Coming Soon Big Discounts

Chartwell Capital Advisors has been working hard to provide AIA Virginia and its members a host of voluntary services and discounts. We are very close to being able to roll out an ambitious new program that provides each AIA Virginia member, employees, and family a multitude of deep discounts on an array of different products and services. Yes, this menu will include financial services and products, but will also include deep discounts in a litany of consumer products. This will allow members to not only receive instant quotes on home and car insurance and other products but also discounts on computers, cell phone plans, beauty products, deep discounts on travel, pet products, clothes, and many other goods and services.

This is BIG.

Stay tuned.

To have Chartwell Capital provide you or your firm with an analysis of your needs, quotes, and coverage, simply contact Rob Smith at

Visit the Chartwell Capital site>>

View the AIA Virginia Benefits Package

Rob Smith
Chartwell Capital Advisors
Robert C. Smith, PLC
The Branch House
2501 Monument Avenue
Richmond, Virginia 23220
(804) 357-5977

Art and Architectural Review Board Appointments

On August 24, 2018, Virginia Governor Northam announced appointments to his administration that included these individuals to the Art and Architecture Review Board.

  • Lindsey Brittain of Vienna, Artist
  • Thomas W. Papa of Richmond, Attorney-at-Law and President, Fountainhead Development, LLC
  • Burchell F. Pinnock* of Richmond, Principal Architect, Baskervill
  • Ian Vaughan of Portsmouth, Architect, NAVFAC Mid-Atlantic
  • Helen A. Wilson* of Albemarle, Senior Landscape Architect, University of Virginia

Congratulations to our members, Burt Pinnock, AIA and Ian Vaughan, AIA for these appointments and we thank you for your service to the Commonwealth.

View the full press release:

Advocacy Meeting with State Senators

The practice of Architecture is a regulated profession that depends on the actions of the General Assembly and the Administration. Our elected officials discuss and debate legislation that affects our profession every day. Architects must engage in the legislative and regulatory process to protect our profession and keep it strong for the future. Building relationships with legislators give our profession a voice in the political process.

On July 27 Eliza Engle, AIA and Sean Reilly, AIA, members of AIA Virginia’s Government Advocacy Advisory Council had a very productive meeting with three Virginia State Senators and representatives from other industries at Williams Mullen, AIA Virginia’s lobbying firm. Senators Jill Vogel, Glen Sturtevant and Dick Black all serve on the Senate General Laws Committee, which debates and decides on legislation that impacts our profession. Each representative was given the opportunity to introduce themselves and speak about legislative concerns they wanted to share with the Senators.

Engle and Reilly emphasized the importance of Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) and the existing loophole that allows local governments and other public bodies to choose a competitive procurement process based on fee instead of qualifications. The Senators were very interested in learning more about the QBS loophole, which seemed to garner the most discussion of any topic at the meeting.

Senator Dick Black noted that the Dillon rule was originally created so that the most qualified vendor would be selected based on their experience, not based on the lowest fee. Reginald Jones, partner at Williams Mullen, spoke about the need to have a uniform set of professional services procurement rules throughout the state, rather than a mixture of locally adopted procurement procedures that has been evolving. Senators Vogel, Black and Sturtevant all agreed that the Qualifications Based Selection law is important and should be consistently upheld throughout the state.

Gaining the Senator’s support of closing the QBS loophole is a key step in what we anticipate will be a multi-year effort. The QBS loophole is just one of many issues we are working on that are important to our profession. We have a lot of newly elected officials on key committees to educate and seek support from on issues that impact our profession. In order to have a voice in the political process and build relationships with key influencers, it is important to financially support lawmakers who best support our position on the issues, regardless of party affiliation. The AIA Virginia PAC disburses funds to legislators who support issues that affect all Architects in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We strongly urge you to raise the volume of our advocacy voice by giving to the PAC today.

Bible Museum’s Dirt Floors Made with SUNDEK Decorative Concrete

Museum of the Bible Project
409 Third Street SW C-700
Washington, DC 20024

In a city overlooking majestic symbols, historical events each carved in stone and concrete for all to see, the true representation of who we are and our beginnings. The finite location for the ultimate historical record open for all to witness, The Museum of the Bible.

The Museum of the Bible is an innovative, global, educational institution providing an unparalleled experience by creating one of the world’s most technologically advanced museums. In one of the exhibits, visitors journey back in time to The World of Jesus of Nazareth, a village with stone walls, dirt floors, olive trees, and flickering oil lamps. Hear the wood carts in the distance, take in the hand-painted mural of the Sea of Galilee and experience an environment inspired by the settings of the events in the Bible, the book that shapes history.

