January 25, 2007


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Built world
Art school design by Manchester’s Dennis Mires, P.A., wins NH architecture award
By Heidi Masek hmasek@hippopress.com

A Manchester firm took top honors from the New Hampshire chapter of the American Institute of Architects Jan. 19.

Dennis Mires, P.A., The Architects of Manchester was awarded an Honor Award of Excellence in Architecture for Adaptive Reuse at the AIANH 23rd annual awards banquet at New Hampshire Institute of Art for work they did for that school.

AIANH has more than 180 architect members, the majority of the architects in the state.

The downtown Manchester NHIA building, on Amherst Street, houses eight drawing and painting studios, two ceramics studios, the student store, student gallery, student lounge, faculty offices and support space. Construction manager for the project was Milestone Engineering & Construction, Inc.

Mires said that once his firm found the building could support an additional floor, they created it in a different material “so we wouldn’t diminish the qualities of the original building.” They also found they could reuse the stairway and freight elevator to meet ADA compliance and retain floor space.

Asked if it was easy to identify with the needs of an art school, Mires said, “They were a great client ... It was kind of a background building,” mill-like with wood columns and open floor space. The redesign left those aspects exposed “so the art students can see the way the building goes together,” Mires said.

“But we basically did a lot of walls with tackable surfaces so when you go over there most of the color is provided by the artwork,” Mires said. They essentially left the students a blank canvas. “The building lent itself to that, which was useful as well,” Mires said.

Jurors wrote, “This design is honest, meets the program very well, and serves as a beacon for art in the community. The project is respectful of and celebrates the bones of the original structure. It has a nice, simple interior space, perfect for an art school. The design is also clever; the added floor is a good solution and readily usable for studio space. The architects are commended for keeping this at $100 a square foot.”

The building has also earned Mires a design award from the Manchester Historic Association. “They thought it was an innovative way of adding new space and dramatizing the original building,” Mires said.

Dennis Mires P.A. The Architects was founded in 1980 and has a staff of eight. They’ve done design work for public, nonprofit, community, industrial, retail and residential projects including Bedford Public Library, St. Paul’s School, a headquarters building for Mt. Washington Observatory and the Derryfield Country Club.

1/18/2007 Expressions of character

1/11/2007 Best practices
1/4/2007 Nominate your favorite for Governor's Arts Awards
12/28/2006 Art in 2006 in southern New Hampshire
12/21/2006 Time to learn
12/14/2006 Frisella's new studio; sell art for animals; girls only time
12/07/2006 Stained glass, found objects and ornaments
11/30/2006 No shortage of art sales
11/23/2006 A Granite State greeting
11/16/2006 Santa Claus hangs with artists
11/9/2006 Visual art meets poetry
11/2/2006 Local Color
10/26/2006 Local Color
10/19/2006 Local Color
10/12/2006 Almost 80 artists in Hollis ...
10/05/2006 Fine art in a field
09/28/2006 Local Color
09/21/2006 Local Color
09/14/2006 Local color
09/07/2006 Bel Espirit, a happening of chance
08/31/2006 An artistic endeavor
08/24/2006 The almost-all architecture edition
08/17/2006 Half century of creativity
08/10/2006 Obsession with the Isles of Shoals
08/03/2006 See the precise craft of carving with a chainsaw
07/20/2006 For museums or your living room
07/13/2006 Making their mark
07/06/2006 Sense of place
06/29/2006 New ground
06/22/2006 MAA honors scholars an artists of the year
06/15/2006 Galleries open doors
06/08/2006 It's sticky up here
06/01/2006 Mural for MCAM
05/25/2006 Scenes from the air
05/18/2006 Vanguardians sit down
05/11/2006 Public masterpiece
05/04/2006 Art helps kids at MAA show
04/27/2006 In-house artists on display
04/20/2006 No Pinocchio here
04/13/2006 School's out art's in
04/06/2006 Meet Michael Toomey
03/30/2006 Art builds community ...
03/23/2006 From Celtic design to Ayn Rand
03/16/2006 Got Cow?
03/09/2006 A creative view of China
03/02/2006 Monastery Arts open new show
02/23/2006 Love and art in one location
02/16/2006 Job loss leads to artistic success
02/09/2006 Art in the key of Adam and Eve
02/02/2006 Art to make you think
01/26/2006 New York artists to show at Derryfiled School
01/19/2006 A new age of artwork
01/12/2006 Photography buffs unite
01/05/2006 Jeweler teaches her trade
Alison Williams
All together now
A forest through the trees
A light in the dark
An event for artists, by artists
Anne Dufresne
Armand Szainer: never forget
Art group picks artist of the year
Art In The Park
Art in the Park sees attendance dip
Arts In Education Conference
Art like Crayons for grown-ups
Art you can sit on (if you own it)
Better Living Through Artistry
Capturing history with a panaramic view
Ceramic Biennial
Currier Kicks Off 2005 With NHSS Show
Die fotografieren
Doug Mendoza: Body Artist
Enjoying the Open Doors Trolley Tour
East Colony Fine Art has gone jazz
Equal Arts Opportunities
Exploring purgatory and paradise
Expressions coming from within
Fighting cancer with creativity
Free food, free music and plenty of art
Harry Umen: New Work

Head of the class
Heating up the canvas
Inside the artist’s studio
It’s art, and it’s even practical!
James Aponovich

James Chase
Jan De Bray
Local Artist, Global Message
Lollipops and Hand Grenades
MAA Adds New Dimension To Gallery
MAA Gallery Mixes It Up
Making Book With Children
Manchester Art In 2004
Morgan's "Danse" Comes To Manch
Morin Avoid Typecasting
NHIA chalks it up to May 14
Open Doors Manchester Returns
Open Doors Trolley Tour, The Winter Version
Looking for a crowd? Just add art
McGowan Fine Art Turns 25
Nita Leger Casey
Patti Matthis
Saint Anselm Favorite Returns
Searching for the extraordinary
Small Town Art Hits The Big City
Spirit Of The Holidays Exhibit
Step into the Art Pad at Langer Place
Stride and ride
Tagging goes to wall, gets legit
The art and craft of Glendi
The art of signs to art and stuff
The Art Of The Qashquai

The Return Of The Art Trolley Tour
The Ubiquitous Ann Domingue
Two-continent painting exhibit opens
Using nature as a canvas
Women's Art Group Marks 10th Year
Wyeth Works Return To The Currier