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Vermont Downtown and Historic Preservation Conference

Several ADi staff attended the Conference in White River Junction, VT on Thursday, June 8, 2017.  Organizers have said they had 330 attendees from over 60 communities and 5 states participate this year. Skip to :33 for the Keynote address if you’d like! Video by CATV 8/10 in the Upper Valley.

    Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity with Austin Design

    habitat for humanity roof framing

    ADi’s Helaina Balcanoff has been the designer (and more) for a new Habitat home on Smith Street in Greenfield, MA. Way to go Helaina! The Greenfield Recorder ran a story today, excerpted below. Full story here.

    If you’ve ever dreamed of building your own energy-efficient home but haven’t been able to get financing, a local nonprofit may be able to help. Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity is accepting applications to build an affordable, single-family home in Greenfield with a sale price of $139,000 or less. Eligible applicants will have incomes up to 70 percent of area median income, which is adjusted for family size.

    Those interested in submitting an application are invited to attend information sessions on Tuesday, June 6, at 6 p.m. and Saturday, June, 10 at 10 a.m. at the Greenfield Public Library.

    The two-bedroom zero net energy home will be built on Smith Street. Thanks to local company PV Squared, the house will have solar panels. Franklin County Technical High School will contribute help from several trades and Austin Design of Colrain has donated its architectural services.

      The Day Talks Beer with Fox Farm’s Zack Adams

      We’re talking about the idea of opening one’s own craft brewery.

      It’s an increasingly popular and thirst-quenching bit of entrepreneurialism across our region, and Salem-based Fox Farm Brewery is the latest to open its taps. Owned by the husband/wife team of Laura Adams and brew master Zack Adams and managed by Zack’s brother Dave Adams, Fox Farm Brewery is headquartered in Salem on an old dairy farm the couple purchased four years ago. It’s the culmination of a long-time dream that probably first seemed an actually realistic concept in 2012. That’s when Zack Adams, using a home-brew kit he got for Christmas from his in-laws, made a batch of beer called Magnificent Seven IPA. The beer was selected from over 1,000 entries as one of three national winners in the 2012 Samuel Adams Longshot American Homebrew Contest.

      After a long process in purchasing and renovating the farm and its dairy barn, installing brewing equipment and going through protracted legal processes that involved licensing and zoning issues — and, of course, as Adams refined his art as a brewer — Fox Farm Brewery last weekend officially opened the doors. In addition to a tap room where visitors can sample glasses and pints and purchase growlers to go, Fox Farm has begun distributing its five current beers — the Burst IPA, the Gather Keller Pilsner, the Hearth Bound porter, and two varieties of Roam American Pale Ales — to various bars and restaurants in the region.

      Read the full interview in The Day.

        How Older Houses Work: A Discussion

        SEON flyer


          A Reply: Misleading Quote Was a Disservice to Architectural Debate

          Editor of the Reformer:

          In response to a quote published in “Wilmington home still too big for neighbor,” May 8 — “I don’t think that it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever designed or seen but I think it meets the requirements of what they were trying to do.”

          Architecture, for me, is not something that is easily distilled down to a single image, thought, or phrase.

          The home in Wilmington, that the Reformer article speaks of has gone through several design iterations due to a zoning process that has been unusually long and arduous. The initial design has been whittled down and altered to accommodate changes in the zoning ordinance, the suggestions of a previous DRB meeting, and compromises to respect neighbors’ concerns. The final outcome is not what I believe it could have been.

          One of the DRB members asked about the aesthetic quality of an elevational drawing leading me to say what is quoted in the article. Architects and designers use Elevations as a way to convey proportion, materiality, and geometry. As such, elevations are tools of building rather than images of beauty. Elevations can never convey the shape or the emotion wrought of passion and utility that is, I believe, the heart of architecture. Architects form materials and vision into space — full of potential and purpose, texture and color, light and shadow.

          When we are required to flatten it — to reduce it to an orthogonal, static image — the art and power is flattened as well. Judging the beauty and intention of architecture by looking at Elevations is like judging the life of an individual by looking at their census data.

          When architects and designers talk about our craft, we are talking, quite literally, about the environment we, you and I, live in. We wrap our everyday existence in the the buildings on Main Street and the columns and beams bounding our front porch. Architecture, for me, is the mother of all art and the driving force that pushes me to reevaluate and reimagine how I think about my life and how I live it.

