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Local architecture firm receives AIA’s Honor Award


Wolstenholme Associates, a local architecture firm specializing in adaptive re-use and historic preservation, was awarded the Honor Award from the Bucks County Chapter of the AIA for the firm’s office renovations on the Nathan James Plaza Building in Doylestown.

Architect John Wolstenholme and Interior Designer Casey Bues accepted the award on behalf of the company at the AIA’s annual Holiday Dinner and Awards Banquet Dec. 5.

The Nathan James Plaza Building is the south side of the duplex known as the historic Nathan James House, built in 1888 by well-known 19th century architect Milton Bean. Over the years the building fell into disrepair as it changed hands many times.

After it was sold in 2014, Wolstenholme Associates took on the historically sensitive task of bringing the building back to its original glory, while modernizing it for today’s technological needs.

The vastly different conditions between the respective floors of the building inspired Wolstenholme’s approach to tailor the type and extent of renovation for each floor to the amount of restoration needed.

This was an excellent opportunity to highlight the various degrees of renovation sensible to historic structures: since the first floor was in relatively good condition, the focus was on historic preservation; the chopped up condition of the second floor necessitated a more transitional approach, and the third floor required a total gutting, inspiring a more eclectic, modern design. Finally, the unfinished basement was renovated into new, modern office space and became the headquarters of Wolstenholme Associates.

Working closely with both Tomlinson Building & Renovating and Worthington & Shagen Custom Builder, Inc., Wolstenholme Associates ensured a seamless transition between new and old as a treasured Doylestown gem was restored to its original architectural grandeur.