Making the Best of Misfortunes

Recently, those of us at SAAarchitects learned very well how to make the best of an unfortunate situation. On January 1st of this year, a fire started in our office building, on the floor just above us. The fire caused the building’s automatic sprinkler system to turn on, which in turn caused water damage to approximately 1/3-1/2 of our office area. Although we were disappointed in the extent of the water damage, we couldn’t possibly imagine the level of damage that may have occurred if these sprinkler systems were not in place and working properly.

Because our existing flooring is discontinued, the water damage suffered meant that we had to replace our entire office floor. Additionally, we had to repaint and reconstruct our custom built-in desks and cabinetry, and replace both office equipment and furniture. During this time, we were grateful to be able to keep the office open and fully functioning with all usual staff.

While we don’t wish this type of experience on anyone, it gave us an opportunity to use a bit of our expertise on planning renovations for our own building, and it certainly reminded our staff of how fortunate we truly are.

Fire Photos


Fire Misfortunes


Susquehanna Logistics Project

Just a quick check-in on an industrial project we have been working on for Susquehanna Logistics. This warehouse project involves the construction of a 423,300 GSF building which will serve as a major distribution center for the Mid-Atlantic.

We worked to provide tenant fit-out services for a two-phase fit-out as well as interior design services for the office area. The project’s timeline was a fast turn-around (as they sometimes are) of just 3 months for the completion of drawings and construction. Once again we partnered with Keystruct Construction who worked as the Design-Build Contractor to accomplish this. Have a sneak peek at a photo below!


Turn Your Clocks, Check Your Smoke Detector Batteries

This weekend, don’t forget to turn your clocks ahead and test the batteries on your smoke alarms, CO2 detectors, and flash lights. Connecting these two tasks in your mind will help you to remember to check the batteries in the important devices in your home at least once yearly. If you need to put new batteries into your smoke or CO2 alarms, be sure to test them after the replacement. Use high-quality batteries to ensure a longer shelf-life, and, if you have any doubts about the working condition of your alarms and flashlights, replace them.

Establishing important safety habits in your home and business can save your life. What are some other ways you can stay safety-minded in the places you live and work?

Keep kits handy – First aid and disaster kids can be very helpful in the event of unforeseen injuries and emergencies.

Formulate your escape plan – Have a detailed escape plan in the case of a fire, earthquake, or other emergency event in both your home or office. Make sure you are aware of where fire exits are located when entering a new building, and, in the case of an emergency, refrain from using elevators.

Stay Informed – What types of weather-related emergencies are more likely to occur in your area? How can you best respond to these emergencies? Do you know where you are safest in the case of a tornado warning, for example? Being informed means being prepared.

As architects, we think in safety-focused ways in all that we do. Carrying these practices over into our personal lives and the lives of our clients is important, too. Remember, when you turn ahead your clocks this weekend, test your batteries. Being prepared is always a good thing!

Smoke Detector

The Importance of Architects

Try to imagine a world without buildings, or buildings without elements of design. Things look pretty bleak, don’t they? This is a world without architecture, and a world without architects.

The gifts that architects have imparted on our society over the years are too numerous to count, and are often overlooked. As we live and breathe this industry on a daily basis, we decided to put together a list of a few of our favorite things about being in the profession.

1.) ARCHITECTS SIMULTANEOUSLY THINK ON MANY LEVELS – Yes, architects think like designers, but we also think in terms of safety, liability, efficiency, and open space. Our consistent goal is to cover all the bases as we plan new projects. We have to be whole-brain thinkers at all times in order to ensure that our plans are whole as well. This level of multitasking isn’t an easy task, and is something that we’re quite proud of.

2.) ARCHITECTS ARE ALWAYS THINKING OF OTHERS – It’s the nature of our job: we spend the day thinking of other people as we plan. Our focus is to improve our clients’ quality of life, whether it is where they live, work or play. We’re wired to focus on client’s needs and goals and to make their wishes a reality. Whatever your vision might be, we can guarantee that it will become our focus until it becomes a tangible product that you can enjoy.

3.) ARCHITECTS ARE EDUCATED- We know our stuff, because our line of work requires that we do. We are trained to design while protecting the safety and overall welfare of each of our project’s inhabitants. To ensure that we can accomplish this undertaking, we have to be experts at what we do every step of the way. We have dedicated ourselves to consistent learning because we understand the importance of following new trends, keeping up with industry best practices, and taking advantage of continued education opportunities. For as long as we practice architecture, we will also be lifelong students.

4.) ARCHITECTS CREATE INSPIRATION – You know that great feeling of awe that overwhelms you when you’re standing in front of a well-designed building? An architect is behind that. This power to inspire is part of why we love what we do, and why it is our passion. There’s nothing better than planning every important aspect of places that will inspire our clients and will help them to live out their dreams.

5.) ARCHITECTS RENEW THE COMMUNITY – On a regular basis, we get to turn buildings that are old, rundown, broken and dismantled, into fresh, new, reinvented, healthy living and working environments for locals. In this way, one building at a time, we help to restore and refurbish cities. Our line of work allows us to make the places we live, work and play safer, better and more enjoyable. Pretty amazing if you ask us!



February 24, 2017

History refreshed: Union House Apartments

Take a peek at the start of one of our latest projects: the Union House Apartments in Lykens, PA. This is an $11 million adaptive-reuse project that involves the renovation of two very historic buildings into 27 units of affordable housing.

