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MKSD architects Wins AIA Awards

We’re proud to announce that we’ve just won two American Institute of Architects (AIA) Eastern Pennsylvania 2010 Design Awards, at the December 2, 2010 AIA Eastern Pennsylvania President’s Night program at Bear Creek in Macungie.

Catasauqua District Administrative Office Building

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MKSD’s design of the new District Administrative Office Building for the Catasauqua Area School District won the Award of Excellence in the Institutional/Commercial design category. The project is a 9,000-square-foot building addition to the Sheckler Elementary School that provides a new sustainable home for the district’s administration. In both massing and materiality, the new DAO building pays homage to the existing Sheckler Elementary school building. The new facility was designed to meet the Administrations’ programmatic needs while minimizing the increased utility impact on the District (a goal of the school board).

Specific sustainable strategies include the conversion of the elementary school campus to a gas fuel source resulting in decreased electrical needs. Replacement of the existing HVAC and electrical equipment to highly efficient units and the installation of solar photovoltaic roof panels on the new structure greatly reduce the campus’ electrical needs. Installation of a solar water heater minimized utility needs for hot domestic water. The utilization of daylight harvesting light fixtures reduces the electrical demand relative to interior lighting, while exterior shading devices over the glazed wall areas decrease the HVAC demand generated by solar gain during peak cooling season. Highly reflective roofing materials help to reduce the heat island effect, while low VOC and high recycled content materials further reduce the carbon footprint of the structure.

The Venel Institute

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The second award won by MKSD was a Special Citation in the Institutional/Commercial design category for the Venel Institute Medical Training Facility in Bethlehem. The owner wanted the design to focus on the experience the user would have when attending seminars in the space for multiple days and how the spaces would keep them engaged and stimulated.

The reception area is the “first impression” the user has so the space was designed with custom millwork, floating wood and metal ceiling features, and a striking tile wall with signage to welcome you to the space. The formal lecture hall with rich wood and leather finishes offers a comfortable atmosphere for listening to an invited speaker. This feeling of comfort is echoed in the locker rooms with wood lockers and a more upscale spa-like feel. The dining hall offers a touch of that café feel where the users can kick back and relax a bit, check their e-mail or get to know their fellow seminar attendees. Then, when it’s back to business, the conversation moves to the conference room, where the owner wanted a more modern and corporate feeling. Additionally, the flexibility in each of these different spaces allows for equipment manufacturers to use the space to market and train the medical professionals on today’s newest technologies in various group sizes and settings. The design offers the owners the state of the art, first class facility they were looking for and can now market to the medical industry to advance the training of tomorrow’s medical pioneers.

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