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Architectural Design is Alive and Well on the Seacoast

February 10, 2015 by

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Amherst, NH | McHenry Architecture was recently honored twice by the American Institute of Architects New Hampshire Chapter (AIANH) as a recipient of its 2015 Annual Excellence in Architecture Design Awards, the highest recognition of architecture that exemplifies excellence in overall design. As one of eight architectural firms receiving an AIANH award, McHenry Architecture won a Merit Award for their Hyder Court Housing project and the People’s Choice Award for their design of the new Smuttynose Brewing Company in Hampton. McHenry Architecture has now received 4 design awards from the AIANH Excellence in Architecture Awards Program.

Pic-2From left: Brandon Holben, Project Architect; Jay Purcell, AIANH Vice President; Steven McHenry, Principal Architect receiving award | Photo: John W. Hession

“We are honored to be the recipient of an AIA award and to be among such good company. Our team works hard to create the best possible solutions for our clients, always taking into consideration the context and environment for each. We enjoy being presented with a design challenge, working through the process, with the ultimate reward of seeing a project through to completion. We are grateful for our professional colleagues with whom we partner, because successful architecture takes a team,” says Steven McHenry, Principal, AIA|LEED AP.

Site Plan Hyder Court Housing Site Plan

The Hyder Court Housing project is a multifamily residential development project in Portsmouth that is sited on a transitional site between a dense residential neighborhood and the mixed-use commercial zone near the Portsmouth traffic circle. The objective was to create an efficient and well-planned site and buildings that provide much-needed housing while enhancing the existing neighborhood. A comment from the AIA jury, “Hyder Court…receives recognition for an innovative open floor plan layout in a building form of a reduced scale most typical of a single family residence…The design jury felt this was a very successful architectural solution for an often difficult and challenging proposition for design professionals.”

Brandon Holben, Senior Associate, AIA|LEED AP at McHenry Architecture shares, “Our projects in Portsmouth, a city steeped in historic character with a deep interest in preservation, doesn’t typically allow us to work so far outside the box so it was especially rewarding that the City and owner were so receptive to the contemporary attributes of this design.” 

HyderCourt-PRINT 05Hyder Court Housing Interior| Photography: Carabell Photography

The People’s Choice Award is based on votes from the public and was awarded to McHenry Architecture for their design of the new Smuttynose Brewing Company in Hampton, which is a LEED-certified facility (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).   The new brewery location has been a labor of love and patience as it searched for the right place to call home. Home was ultimately found in the 14-acre property and former site of the historic Towle Farm in Hampton, which was acquired in 2008. An integral part of the design was to protect the historic nature of the site, to relocate the Victorian era farmhouse, which has been renovated for use as a restaurant and due to open this month, and to preserve the existing barn for future use.

SmuttynoseExteriorJuly2014-05 Smuttynose Brewing Co. | Photo: David J. Murray, ClearEyePhoto

About AIA New Hampshire:

Founded in 1940, the New Hampshire Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIANH) is a not-for-profit professional-service association of nearly 300 architects, allied professionals, and laypeople who are committed to excellence in design and creating a sustainable environment in our buildings, neighborhoods, towns, and cities.

The AIANH Excellence in Architecture Awards Program was created in 1983 for the purpose of providing public and professional recognition for architectural projects of design excellence by New Hampshire architects. Each entry is judged on the following criteria: overall design excellence including aesthetics, clarity, creativity, appropriate functionality, sustainability, building performance, and appropriateness with regard to fulfilling the client’s program.

About McHenry Architecture:

McHenry Architecture, located in historic downtown Portsmouth, NH, has worked in the region on commercial and residential projects ranging from adaptive reuse of historic structures to new multi-use buildings for more than 25 years. McHenry Architecture is Portsmouth’s first LEED Accredited design studio, leading in the field of green building strategies.

For more information about McHenry Architecture and these projects please visit or

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