Northern Tier Master Planning Charrette

January 28, 2015 by

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With the dawning of the new year and the holiday season well in the rear-view mirror, we’re looking ahead to the roll out, later this spring, of character-based zoning in Portsmouth’s Northern Tier and reflecting on the unprecedented process that’s informing this work.

As one of the preeminent architecture firms in Portsmouth we take pride in engaging with the community on development and design matters at every opportunity, but the City’s November 2014 planning charrette for the Northern Tier neighborhood was of particular interest to us. With one current project smack in the middle of Portsmouth’s burgeoning Northern Tier and a handful of others on the outskirts, our team had a presence all week long at the various planning sessions.

Among the most prominent subjects under discussion for this downtown neighborhood that appears to be on the verge of popping were issues of building height, lot density, the desire for mixed income developments and public space along the waterfront, and the question of appropriate architectural style for a neighborhood whose historical context was all but decimated by urban renewal projects.

Unlike the often rancorous debates that take place on any given evening within the City Hall chambers, thanks to the skilled efforts of the team at Town Planning & Urban Design Collaborative, this week-long event had a more convivial tone, a staggering amount of public participation, and the apparent outcome of bringing various constituency groups together and toward some degree of informal consensus. Of course the rubber doesn’t hit the road till later this spring when the zoning is introduced and voted on but for now we’re pleased with the process and staying hopeful about the results.

For more information on the process and to see the preliminary vision plan, click here.

2015 AIA NH Awards: Cast your Vote for TWO McHenry Projects

November 24, 2014 by

After winning last year’s AIA NH People’s Choice Award for our Ash Street Split project, we’re proud to announce that this year we have not one, but two projects nominated for the People’s Choice Award. This time one in the commercial category, Smuttynose Brewing Company, and one in the residential category Hyder CourtVOTE here!




Smuttynose Brewing Company

Hometown favorite, Smuttynose Brewing Company has recently completed the first phase of construction of its new brewery designed by McHenry Architecture. Located on Towle Farm Road in Hampton, NH, the project will result in a LEED-certified facility that will greatly increase the efficiency and capacity for the production of its award-winning brews with the ability to expand capacity when needed. The fourteen acre property and former site of the historic Towle Farm will be transformed into a state-of-the-art brewery complex. In general, the design has evolved from its context, such that the building form is in the agrarian vernacular while its function is modern, efficient and environmentally responsible. The owners and the entire design team remain committed to the principles of sustainable design throughout the design, construction, and operation of the facility. Cast your vote for Smuttynose Brewery here!


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Hyder Court

Hot on the heels of winning the 2014 Plan NH Visualizing Density Award for Urban Infill, our Hyder Court project has been nominated for an AIA NH People’s Choice Award. This project — on two lots totaling just over one acre — features two buildings, each with three units. 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. Cast your vote for Hyder Court here!

Vote Now: Smuttynose Project Nominated for People’s Choice Award!

September 24, 2014 by


The team here is proud to once again have one of our signature projects nominated for this year’s AIA New England People’s Choice Award.

We’re facing some stiff competition from some other excellent projects around the region. This is where you come in: we’re looking for your vote and your help getting the word out. Not that we don’t want you to vote your conscience but we think our Smuttynose more than holds its own in the field.

Check out the 75 great projects that have been nominated here, and then click the “Vote Now!” button at the top of the page to cast your ballot (we’re project #15). Learn more about this exciting project on our website.

Voting will remain open until midnight September 20. The winner will be announced at the AIA New England Regional Conference on September 27!

About the People’s Choice Award:

The AIA New England People’s Choice Award is a way for everyone to celebrate the work architects do in our communities. Each year, the winner is decided when members of the public vote for their favorite buildings and projects by architects from around New England.

The AIA NE People’s Choice Awards will also be on display at the AIAri Window on Architecture Gallery at 158 Washington Street in downtown Providence and will be featured during Gallery Night: Providence on September 18, where you can cast your vote in person!

3S Artspace is breaking ground

June 24, 2014 by


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Our staff will tell you that the 3S Artspace renovation gives new meaning to the phrase “labor of love.” With more than four years invested in this project: a concept long in the works, with at least one change of venue and more major design iterations than our entire team has fingers on which to count, 3S recently crossed a major milestone. As of this morning, the hard hats and heavy machinery arrived on site for ground breaking.

3S Artspace has been a particularly unique and challenging project in almost every way — the start-up nonprofit organization is establishing New Hampshire’s first multidisciplinary contemporary arts space, featuring a performance space, art gallery, restaurant, and artists’ studios. The design accommodates these diverse programs for an organization with a shoestring budget and a vision of establishing as much flexibility within the venue as possible so they can grow into their needs as operations dictate. What you’ll see at 3S is an adapted reuse of a 60 year-old warehouse on the waterfront in Portsmouth’s Historic District in an up-and-coming downtown neighborhood with little visual context from which to work.

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Hyder Court project wins 2014 Plan NH Visualizing Density Award

June 24, 2014 by

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Our Hyder Court project in Portsmouth, NH has won the 2014 Plan NH Visualizing Density Award in the Urban Infill category! To help inform and inspire towns, developers and others as they grapple with this idea of density, New Hampshire Housing and Plan NH (as part of their Vibrant Villages NH initiative) have been working with partners in historic preservation, professional planners and NH Planners Association, Homebuilders and Remodelers Association of NH, American Institute of Architects-NH and Regional Planning Commissions to help gather good examples of residential and mixed-use density from throughout New Hampshire. This project — on two lots totaling just over one acre — features two buildings, each with three units. The jury may have said it best, “the contemporary look and feel provides a good transition from the traditional neighborhood that surrounds it on two sides to the harder, more urban-feel of the by-pass, hotels, traffic circle, and I-95, all within 100 yards or so of the remaining two sides.” 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. The Visualizing Density in New Hampshire Awards Event featuring guest speaker Howard Mansfield, resident of New Hampshire and author of his latest book, Dwelling in Possibility: Searching for the Soul of Shelter.


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