Team converts old milking parlor into studio

MIDDLEBURY — The Vermont Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA-VT) recently recognized Vermont Integrated Architecture (VIA) of Middlebury with a 2015 Honor Award for the transformation of an old milking parlor into a contemporary writer’s studio.
Long out-of-use farm buildings are a common sight throughout Vermont. Yet on a pristine, historic farmstead in Cornwall, one unassuming farm building has become a contemplative writing space that recognizes and honors its agricultural past. The nearly 500-square-foot building received a new foundation, insulation and new window openings, and features two levels — a main floor and a moveable loft.
The loft moves by way of a hand crank fashioned out of a salvaged dairy barn stanchion and farm equipment gears, allowing the writer to take advantage of changing light conditions and views. Like an old-school rolling library ladder, the loft also permits access to upper level bookshelves.
The AIA-VT Award Jury recognized VIA’s “imagination, ingenuity and technical virtuosity” in the restoration of the space, noting that “the new hardware associated with the sliding mezzanine is simple, thoughtful, familiar but clearly innovative, and even playful.”
VIA architects received the award at AIA-VT’s annual meeting on Dec. 10. Greg Borah, the project’s builder, was also recognized. Other local collaborators on the project include Lou Nop of Nop’s Metalworks, J.W. and D.E. Ryan Plumbing and Heating, and Adams Electric.
Andrea Murray and Ashar Nelson formed VIA in 2011. The firm strives to design delightful spaces that benefit communities and honor their respective environments. The writer’s studio was completed in September 2012. 
THIS HAND CRANK, made from old farm equipment, operates the studio’s moving loft while honoring the building’s past.

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