Project Update: Massanutten Resort Custom Home

Project Update: Massanutten Resort Custom Home

Beck Builders has started moving dirt at Massanutten Resort for a new custom home. This contemporary architectural creation will be flooded with natural light and have some incredible views. Working on a tight-sloped site in this resort has several challenges: driveway, garage, water management, and rock to name a few. However, our client had a clear vision for what they wanted in this incredible design and we were able to fit the pieces on the site and create just the right solution.

Massanutten Resort

Our process for working on a custom home is to work hard to figure out the life our client wants to live on this particular building site. We have a series of questions to get to know each client’s goals and values, how they function in a space, and how they would enjoy this new home. We want to know functionally how spaces need to work with each other and what the dream day might be. When designing a custom solution, we help facilitate the goals our clients dream about. It is a design process that not only focuses on beauty but functionality and buildability too. We want to make it efficient and affordable to build and operate, so we work hard to find the values in our client’s dreams and incorporate those into the structure.

massanutten resort custom home

In this design, we used a variety of techniques to show the client what the spaces would look and feel like as they make critical design decisions. Keeping the high ceilings and glass wall facing the views was an important element in their vision. This, along with the narrow lot and slope, gave us the parameters to design within. With an understanding of building science and materials, we created an efficient structure to build that will be aesthetically striking and provide our clients with functional spaces to live comfortably.

massanutten resort custom home

Knowing the clients comes from listening to the clients. There are a lot of conversations that happen throughout the design process and the more we listen, the more we learn and can design the right solution.

massanutten resort custom home

Hearing from the builder that our complete design will make the build go smoother reassures us that our process works and provides greater value – as time is money when it comes to construction. We strive to achieve that balance between beautiful and functional design in every home we create. We want builders to be proud of what they are constructing. Most importantly, we want our clients to live their dream life in their new space.

Project Update: Eastern Mennonite Elementary School

Project Update: Eastern Mennonite Elementary School

The Eastern Mennonite Elementary School gathering space is taking shape as foundation walls are revealed. It has been such a joy to return to this project to add the gathering space to the Elementary School we helped create years ago. In the design of this addition, we once again worked hand in hand with the teachers and staff of Eastern Mennonite School to make sure we addressed concerns, enhanced their ability to serve their students, and created a comfortable space for their students. I am really looking forward to seeing how the soft northern light will bath over this space and how the warm radiant floors designed by Rockingham Engineering will make the space enjoyable year-round.

Eastern mennonite Elementary School

At the site meeting this week I was thrilled to hear from Herr and Company that the foundation walls and grade worked out exactly as we had planned. This will allow for multiple access points and the ability to open this space up in comfortable weather as a pavilion space. The connection to outside / nature is a core component of this schools educational standards. Designing a commercial space that can serve as both an indoor and outdoor space has some building science challenges. Working with the design team we were able to come up with solutions that will be durable, sustainable, and comfortable.

Eastern mennonite Elementary School

This addition will allow for large group gatherings in the building and provide flexible small study rooms, a warming kitchen, storage space, and outdoor solid surface gathering areas.

Eastern mennonite Elementary School

More on the addition of the gathering space in Phase II Here.

Peruvian Architecture

Peruvian Architecture

Mural in Lima, Peru that reads

This past month, I had the opportunity to travel to Peru. I am always grateful for the opportunity to travel because it broadens my world and introduces me to people both different and similar to me. Not to mention, I get to try new foods (like alpaca!). Of course, while I was there, I couldn’t help but look at the architecture. Below are snippets of the designs and structures that caught my eye.



My first stop in Peru was to Lima. Lima Architecture varies from district to district, but the architecture that I saw in Miraflores, a more touristy and commercial district, was more similar to what I’ve seen in U.S. cities. Along the Miraflores Malecón (Direct translation: “breakwater”. You can think of it like a boardwalk or costal path on top of a cliff by the ocean.), there were beautiful parks, sculptures, and a butterfly garden path.

Buildings in Lima, Peru.

City view from my window.

Architecture in Lima, Peru.

Fun shapes and color accents.

In the middle of the four lane road, there was a beautiful tree-lined path for walking, biking, and sitting on the benches.

The buildings closer to the coast were especially colorful.



The city of Cusco.

It wasn’t just the architectural design of the buildings that I was fascinated by. I fell in love with the narrow twists and turns of the Cusco streets. Although this sort of city layout is not as natural for me to navigate, it always gives me a sense of exploration and curiosity. And even though the streets and buildings weren’t laid out into a squared grid, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to locate myself by day 3 of walking around. … but boy the 11,000 ft. altitude and hills did not make walking around easy! 

The building shapes weren’t shapes I see in Harrisonburg, or anywhere in the U.S. that I’ve visited. My mind was never bored as my eyes traveled the lines, jumping from one building to another.

The buildings around my Airbnb reminded me of this ink drawing that I was working on, and they gave me inspiration to complete it.


