Wednesday, September 30, 2015

In the News - Rise Up Bakery Project Study Advances

See this link to today's article "Bakery revival advances but more dough needed" by writer David Delcore in the Barre Times Argus Rise Up Bakery feasibility study we are assisting Carolyn Shapiro on.  It's a great project for downtown Barre and the Barre Historical 
Society based in the historic Old Labor Hall next door from the bakery.

Arocordis Design is providing architectural design and site planning services. This includes design for interior improvements to convert the vacant building into a baking education center using classic wood fired bread baking techniques.

Other improvements include accessibility upgrades to the building involving a new unisex restroom inside and an exterior ramp. The building brick exterior also needs extensive rehab work along with new interior rigid foam insulation faced with cleanable wall surfaces complying with food safety regulations. 

The local community supports the project which is attractive to young professionals raising families in Barre and running businesses as well as seniors who remember when the local Italian community regularly visited the bakery and nearby Old Labor Hall store to pick up fresh baked bread a few generations ago. 

Now as David says in the the Times Argus article it is time "to raise some dough" to get this project done. 

Stay tuned for more updates!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Net-Zero Modern Farmhaus

View of porch and outside private spaces between home and garage.
Sustainable Design & Living: Where to Start?
      Interested in sustainable living at home? Wondering how to integrate beauty, function and a concern for energy efficiency, low or next to no energy use while creating a more predictable affordable future? Wanting to downsize from your now oversized family home to something simpler, perhaps smaller in size and maybe not so complicated?  Or starting to transition at work and thinking about starting a home based business or working from home more and more often but want a separation from your living spaces? 
      We too have considered these questions over the last few years and have developed and now designed a small net-zero capable modern farmhaus  addressing these many questions. The home design is also inspired by the iconic front house, mid-house, back-house, barn New England vernacular. It's a companion to the Perfect Farmhouse we painted last winter but developed further into a designed home concept.  And it's a relative to the Net-Zero Mountain Retreat we wrote about earlier here. 
Birdseye view of proposed building and site.

Bringing the Outdoors In: The Site Plan
       In our residential work we believe in bringing the outdoors in and extending the indoors out with an ample west facing terrace, garden beds with extensive room for planting around the home and its grounds. We site the home into a fairly flat setting with room for Photovoltaic solar trackers to offset home and the garage live/ work space energy use hopefully to a net-zero energy usage level.  A vegetable and wildflower garden rests to the west of the garage and below the solar tracker orchard.  Rainwater collection barrels lay near garden beds around the house to help reduce use of well-water or city or town water usage. For now the home is oriented long way north to south. Final siting would need to be adjusted to your site, solar orientation, its topography and views.
Ground floor plan
Second Floor Plan - House and Garage

The Floor Plan:
      The lower level has 1,240 square feet of living, dining, kitchen and the master bedroom suite.  Walk upstairs to find an open studio overlooking the lower level with two bathrooms and a full bath. The upper living level is 749 square feet.  The separate live work garage has over 450 square feet of space on each level. 
Open Living: Interconnectedness 
      The floor plans show interconnections and intentional open views across the spaces from Kitchen to the living and dining spaces and from the living / dining areas up to the studio loft above and kitchen below.  Skylights over head bring daylight into living / dining area and studio space with the stair.  A central storage and work area with washer / dryer and electrical and mechanical plant lay near the stair and across from the Kitchen. 
View from living looking back to kitchen and entry
View from Kitchen looking towards living and dining
View of main entry and driveway
What's Next: Refining the Design and Getting into the Details
      In the coming weeks we will be refining the design, getting more specific about what makes this a net-zero capable home and site design.  For starters in our mind those systems might include the following:

  • The building envelope considers fairly high performing insulation levels such as (R40) 12" double stud dense packed cellulose wall framing with 2" rigid out-sulation, (R60) 18" dense packed vented cathedral ceilings with TJI's, (R20) 4" min of underslab insulation and (R10) 2" foundation wall insulation.
  • Possibly a small size air source heat pumps for heating, whisperlite fans or similar in the bathrooms for ventilation on each level
  • Cedar shake siding with a rainscreen gap likely using Huber or similar Zip-sheathing to assist with air-sealing below on the wall and below the vented standing seam roofing.
  • Low-e clear triple insulated glazing and doors with appropriate solar window coverings to mitigate heat gain on the interior.  There may be more specific tuning of the windows and doors depending on the face orientation of the home.
  • There would be an optional very small high efficiency wood or pellet stove, more for the "spiritual" fire with through wall venting to assist with fresh air intake.  Or windows could be opened when the fire is lit for additional ventilation.  
  • Simple durable interior finishes, hopefully locally sourced wood trim, low or now Volatile Organic Compound paint or stain finishes. Deciding on finishes appropriate for you lifestyle, lifestage, family usage are a longer conversation worth paying close attention to ease of long term care, warranties and eventual replacement and recycling or upcycling where possible.

