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Newsletter 22

‘Tis the week before Holiday Break and…

December 18th, 2014

… Christmas Dress Up Day is Back!

Christmas Dress Up Day” has returned to the office!  We decided to take a look back at some of the pictures from years past.  We hope you enjoy the highlight reel.

The Office- 2014

Office – 2011

Nathan – 2007 / Also one of the more famous Metrobilly covers.

The Office – 2006

The AIA Hampton Roads Chapter’s 22nd Anniversary Speaker Forum

Chuck and Beth were invited by the AIA Hampton Roads Chapter to give a lecture on their work on Dec. 4th for their 22nd Anniversary Speaker Forum. We would like to thank the AIA Hampton Roads. It was a great honor to speak at this prestigious event.

Poster for the AIA Hampton Roads Chapter 22nd Anniversary Speaker Forum

The Renovation and Restoration of the Reader & Swartz website

The original Reader & Swartz website, initially constructed circa 1994, had served its perceived functions in a workmanlike manner.  However, with the passage of time, the website increasingly became unsustainable. Any attempts to add to, or alter it, would inevitably lead to a crash of the management software (which was no longer supported). The website was also designed prior to Google, smart phone technology, and those ipad doodad thingies that all the kids seem to have these days.

According to noted website historian Anita Webb-Paige, “This is a perfect example of classic mid-nineties website design, with the usual problems of scaling for mobile devices, and a poor relationship with Search Engines.”

Although it doesn’t lessen our carbon footprint, or alter the life cycle cost analysis in any way, we chose to preserve the original website design. Many designers might have been tempted to pursue a “fresh” or “cutting edge” design, but we decided to keep and honor the original web architecture. Perhaps if more people restored their websites, instead of sending them to the cyber landfill, websites would stop chasing the latest “Flash(y)” plug-in.

Reader & Swartz and Web Strategies collaborated on the Renovation/ Restoration/ Adaptive Reuse of the website. Particular attention was paid to borders, typeface, and html DNA, in order to evoke the classic mid-nineties design, but with an eye towards mid-teens function. Principal Chuck Swartz proclaims, “It looks almost exactly the same as it did, before the thousands of dollars and countless man hours, and could last for an astonishingly short amount of time before it becomes obsolete again, but it was totally worth it.”

Although there is no rule, or reason, to follow the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation in the website redesign, local Board of Architectural Review member Kevin Walker proclaimed that, “The renovation meets the intent of the Guidelines. Furthermore, if this website were a building, I would enthusiastically issue it a Certificate of Appropriateness.”

 Website “Before”

Website “After”

Under Construction: Camusrory

One of our projects, currently being built by Houseworks, LLC, is Camusrory, which overlooks the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. The house remains pretty true to the initial schematic SketchUp renderings. If you want to see more about this project, and what’s going on in the office, be sure to check out our new “In Progress” blog.

River Facade

The fenestration colors and pattern are inspired by the client’s Scottish clan tartan.

The Builder, The Staircase, The Tartan

Under Construction: Red Gate

Red Gate has just begun framing and is being built by Lodge Construction. This is an addition and renovation to an old farm house in Millwood, Virginia.

The addition is oriented towards rolling fields and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Large corner windows make the landscape an important element of the house. During construction, a few truckloads of rescued donkeys inhabited the adjacent fields. We momentarily thought of changing the farmhouse name from “Red Gate” to “Assview,” but thought the name would seem unnecessarily idiosyncratic when the donkeys found their new permanent homes.

South Facade

Northern Front Entry

We hope you enjoyed, yet again, another Reader & Swartz newsletter.

Enjoy the holiday season!