June 25, 2012

Scott's Sabbatical

In July, a new chapter in life begins. It has been 39 years since I founded our design firm in Portland. With just shy of 1,000 diverse projects, I have experienced unimagined opportunities, working with wonderful people like you on significant sites throughout our beloved state and across the North East. TFH Architects has grown and evolved, and has been recognized with numerous awards and publications. It has been a team effort and I will always be grateful for the wisdom and commitment of the original founding partners, Joseph Feely and David Hingston, as well as for the ongoing support of David Merrill, Ryan Senatore, and Dennis Morelli.

What’s next? A year of looking and sketching, listening and writing, exploring the world and giving back to it with my wife, Pamela Hawkes. She recently left Boston after 26 years as a principal at Ann Beha Associates where she directed many nationally recognized projects.

On July 1st, we’ll set sail for the Azores in our 48 foot sloop, Scattergood. With boat partner, James Sterling, and three friends, we expect to reach the Azores within a couple of weeks and Portugal by the end of the month. Then, we’ll cruise on our own through the Mediterranean, reaching Turkey in December. With the start of 2013, we hope to be contributing our skills and enthusiasm with a community in need, most likely in Africa. We’ll be recording adventures and observations at www.scattergood.me.

Pam and I will return to Portland in the summer of 2013 and look forward to crafting a new design and planning paradigm together. Our goal is to be strategic and also hands-on, collaborative and creative—focusing on projects that make a difference for people in special places. Stay tuned! For future contact this fall and beyond, please use scottteas1 (at) me (dot) com, (adjusted to minimize spam). I’ll be more active at checking this email once we’re settled.
As the current design contracts come to an end, David will continue to assist our clients with any needed services related to their projects. Should additional services be required he will also be available to coordinate, and or take on these tasks. Beyond TFH, David will also be diversifying his services, using his twenty plus years of experience to assist Developers, Financiers and Owners with Project Management and Owner representatives’ services. David is looking forward to continuing his contribution to the built environment by understanding the needs of a project and finding efficiencies; from conception & design, through construction and into operation. Should you have a project, at any stage, needing additional attention, please don’t hesitate to contact David and discuss the opportunity. After working directly with David for the last ten years I can attest to his attention to detail and organizational skills which will serve his future clients well.

Since joining TFH Architects in 2002 Ryan has gained experience working closely with Scott and the TFH team on a broad range of project types. He has been exposed to, and immersed himself in, all aspects of those projects. Over the past ten years Ryan has enjoyed the team aspect of projects he has been a part of and looks to build upon that team environment moving into the future. Ryan will continue working on current TFH projects in the upcoming months and has recently started Ryan Senatore Architecture with the intent to practice his passion for design and continue to provide clients with a high level of service.

Throughout his two year stay with TFH Architects, Dennis Morelli has taken an active role in numerous projects as both support and project management. With his commitment to sustainability and well-rounded experience in architecture and graphic design, Dennis enjoyed the challenge of finding creative and responsible design solutions while building strong client relationships. Dennis is continuing to support the TFH design team part-time on the Libby Library expansion and will continue to be available to support past clients and projects. Dennis also recently accepted an Associate position at Lachman Architects and Planners in Portland where he will continue to practice his commitment to design excellence.

December 21, 2011

TFH is on Facebook!

Stay up to date with the firm's news, projects, and local events on TFH's Facebook page. "Like" us to receive updates! Our page can be accessed by following the link below.

TFH Facebook page

June 29, 2011

TFH and MRLD: First Honorable Mention

TFH Architects and MRLD Architecture + Landscape recieved First Honorable Mention for their East End Shoal project submitted for the Portland Society of Architects 2nd Biannual Unbuilt Architecture Awards!

The East End Shoal is an exploration of the dynamics between land, water, geology and the users of the Eastern Promenade. The design of the East End Shoal is an extension of the Promenade terrain and deliberately preserves views of Casco Bay by placing the programmatic uses beneath the extruded landform – a landform informed by geologic faults and folds found in the area.

When viewed from the water, the East End Shoal rises out of the bay recalling nearby granite shores and the historical architecture of forts, breakwaters and lighthouses. The profile of the landform is constantly changing with the tides, emphasizing the fluid nature of the design. At the highest point, the “prow”, the horizontal expanse of glazing, blurs the line between interior and exterior and connects the Event Space activities to Casco Bay.

The raised landform provides shelter for park visitors as well as creating a tunnel event for the Narrow Gauge Railroad. The earth formed reinforced concrete shell combined with vertical and sloping granite faces of the structure should provide the community with a low maintenance facility that should last well into the next century. Protruding granite blocks in the sloped surface will act as wave deflectors to dissipate the surf energy during a nor’easter. Using reclaimed excavated material from simultaneous construction projects on the peninsula the East End Shoal will divert waste from being transported to off peninsula disposal sites.

April 19, 2011

PortlandBiz: TFH helps revive Community Counseling Center

New home in Bayside revives Community Counseling

Mary Jane Krebs, left, and Erin Smith of Community Counseling Center stand in front of the agency's new home in the Bayside neighborhoodThree years ago Portland's largest mental health agency was on the verge of financial collapse, strained by the economic crash and shrinking funding sources. Today, however, after forming a strategic and timely alliance with like-minded agencies, Community Counseling Center is not just surviving, but expanding.

