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Architects honor the Monahons

New award named in their honor

The 2014 Clinton Sheerr Award for Excellence in New Hampshire Architecture was bestowed posthumously on Duffy Monahon and Rick Monahon, longtime Peterborough residents. In addition to awarding the Clinton Sheerr Award to the Monahons, American Institute of Architects New Hampshire has instituted a new award, the Rick and Duffy Monahon Award for Excellence in Architectural Preservation, which will begin with the 2015 Design Awards program.

In presenting the award, Daniel Scully of Dublin, said, “The recipients of this year’s Clinton Sheerr Award have given and given to their communities and the State of New Hampshire for decades, constantly protecting and rebuilding our past, while looking toward our future. Our communities, and the built environment of these communities, are culturally richer for Rick and Duffy.”

The Monahons were extraordinary people who gave generously throughout their careers in the areas of architecture, preservation and planning. Rick began his architectural practice in Peterborough in the early ’70s, with the rehabilitation of the historic Harrisville mills — a project that he continued to work on until his death. After meeting Duffy, and their subsequent marriage, they worked together at their firm, Richard M. Monahon, Jr. AIA Architects, housed in the Granite Block in Peterborough.

They were both passionate about history and finding new uses for old buildings, and so it made sense that they would become intensely involved in planning and historic preservation. In their hometown of Peterborough, Rick helped grow the Peterborough Players facility from a simple barn into a true summer theater complex. They both took great pride in Duffy’s renovation of the historic Dublin Lake Club and her discoveries and subsequent restoration of the concealed jewels of the Wilton Town Library.

Rick twice served as a director on the AIANH Board of Directors and was a founding member of the N.H. Preservation Alliance. He also served on the board of Plan NH and undertook pro-bono design charrettes and consultations, just to lend a hand and help a good project move forward. He was a member of the Peterborough Planning Board and the N.H. State Board of Architects, of which he had become chair shortly before his death.

Duffy was driven in her quest to preserve beloved buildings and landmarks and was always out there, a fearless leader. She was involved with the Peterborough Conservation Commission and the Heritage Commission, and can be credited with preserving several historic buildings in Peterborough.

The two of them also continued to push back the encroaching vegetation of time on their land to when it was farmed and did much to frame the issues of community farming.

Executive Director of the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance Jennifer Goodman said, the Monahons “seemed to collect new ideas and new friends wherever they went, and inspired their peers, clients, and a new generation of architects and preservationists.”

The Monahons won numerous awards over the years from AIANH for their work: Newbury Center Meeting House; Dublin Lake Club; Gregg Free Library, Wilton; a private home in New Mexico; Stefansson Nef Photographic Studio, Peterborough; Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center Student Apartments, Greenfield; Shops at Granite Hill; Hooksett; Parish Hall of the All Saints Episcopal Church, Peterborough; Peterborough Savings Bank addition; and the Main House renovation and addition at the Dublin School.

The Town Hall, Temple; Searles Library, Windham; and the Brown Block, Keene, all received awards from the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance.

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