The new 8,700 square foot woodshop at the Masonic Village in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania has come a long way from the renovated chicken coop which was its original home. The jury for the AIA Central Pennsylvania Excellence in Design Awards selected The Rooster Woodshop for an Award of Merit. The AIA membership echoed the jury’s opinion by also selecting the project for the Member’s Choice Award, determined through on-line voting.
The simple building form sits at the top of a ridge along a country drive.
“The building was constructed on top of an old barn foundation on a rural site, so it was appropriate to take the form of agrarian architecture,” says Dan Godfrey, AIA, Senior Project Manager. “Viewed through a modest row of trees, the building looks as though it was meant to be there, now as much a part of that hill as the trees. “
The wood-framed building, clad in a combination of stained cedar shiplap siding, cedar shakes and vertical metal siding, features a standing seam metal roof and aluminum-clad wood windows and doors. Sliding barn doors segment work areas and control access. Elements of red are interjected in the window mullions, entry door and the vertical siding.
“No material is without meaning,” according to Senior Designer, Brent Stebbins. “The contemporary combination of metal and wood is a tribute to the craftsmen working within. The polished rooster sign is an homage to the fraternal organization whose values shape the campus.”
The design needed to accommodate a diverse cross-section of woodshop members, from novices to master craftsmen. The woodshop has an apprentice program to teach novice members techniques and equipment operation while providing hands-on experience. The shop features 56 benches, more than 20 assembly tables, three storage rooms, a paint booth, an office and a spacious showroom.
“It’s fully equipped with professional woodworking equipment, a commercial dust collection system with pneumatic hose reels, industrial finish booth and access control,” Godfrey states. “We collaborated with the woodworkers on space planning, particularly for the individual workspaces.”
Woodworking may be considered a hobby for some, but for more than 50 residents of the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown, it’s a passion with a purpose. “I believe it is one of the nicest and most modern shops in any of the retirement communities in the state, if not the country,” resident Dean Miller, president of the woodshop, said. “Three of us from the shop attended all the design meetings. We had a lot of input, and the final design is based on our recommendations.”
The resulting simplistic form is complemented by quality, local materials combined to create a contemporary farm-style structure that is as aesthetically appealing as it is functional.