Creating a new home life.

H2A Architects have been collaborating with innovative Assisted Living developers, creating comfortable and inviting new home spaces for those who are seeking limited care and independence in these "new style" facilities. Learning from current care trends and carrying over successful lessons-learned, these new home environments are providing living experiences beyond what is typically expected in an assisted living facility.

Bella Vita Grand Blanc, MI fly over visualization
 Comforts of home, including fireplaces help create a welcoming feeling. 

Comforts of home, including fireplaces help create a welcoming feeling. 

Bella Vita of Grand Blanc offers both Assisted Living and Memory Care residential environments. An efficient building core houses shared kitchen and utility areas for the operators. Residents enjoy shared, windowed living and dining rooms. Private family spaces are available, as well. This facility, now under construction, has over 70 units available in single rooms or double.

 

More than a face lift.

 

A construction project can be difficult enough when it's a new building but what if you must do a major brick replacement project on the building’s exterior and everybody inside must keep working? The Lapeer County Complex faced this challenge when their 30-year-old building's brick exterior was found to be in precarious condition causing significant leaking, shifting and spalling. Left unrepaired, the exterior conditions would further deteriorate, damaging the structural systems behind the brick.

 The building houses offices for the county commissioners, the 40th Circuit court, 71A District Court, Probate Court, Friend of the Court, Family Court, County Clerk, Drain Commissioner, Lapeer County Sheriff, and several other administrative offices who had no option to move or shut down while the repairs were being made.

 Through careful planning H2A, with the building’s facility director, created a renovation plan to keep the government working for the people while construction took place.

 

 A three-dimensional created in Sketchup.

A three-dimensional created in Sketchup.

The only way to correct the problem was to remove the existing brick, install new insulation and flashings in the walls, make structural repairs, and then install new anchors and brickwork. To start, the architects created a 3-D model to study the complex architecture of the building. It included suspended brick overhangs, angled corners, and flush-finish detailing at the windows.

 Part of the complicated brick detailing.

Part of the complicated brick detailing.

 Wall detail

Wall detail

Several experts were consulted, including structural engineers, masonry engineers, masonry brick manufacturers, and an insulation expert, to determine the best solution for the wall replacement. This was extraordinarily difficult because the wall depth was limited but it still had to meet today’s more stringent insulation requirements. H2A worked with the team to develop the details that would allow proper brick installation, flashing, and insulation to rebuild the wall properly.

 The start of demolition.

The start of demolition.

All demolition began on the outside of the building. As the existing brick and insulation were being removed, it exposed the wall studs and the back of the interior gypsum board for the office spaces. Special care had to be taken to protect the gypsum board and interior spaces from dust and debris. Demolition was scheduled to do only sections of the building at a time. This allowed the contractor to open a wall and then immediately make repairs, install insulation, and put up the new brick.

 Prepping for new windows, finishing brick work, and installation of new windows.

Prepping for new windows, finishing brick work, and installation of new windows.

 Masons installing new brick.

Masons installing new brick.

  Staging for the installation of new windows. The new brick appears on the right.

Staging for the installation of new windows. The new brick appears on the right.

As would be expected in a renovation project such as this, several unexpected challenges popped up along the way. H2A worked closely with the general contractor and the owner to identify problems and find solutions as quickly as possible. During the project, the existing window support conditions were found to be insufficient, which contributed to leaking problems. Replacement of the windows became more cost-effective than rectifying the situation. These windows were replaced while the building users continued to use their office spaces, with minimal inconvenience. This inconvenience will be well worth the comfort of the new energy efficient walls and windows.

The process of opening exterior walls and replacing windows would leave the building vulnerable during the winter months so the project was elected to be shut down, continuing when warmer weather returns, to be completed in two phases.   

 
 

Residential Care with Dignity

 

Making the decision to place a loved one in a care facility can be heart-wrenching, but having an environment that is friendly and inviting can help ease the transition. H2A has helped in the planning and development of Assisted Living and Memory Care facilities for compassionate treatment of those in need.

 

 

Careful consideration of the physical layout and the security of Alzheimer's and dementia patients must be given during the design process. Unique conditions such as wandering behavior must be accommodated. The added challenge of very restrictive building codes requires architects to be sensitive the residents and to respond with a layout that is safe, efficient, and pleasant to live in. H2A and their partners at AGE, LLC are successfully creating these facilities to serve and ever-growing population. 

