Local architect wins design competition, again

Wednesday January 23, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- Adam Lemire, of Brattleboro, won the New Hampshire Chapter of the American Institute of Architects award for Intern/Young Architect Design Competition for the second year in a row. The announcement was made at the 29th Annual Awards Banquet held at Bedford Village Inn, Jan. 11, in Bedford, N.H.

The competition was created in 2003 by the New Hampshire Young Architects Forum. At this year's banquet there were more than 180 people present.

The executive director for AIANH, Carolyn Isaak, said that Lemire winning two years in a row is impressive.

"This gives young architects fresh out of school and working at firms experience at presenting, designing their own projects, and the opportunity to send their project ideas around the state," Isaak said.

This year's concept was designed around Whitcomb Hall in West Swanzey, N.H. It has been vacant since 1988, and has room for 250 people. This scenario allowed the architects to be as creative as they could to imagine future uses of the historical building.

"This was to see how they thought the building would be best used," Isaak said.

Lemire's design plan preserved the integrity of the building, but allowed for improvements on Whitcomb Hall's lawn and an addition north of the site. The addition included a backstage area, new kitchen, elevator, and stairs.

His plans would enable Whitcomb Hall to be used for contemporary community events such as farmers' markets, movies, concerts, and other communal activities. His plans allow for modernity without taking anything away from the original, historical structure.

"The challenge of the competition was to renovate a 100-year-old town-owned building that had gone unused since 1988," Lemire said. "My approach, named Whitcomb GRID, was to strike a balance between preserving the historic character of the building and installing a series of adaptable tools, such as canopies, lights, and platforms. These tools were arrayed on flexible grids to facilitate a wide range of events and activities."

Lemire also stressed the importance of community buildings.

"Community halls are interesting to me because they are open to multiple programmatic arrangements," he said. "A successful community hall is one that maximizes flexibility because no one can ever fully predict how communities will use it. My design focused on how flexible tools set within an open space could support both contemporary and future needs."

Lemire compared his project from 2012 with this year's project.

"With both Portsmouth LOOP and Whitcomb GRID I was interested in solutions rooted in landscape and infrastructural systems rather than strictly architectural methods," he said

Lemire now lives in Brattleboro, and got his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Pennsylvania in 2008. He is a senior designer at LineSync Architecture in Wilmington.


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