          Each design I begin starts with a conversation about the people that will inhabit the space and I have always felt it a great privilege to design a family’s home. A home is the living journal within which we write our lives — living our most precious and even most desperate moments. I never go into the design of a house lightly because I know it will become a silent partner in the lives of my clients, their family, friends, and neighbors. It is more than art to me, it is sacred.

          Architecture, for me, is not something that is easily distilled down to a single image, thought, or phrase. I think it is a shame, however, that all of the intention, passion, and time that so many people put into this project was potentially reduced to a single misleading quote of a frustrated professional speaking nervously in front of a review board.

          Patrick Kitzmiller,
          Brattleboro, May 10

            #GratefulBecause We Work with Creative, Talented People

            fox farm instagram shovel tap pulls

            Zach Adams at Fox Farm Brewery in Salem, CT (opening very soon) is crafting his tap handles from old shovels, salvaged from the barn’s former incarnation as a dairy farm. Love this. PS – he needs a few more!

              Shelburne Falls’ Sweetheart Inn Is Coming Back


              Austin Design is delighted to be working with Joe Rae to bring this local landmark back as an active part of the Shelburne Falls community. The pub brewery on the lowest level will be coming on line first, building on our strong and expanding experience in that sector. After that, the restaurant and banquet space on the next floor up, and a handful of rooms to accommodate guests who would like to explore the area further. This sort of work is very gratifying!

              Read the latest article in the Greenfield Recorder.

                The Tree House Brewing Success Story, Chapter 4: Charlton

                Tree House Partners

                An article yesterday in BusinessWest Magazine by Joseph Bednar follows the unexpected but gratifying growth of central Massachusett’s Tree House Brewing Co. craft brewery. From a tiny start in Brimfield, to two farm-based iterations in Monson, the three partners are now wrapping up their fourth version in Charlton, MA. Austin Design has been working steadily with Damien Goudreau, Nate Lanier, and Dean Rohan on a fast-tracked, 55K sf production and visitor’s center, planning to be open in the early summer . Stay tuned for more on this eagerly anticipated debut.

                  Lawson’s Finest Liquids Begins Waitsfield DRB Permitting

                  Lawsons Finest tasting room sketch

                  The Mad River’s Valley Reporter recently ran a story covering the beginning of local permitting for Lawson’s Finest Liquids new facility in Waitsfield, VT. An excerpt:

                  “Lawson’s Finest Liquids completed its multipart review before the Waitsfield Development Review Board with one accelerated hearing last week.

                  On February 14, the Waitsfield Development Review Board heard a change of use, conditional use and subdivision application for Lawson’s Finest before closing the hearing that night. A decision is expected within 45 days.

                  Sean and Karen Lawson announced last year that they are moving their award-winning microbrewery from Warren to Waitsfield where they will open a new and larger brewery with a tasting room and retail sales. Their plan, which they presented to the DRB this week, is to move to Carroll Road in Waitsfield to the property formerly occupied by Valley Rent-All.”


                  Austin Design is honored to be providing primary design services and consultation with the Lawson’s as they plan and implement this significant chapter in their brewing saga; we couldn’t be working with nicer people! As a springtime toast to that, Sips of Sunshine all around…

                    What is a Design Charrette?

                    adi design charrette 1

                    “The term “charette” evolved from a pre-1900 exercise at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in France. Architectural students were given a design problem to solve within an allotted time. When that time was up, the students would rush their drawings from the studio to the Ecole in a cart called a charrette. Students often jumped in the cart to finish drawings on the way. The term evolved to refer to the intense design exercise itself. Today it refers to a creative process akin to visual brainstorming that is used by design professionals to develop solutions to a design problem within a limited timeframe.” [definition source]

                    Bryan Louisell brought in the design challenge: to develop an exterior facade scheme for the former Rollerdrome building on Putney Road in Brattleboro, VT. The large non-descript building guards the entry approach to a large complex at the north end of the West River bridge, owned by Dennis Smith, encompassing The Marina Restaurant, an active commercial marina with a boatlaunch ramp, offices, repair shops, the Brattleboro Outing Club boathouse, the West River Trail southern trailhead, and much more. There is a need for an attractive, welcoming waymarking concept, to alert and inform potential visitors of the opportunities available out-of-sight down the slope and around the corner. Other than the Retreat Meadows ramp on Route 30, this is the primary public access point to the West and Connecticut Rivers, and the Meadows themselves. Austin Design has thrown itself into the fray… it’ll be interesting to see what results!

                    adi design charette 2

                    adi design charette 3

                    adi design charette 4


                    All photos by Bill Austin!