I have never seen round, concrete landings like this that seem to float outside. These were a common sight.

Spectacular detailing on a church in Plaza de Armas, Cusco.

Sacred Valley

Wow, this valley was sacred indeed. Our guide, Will was fantastic and emphasized that he was giving us an etnohistoria (translation: ethnohistoric) tour of the Inca locations, meaning the history he told us centered indigenous people’s perspectives, documents, culture, and oral history, etc., instead of history written by the white, European perspectives. He encouraged us to approach learning that day with an open mind and “blank page.” Learning from the Incan people’s perspectives helped me to understand the importance and purposes behind the architecture we visited. 

This is so important for learning about cultures different from our own, especially when the history we have heard about a group has not been from them. This is important in architectural practice as we design with communities.

Architecturally, the landscape, building, and community design were expertly created to fit with the landscape and topography. Descriptions are beside each picture below.  

As our guide taught us to do, I say thank you to these sacred mountains that we traveled in that hold these sacred places.

Incan ruins at Ollantaytambo, Peru.

Ollantaytambo: A beautiful town within the mountains that has Incan ruins. Some of the Incan buildings in the mountains were made to store food for the years that El Nino caused a dry season in this valley. These buildings were strategically oriented towards the wind. Incans carefully designed holes in the building to allow for airflow from the wind that would prevent mold during years of storage.

The extensive stepped terraces at Moray were designed and used by the Incans for agricultural research. By planting on the different levels which varied in ph levels and other conditions, the Incas developed over 4,000 different potato varieties and hundreds of corn varieties!

Salt flats in Maras, Peru.

Salineras de Maras, or The Salt Mines of Maras, were designed on the sloping landscape with an intricate network of canals. The water on each flat slowly evaporates in the sun and the remaining salt is harvested. They are still in use.

Massive stones on top of the structure in Ollantaytambo had portions that jut out to fit together, much like Legos.



Arequipa is a city surrounded by the Andes mountains and the volcano, Misti. The buildings in this city were again full of colors and shapes that I don’t see everyday in the U.S. There were also stunning churches with intricate carvings and lush parks scattered throughout the city.

Blue door in Arequipa, Peru.

Spiral staircase and rounded landing that I saw in Cusco too.

Of course, trying lots of yummy food with my family.

A question posed to me, now posed to you:

Waiting for my delayed flight at the Lima airport (at 1am), I had a conversation with a man I met in the food court that spanned everything from religion to culture to language to architecture. He asked me if there was anything like Machu Pichu and other structures from indigenous groups in the U.S. I was stumped. He pointed to the pyramids in Egypt and Tikal in Guatemala and asked why we didn’t have things like that. 

I assume there are many reasons why I couldn’t think of any such locations or structures: my European ancestors intentionally and strategically destroyed elements of indigenous culture, which included architecture, as a way of assuming power? Yes. Was it just not a part of my school curriculum? Probably. Maybe the nations that lived in the now U.S. used materials that were more disintegrable? I don’t know enough about that. Maybe the groups were more nomadic? I don’t know enough about this either. Was it the fact that I was trying to speak in Spanish at 1am? Yeah, probably a little bit of that too.

I’m curious, do you know of any places? Let me know in the comments.

*Edit: Later I googled Indigenous structures in the U.S. and low and behold, there are many! Check out a few cultural, architectural sites here.

Rock the Ridge to support MTC

Rock the Ridge to support MTC

It is time to ROCK THE RIDGE to support MTC! MTC has programs including agriculture production, architecture, auto technology, carpentry, collision repair, dental careers, fire and rescue, heating and cooling technology, nursing, welding, and more. Supporting technical education is critical to the success of any community. Charles serves on the foundation board and the marketing committee and says, “The work we are doing to support these students will pay off for our entire community as MTC develops our community’s future heroes.”

Rock the Ridge

Rock the Ridge is a new summer kick-off event produced by Massanutten Technical Center Foundation and hosted by Massanutten Resort. With so many positive comments after last year’s event hosted at the school, MTC Foundation wanted to kick it up a notch and expand on the ever-popular Thunderstruck vibe. Thus, this new collaborative event was born.

This festival will feature three main stage bands, food, beverages, fireworks, and more!

Bluestone Communication

MTC foundation worked with Bluestone Communications this year to kick off the marketing plan for the foundation and fundraiser – Rock the Ridge. This nationally affiliated student run PR firm at James James Madison University was a pleasure to work with over this last semester. Working with the Bluestone Communications team from JMU allowed us to develop a brand standard for MTC Foundation and graphics specific to promote the upcoming concert.

These students work with a variety of businesses and non-profits each year. Along with branding and social media, they work to get media exposure, which they did for us through WHSV and the DNR.

