Michael Castagna served as co-chair of the AIA 150 task force to partner with the Town of Durham, NH to study the prospects for redeveloping the Mill Plaza property – a nearly 10 acre parcel flanked by the University of New Hampshire campus, Main Street, and the faculty residential neighborhood – in the heart of Durham. These recommendations were developed over the past year with the citizens of Durham carried out by a partnership between the Mill Plaza Study Committee and members of the New Hampshire chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIANH). AIANH awarded Durham a grant of pro-bono design and consultation services in April, 2007 as part of the “Blueprint for America” initiative – a yearlong observation marking the 150th anniversary of the founding of AIA. The town/AIA150 collaboration was undertaken with the encouragement of John Pinto, the owner of the Mill Plaza property. Together with the Town-Council-appointed Mill Plaza Study Committee (MPSC), AIANH worked with a team of professional partners including Plan NH, The Jordan Institute, Granite State Landscape Architects, and the NH Preservation Alliance.
Work Together for Success Over a years time, the Durham community – the Mill Plaza Study Committee, the Library Board of Trustees, the Town Administrator, and hundreds of residents – with their partners in the AIANH 150 Team, embarked on a challenging and exciting consensus building process to envision the future of the Mill Plaza site. Through dozens of meetings, focus groups, design charrettes, and economic and environmental analysis, the community has collectively envisioned a future for the current site that can be commercially viable, well-designed, and integrated with the fabric of the town.
Our report can be viewed through the following links