 

Helping the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan realize a dream.

 

When the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan decided to pursue their dream of creating a facility that could serve as a reclamation and redistribution center for donated bulk food items, they contracted H2A Architects to help create that vision. Wanting to staying near their existing facility, the Food Bank purchased a nearby vacant furniture warehouse that would become the new Hunger Solution Center. How this new facility would operate became the starting point of design for the architects and the staff at the Food Bank.

 A take-part workshop involving the Food Bank staff.

A take-part workshop involving the Food Bank staff.

The architects first step was to get a good understanding of how the Food Bank worked and their goals for the new site. A take-part workshop was conducted by H2A to gain valuable input from staff and management. With this information in hand, design drawings were developed.

 Main entry

Main entry

The majority of the building was reused, however, a second floor was added to create a total of over 72,000 sf of space. 

 Lobby interior

Lobby interior

The angled mullions of the lobby windows symbolize the head of a wheat shaft, which is part of the logo of The Food Bank and Feeding America. The orange accents throughout the building represent the adopted color of Hunger Awareness.

 Corporate offices are located on the added second floor

Corporate offices are located on the added second floor

 Volunteers working hard in the new reclamation/repackaging warehouse.

Volunteers working hard in the new reclamation/repackaging warehouse.

  The dramatic Donor Garden Gallery sets the stage for the Donor mural. It also serves as a gathering space before and after Community Room events. See below for all the details.

The dramatic Donor Garden Gallery sets the stage for the Donor mural. It also serves as a gathering space before and after Community Room events. See below for all the details.

This unique facility now houses large food freezer and refrigeration units, expanded food reclamation/repackaging floor, volunteer spaces, large training room, a 5,000 sf commercial kitchen, and corporate offices. This integrated mix of uses blends beautifully to create the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan's new Hunger Solution Center.

 

Restoring a local favorite.

When searching for a new location for their bee farm, a mid-Michigan couple found an old Flint area orchard and barn collection that had been left abandoned. Wolcott Orchard Cider Mill and farm had long been a favorite stop-by for local residents looking for fresh apple cider, donuts, and apple pies. Though left in disrepair, our determined apiarists bought the farm (so to speak) and set about restoring the community icon. Seeking consultation, they contacted H2A Architects to help them evaluate the building and grounds and help them master plan for future use the facility.

LocalHoneysign.JPG

Fortunately, most all of the original apple cider processing equipment was still in the barns including press, sorters, and storage tank. Long term plans are to restore and make this cider mill equipment operational again . 

 
 First things first. Get that roof fixed!

First things first. Get that roof fixed!

The first thing the new owners noticed was how bad the existing roof was. Fixing a buildings roof is one of the single best things you can do for your building. Without a good roof, water damage will spread quickly. It will also provide a pathway for unwanted inhabitants. H2A devised a plan to make roof repairs, rework drainage, and replace the existing asphalt shingles with a new metal roof.

With the Phase One roof replacement complete, master planning can continue to restore the orchard, bring in the bee hives, restore the apple processing equipment, and redesign the interior spaces for retail and events.

Some traditions just have to be continued.

 

Local Artists and Architect create unique donor recognition

 

In a unique collaborative effort, one of the design architects and painter, teamed with two cut glass artists to create a unique and stunning work of art. The Donor Garden Gallery was created in recognition of donors for the construction of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan's Hunger Solution Center. Donors were represented by a fruit or vegetable, recognizing the level of giving. The mural contains representations of radishes, green onions, carrots, tomatoes, oranges, apples, cucumbers, melons, watermelons and pumpkins depicted in artists paint and cut glass. The mural is over 60' long and 8' high. It is located near the entry of the Hunger Solution Center and greets guests who gather outside the Community Room. The design was originated by the architects then defined and refined by the artists, the Food Bank staff, and board members.

 

**Update**

The mural for the Donor Garden Gallery was given an AIA Flint Chapter 2015 Special Recognition award for Interior Architecture!

 

The mural consists of seven separate large panels. The panels consist of six smaller individual panels which were assembled on site after spending time with three individuals artists at their own studios. The installation was a group effort of the artists and volunteers.

Once the panels were installed, missing pieces and paint touch up brought the mural to life creating one of the most unique donor recognition pieces.

Mural artists, left to right, Architect/painter, Sheri Ananich with Cut glass artists Virginia Stevens and Amy Sutkowi. 