There are very few that can capture and recreate these moments for all to share and enjoy. The challenge put the right people and the right products together to bring the vision to life. That vision was cast by the museum president Cary Summers and was designed by Jonathan Martin of JMC: Museum Arts LLC, renowned for his imagination and attention to detail. JMC contacted Sundek of Washington with a challenge. “Can you make floors look like dirt”? Not dirty floors, a decorative overlay on an elevated cast in the concrete slab that looks and feels like dirt. Challenge accepted. Over the next few months, JMC and Sundek engaged in a series of meetings, site visits, and concepts to fully understand the impact this decorative dirt floor will have playing its part ensuring visitors a realistic immersive experience.

To create the village floor, several Sundek products were considered and samples presented in an effort to capture the right color tone’s, shadowing and flow. This was not to be a perfect decorative overlay floor, but one that had to be installed perfectly. The decorative overlay product of JMC’s choice was Sundek SunStone system. The next step in this process for final approval was to do a live sample on the floor at the project. This floor sample would be in place for the generous benefactors responsible for the funding of the project. Sundek of Washington’s Bob Miller and Guadalupe Velazquez assembled their team for this critical step. The existing cast in place floor was a hard-troweled finish which required a surface grind using 25 grit diamonds to archive the profile for the needed bond. Special dust evacuation equipment equipped with pre-cyclone collectors were used to assure a dust-free operation. The mixing of the material was done in a specially constructed chamber to minimize any impact. Carefully the sample material was placed to the correct elevation points yielding the granular look. Once cured, Sundek returned to apply the topcoat staining and sealing again under JMC’s watchful eye.

Acceptance, three weeks had passed awaiting the visit from the benefactors, then the call for approval. Sundek of Washington was given the green light to prepare for the installation.

Sundek of Washington assembled its installation force for the install, commissioned with one small item. It had to be a consentient overlay process with no joints or bulkheads. This project is under a high security watch each worker attending a safety meeting and background checks. Planning was critical from the delivery of the material on site to unloading into the freight elevator to the routing in the corridors to the location. Eighteen installation technicians, three mixing technicians and the supervision needed to assure that each mixed batch of SunStone was per specification and put in place immediately to ensure no variation for in place product. Five of Sundek of Washington’s best hand trowel men lead by Guadalupe worked in harmony placing each hand carried a five-gallon pail of mixed SunStone over the next ten hours, “sculpting the dirt floor”.

The floor was covered for weeks as the final props were placed and lights were installed. Finally, the tools and materials were moved out and the “dirt” floor was revealed. The end results married well with the hand-sculpted bedrock and limestone walls throughout and the exhibit was as convincing as imagined.

To talk to Sundek about your next project, contact them at (866) 631-8664.






14121 Parke Long Court Suite #109
Chantilly, VA 20151

photos courtesy of Sundek of Washington

New Architects

We understand the dedication and effort required to study for and pass the ARE. Congratulations to the following members for passing their exams and gaining licensure. This is great news that thrills all of us and we are so proud to call you architects!

Ms. Nina H. Comiskey, AIA (Central Virginia)

Have you recently passed the ARE? Please send an email to your Member Services Director, Cathy Guske, to upgrade your membership and be featured in the next newsletter.

New Members

We are always excited to welcome new members to Virginia. The following members recently joined the ranks of AIA Virginia.

New Architect Members
Mr. Samuel W. Franklin, AIA (Blue Ridge)
Mr. Sami M. Abdelghafar, AIA (Northern Virginia)
Dr. Michael D. Brennan, AIA (Northern Virginia)
Ms. Christine N. Evans, AIA (Northern Virginia)
Ms. Sara Kaplan, AIA (Northern Virginia)
Ms. Chere Rexroat, AIA (Northern Virginia)
Ms. Christina Thackrey, AIA (Northern Virginia)

New Associate Members
Miss Valerie Rottink, Assoc. AIA (Hampton Roads)
Mr. Christian S. Johnson, Assoc. AIA (Richmond)
Miss Kimya Salari, Assoc. AIA (Richmond)
Mrs. Dalya A. Almurad, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Mr. Kenneth W. Cheston, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Ms. Meghan M. Jones, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Mr. Brian A. Morgen, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Ms. Sangyoon Park, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Mr. Anthony Stello, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)
Mr. Jason C. Wood, Assoc. AIA (Northern Virginia)

View all of the AIA Virginia Allied members

Where’s Corey

Executive Vice President, Corey Clayborne, has pledged to get around the state and visit firms, components, partner organizations, and universities.

