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Holly & Smith Architects

H/S Architects takes home 5 AIA Awards in 2017

Each year, AIA celebrates the best buildings and spaces and the people behind them, by recognizing and awarding outstanding design projects in various categories. To inspire excellence in architecture, the American Institute of Architects conducts an annual Awards Program. Through this program, AIA seeks to honor works of distinction by its members and bring attention to outstanding examples of architecture.

This past year, H/S Architects took home 4 awards from AIA Baton Rouge and 1 from AIA Louisiana.

At the AIA Baton Rouge annual Rose Awards Gala held in July of this year, several members of the H/S team were there to accept the Gold Rose Award, USGBC Sustainability Award, and the Member's Choice Award recognizing the design of The Moon at 631 Desire St., as well as the Silver Rose Award recognizing the design of the Reily Foods Co. Tenant Build-Out.

AIA Louisiana then held its annual Design Conference & Expo in September, where H/S Architects’ project, The Moon at 631 Desire Street, received the 2017 AIA Louisiana “Members’ Choice Award”. This award is only given out to one project per year at the annual conference. Forty-five projects were entered by AIA Louisiana member Architects who attended the conference.

Since 1985 H/S Architects has won 70 AIA Awards, combined between AIA Louisiana, AIA Baton Rouge, AIA New Orleans, and AIA Gulf States.

SLU Math Science Upward Bound Program takes Sustainability Tour of the Pond House

H/S Architects’ Principal, Michael Holly, and Emerging Professional, Abi Comeau, gave a sustainability tour of The Pond House at Ten Oaks Farm to high school students from the Southeastern Louisiana University Math Science Upward Bound program.
The Math Science Upward Bound program provides experiential, academic and cultural opportunities for high school students who are interested in pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The Program provides students from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in STEM with educational opportunities outside of school to explore a variety of STEM topics, as well as reading interventions and early college credits.

Leading the tour of The Pond House was H/S Principal Architect, Michael Holly. Michael has been previously involved with 4 LEED certified projects, as well as numerous projects with sustainable rating systems, such as SpiRiT and Enterprise Green Communities. Additionally, as a firm, H/S Architects is committed to their design work being sustainable, and the entire design office has committed to the AIA 2030 Challenge. H/S is dedicated to educating the public on the importance of living sustainably, and Michael chose The Pond House as the tour site to not only exhibit that living sustainably is realistic, but also that sustainable design can be good design.  Michael emphasized, “any building can be sustainable and sustainability is as much a lifestyle as it is a design piece. In the case of the Pond House, it is not just the design, it is equally how you live within the design.”

The Pond House at Ten Oaks Farm is a 1,250 square foot, net zero energy retreat located on a 15.5 acre site in Southeast Louisiana. The three-story structure sits over the edge of a pond and overlooks a peninsula of ten oak trees that stretch out into the middle of the pond.

The tour began outside, where students and other participants were able to get oriented relative to north/south direction, view the solar panels, and observe the house from different perspectives. Once inside, the tour continued with a review of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floor layout and a discussion of the orientation of the building to the site.

The Pond House achieves net zero energy capability through active systems employing a high efficiency heating and cooling system, solar energy, spray foam insulation for a tight building envelope, energy star equipment, and LED lighting throughout. Along with utilizing active systems, the Pond House also features passive strategies to achieve a sustainable design through operable windows for cross ventilation, north-south building orientation, natural day lighting, shading strategies, reclaiming materials, landscaping designed for solar and wind changes through the seasons, and managing rainwater onsite. Since its completion, The Pond House has been generating instead of consuming energy.

After the conclusion of the tour, H/S Intern Architect, Abi Comeau presented some of the programs and tools used in an architectural firm to design and build sustainably. As Abi believes “building sustainably is a responsibility that architects are challenged with, and it is something that is of the utmost importance to anyone who occupies and experiences the building”, she introduced the group to programs such as Autodesk’s Revit, Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager, and the AIA 2030 Challenge’s 2030 Pallet. Throughout the tour and presentation, the students had many questions relating to sustainable design, such as how some of the building systems function, including the solar panels & HVAC system, how the house to is able to meet net-zero energy, and about the architect’s path to licensure.

In addition to the students, Math Science Upward Bound staff members Wendy Conarro (Assistant Director), Donnetta Flowers (Outreach Specialist), Kayleigh Gregoire (STEM Assistant), and Lily Tanner (STEM Assistant), as well as Dr. Ephraim Massawe (Southeastern Louisiana University Faculty and STEM Mentor for Sustainability) and Mr. Toby Carmack (Hammond High School Teacher and STEM Mentor for Engineering) participated in the tour and presentation.

Ms. Conarro explained that the high school students who attended this field trip were either taking a sustainability and/or an engineering/design project-based learning class with Math Science Upward Bound program. She stated that “this tour was an excellent opportunity for them to see some of the principles, technology and tools they have been working with actually applied in real life.”