      All of the detailing would be designed and built to low-energy home performance levels helping to potentially achieve net zero-energy usage on a yearly basis.  Another step would be running energy modeling, right-sizing the internal heating and ventilation system, optimizing the window sizes and glazing specifications.  
Depending on the homeowner and family initiative and available time, an extensive vegetable garden nourished by composting might further enrich sustainable living.  If gardening takes too much time, join a local Community Supported Agriculture farm to get your vegetables year round.

Third Party Green Building Programs: An Overview
      Of course achieving those goals depends on the client, their budget and schedule, whether or not to purse local or national high performance building certification and at what level of performance.  This might mean for example here in Vermont, enrolling in the Vermont Energy Star Home program or the High Performance Homes program run by Efficiency Vermont.  Depending on where you're located in the U.S. you may want to consult the National Energy Star website to learn more.
Enrolling and completing such programs benefits the homeowner in a number of ways. Firstly during the construction phase and operation of the home, and then on the back end, providing green certification of the quality of the home for future reselling. This backend grows increasingly relevant as more and more State wide Multiple Listing Services add Green Building related components to available listing criteria for homebuyers.  Called the Green MLS toolkit nationally this initiative has taken hold in Colorado, the Atlanta area, Chicago, Portland, Oregon and increasingly elsewhere.
Qualifying projects for Efficiency Vermont's Residential programs receive energy consultation and performance testing services helping ensure your high performing project complies with their program leading to receiving helpful financial incentives and certification of performance levels reached.  Similarly NYSERDA in New York State,  Mass Save in Massachusetts,  NHSAVES in New Hampshire, EfficiencyMaine  all provide Energy Star and in some cases High Performing home programs like Vermont.
Ask your architect and builder if they have experience with these programs or similar ones near you.  If not, you may want to look elsewhere if you seek a energy efficient high performing home, whether new construction, renovation or an addition.  Green building is mainstream now having matured over the last 20 years and in a sense is the new normal.  
Other more stringent third party verification programs exist such as Passive House, Living Building ChallengeUSGBC LEED for Homes to name a few. These involve  adherence to even more stringent high performing efficiency and whole building and site design standards. They examine more closely sustainable siting, materials, low water and zero energy use, or even positive energy generation,  holistic thinking, life cycle cost analysis and more.  
We Welcome your Comments and Insight:
In the meanwhile, we hope you've enjoyed this story about the design process. the overall design and some of the details of this Modern Farmhaus.  Let us know if you have any questions and comments about the design.  Happy to answer them.
If you enjoyed the links to green building programs, materials and other information and find them helpful do let us know below in the comments section.  We are always looking for helpful information. Don't hesitate to share in the comment section below.  
Follow us to stay in touch with what we share and write, or contact us if you would like us to speak at your conference or participate in a panel or better yet want to work together on a fine green home for you and your family. 

(Originally posted on LinkedIn and adapted for our blog and website)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Announcing a Workplace Design Workshop: Emerging trends, ideas and examples - Work | Workers | Workplace

Eventbrite - Emerging trends, ideas and examples: Work - Workers - Workplace

Community National Bank, 316 North Main Street, Barre, VT
(in Downtown Barre, upstairs community conference room)

Weds September 30, 2015 from 8-9:30 am.

Free, RSVP's required (Space is limited to 20), use Eventbrite button above to register!

Communty National Bank
The Downtown Barre Partnership - Breakfast Snacks and Drinks.

Accelerate your business success in Barre and Central Vermont!
Learn how to pay closer attention to the design and organization of your office or workplace whether an emerging startup, mature service company or disruptive brand.

Attend and learn more about how to attract and retain employees, increase engagement, health and focus of workers while enhancing sustainability efforts in your organization.


Our story: A little about Arocordis Design, our focus and work we do.
Trends: Identify key national and local trends impacting VT businesses and workplaces.
Ideas: We will share emerging best practices in office development and workplace design, values driven design, branding and design thinking, coworking, distributed first, space design frameworks.
Examples: We will share two local case studies of recent project work using a values driven design process and why it's important. (One larger and one smaller.)
Good design makes good economic development sense! Bring your key questions and challenges you face in your organization for our Q&A time at the end.

What are my transport/parking options getting to the event?
Metered nearby street and off-street parking lot options.  Do not park in CNB parking lot.  Note bank is near regional bus-stops on Main Street in Barre.

Will there be food and drinks available?
Yes, the Downtown Barre Partnership, a Co-sponsor, will be providing food and drink for our morning event! 

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?
802-448-0056 voice, Ask for Steve.

Is the event handicap accessible?
Yes, there is elevator access to the second floor with an accessible restroom.

