Virginia Architects Honored for Design Excellence


The Virginia Society/AIA presented 11 projects by architects in the region with Awards for Excellence in Architecture at the sixth annual Visions for Architecture ceremonies. The program, cosponsored by the Virginia Foundation for Architecture, took place November 7 in Richmond. The winners, ranging from a small log cabin addition to a large digital library in Korea, come from a field of 117 submissions representing four AIA chapters. Of the seven honor award winners and four merit award winners, three of the projects are unbuilt. Rod Kruse, FAIA, Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck Architecture, Des Moines, headed the jury.

Honor Awards

Blue Ridge Farmhouse Addition
Little Washington, Va.
by Robert M. Gurney, FAIA

Five hundred acres near Little Washington, Va., provided an idyllic setting for this addition to an old wooden farmhouse. The clients required a generous new living space, plus an accessible bathroom and changing area, but they didn’t want to compromise the original house. The solution was a steel-and-glass pavilion juxtaposed against a white clapboard frame addition. A flat-roofed circulation spine joins the two. Jurors applauded the addition’s elegance and the way in which it is made of parts that seem at home beside the farm’s outbuildings.
Photo © Paul Warchol

Little Falls, Va.
by Randall Mars Architects

This pool house, which occupies a manmade plateau overlooking the Potomac River, merges comfortably with its wooded environment. Its massive roof seems to float in space when the movable glass walls are slid to one side, exposing a wet bar and spa inside. An interior wall conceals the shower area and a spiral stair to the basement level, where the guest quarters and wine cellar are located. “Everything about this project is elegant,” the jury said. “The proportions are great, the heaviness of the roof seems just right. And the whole site plan is really beautiful. There’s nothing added just to make design. Everything is there for a purpose.”
Photo © Hoachlander Davis Photography

Postech Digital Library
by SmithGroup

The new digital library at the heart of campus at the Pohang Institute of Science and Technology in Korea positions the institution at the head of the digital age. The building creates a focal point, boasting its tectonics in a cylindrical atrium encased in a skin of metal and glass. The ground-floor entrance penetrates a five-story-high glass wall; inside is a stone lobby that leads to a telecommunications center and media rooms. Visitors from the upper campus enter on the fifth floor across a post-tensioned steel bridge. Jurors called the main steel-and-glass facade “an impressive structure” and praised the integration of the building with a major pedestrian pathway.
Photo © Ki-Hwan Lee

University of Virginia Baseball Stadium
Charlottesville, Va.
by VMDO Architects

The design for this new stadium incorporates a canopied grandstand that recalls baseball’s classic parks. The dynamic steel roof structure wraps around the field, creating a sense of enclosure and intimacy. Spectators approach the stadium through planted grounds. An earthen ramp along the left field line continues the circulation path leading directly to the concourse level and maintaining the connection between spectator and sport. Jurors lauded the organization of the stadium on the site, particularly the way people move along the concourse and into the seating, as well as the placement of support services on the opposite side from which spectators enter. “The sloped hill that acts as the seating is such a great idea,” they agreed.
Photo © Philip Beaurline

U.S.S. Monitor Center
Newport News, Va.
by SmithGroup

This $30 million project at the Mariners’ Museum, as yet unbuilt, will display the recovered turret of the U.S.S. Monitor alongside an interpretive recreation of the ironclad Civil War vessel. Glass will surround the recreated artifact, representing water from above and illuminating the lower level’s interactive exhibits and a theater. The adjacent conservation tank gallery will contain Monitor artifacts and a museum shop. The jury commented, “Once you get the idea that the original boat—or an amalgam of it—is floating on that glass plane and you get to walk on top and below it, you’re convinced by the power of the idea.”
Rendering by SmithGroup

UNOS National Donor Memorial Garden
Richmond, Va.
by SMBW Architects

This National Memorial for Organ and Tissue Donors, at the headquarters of UNOS, the United Network for Organ Sharing in Richmond, honors the gift of life made through organ and tissue donation. Each of three spaces—the grove, the lawn, and the memorial—is reflective in nature. The architects organized the lower room around a 100-foot-long wall inscribed with niches to hold private mementos. “It seems to have a nice human scale—a place to sit and contemplate,” jurors observed. “It also bridges the gap between architecture and landscape architecture, because the plant materials are critical to its success.”
Rendering by SMBW Architects

Wheatland Farms Log Cabin
Waterford, Va.
by Reader & Swartz Architects

The owners of Wheatland Farms’ time-weathered log cabin sought to restore it, remove a tagged-on ramshackle shed, and construct a sympathetic addition. To duplicate early construction methods, the architects studied the original rafters, windows, doors, and baseboards. The new addition enjoys plenty of natural light, aided by a glass-floored catwalk that allows the sun to pour into the kitchen below. Jurors admired the project’s balance between restraint and creativity. “The richness of the interior materials provided by the original cabin, in combination with the new construction, creates a vivid contrast that gives the project great depth,” they said.
Photo © Ron Blunt

Merit Awards

21000 Atlantic Boulevard
Dulles Town Center, Va.

This spec office building draws its organization from a metal-clad wedge that anchors the building physically and visually. The western side, fronted by a busy thoroughfare, presents a slick reflective façade to motorists. The eastern side displays a more corporate image of precast concrete with punched, grid-like openings. The glass used in both façades is opaquely reflective during day and transparent at night, with the exception of two segments that are always transparent. Jurors noted: “For a spec office building for which shapes and forms have to be invented, the architects succeeded at inventing those shapes. It’s a successfully detailed and resolved building.”
Photo © Prakash Patel

Georgetown Day School
Washington, D.C.
by Studio 27 architecture

This unrealized plan for an addition to a private high school adds nearly 70,000 square feet of space and 200 parking spots. Limited by a small site, the solution creates distinct volumes that articulate the school’s varied but interconnected academic disciplines. The design places most of these elements inside a three-level facility that incorporates sustainable design strategies such as roof gardens, glass panels, and stormwater collection. “We liked the organization and the clarity of the plan,” the jury said. “The massing appears to be based on a response to the environment, which makes it more interesting than just form-making.”
Photo © Studio 27 architecture

Occoquan River House
Alexandria, Va.
by Robert M. Gurney, FAIA

The design of this 3,400-square-foot residence draws its form from its location on five sloping acres along the Occoquan River. Four forms make up the design: a masonry rectangle, metal-clad trapezoid, wood-and-glass connector, and three-dimensional ellipse wrought in oxidized steel. These forms interact to create dramatic views and defined living spaces. “We were all intrigued with the massing, use of materials, and simplicity of expression on the exterior,” the jury said. “A lot of the volumetric expression on the interior was very good. It’s an incredibly elegant, well-detailed, clear articulation of pieces.”
Photo © Paul Warchol

Timepiece Residence
Charlottesville, Va.
by Carrie Meinberg Burke with Kevin Burke, Architect

Formed by the forces of light, weather, and historical context, this copper-clad house revels in the change and constancy of the seasons. The architect precisely aligned the design with sun angles, so openings in the walls and roof orient everyday activities—such as washing and cooking—with the cycle of daylight. In the observatory, the oculus shapes sunlight into a beam the passage of which is marked by cross hairs and lines inscribed into the floors and walls. “The concept generated a beautiful form,” the jury enthused. “The plan organization is very strong. And the architecture is not full of clichés—it is very inventive.”
Photo © Prakash Patel

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