New life for an Historic Barn

 

Phase Two of this project finalizes the transformation of a former dilapidated calf barn into an event space at the flourishing Van Hoosen Farm. After years of neglect and deterioration the barn's fate was inevitable. The farm staff recorded the barns characteristics and had the failing structure taken down with the exception of the exterior masonry walls.  Phase One of the project reconstructed the exterior of the barn, while Phase Two provides heating, cooling, insulation, restrooms and interior finishes – all in service of providing a memorable environment with a strong connection to its historic roots. Jackie’s deep respect and understanding for historical structures permitted her to not only restore the Calf Barn to its original glory, but to transition its use from working calf barn to an exciting event space setting. 

 

 

Getting ready for a party!

 The Calf Barn restored, re-purposed and placed back in context in the Farm.

The Calf Barn restored, re-purposed and placed back in context in the Farm.

 The former Bull Run.

The former Bull Run.

 Milk House and Barn from the front yard.

Milk House and Barn from the front yard.

Preserving the home of a General Motors Pioneer

 

The historic materials used to build our buildings 100 or more years ago require different treatments than modern materials.  Treatments and repairs appropriate for contemporary buildings can at times actually be detrimental to our historic buildings. The maintenance of this 1916 Estate of Charles Stewart Mott requires expertise in restoration, rehabilitation, renovation and repairs.  Jackie guides the Estate staff thru the processes of maintaining this historic treasure.   In the spring of 2015 re-pointing work will be undertaken as well and replacement trim replacements. H2A architects serves as the Estate’s ‘on-call’ architect.

 

 

In preparation of the buildings 100th birthday celebration additional projects are being undertaken to keep this treasure looking great.  Recent projects include copper gutter and downspout replacement, slate repairs, and copper roof repairs. 

 Tuck pointing definition

Tuck pointing definition

 Gutter repair

Gutter repair

 Brick matching

Brick matching

The Corporate Image

To stay competitive in today's automotive retail market, dealers are not only faced with the challenge of having a great vehicle to sell but also to have a dealership that reflects excitement of a new car. To bring a dramatic effect and to share a common brand image, auto manufacturers developed dealership image programs for new and existing facilities. Signature Ford Lincoln, located Owosso, MI, hired H2A to implement the new Ford Lincoln corporate image program to their existing facility. The project involves improvements, renovations, and additions to the existing 25,000 square foot facility.  

*Update* - The project, now completed, shows a dramatic change from the existing dealership.

IMG_3810a.jpg
 The proposed facade improvements implementing Ford Lincoln image standards.

The proposed facade improvements implementing Ford Lincoln image standards.

 
 Existing view of former image program. 

Existing view of former image program. 

The improvements will provide enhanced sales area, customer write-up, waiting lounge, barrier-free restrooms, and new vehicle delivery area.  The exterior will feature a Ford Lincoln Dealership make-over matching the new corporate branding guidelines.  This new, elegant, and sleek exterior is not only beautiful but cost effective.  The key is reuse rather than replace.  Here, reducing the impact on the owner’s budget also reduces the impact on the land fill and minimizes disruption, allowing the dealership to effectivelyservice their customers throughout the construction.

 The existing entry will be expanded and renovated with the new Ford entry tower similar to below.

The existing entry will be expanded and renovated with the new Ford entry tower similar to below.

Reaching Back to the Past

H2A Architects worked with the City of Cheboygan DDA to implement a façade improvement program. The program seeks to rehabilitate some of their downtown buildings to the likeness of the original buildings. The façade designs must meet with strict adherence to SHPO requirements in order to gain Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) funding.

The local Historic Society and the City provided historic photos gave clues as to how the original buildings looked before "modernization" attempts. H2A developed design sketches and generated cost estimates to aid the city, MEDC, and building owners in how best to approach the project and how funding would allocated.

Eight downtown businesses participated in the program. The design drawings will serve as a template for the businesses to restore the historic character of their buildings, if they chose to do so. 

Buildings varied from 1950’s mid-century modern style to late 19th century designs.   The buildings had undergone numerous renovations over the many years, continuing to augment them far from their original appearance. 

Cheboygan is a great little Michigan "up north" town with a lot of history. H2A was proud to be chosen to help recreate some of that historic past.

It's also a great place for a weekend vacation. 

