Standing together in the sunny fall morning, part of the MA&D team team joined educators, planners, elected officials and other supporters of Wissahickon Charter School (WCS) as we broke ground at their new site on Washington Lane. The project includes a new two-story building for the school’s 500 elementary and middle-school students.
February 13, 2013
Do you recognize this intersection?
Valley Green Bank, a long-standing client of ours, is set to open a third branch in South Philadelphia this coming spring. It may not look like much now, but this former health care facility at the corner of Broad Street & Tasker Avenue, will be completely revamped by MA&D. This branch, design specifically for this location, will still share similarities to the other Valley Green Bank locations designed by MA&D.
In keeping with the Bank's vision, our design concepts will open up both street faces of the building with windows, welcoming the neighborhood and community activity. Extensive exterior renovations and wraparound green landscaping will enliven the entry plaza and street corner.
The interior, as you can see, has been completely gutted. New finishes, innovative lighting and bursts of color with fill the empty shell.
The Valley Green Bank staff are no strangers to South Philadelphia. Bob Marino, President of Valley Green Bank's Delaware Valley Region, is a South Philly native and sees their move into the neighborhood as an organic expansion of their local company and looks forward to adding to the already vital business scene.
We're thrilled to continue our work with this growing business that is fully committed to the Philadelphia region.
Congrats Valley Green Bank!
January 14, 2013
Question- Where do you most often enter (and exit) your home? Growing up, my family had only one entrance to our house--the front door. The back door was reserved "exclusively" for Ginger, our Cocker Spaniel.
Nowadays, this is not the case. More often than not, families in suburban houses park behind the house and enter through the back, or a side door. They encourage their guests to do so as well. The front door now serves as a decorative piece, rather than entryway.
Designed by MA&D, the Seidenberg House, features a reconfigured side door main entrance
With an emphasis on open, airy floor plans and accessible kitchens, modern living standards redefine a house's layout, movement, and central focus. The kitchen, instead of the formal living room, is now the heart of the home where families and guests gather.
The MA&D designed Cohen Residence
In this Inquirer piece (link below), Alan Metcalfe shares his thoughts and design opinion regarding the "front door dilemma" with writer Samantha Melamed.
What are your thoughts on how we currently use the front door? Share them with us on Facebook.
Click here here to read the entire article.
We recently caught up with our young friends at Abington Friends School to explore their Nature Playground and the MA&D designed Garden Station project. This gave us the opportunity to evaluate our design of this progressive play space and observe how the children use it.
November 27, 2012
In this video, MA&D Partner Aaron Goldblatt, shares our design concepts and the challenges we faced with this unique play space, while Abington students discover the open-ended possibilities of their new play structure.
Abington Friends School: Garden Station from Metcalfe Architecture & Design on Vimeo.
A big congratulations to Abington Friends School for becoming the first certified school-based Nature Explore Classroom in Pennsylvania--a distinction awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation & Dimensions Education Research Foundation.
We architects create two kinds of buildings - those we call "objects," where appearance and shape are the focus; and those that are "space makers," creating places inside and around a structure. I am fascinated by the latter.
For those spaces are where we design places for people that engender happiness, security, and comfort. When these needs have been met, people are open to learn, love, and interact with each other. The design of "space makers" requires more than solving mundane problems of building design - like locating bathrooms, lobbies, and utilities. It requires an understanding of the subtle ways that people inhabit the world.
Science has long understood that human experience is driven by more than the rational. Indeed, we intuit many decisions about safety and comfort in the blink of an eye upon entering a room, long before these issues even cross our conscious mind.
We humans subconsciously ask ourselves the following questions upon entering a space: Is there enough light for me to feel safe; can I see everyone and can I hide or escape from them? Do I feel enclosed or exposed; can I see down from my tiny enclosed space and am I vulnerable from above? Do I feel comfortable in a crowd or near one or must I be far from it? Our sensitivity to these issues is what attracts us into a crowded kitchen at a party, a tiny treehouse, the enclosed edge of a dance floor or under the open sky of an Italian piazza. The lessons learned from these romantic types of spaces have a real impact on the design of the seemingly mundane conference and classrooms, auditoriums, lobbies, bedrooms, kitchens, and office spaces in the buildings of everyday life.
October 11, 2012
It's that time of year again--when DesignPhiladelphia, a week-long festival of design events, creative projects, and thought-provoking discussions, brings together design professionals and arts supporters from around the city. This festival has come to signify the importance design and culture has in our communities and their undeniable contribution to Philadelphia's continued growth and diversity.
