gbA Incubator Office

View Project Details
Clients Location

Montpelier, VT


2,100 sf first building
2,800 sf second building

Category Awards
  • Best Overall Integrated Solution, Efficiency Vermont Conference

  • AIA VT Excellence in Architecture Design – Merit Award

  • AIA New England Architecture Design Award – Citation Award

  • Gary Hall Photography

Innovative Work Spaces

The gbA design studio is considered a model of low cost construction and energy efficiency.

The project consists of two small office buildings.  The first building (2,100 sf) contains an eight person architectural studio.  The second building (2,800 sf) is a technology incubator space.   Both buildings share an adjoining conference room.  The design goals were to construct highly energy efficient, light filled spaces using off the shelf materials and standard building practices in an innovative manner.  Much of the work was done by members of the architectural firm.

The project is located within the City of Montpelier riverfront redevelopment zone.  This is an area that historically consisted of granite manufacturing plants and intensive railroad activities.  Today, the area includes a mix of newly developed office and service uses mixed with traditional manufacturing uses.  The project site is bordered by two active granite manufacturing companies and a warehouse.  Existing building typologies in the immediate vicinity are simple, functional forms constructed of steel or heavy timber.

The design solution was conceived as a grouping of simple building forms creating a common courtyard.  The courtyard serves as the entry to the architectural office, incubator building, and the warehouse.  The enclosed outdoor space is designed to serve as a sculpture gallery for local stone and steel artists.  The incubator building is a simple shed form made of timber framing with SIPS panel walls and roof and is clad in a white cedar rain screen left unfinished, weathering to a gray patina.  The architectural office is also a shed form constructed of standard steel joists supported by wood studs and clad with a corrugated steel panel rain screen.  Unifying exterior elements are raw steel entry porches, aluminum window frames, aluminum trim, and oiled wood panels at entries and feature locations.  Unifying interior elements are polished concrete floors, wheat board wall panels, and raw aluminum trim.  The use of steel, timber, raw finishes, simple building massing, and off the shelf detailing echoes the typical local archetypes, yet captures these systems in a contemporary manner utilizing current building science technologies.  The project serves as an experimental architectural workshop, to study different materials, components, and building technology strategies.  The project integrates five different glazing types, passive and active solar schemes, several interior and exterior daylighting/daylight control strategies, newly developed materials, and both site built and manufactured building components.  The result is a working laboratory and naturally lit architectural studio that reinforces the office studio working style.

The jury praised the “simple and exciting resolution” that was achieved on a modest budget. The diversity of design and construction materials was felt by the panel to create an inspirational working environment.

– AIA Vermont Design Awards Jury