Tag Archives: Michael Mills

Renovated Midcentury Modern Eero Saarinen Landmark Hill College House Reopens

Designed by renowned Finnish American architect Eero Saarinen and built in 1960, Hill College House at the University of Pennsylvania has undergone a 15-month, $80 million, LEED Gold-targeted renovation. The internationally recognized landmark will reopen to 500 student residents later this month.

The five-story, 195,000-sf brick residence has undergone a comprehensive renovation, preserving Saarinen’s revolutionary design vision for communal living with multiple public spaces at varying physical and social scales. Originally a women’s dormitory, Hill College House features an allegorical entry bridge over a landscaped “moat” and surrounding spiked metal fence. Student lounges and seminar rooms are built around a vast central atrium that overlooks a dining area on the lower level.

“In this complex and challenging renovation, Mills + Schnoering Architects has designed multiple deft interventions that accumulate into a complete refresh of this important building – one that respects and invigorates Saarinen’s design and the community life it so richly fosters,” said University Architect David Hollenberg.

Mills + Schnoering Architects of Princeton, N.J., led the design and construction team. Specialists in historic renovation, the firm previously worked on Saarinen’s Gateway Arch in Saint Louis, Mo.

“Our approach respects the original Saarinen Hill College House design, preserving its legacy,” said Mills + Schnoering Partner-in-Charge, Michael Mills, FAIA. “Our choices were inspired both by the integrity of the architecture and by the contemporary student experience, with a design meant to balance the two in a welcoming, accessible student residence.”

Features of the renovation design include:

  • Expansion of dining facilities by 50 percent, including major kitchen upgrades.
  • Restoration of the iconic “drawbridge” entrance and landscaped “moat.”
  • Removal, restoration, and refitting of over 400 windows.
  • New furniture and finishes designed to echo the building’s midcentury style and reinterpret

    Saarinen’s bold color palette and furnishings.

  • All new MEP systems and the introduction of air-conditioning.
  • Conversion of all bathrooms to individual restrooms and shower rooms.
  • Installation of LED lighting in the center atrium.
  • New elevator and lift to provide accessibility compliance.
  • Perimeter wall insulation, a new roof, and restoration of two outdoor courtyards.

    Project goals included strengthening the sense of community at the heart of Hill College House’s original design and respecting the historic significance of the building’s materials and details, by maintaining as much fabric and design intent as possible while inserting modern systems and amenities.

 

Hill by the Numbers

The renovated facility includes:

  • 261 student rooms: 206 doubles, 41 singles, 11 ADA singles, and 3 RA singles
  • 5 faculty apartments
  • 15 graduate assistant apartments
  • 161 gender-neutral bathrooms
  • 5,750 sf main dining facility
  • 300 main dining facility seats
  • 1,810 sf of private dining
  • 29,505 sf of social spaces
  • 19 atrium lounges
  • 17 corridor lounges

 


About University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League institution with 12 undergraduate, graduate and professional schools in Philadelphia, serving a diverse community of more than 20,000 students from around the world. Ranked consistently among the top 10 universities in the nation, Penn has a longstanding reputation for excellence. For more information, visit http://www.upenn.edu.

About Mills + Schnoering Architects

Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC (M+Sa) is a full-service architectural firm with work focused on cultural buildings, public buildings, campus planning and design, and the preservation and rehabilitation of historic structures. The firm has a particular interest in the restoration, renovation, and adaptive use of midcentury modern buildings and sites. The Hill College House architectural team was led by Michael Mills, FAIA, Partner in Charge; Michael Schnoering, FAIA, Managing Partner; Alison Baxter, AIA, Project Manager; and Meredith Arms Bzdak, PhD, Interiors Coordinator and Architectural Historian. For more information, visit http://msarchitectsllc.com.

