestled in the woods of the rolling countryside of West Virginia. The placement of the house takes full advantage of the rolling landscape and mountainside views to the rear of the property. The entrance to the house has fewer windows than the rear to reinforce the view shed towards the mountains. Stone and wood where chosen for the exterior finishes in keeping with its natural environment.

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APUS Finance Center

American Public University Finance Center

The renovation of an existing warehouse, located next to the University’s Academic Center, into a 90,000 square foot administration building for the Finance Department of the American Public University System.  The Finance Center is three stories, with the second story open along the perimeter for increased natural lighting.  A centrally located circular atrium houses skylights that bring natural light into the interior of the building.  A large multi-purpose room located on the ground floor is designed for campus wide meetings and events.  The third floor features an elaborate meeting space for board meetings and special events.

Sustainable features include:

  • Materials with high recycled content
  • Regionally sourced materials
  • Large windows for natural lighting
  • High efficiency variable refrigerant HVAC system
  • Re-use of an existing brownfield
  • High SRI (solar reflective index) roofing
  • Low VOC paints, coatings, adhesives, sealants, and carpets
  • Photovoltaic solar panels on a canopy structure over the parking lot
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Middletown War Memorial

The Town of Middletown, MD had an existing memorial for local World War II veterans that was dedicated in 1947. After more than 50 years in the elements, the plaques were in need of a touch up.  In an ongoing effort that began in 1999, Middletown and local Amvets Post 9 began efforts to refurbish and expand the memorial.  The original plaques were restored, flagpoles added to represent the five branches of the armed services (plus one each for POW-MIA and the US flags), and new granite monuments were erected with the names of servicemen and women who made sacrifices for their country from World War I through Iraq and Afghanistan.

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APUS Academic Center

Certified LEED Gold, this 45,000 square foot, four story administration building houses the University’s Admissions Department and was the first new building the University constructed in Charles Town.  In keeping with the historic nature of downtown Charles Town, APUS desired a building in harmony with its surroundings and the University’s tradition of renovating historic buildings elsewhere in town.  The building features managers’ offices around the central core of the building with open offices around the perimeter to maximize natural lighting.  The ground floor houses the university’s library featuring a large collection of military reference books.

Sustainable features include:

  • Photovoltaic solar panels on the roof
  • Large windows for natural lighting
  • High efficiency variable refrigerant HVAC system
  • Re-use of an existing brownfield
  • High SRI (solar reflective index) roofing
  • Low VOC paints, coatings, adhesives, sealants, and carpets
  • Materials with high recycled content
  • Regionally sourced materials
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City of Hagerstown

Tucked between the historic Masonic Temple, Tristate Building, Walker House, and Schindel Rohrer, is a 200 space precast concrete parking deck.  Located in Hagerstown’s Downtown Arts & Entertainment District, the downtown city square and Historic Maryland Theater are within a block of the parking deck.  The parking deck’s ideal location improves connectivity between parking and downtown attractions.  It connects directly to the Potomac Walk Building’s Trader’s on the Potomac retail shop, Bulls & Bears restaurant, and office space, and has direct access to South Potomac Street.

The site slopes dramatically from front to back, which allows this five story structure to remain hidden from South Potomac Street, the main thoroughfare through downtown Hagerstown.  In keeping with the historic nature of the parking deck’s surroundings, brick veneer was cast into the precast concrete panels and antique style light fixtures were selected for the walkway between the deck and the Schindel Roher building.  The parking deck elevator provides handicapped accessibility to the adjacent buildings, where not possible previously.

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Sycamore Springs Farm

Sycamore Springs Farm posed a challenge in creating a modest addition to an historic stone farm house while maintaining the house’s character.  The addition included expanding the family style kitchen, den, and master bedroom. Careful attention was given to the exterior finishes to ensure that they did match the existing house.