Meeting the needs of the Homeless

 

Carriage Town Ministries of Flint takes the challenge of helping the homeless head-on. Their continually expanding campus in Downtown Flint goes beyond just providing a hot meal and a place to stay. CTM also provides training and education programs to help the homeless move out of joblessness and poverty. 

The campus includes the Men's Center, Dining and Kitchen facility, Chapel, Senior Resources, Heath Care Screening, Clothing Room, Success Houses (transitional housing), and Children and Baby Resources.  H2A is excited to be the design partner with CTM in the development of the campus. Carriage Town Ministries, with H2A, is now planning the renovation and development of the Family Center, serving homeless mothers with children and special care for teen moms.

 
 First Floor Plan of the proposed Family Center.

First Floor Plan of the proposed Family Center.

 The exterior view of the proposed Family Center. Rendering by Chet Johnson.

The exterior view of the proposed Family Center. Rendering by Chet Johnson.

 
 One of CTM's several Success House.

One of CTM's several Success House.

 
 The Men's Center

The Men's Center

 A flower and vegetable garden maintained by residents adds beauty to the neighborhood.

A flower and vegetable garden maintained by residents adds beauty to the neighborhood.

Accessibility without compromise.

 

  Project update - Ribbon cutting!    "This Place Matters" is a   national campaign created  by the  National Trust for Historic Preservation   i  n 2008 .  It's goal is to let people shine a spotlight on historic places that have played an important role in their life. On October 23, 2016, the members of the First Presbyterian Church in Mason, MI, dedicated the new work at the historic church., letting everyone know that "This Place Matters"! The church made a commitment to the historic downtown of Mason and invested $1.5 million into the structure. This investment in building and community will ensure the church will help meet the needs of their community for generations to come.

Project update - Ribbon cutting!

"This Place Matters" is a national campaign created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2008 . It's goal is to let people shine a spotlight on historic places that have played an important role in their life. On October 23, 2016, the members of the First Presbyterian Church in Mason, MI, dedicated the new work at the historic church., letting everyone know that "This Place Matters"! The church made a commitment to the historic downtown of Mason and invested $1.5 million into the structure. This investment in building and community will ensure the church will help meet the needs of their community for generations to come.

 

This historic church was built in 1900 and has served the congregation well.  In 1960 an addition was built to include two floors of classroom spaces toward the rear of the church, behind a stone façade.  The two story construction, so typical of this era, provides challenges for the disabled and for funerary functions of the church.  Additionally the heating equipment and electrical infrastructure had outlived their useful life.  

 Street view of the First Presbyterian Church of Mason.

Street view of the First Presbyterian Church of Mason.

A master plan helped the congregation to prioritize and fund-raise to continue the building maintenance program they started a few years earlier.  A new HVAC system and electrical service will help this historic building to serve the congregation for generations to come.  

 The new barrier-free entry is to be added in this location.

The new barrier-free entry is to be added in this location.

An addition to the building will include a new elevator which will provide access to all levels.  A sensitive approach to this historic church is required to ensure the historic character is preserved.  The church is located in the historic district and is a significant contributing structure.

 A water color study sketch showing the historic character of the proposed addition. The new entry, shown to the left, will include the relocation of an existing limestone archway.

A water color study sketch showing the historic character of the proposed addition. The new entry, shown to the left, will include the relocation of an existing limestone archway.

 Massing models were generated to understand how a new addition could be added to an already complex building layout.

Massing models were generated to understand how a new addition could be added to an already complex building layout.

Revitalization of a neighborhood school

 

One of the best ways to practice sustainable architecture is to reuse and renovate existing buildings. When the Eagle's Nest Academy Charter School (ENA) was looking for a facility, H2A assisted ENA in evaluating several existing buildings within their targeted area. The site selected was an existing school building from the former stock of Flint Community Schools. The building was from an era of school design where the facilities also served as neighbor community centers, built right in the middle of a residential district. The building has a large gym, an auditorium, and nearly 7 acres of usable site, including a baseball diamond. Not bad for a K-4 elementary school! Through careful consideration of building codes, a majority of the space was able to be reused. Several life safety issues were addressed and a new boiler and unit ventilator system were installed to bring the school into current code compliance. Now, complete, the Eagle's Nest Academy is well on it's way to start producing some new and creative minds to guide the next generation. ENA was also very successful in re-establishing a neighborhood community center which will act as the catalyst for rejuvenating the area.