The iconic buildings involved include the former Lykens Hotel and the Israel building, each built around 1902-1903. The Israel building is a late Victorian-era commercial building which was originally used as retail spaces as well as a meeting spot for multiple fraternal lodges. The Lykens Hotel is a 4-story Beaux Arts building complete with an ornate lobby, dining areas, and bank spaces. It was developed and funded through the Hockenbury System for community development.

Due to its location, this new renovation will be able to offer tenants Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits through PHFA (LIHTC) as well as Historic Tax Credits through NPS. The building is owned by Home Leasing.

To complete this project, we will be partnering with Edgemere Development. We look forward to seeing the finished project, and to working within such a historically-rich area, once the center of the coal trade for the upper end of the state.

Union House Apartments

Union House Apartments

A Peek Into Our Process: Inspiration for Industrial Arts & Crafts Style and a Modern Palladian Villa

Project Architect Gretchen Weaver has some exciting work on her plate right now. She is developing a design for an Industrial Arts & Crafts style residence, as well as remodeling a Modern Palladian Villa.

Recently, a client approached us requesting an arts & crafts-style home, and asked that the design include polished concrete floors and influences from vintage boats. The first thing Gretchen did after receiving their request was to pull iconic imagery for inspiration. (This is often part of our process.) Her inspirational photos included imagery of Frank Lloyd Wright, Gustav Stickley, and Greene & Greene projects, and each selected photo did a wonderful job of showcasing the extensive woodworking details involved in typical classic style. Additionally, she looked for inspirational images that helped blend the line between traditional and modern industrial style.

Other current clients have requested a Modern Palladian Villa renovation to their home. They have expressed distress as their children are sleeping on opposite sides of the living room, and do not enjoy being separated. The family is looking to open their home up more, and create a modern and comfortable living space. At this time, the facade of their home is made up entirely of bricks and is quite formal, with beautiful Palladian-style windows. For the interior of their home, the family envisions a space that is clean, white, and modern with texture and comfort. Again pulling from photographs, Gretchen has worked to gather inspiration and ideas for the next step of the process.

Listening to clients’ desires and then pulling from various sources of inspiration to make their dreams become a reality is a fun and exciting part of this job. We enjoy being a part of the process as these projects take shape, and then seeing our ideas incorporated into a stunning finished project. Follow our journey with these new projects, and check back for further developments and updates!



CubeSmart Project Partnership

We are currently working on multiple projects in PA, NC, SC, NJ and FL with a national self-storage company named CubeSmart. We look forward to sharing further details about these projects as they develop in the future, and are excited to be a part of them! We were additionally honored by CubeSmart when they recommended us to several new clients along the eastern seaboard. (Referrals from happy clients are one of our very favorite things!)

CubeSmart provides a broad selection of storage units designed to fulfill the needs of their clients, including household, business, and vehicle storage. Many of their facilities also offer special features for customer ease, such as rolling doorways, moving carts, drive-up access, and temperature-control features. Check back for updates on these exciting CubeSmart jobs in our upcoming blog posts.

CubeSmart Facility

CubeSmart Facility

SAA Projects Receive ABC Keystone Awards

SAAarchitects’ projects were the recent recipients of 3 ABC Keystone merit and excellence awards. Award-winning architectural projects include our ABC Keystone addition and renovation, Flagger Force Corporate Office renovation, and York Outdoor Country Club’s Bistro on the Green addition.

ABC Keystone’s addition was completed with Kinsley Construction and won an ABC Excellence Award for Community/Public Service Project. Our Flagger Force Project, done in partnership with Keystruct Construction won an ABC Excellence Award for renovation under $1 million. Last but not least, our Bistro on the Green expansion for York Out Door Country Club was completed with Keystruct Construction and won an ABC Merit Award for Commercial Project under $2 million.

These projects were each unique and wonderful experiences for us. Additional details and photographs on each can be found in our blog archives and portfolio.

The awards were given out at the Associated Builders and Contractor’s Keystone Chapter Excellence in Construction gala. We are grateful to everyone who partnered with us to make these projects successful, and are very proud to have been honored in this way.

ABC Keystone


ODCC Bistro on the Green

Project Highlight: Penn Waste York

We recently again partnered with Keystruct Construction and Providence Engineering Corp. to create a Truck Maintenance Facility for Penn Waste of York. The renovations required architectural and structural design to allow modifications which would improve a former Recycling Building to help the company accommodate the relocation of their Truck Maintenance operations. A modern and spacious build was completed by Keystruct. Everyone involved was pleased with the final product, which has allowed for increased efficiency and flexibility for Penn Waste staff. Check out the before and after photos!

Penn Waste - Before

Penn Waste Building – Before Photo

Penn Waste Building - After Photo

Penn Waste Building – After Photo

Project Highlight: Flagger Force Renovation

SAAarchitects recently paired with Keystruct Construction to renovate over 10,000 square feet of a 21,000 square foot facility for Flagger Force’s new Corporate Training Academy and Marketing Department. The company, which has expanded rapidly since its humble beginnings, will now be able to train small, medium, and large groups of workers on their safety-focused practices.
The meeting rooms can comfortably seat 12-100 people.

The new facility also offers a reception desk which sits in front of a custom-built glass wall. Additionally, the building has space for modular work stations, private offices, an open-plan work area, and an IT work room. The relocation will afford staff members the ability to easily travel back and forth between branch locations as Flagger Force continues to grow. As always, we wish the company continued success and are grateful to have helped with this project.


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