This year, we're proud to support VIADUCTgreene--an organization that intersects culture and wildness along unused railways and infrastructure in the city. Our office understands VIADUCTgreene's potential impact on our urban landscape and its great promise as a public space in Philadelphia--two causes near and dear to our "design" hearts here at MA&D.
This Saturday, October 13th, VIADUCTgreene, sponsored by Metcalfe Architecture & Design, is hosting a "visioning session" for the Reading Viaduct.
Through the Community Design Collaborative, VIADUCTgreene has teamed up with local businesses to develop conceptual designs for a 3-block stretch of a 3-mile linear park connecting many neighborhoods to Fairmount Park.
For the event, VIADUCTgreene wants your input! Join us in envisioning the great potential of this soaring and submersive civic space. Bring your ideas and be prepared to let your imaginations run wild.
Snacks and bar provided, too!
See our flyer below for more information and let me, Elizabeth, know if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope to see you there!
One of the aspects of working in architecture that makes a project truly rewarding is having a great client. I was very fortunate to be involved with MA&D in the redesign and renovation of the library at the Julia R. Masterman Laboratory and Demonstration School, a truly outstanding community and a remarkable place.
MA&D was asked by the Community Design Collaborative (another great organization) to undertake a pro-bono study to remodel the school's admittedly dilapidated and poorly functioning library. Through the process we learned a great deal about what makes Masterman such an exceptional place. There is a strong network of teacher and parent support coupled with one of the brightest student bodies I've ever seen.
Bright green doors welcome students into the updated library space
After the completion of the library project, we were asked to speak directly to a few periods of ninth grade geometry to talk about our initial plans for the space versus what was actually built. It sparked a great conversation about the architecture profession, technical issues, and changes to the designs.
Fielding student questions during geometry class
The kids were great! All of them were engaged, participated, and seemed genuinely interested in the discussion. Elizabeth Gault (MA&D marketing and publicity manager) and I stayed at the school for about three periods which I can say, at least for myself, took almost the equivalent of the energy required to make it through an entire day at the office!
Elizabeth and I also had a chance to see the library for the first time after its completion. As with most projects, the end result was not exactly what was originally designed. However, the new space maintains the spatial qualities, organization, and overall aesthetic that we were aiming for in the first place. Most importantly, we learned that the library is functioning better than it was before and students enjoy their new library digs.
Masterman geometry teacher, Chris Taranta, and I discuss the library's design
Seeing a space go from poorly functioning and dreary to bright, open, comfortable, and efficient is still amazing to me even after seeing it happen many times. For a place as great as Masterman, it makes me even happier! Here's to hoping that the new library continues to serve this great community for years to come.
Each time we, as designers, start a new project, we begin a process of discovery, in order to learn and understand as much as possible about our clients' wishes and ideas for their project. It's our job to interpret their wishes and bring their ideas fruition.
One of our latest "brainstorming sessions" was for the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia, PA. We're currently working with Seaport staff on shaping their museum master plan study and preparing the organization for its future.
As part of our discovery process, we took a "field trip" to explore the world of maritime museums. On this trip, I was inspired by the play of textures, materials, light, and form that created a "maritime experience."
Here's a short video of inspirations I found along the way that will inform our design concepts.
The photos in this clip are from our visits to the USS Constellation at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Md and the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk, VA.
Check out, and show your support for, the Independence Seaport Museum at:
MA&D summer blog series pt 4
What better way to kick off the summer than to build a playground!
Recently, over 35 community members came out to help rebuild a large, wooden play structure at Elwell Field in Haveford Twp.
Just two years before, the original twenty year old play structure was demolished due to safety concerns. While it was the right thing to do, as a resident and parent who frequented the playground with my kids, it was still a huge loss. Ever since the old structure was removed, a small group of highly dedicated residents worked tirelessly to bring it back.
Working with Township Commissioners, the Parks and Rec Department and community leaders, this group was able to slowly but surely get the funding and Township approval to get the structure rebuilt. The only catch was the community had to build it themselves. A successful campaign was waged to get volunteers to rebuild the structure.
Neighbors and friends did everything from digging the over 30 post foundations and erecting the wood structure to pouring concrete footings and spreading 100 yards of mulch.
Working with four play-structure professionals from Designed For Fun, volunteers spent over two days working to have the playground ready for the waves of children to descend upon the playground during this summer.
It was an intense and exciting weekend for everyone involved, and I think we would all agree that it was well worth the wait.