Here’s what’s on his travel schedule:

AIA Local and Regional Engagement

AIA Blue Ridge Fall Education Event
September 21

AIA Blue Ridge Honors and Awards
September 21

Ambassador Engagement

Legislative Luncheon with Senator Barker
September 4

Legislative Luncheon with Lt. Governor Fairfax
September 10

Legislative Luncheon with Senator Ruff
September 13

Enterprise Rose Fellowship Jury Meeting
Boston, MA
September 13 – 14

Virginia Society of Association Executives
CEO and Senior Staff Conference
Virginia Beach
September 17 – 18

ACE Joint Owner Forum with ACEC and AGC
Craddock Terry Hotel, Lynchburg
September 25

Meet Karen Van Lengen, FAIA

Where did you go to college?
I graduated from Vassar College in Psychology and then graduated from architecture school at Columbia University where I received my March.

Would you recommend studying architecture to a young person?
There isn’t a better or more urgent time to be crafting the future of the built environment than now. We live in a fast-changing world in which the emerging changes and modifications to our physical environments are of the utmost importance to the health of our planet.
Yes, I would recommend the broad fields of architecture, planning, and design to all people who want to make a difference in our world.

What does it take to be an architect?
Positive and creative thinking and the will to dream

Was there an architect that particularly inspired you?
So many that it is difficult to say only one- I find inspiring projects in so many places – many very modest but all with the idea of housing hopeful themes and events.

What are you currently reading?
Architectural Aesthetic Speculations by Michael Jasper

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
Any meal made by my husband Jim Welty

Why do you volunteer with the AIA?
It is the way in which architects can communicate, develop and know one another while also building a better profession.

Meet Nick Serfass, FAIA

Nick Serfass, FAIA is currently the Executive Director of the AIAS, past Assistant Director of IDP at NCARB, and formerly a Project Architect at Baskervill in Richmond, VA. He advocates for causes impactful to today’s architecture student and emerging professional. He has spoken on campus at over 75 schools of architecture on the topic of career design, initiated the establishment of new architecture student conferences – CRIT Live: Student Research Symposia and THRIVE: Career Prep, founded NCARB’s Intern Think Tank, helped shepherd the experience requirement for licensure from IDP to IDP 2.0 to AXP, co-led a mentoring program at Baskervill that won the AIA/NCARB IDP Outstanding Firm Award, and hosted over 50 episodes of The #AskAnArchitect Show on YouTube. He is also a nationally-recognized speaker for ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership on the topics of digital transformation and leadership/management. He has two sons, Gray and Jack, that he and his wife are working on domesticating in their spare time in Midlothian, Virginia.

Where did you go to college?
Bachelors from the University of Virginia, MArch from the University of Miami, MBA from Auburn University

Would you recommend studying architecture to a young person?
There’s never been a better time – and it’s not about the economy. Whether you want to be an architect in traditional practice or not, the study of architecture helps establish competency in design thinking which has innumerable assets in today’s business environment. More and more companies are seeking design thinking and an architect’s approach to problem-solving. The architecture student of today can use this to their competitive advantage to provide significant value in a range of industries and businesses. Everything demands design thinking in 2018.

What does it take to be an architect?
Ambiguity tolerance, lack of ego, and empathy. Ambiguity tolerance: You have to come to grips with the fact you can’t know everything and get comfortable in that space. Lack of ego: Every project requires a team and teamwork – silos and individualistic attitudes are toxic. Empathy: It’s about the people, not the creative – big ears foster the best design.

Was there an architect that particularly inspired you?
Originally it was Palladio, but he was a little hard to relate to being 1/2 millennium older than me. Then it was Michael Graves until I read his biography Design for Life, which paints a questionable portrait of his early days until he makes his philanthropic turnaround later in his career. So, now it’s my first mentor, Bruce Brooks, formerly of Baskervill and now of Noelker & Hull here in Richmond – someone who gave me opportunities early on and put me in position to be the architect and manager that I am today.