Bluestone Communication

The Massanutten Technical Center Foundation, under the direction of its Executive Board, supports the mission of Massanutten Technical Center:

“Massanutten Technical Center will provide high school and adult students with the skills, knowledge, and industry-based experiences necessary to attain success in career and community.”

MTC plays a vital role in the community that directly benefits area students, businesses, and citizens alike. Area businesses have access to economical, high quality training services for their employees and a steady supply of highly-skilled potential employees. With MTC in the community, adults can continue their education, and working men and women can acquire new skills that greatly enhance their career prospects. At MTC, high school students are prepared for a future of lifetime learning and career success.

Harrisonburg Architect named in top 100 for 2024

Harrisonburg Architect named in top 100 for 2024

fixr top architect charles hendricks

Charles Hendricks Recognized as one of the 100 top Architects of 2024 recently revealed its annual selection of the 100 Top Architects of 2024, spotlighting key players in today’s construction industry. This exclusive list acknowledges the experts who are continuously contributing to the growth of the residential design sector.

 These top architects have made this list based on criteria such as expertise, experience, and the ability to drive innovation and progress. They are acknowledged both locally and nationally, have earned their place through remarkable projects and a solid reputation.

According to Ornella Bianco, Home Improvement Specialist at, “The influence these experts have on the industry is undeniable. They are at the forefront, keeping up the pace with evolving homeowner preferences and advancing residential architecture in 2024.”

Being included in’s list affirms Hendricks’ leadership and expertise in the home design sector. This recognition underscores Charles Hendricks’ role as a catalyst for innovation, crucial for the ongoing advancement of residential architectural practices and trends in 2024.

Charles was also included on this list in 2023 and prior to that appeared on the Fixr top 200 experts in the construction industry list each year from  2020-2022

About Charles:

Charles Hendricks and is an architect, Rotarian, and father living in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. He serves the firm as Principal Architect also focused on business development, marketing, sustainability, and building science. He serves the community through a wide range of organizations including the Rotary Club of Rockingham CountyShenandoah Valley PartnershipExplore More Museum, Park View Mennonite Church, Massanutten Technical Center Foundation, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance Design Committee, and through many other volunteer opportunities. His core belief is that through design we can build a stronger and more vibrant future for all.

About Gaines Group Architects:

Gaines Group Architects is a small firm with a big idea – design can build a better community, enhance livability, reduce construction and operation costs, and protect our environment.

Design matters.

We work hard to understand the best practices in the industry so we can provide our clients with functional, affordable, and beautiful design solutions. We do this through a focus on quality, value, building science, and timeless beauty. Gaines Group Architects is located in Harrisonburg and Charlottesville, Virginia. We serve a wide range of clients from custom homes, renovations, additions, commercial, retail, industrial, ecclesiastical, and non-profits.

Mission statement

Through design we want to build a stronger more vibrant community. We want to design solutions that make positive changes for everyone in our community.

Why we do it

Because we want a better future for our clients, community, and world.

About is a go-to resource for home improvement, dedicated to aiding homeowners in making informed decisions about remodeling. stands out for providing unbiased, thorough, and regularly updated cost guides, price comparisons, and cheat sheets for a wide range of remodeling, installation, and repair projects. With the necessary knowledge at hand, connects homeowners with the best-matched contractors in their area to begin their home improvement projects.

For the complete list of the 100 Top Architects of 2024, visit:

Project Update: Harrisonburg Rockingham Child Day Care Center

Project Update: Harrisonburg Rockingham Child Day Care Center

The Harrisonburg Rockingham Child Day Care Center is heading into the final weeks of construction for phase 1. Walls have been removed and others added. Doors are relocated to the right locations and electrical outlets have been added. The restrooms have been shaped and the rough-ins are ready for fixtures. Best of all, the drywall is almost done so the paint to roll.

Harrisonburg Construction is hard at work executing the plan that we worked out with the building owners to maximize the functionality of this existing building for their day care. Phase 1 construction will provide the rooms and spaces needed to open this fall for infants up to pre-school students. Phase 2 is planned and ready to start (they could use your financial support to get everything done they need). We have learned a lot about grants, day care standards, and faith on this project from some amazing clients with a wonderful mission – to provide affordable day care in Harrisonburg.

Many of the exterior changes, including the playground, will come in phase 2 construction. Phase 1 construction is focused to allow the facility to open the functional space by this fall. We will also update the exterior of the facility and replace the windows.

Harrisonburg Rockingham Child Day Care Center

The classrooms on the north and west side of the building have tall windows and lots of natural light.

Harrisonburg Rockingham Child Day Care Center

We are adding a window into this east classroom to bring more natural light into the space.

Harrisonburg Rockingham Child Day Care Center

The protective cover is starting to be removed from the stainless steel in the kitchen – do they look like portals into another dimension to you?

Stay tuned for more updates as this project starts to get paint, doors installed, and a ceiling in place!

If you are thinking about opening a day care, give us a call so we can help evaluate your building options.