Mills + Schnoering Architects Receives AIA-NJ Merit Award for Historic Preservation of Statue of Liberty

Princeton, N.J.-Based Firm Uses Contemporary Technologies to Upgrade Visitor Safety and Comfort at American Landmark

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The New Jersey chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA-NJ) has awarded Princeton, N.J.-based design firm Mills + Schnoering Architects LLC with a Merit Award in the Historic Preservation category for its use of contemporary technologies to upgrade visitor safety and comfort at the Statue of Liberty National Monument in New York, N.Y.

“The ingenuity that Mills + Schnoering demonstrated in its preservation of the Statue of Liberty is the exact type of work that AIA-NJ looks to recognize with its annual design awards,” said Kurt Kalafsky, AIA, president of AIA-NJ. “The entire New Jersey architectural community should be proud to know that one of our own served as steward to an essential piece of American history.”

The National Park Service retained a multi-disciplinary design team led by Mills + Schnoering to perform the upgrades to the monument. Severely limited space within the statue’s pedestal posed challenges for the firm, which designed new staircases and a new elevator to deliver visitors to the observation deck and the crown safely and more comfortably.

Mills + Schnoering used Revit, a three-dimensional modeling software, to create a virtual model of the entire monument from laser scans. The interior of the pedestal — 17 square feet at its narrowest and only 27 square feet at its widest — contains massive beams supporting the statue, which further constrict the pedestal’s interior space.

Gustave Eiffel, the celebrated engineer of the Eiffel Tower, designed this original support system. Mills + Schnoering configured two new staircases and two elevators within this interior space without touching Eiffel’s steel support beams and enormous iron tie-down straps that hold the statue in place. Additionally, the firm threaded the stairs and elevators through the narrow interior, which has little room for error.

The life and safety enhancements at the monument have increased visitor safety, fire protection and comfort. New stairs and a new elevator make it easier for visitors to ascend to the pedestal’s observation level, which is now wheelchair accessible for the first time. From the top level of the pedestal, visitors can look up and view the double helix stairs leading through the interior of the Statue to the crown. A new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system creates a more comfortable environment as visitors ascend or descend the stairs.

“Mills + Schnoering Architects was honored to work over the last four years to design safety, accessibility, and other visitor amenities to this icon of freedom and World Heritage Site,” stated Michael Mills, FAIA, partner at Mills + Schnoering Architects. “We are especially honored to be recognized by our peer architects from AIA-New Jersey during a year when so many excellent projects were submitted.”

The AIA-NJ Annual Design Awards program recognizes architectural projects that exhibit design excellence in one of four categories: Open (meant for any building type), Residential, Historic Preservation and Interior Architecture. Projects are further designated as either Built or Un-built. To be eligible, projects must be either located in New Jersey or designed by an AIA-NJ architect. Submitted projects are evaluated during the organization’s annual Design Conference by a group of distinguished architects from throughout the country.

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Dec. 1st AIA-NJ Members Available for Booksigning – AIA New Jersey Guidebook

AIA-NJ Guidebook

Philip Kennedy-Grant, FAIA, and Michael Mills, FAIA, will be on hand for a talk and book-signing Thursday, December 1st, 7:00 pm at Princeton Public Library to answer questions about the AIA New Jersey Guidebook: 150 Best Buildings and Places which was released this fall.

The idea for which came out of a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the AIA. “The AIA New Jersey decided to list the 150 best buildings in the state,” Kennedy-Grant said. “The list was made, and somebody said, ‘This is great. We should make this into a book.’ So a selection was made by members, and then a committee made the final choices.”   Kennedy-Grant co-authored and edited the book with fellow Bernardsville architect Mark Alan Hewitt, FAIA, and Princeton architect Michael Mills, FAIA. Architect Michael Graves, FAIA, contributed the foreword, along with architect Karen Nichols, FAIA,. The 150 color photographs are by Bernardsville photographer Alexander (Sandy) M. Noble.

Read article about Princeton Library event:  http://www.towntopics.com/nov2311/other3.php

Can’t make it to the event – the books will make great holiday gifts and can be purchased online through Rutgers Press,  $29.95.   rutgerspress.rutgers.edu