Gauthier, Alvarado & Associates Portfolio
Janelia Manor House
This 9,987 SF historic house was renovated into a conference center and gathering space for the HHMI Janelia campus. The conference center includes a living room, glass enclosed terrace, catering kitchen, performance space, elevator, and a variety of gathering spaces that were designed to be multi-functional.
More Project Information
Janelia Manor House
GAA has worked on multiple projects for HHMI Janelia. One of the most recent projects is the renovation of the historic Janelia Manor House into a conference center and gathering space for the Virginia campus. The renovated Janelia Manor House will serve as a place for HHMI Janelia to host scientists to come and think outside the box or have small gatherings or conferences.
The Janelia Manor House is original to the HHMI Janelia Ashburn Campus. It is listed on the National Historic Register as important at the State level. With this designation we were challenged to turn a house into a conference center for HHMI Janelia. All decisions were guided by maintaining as much of the historic fabric as possible while creating spaces that will work for today’s desired uses and sustained flexibility. GAA made multiple presentations to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources throughout the project in order to obtain approval.
The 9,987 SF house will now provide a variety of spaces that range in capacity from 2 to 50 people. On the main level of the house there is a living room, which flows out onto a terrace. To allow the owner to have 50 people on the terrace, we enclosed it with a glass wall set behind the existing masonry piers. The main level has a catering kitchen and services. The upper floor of the house offers spaces that range in capacity from 4 people to 20 people. All the spaces are multi-functional.
The attic space was utilized to house the new mechanical systems that were designed for the building. One of the largest challenges was designing a mechanical system for a house built in the 1930’s and not “seeing” it. Another large challenge was accessibility. We were given approval to install an elevator to allow access between the main level, basement, and upper meeting room level. This allowed us to provide fully compliant restrooms in the basement and one on the second floor to meet accessibility. Existing restrooms were also refinished on the first and second floors.
One last space worth noting was the area provided for musicians to come and perform and/or the scientists to gather and play instruments. The original library is outfitted with sound panels that were integrated into the original bookshelves to provide better acoustics for musicians.
In an effort to eliminate exterior mechanical equipment, we utilized a ground source heat pump system with a well field that did not alter the historic views. These historic views had to be maintained in order to retain the building’s historic designation.
From time of design, survey work, DHR approval, permit approval, and construction, the entire schedule was compressed into two years. In order to maintain this consolidated time frame, we had to be flexible and work closely with the owner and contractor, as many tasks had to overlap. In addition to managing the challenges associated with a condensed schedule, our design team was tasked with not only doing a renovation but doing a renovation in a historic structure.