On April 22, Community Counseling will leave its cramped quarters on Forest Avenue for a renovated industrial building in the Bayside neighborhood, a once blighted area that has seen an increase in new commercial development in recent years. The agency will be equidistant from Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, two anchors in the neighborhood's ongoing revitalization.

Community Counseling's new location at 165 Lancaster St., in a former bread factory, has been refurbished for approximately $2.5 million, according to Erin Smith, Community Counseling's spokeswoman. The landlord, Tom Toye of Bayside II LLC, is financing the bulk of the project, while Community Counseling is providing the rest, $578,000. The agency has signed a 10-year lease.

The 33,000-square-foot space --10,000 square feet larger than CCC's current office -- will enable the agency to increase its staff by 10%, adding about 10 new positions, and provide services to 25% more clients in the next two years, Smith says.

"And this is at a time when a lot of agencies like ours are closing and decreasing services," she says.

Community Counseling serves more than 10,000 individuals and families a year with counseling, case management and other wellness services. Approximately 85% of its clients are moderate- to low-income, according to Interim President and CEO Mary Jane Krebs. Its $6.8 million budget comes from program fees and contracted services, as well as state and federal funding, other fundraising efforts and a yearly grant from the United Way of Greater Portland. The agency employs clinicians, social workers, case managers and a few administrators.

The excitement that Community Counseling's employees feel at leaving their "depressing, dark and dingy" old building for a new space is not just about being able to stretch their legs, Smith says. The new move also symbolizes just how much, and how quickly, the agency turned itself around.

In 2008, Community Counseling's $3.6 million endowment dropped by a third when the market declined, according to Smith. Meanwhile, the agency was eating into the remainder of the endowment to collateralize its investments against its operational line of credit. "We weren't able to meet our operating cash needs and were ever increasingly getting into debt over time," Smith writes in an email.

Simultaneously, Community Counseling was seeing its funding sources dry up: Its primary MaineCare reimbursement rate slipped 34% between 2002 and 2009, and the organization's state funding shrank from $1.2 million in 2002 to $411,000 in 2008.

"In addition to those things, our expenses continued to rise and we made cuts year after year," Smith explains. "We had closed our Bangor, Augusta, Westbrook and Baxter Boulevard locations, and had laid off 20-30 people (primarily administrative staff) over the course of two years in order to respond to rate cuts. We kept consolidating and reducing our expenses, but at some point it got to be too much."

In 2009, Smith says Community Counseling had just four to six months before it had to close.

Then it was offered a lifeline. A year prior, in 2008, MaineHealth and Spring Harbor Hospital had formed the Maine Mental Health Partners as a subsidiary of MaineHealth, a nonprofit consortium of health care organizations that includes Maine Medical Center in Portland. In July, 2009, Community Counseling joined MMHP with a plea that this partnership was its last hope, according to Krebs.

Today the network also includes Spring Harbor Hospital and Spring Harbor Community Services in Westbrook, Counseling Services Inc. in Saco, Mid-Coast Mental Health Center in Rockland and Integrated Behavioral Healthcare Inc. in Scarborough.

Becoming part of the network allows Community Counseling to share its back-office operations with its partners, consolidating human resources, IT, communications and financial services, according to Krebs. In its first year with MMHP, the agency saved more than $500,000.

"We're always looking at ways of taking out duplication, improving service, improving quality and reducing cost," Krebs says.

The network also provides financial support. Spring Harbor Hospital gave Community Counseling a $428,000 loan for its new building, and MaineHealth is guaranteeing its lease, Krebs says. Community Counseling raised an additional $110,000 and is hoping to raise another $40,000 this year, Smith says, to pay for new computers, staff training and artwork.

Community Counseling's move to Lancaster Street required not just financial stability, but also a certain amount of faith. When the agency's directors got their first look at 165 Lancaster St., they were rather underwhelmed. The building is a long, low utilitarian structure designed for the mass production of baked goods. After Cushman's Bakery closed in 1960s, the building was converted into offices.

"The building that they would relocate to, 165 Lancaster Street, was tired and in need of significant interior and exterior rehab," brokers Greg Boulos and Justin Lamontagne write in a realtor's case study. "It was in such tough shape that, upon arrival for the first property tour, the group representing CCC asked Boulos to drive on. They said it wasn't worth touring."

But with the help of architects including Scott Teas of TFH Architects, who drafted renderings to show the building's possibilities, Community Counseling's leaders eventually changed their opinion, according to Boulos and Lamontagne.

Landry/French Construction of Scarborough gutted the interior and built it anew. MorrisSwitzer, an architecture firm with a Portland office, designed the interior, and Portland's TFH Architects designed the exterior.

Kevin French, co-owner of Landry/French, says he had to level the long concrete hallways, which had been sloped to accommodate rolling bread bins. The huge, meandering interior has been partitioned into many small offices and painted with a colorful palette of plum, turquoise, moss green and peach. Landry/French added five new skylights.

"Patients come in to a beautifully renovated space that's bright and positive," Smith says. "It makes them feel like they're being taken care of."

February 18, 2011

TFH Architects interviewed by Don Carrigan

TFH Architects and Lyman Morse Boatbuilding Co. were recently featured on WCSH News 6 for their project at 250 Main Street Rockland. Read the full story or watch the video at WCSH6.com