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Boone Chamber 2012 Awards of Merit for Development

Sept. 27, 2012. The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce announced the 2012 winners of the Award of Merit for Development. The awards were presented during the Chamber’s Business After Hours hosted by The Saddle Club at Yonahlossee on Thursday, Sept. 27. The citation reads: “In recognition of their award winning efforts to improve the quality of life and enhance the beauty of the Boone area through development which blends harmoniously with its surroundings.”

Candidates for the awards included all projects in Boone and Watauga County which received its Certificate of Occupancy from June 1, 2011 to May 30, 2012. The judging panel includes architects, developers, building contractors and former winners. A large colorful sign denoting their award-winning project will be on display at each property for one year. Categories judged were: multi-family, large and small new commercial, and most improved. This year special recognition is going to two projects: one for “adaptive reuse” and one for “enhanced streetscape.”

AWARD OF MERIT – Multi-Family: State Farm Road Apartments – Johnny Cooke

While it is typically difficult to get excited about the visual quality of apartment complexes in the High Country, the committee was pleasantly surprised with the quality of materials, the scale and how well the State Farm Apartment complex nestled into the site. It is an inviting experience and the committee was especially impressed with the efforts made to preserve the large shade trees and with the landscape treatment used to separate the facility from State Farm Road. This type of sensitive approach is a considerable improvement from the normal and was greatly appreciated by the committee. 

AWARD OF MERIT – New Construction – Large Commercial: First Presbyterian Church

When a structure is as well conceived as the new First Presbyterian Church, it is easy to acknowledge the efforts and passion that went into creating the final product. The committee was impressed with the innate beauty of the structure but was equally impressed with the commitment that the First Presbyterian Church community made to erecting something of permanence and durability. A classic structure that emphasizes the purpose and enduring nature of its use; and yet innovative detailing, use of materials and architectural characteristics that speak to the church community’s vitality. This is a structure that will welcome generations of church goers and reinforce the legacy that houses of worship play in our society. 

AWARD OF MERIT – New Construction-Small Commercial: Animal Emergency Clinic, Dr. David Linzey

During these economic times when cash flow is king, when “great” deals are prevalent and it is imperative that we get the most from our money, it is a rare treat when someone takes a leap forward to stretch the boundaries of innovation – the new Animal Emergency Clinic is one of those examples. A desire to erect an environmentally responsible structure combined with sensitive architecture and smart site planning has resulted in an extraordinary outcome. Not only is the building architecturally beautiful, but its use of both industrial and natural materials have created an edgy, progressive character that reinforces the professional, animal friendly and even “innovative” philosophies that occur within. This structure is pending LEED certification which would make it one of the few commercially certified LEED structures in the High Country. The creative use of the site reinforces the owner’s sensitivity to the environment, which is evident in the protection of the flood plain and control of storm water run-off. The committee was extremely enamored with the final product and would encourage the use of similar design and construction principles for future commercial buildings within the area. 

HONORABLE MENTION – New Construction-Small Commercial/for Enhanced Streetscape: Paul Brown Enterprises, Inc., Steve Brown.

None of us are strangers to the identity wars that are endemic to commercial real estate corridors. In its most unappealing form, faceless buildings and signs fight for street dominance and parking lots and driveway curb cuts overshadow the landscape. However, the new Five Burgers commercial corner is a pleasant departure from the normal. Warm and inviting, quality construction materials and human scaled characteristics are clearly obvious enhancements, but the key winning detail is how the building is placed on the site. Instead of setting back behind a sea of parking, the building layout is reversed from typical commercial placements so the structure boldly addresses the street. This bold move helps anchor the corner, provides an identity for the commercial business, and shields parking which results in an “enhanced streetscape” experience which is hard to do on Blowing Rock Road. 

AWARD OF MERIT – Most Improved – Small Commercial: Come Back Shack, Family Only/Scott Prewitt

Differentiating yourself from the small commercial pack is clearly a difficult task along busy commercial corridors but the Come Back Shack has found a way. The committee was impressed with the impactful sense of visual identity and the unique architectural character of the remodeled facility, and most enjoyed the playful and fun nature of the enhanced structure. All were drawn to the inviting atmosphere created by the improvements and commented on the shift in perception that can be made with the imaginative use of materials and creative inspiration. 

HONORABLE MENTION – Most Improved – Small Commercial/for Adaptive Reuse: 1861 Farmhouse, Alison and Steve Garrett

The preservation of important and historic structures is always worthy of acknowledgment. The 1861 Farmhouse has an honorable history and even today, the owner’s have lovingly continued this tradition through the efforts made to preserve its use as a place where people are welcomed, as well as protect the architectural character of this classically beautiful home in the Valle Crucis community. The committee was pleasantly impressed with the care that had been taken to protect the old structure both inside and out, and were pleased to see how the “adaptive reuse” restoration concept has not only protected the building but also reinforced the vitality of the surrounding community. This historic structure will remain an architectural legacy for generations to come.

2012 Panel of Judges included: Bill Dixon – Principal of Appalachian Architecture, Mark Kirkpatrick – Owner of Mountain Construction Enterprises, Jim Pitts – General Manager of Blue Ridge Mountain Club and Sam Zimmerman – Owner of Sunny Day Homes.