This was the first year Math Science Upward Bound offered a sustainability project-based class for their students, replacing the environmental science class. Ms. Conarro plans to continue using sustainability as a vehicle for students to apply STEM in their daily lives to improve their lives, communities and environments.

Michael and Abi both agreed they felt the students enjoyed being exposed to some of the ways in which professionals are dealing with issues of sustainability. The Pond House not only addresses issues of sustainability, but also what it means to live sustainably. They hope the tour will have a lasting impression on these STEM focused individuals, and that the Pond House exposed them to the capabilities and possibilities of what sustainable design is in the real world and what it means to use sustainable principles.

H/S Architects designs for the 9th Annual Cottages for CASA 2017

Child Advocacy Services (CAS) kicked off their 9th Annual Cottages for CASA playhouse raffle this past July. Cottages for CASA is a playhouse fundraiser to generate public awareness and funding to support the work of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) services in their ten-parish area.

Since 2009, H/S Architects has designed 7 playhouses for Cottages for CASA, making this year the 8th design rendition.  Upholding this tradition for Cottages for CASA, emerging professionals Wil Finley and Garrett Armentor from H/S Architects developed a functional design with a focus on creative and imaginative play.

When designing this year’s CASA playhouse, Wil and Garrett had the unique opportunity to collaborate directly with kids. Along with children from coworkers, friends, and family, the Louisiana Children's Discovery Center in Hammond provided H/S with design concepts from kids who were asked to draw their dream playhouse. After receiving many creative interpretations on what a playhouse could be, Wil and Garrett took elements from all the drawings to create something that they feel embodies the ideas of play and activity, rather than just recreating a traditional playhouse.

These ideas culminated into an obstacle course in the form of two forts with multiple levels varying in height interconnected by traditional playhouse elements (slide, monkey bars, rope bridge, climbing wall, etc.), which forms a continuous loop of activity. Will said, “tapping into the creative imaginations of children inspired us to harken back to our own childhoods, which aided in our design process and the development of the playhouse.”

CAS will announce the 9th Annual Cottages for CASA playhouse raffle winners at a drawing held Saturday, November 11, 2017 at the Middendorf's Manchac Run Afterparty.

Proceeds from all ticket sales and sponsorships will be used to continue providing services for children through Child Advocacy Services. Tickets are available at http://www.childadv.net/purchase-raffle-tickets-online.html

Child Advocacy Services (CAS) is a private, 501(c)(3) non-profit umbrella agency providing services through the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program, Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) program, and other services supporting their mission to give Voice, Healing, and Security to children. CAS offers advocacy, clinical services, and prevention education for children and families in 10 Southeast Louisiana parishes including Ascension, Assumption, East and West Feliciana, Livingston, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John, and Tangipahoa Parishes.

H/S Architects will design another Cottages for CASA playhouse in 2019.

UL Lafayette Master’s Graduate, Katie Leleaux, joins the H/S Team

Katie Leleaux joined H/S Architects as an Emerging Professional in June of 2017.

Katie is a recent graduate of the University of Louisiana Lafayette, where she received the Outstanding Master’s Graduate for the class of Spring 2017, the highest honor awarded to a graduating master’s student at the University of Louisiana Lafayette, as well as the Outstanding Graduate of the College of Arts for the class of Spring 2017. Her master’s thesis project re-envisioned the former federal courthouse in downtown Lafayette, winning her the prestigious David Williams Award, the architecture program’s highest honor. Katie was also selected to present her thesis project at the CriticalMASS conference in Charlotte, NC, a symposium where graduate students and faculty gather to discuss architectural ideas. She was also the 2016 winner of the American Institute of Architecture Students Excellence in Service Award for her contributions to the UL Lafayette College of the Arts.

Katie said it is the variety of project scales and types that H/S Architects receives that was a huge deciding factor when selecting a firm after graduation. “I have been lucky enough to have some great mentors who have given me opportunities to work on tasks ranging from design issues all the way to reviewing construction administration documents”, Katie said.  She is interested in gaining experience in all aspects of what it takes to get a project built, and in just a few months she said she has already gained so much of that experience at H/S.

When asked what gives her the most satisfaction in a project, Katie said, “I’ve just reached my first big deadline with the firm, and it was so great to see how everyone comes together to help out. Even though everyone in the office is busy with various projects, it really was an office-wide effort to accomplish one common goal. I am also very excited to be able to see ideas that we have drawn come to life in these projects. Throughout school you never really get the chance to see large scale projects you design become a reality, so that is one of the most exciting aspects of the profession.”

H/S is glad to bring Katie onto the team, and we look forward to her contributions to the firm.

Clients who choose Holly & Smith Architects experience a design process informed by open dialogue, confidence and collaboration. As a regional design firm with offices in New Orleans and Hammond, La., we have the depth to handle the most demanding projects while our leadership team remains intimately involved from conception to completion. Contact us to see if we’re the right choice for your project.

Holly & Smith Architects, APAC
208 North Cate St. / Hammond LA 70401 / 985.345.5210
2302 Magazine St. / New Orleans LA 70130 / 504.585.1315


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