What are you currently reading?
The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve by G. Edward Griffin. This book will make you question everything you know about our American financial system. It’s a historical expose framed as a crime drama – the crime being the establishment of the Federal Reserve Bank. If you’ve read “The Big Short” by Michael Lewis, this is a necessary follow up read. I really don’t know why anyone reads fiction anymore when the reality is way more interesting than anything you could fabricate.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
The takeout personal pizzas at Tavern 19 in Midlothian that I get every Tuesday night for 1/2 off on the way home from work are delicious. They are equally sublime whether eaten in the comfort of your own home or on their patio overlooking the 18th green at Independence Golf Club. The food and ambiance in Midlothian are the most underrated in the state!

Why do you volunteer with the AIA?
I volunteer with the AIA to diversify the impact I’m able to make in the profession. Sure, I have my daily job and work, but the AIA provides another channel to help do good things and make a difference in people’s lives.

Meet Jim Ritter, FAIA

Where did you go to college?
I entered Virginia Polytechnic Institute (later became VA Tech, VPI & SU) and graduated in 1965 with a Bachelor of Architecture degree and a heart-felt dedication to the art of architecture. When I entered VPI in 1960, the Department of Architecture was part of the College of Engineering and the department head was Leonard Currie, FAIA, a graduate student at Harvard University in 1937 when Walter Gropius arrived bringing a fresh approach, modernism, to America, and an absolute repudiation of any “traditional” style based on a sentimental view of the past. All members of the freshman class in architecture were required by Mr. Currie to write an essay about “The Williamsburg Blight”. Since that time I have been a devoted modernist, declining any commission that didn’t allow me to develop a building that represented its specific site, building program, material system and budget, all while trying to make art out of construction. I like to think I’m only two generations away from Walter Gropius, and my students were only three generations away from one of the founders of modern architecture.

When Jaan Holt decided to establish the Washington Alexandria Architecture Center (WAAC) in 1980, I agreed to participate in design studios and present lectures on professional practice. Without any direction from the College regarding this class, I decided to structure each segment or lecture around the best (in my opinion) options for achieving architecture – through office organization, marketing, project management, and client/architect relationships. This continued for 31 years, much to my delight and satisfaction.

Would you recommend studying architecture to a young person?
The study of architecture addresses issues that are both practical and artistic – engaging both left brain and right brain. It is the best all-around education one can receive. It would be my desire that everyone could study architecture, and even if they don’t go on to design great buildings, they might cause architecture to happen vicariously as when they serve on a local planning commission, a building committee for a church or synagogue, or on a neighborhood architectural review committee. There are many opportunities for us all to support architecture and design excellence.

What does it take to be an architect?
When I taught professional practice at the WAAC it would take me three months to address this question. But in two words – dedication and persistence.

Was there an architect that particularly inspired you?
Like most architects of my time I took inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Kahn, but I also followed many contemporary architects through the seventies and eighties, until Michael Graves and others espoused the notion of post-modernism. They attracted a lot of attention with the public by espousing decoration and image over honest expression of material, function, and construction. And then I re-discovered Renzo Piano, one of the architects of the Pompidou Center in Paris, a favorite of mine. His practice and methodologies are most admirable and I look forward to studying each new project that comes from his studio.

What are you currently reading?
1. The Golden Age of Yachting, L. Francis Herreshoff, about the most beautiful boats ever built. Sailboats are the purest expression of the forces of tension and compression, and thus are real architecture without even trying. I’m always looking for crew for the “Cadenza”, located on a dock just outside my condo in Solomons, Maryland.
2. Leonardo Da Vinci, Walter Isaacson, a book I’m savoring chapter by chapter, and highly recommend it.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
When my late wife and I moved to Alexandria in 1965, we realized that, previously, we had always eaten to survive but then we discovered we were eating for the pleasure of eating, and discovering recipes and food that we wanted simply for the joy of eating, like music or any other art forms. I think that’s what architects do. So, to answer your question, I’ve been having the “best meals” of my life for fifty years.

Why do you volunteer with the AIA?
I love this question because I deeply believe that all architects should join and participate in AIA. No one else promotes our profession like the American Institute of Architects.

In my several years of leadership in our local chapter, and then at the state level, I tried to steer our organizations to recognize design excellence as a tenet equal to technical and business issues. In 1987, our chapter had monthly meetings, and I arranged to have a presentation or discussion of architecture at each one.

Then, as president of the VSAIA, I started the Design Forum as a “counter-weight” to our annual convention (known by several names) that tends to be about technical and business subjects. My point is that we can make a difference if we participate in a leadership capacity. AIA is only as good as we make it.

I found it can be a tool to promote design excellence, just as we thought it should be when we were students and just starting out in the profession.