Is my registration/ticket transferrable?
 Yes it is. Just inform us at the door so we can keep track. Seating is limited to 20 due to the size of the venue.

Can I update my registration information?
Yes you can.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?
No. but would be helpful and preferred so we can keep track, or show it to us on your smartphone.

The name on the registration/ticket doesn't match the attendee. Is that okay?
We understand,  Just tell us who you're substituting for.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Net-Zero Modern Farmhaus Video Walkthrough: Life in Beta

We draw and conceive in three dimensions now with a program made by AutoDesk called RevitLT 2015. Today we share a post of our first video walkthrough of a home under design which is really applied research in action.  We taught ourselves how to do this over the last two days. 
      Life in beta we say all the time.  This is the best we can do at this point with our knowledge to date and our visualization expertise.  There's a long way to go to create a hyper-real experience which is not what we're after here.  Nor do we want to go there.
      However, we hope this kind of video storytelling might be helpful to help convey the mood and characters of a design in process helping our clients, their families and team members better understand the richness and potential of their design in three dimensions.
      Here's a video still showing at a clearer resolution the character of the exterior of the home and its arrival sequence. We hope you enjoy this companion image to the video.  Together they make this story more compelling.


Arocordis Design Celebrates Five Years of Serving Inspiring Clients

A Collage of Recent Commercial Interior Work -
copyright Arocordis Design & Stephen Frey 2015
      Montpelier, VT, September 3, 2015– Arocordis Design, an architecture, interiors and workplace design services firm celebrates five years in business serving commercial, residential and institutional customers in Vermont.  We continue to be inspired and look forwards to the next five years.

“Over the last five years we have grown to help a wide variety of customers who share strong sense of mission and core values with a focus on corporate social responsibility; of ‘ doing well by doing good’. Our collaborative drive, infectious curiosity and integrated design sensibilities including a growing focus on workplace wellness and wellbeing, serve our customers holistically, aiding their development and success as organizations.” – Stephen M. Frey

      Arocordis Design and Stephen M. Frey practice high performance workplace, commercial and residential design while engaging greater community and sustainability concerns.  He is building a practice notable for its mission driven design process, focusing on constructing enduring sustainably minded dynamic organizational work cultures.  Currently helping American Meadows with strategic workplace consulting and design services, notable other work includes multiple projects for National Life Group helping them modernize over 150,000 square feet of offices and common spaces serving their complex, the largest office building in Vermont.  Other work includes commercial and interiors projects for the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, AllEarth Renewables, Rural Edge, Vermont Technical College, Montpelier Public Schools and the City of Montpelier.
    Principal Architect and owner, Stephen Frey speaks and writes often locally and nationally about work, workers and workplace with a sustainable mindset.  His articles have appeared in The Burlington Free Press and Free Press Media, Metropolis Magazine’s Point of ViewBlog, LinkedIn, Green Energy Times and locally with the Montpelier Bridge. Recently he organized a panel presentation on best practices in wellness at workfocusing on best practices in workplace design and programs at the 2015 annual Spring Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility conference. In June for Vermont Technology Alliance members and then in August for White + Burke Real Estate Advisors, he gave lunch and learn workshop on emerging trends onworkplace design as well as sharing recent work.  In 2013, Steve spoke at NEOCON East in Baltimore, Maryland on the Modernization of National Life Group’s Headquartersand Mission Driven Design. 
      Arocordis design also practice an artfulness with their design process and their storytelling in that Steve is an active artistand illustrator who frequently creates watercolor illustrations and renderings of project work to help clients and public envision the heart and soul of their projects. Doing so deepens curiosity, engagement and wonder while enriching meaning and purpose. 

Net-Zero ready Mountain Retreat - Illustration by Stephen Frey
The origin of Arocordis:
“Arocordis comes from two latin words: Aro, meaning to till, cultivate and cordis, heart, soul and meaning.  Combined together Arocordis defines their approach to architecture, design, and planning. Our practice dedicated to cultivating inspired sustainable places and spaces.” Stephen M. Frey

Let us know if you have any questions or comments!  In the meanwhile we'll be celebrating as the summer turns into Fall! Looking forwards to celebrating the Autumnal Equinox later this month.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Montpelier Fire Department receives firehouse watercolor gift fromArocordis

     Today members of Montpelier's finest received a watercolor gift from Stephen Frey who painted their Firehouse earlier this summer.
     Steve painted the venerable firehouse for a few reasons. First and foremost doing so was a thank you for their help with an home emergency a few years back one Halloween involving a pumpkin and errant carving knife which carved a hand.
    The other reason is the Firehouse is one of the most beautiful and architecturally interesting buildings in downtown Montpelier. Spending time sketching it across the street in Montpelier's new pocket park taught Steve much about the craft of the building and construction of the front facade.