Architects Speak Up!

During the development of the current strategic plan, there was an overwhelming agreement that there should be a concerted effort made to invest and develop future generations of leaders for service for the AIA and the community. As such, the plan sought to launch a Virginia event that provides advocacy training and connects members with state legislators. Advocacy means taking the steps to make a difference. Good advocates organize themselves to take steps to tackle the challenges of today and tomorrow. As architects, we engage in advocacy regularly during our practice, sometimes we do not even know when we are doing it.

Therefore, we want your participation in AIA Virginia’s first ever ARCHITECTS SPEAK UP! event.

Registration will be open through Wednesday, April 21. Note that all participants will be required to watch the designated training videos prior to their legislative meeting.


Architects Speak Up 2021

  • Firm Info:

  • A legislative meeting will likely not exceed one hour.
  • Group leaders will be the designated point of contact for other constituent AIA Virginia members and AIA Virginia staff in order to facilitate legislator meetings.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Get to Know Your Legislator
Visit to input your home or firm address to find and get to know your State Senator and State Delegate.

If you are not able to participate in ARCHITECTS SPEAK UP! that is OK. There are other ways you can support AIA Virginia’s legislative objectives. We are embarking on building up our PAC for 2021 and we really could use your help and financial support in closing our fundraising gap for Q1. Can you invest today?

The Heights Building Panel Discussion Recording Now Available

On Friday, March 5, 2021, AIA Virginia and the AIA Northern Virginia Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) convened a panel discussion about the new Heights Building, an Arlington Public School (APS) facility in Northern Virginia. Speakers from Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Leo A Daly, APS, Silman, and Gilbane shared insights into the design and construction of this structural masterpiece.

Inspired by the values and educational mission of APS, the Heights Building serves as a model example for innovative solutions to school design. Green terraces at each floor become an extension of the classrooms, creating an indoor-outdoor learning landscape for both students and teachers — an educational oasis rather than a traditional school setting, addressing the academic needs of the school’s program while forming a vertical community within its dense urban context.

About the Panel

Tony-Saba Shiber AIA | Senior Architect, Designer at Bjarke Ingels Group
Daniel Sundlin | Partner, Bjarke Ingels Group
Aran Coakley, AIA | Project Manager, Bjarke Ingels Group
Andrew Graham, AIA | Senior Associate, Senior Architect, Leo A Daly
Dr. Casey Robinson | Principal, Arlington Public Schools
Jason Myers, PE, SE, LEED AP BD+C | Associate, Silman
Tyler Swartzwelder, DBIA, LEED AP | Senior Project Executive, Gilbane
Jenine Kotob, AIA | Chair, AIA Northern Virginia CAE

Watch a recording of that discussion below.

Learn more about this innovative learning facility visit the AIA Northern Virginia Virtual Tour site.

Virginia Celebrates Eight New Fellows

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is elevating a record eight AIA members from AIA Virginia to its prestigious College of Fellows, AIA’s highest membership honor, for their exceptional work and contributions to architecture and society. Less than 3% of the architecture profession achieve AIA Fellowship.

The newly elevated members are:

Allison Ewing, FAIA (Central Virginia)
Kathleen O. Frazier, FAIA (Central Virginia)
Brian J. Frickie, FAIA (Northern Virginia)
Kathleen M. Galvin, FAIA (Central Virginia)
David A. Keith, FAIA (Hampton Roads)
Daniel J. Lemieux, FAIA (Nothern Virginia)
David H. Peabody, FAIA (Northern Virginia)
Alice J. Raucher, FAIA (Central Virginia)

Allison Ewing, FAIA, is the founder/partner at Hays+Ewing Design Studio in Charlottesville.

As architect and leader, Allison Ewing advances sustainability through design, implementation and advocacy – both within and beyond the architectural profession – by modeling change in the building industry with solutions both visionary and practicable.

Kathleen O. Frazier, FAIA, is co-founder of Frazier Associates in Staunton.

Kathleen Frazier has revitalized the historic heart of communities in Virginia and nationwide for the past forty years, transforming attitudes toward the built heritage through her dedication to historic preservation, economic revitalization, and community engagement.

Brian J. Frickie, FAIA, is principal at Kerns Group Architects in Falls Church.

Brian Frickie delivers aspirational, enduring, and inspirational leadership across the AIA at all levels. His visionary activism and collaborative, participatory style uphold the profession’s stature, elevate the organization’s relevance, and empower individual architects as leaders.

Kathleen M. Galvin, FAIA, is the owner of Galvin Architects in Charlottesville.

Kathleen M. Galvin synthesizes her work as an architect, citizen and elected official, to create just, healthy places; build sustainable, connected communities; and end poverty, while inspiring young architects to answer the call to serve.

David A. Keith, FAIA, is the chief executive officer and design principal at Hanbury in Norfolk.

David Keith champions a model of practice driven by continuous talent development, creating a thriving culture of design excellence and transforming the firms that he leads and the communities and campuses in which he works.

Daniel J. Lemieux, FAIA, serves as Principal and a Director for Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. in Falls Church.

Daniel J. Lemieux has led the advancement of building science in architecture throughout his over 25-year career in professional practice and as a thought-leader in the development of international technical design and construction standards.

David H. Peabody, FAIA, is the owner of Peabody Architects in Alexandria.

David Peabody pioneers passive and zero-energy building in the United States. Through practice, advocacy and collaboration, he advances the design profession’s leadership in the transition to an economy built on connected, energy-positive buildings.

Alice J. Raucher, FAIA, is the architect for the University of Virginia.

As an architect, educator, and design leader of two internationally recognized university campuses, Alice Raucher consistently strives to build community through her commitment to innovative campus planning, historical relevance, and architectural design excellence.

2020 Design Awards Announced

AIA Virginia is pleased to announce the 2020 Awards for Excellence in Architecture. Also known as the Design Awards, these honors celebrate projects no older than seven years that contribute to the built environment and are clear examples of thoughtful, engaging design. Award categories include Architecture, Contextual Design, Historic Preservation, Interior Design, and Residential Design. Within each of the 5 categories, consideration was given to sustainability, affordability, social impact, innovation, durability, addressing the natural and built context, and meeting the specific needs of the client.

From a field of 180 entries, only 33 were selected by the jury for recognition. These few projects stood above the rest as particularly notable. A project is recognized with an Honorable Mention for incorporating approaches that advance the profession.  Awards of Merit are presented to those project worthy of recognition and an Award of Honor is reserved for those projects deemed by the jury to be truly exceptional.

In the ARCHITECTURE category

The jury considers aesthetics, adherence to the client wishes, proven and projected building performance, and concept development during its deliberations.

Awards of Honor

Foreign Affairs Security Training Center by  KieranTimberlake.

Foreign Affairs Security Training Center
(Blackstone, Va.)

Architecture Firm: KieranTimberlake
Owner: U.S. Department of State and the U.S. General Services Administration, Public Buildings Service Mid-Atlantic Region
Contractors: Hensel Phelps and Mortenson Construction
Photographer: Tim Griffith
Drone Photography: AECOM – FASTC Office
Rendering: Brooklyn Digital Foundry
Jury Comments: This project has inventive qualities. The jury noted that this submission was among the strongest in the category.

Museum at the Lumpkin’s Slave Jail Site / Devil’s Half Acre by SmithGroup

Museum at the Lumpkin’s Slave Jail Site / Devil’s Half Acre (unbuilt)

Architecture Firm: SmithGroup
Owner: City of Richmond, Va.
Consulting Architect, Interior Design: KEi Architects
Landscape Architecture: Mikyoung Kim Design
Civil Engineering: Greening Urban
Archaeology and Cultural Historic Preservation: Gray & Pape
Museum Planning and Development: Chora
Visitor Experience Planning: Gallagher & Associates
Jury Comments: The jury particularly appreciated this design as an appropriate response to the history of the site. They are looking forward to seeing the completed project.

Awards of Merit

The Aya by Studio Twenty Seven Architecture with Leo A Daly (joint venture)

The Aya (Washington, D.C.)

Architecture Firms: Studio Twenty Seven Architecture with Leo A Daly (joint venture)
Owner: District of Columbia Department of General Services
Photographer: Hoachlander Davis Photography
Structural Engineer: Silman Associates
MEP Engineer: SETTY & Associates
Civil Engineer: A. Morton Thomas
Geotechnical: ECS Capitol Services
Cost Estimate: TCT Cost Consultants
Land Use Attorney: Holland & Knight
Archeologist: John Milner Associates
Acoustical Engineer: Acoustical Design Collaborative
Jury Comments: This is a commendable affordable housing project. There is a nice relationship between façade and volume and the standard dwelling units are well designed.

New River Train Observation Tower  by students and faculty at Virginia Tech.

New River Train Observation Tower (Radford, Va.)

Designers: Virginia Tech faculty and students led by Prof. Kay Edge, RA, and Prof. Edward Becker, Intl. Assoc. AIA
Owner: Radford Heritage Foundation
Contractors: Edward Becker, Intl. Assoc. AIA and Kay Edge, RA
Photographer: Kay Edge, RA
Jury Comments: As a prototype, this nicely articulates a collaborative, exploratory research-based process. The team is to be commended.

Greer Environmental Sciences Center by VMDO Architects. Photo by Alan Karchmer

Greer Environmental Sciences Center at Virginia Wesleyan University (Virginia Beach, Va.)

Architecture Firm: VMDO Architects
Owner: Virginia Wesleyan University
Contractor: Hourigan Construction
Photographer: Alan Karchmer
Jury Comments: The commitment to sustainable strategies coupled with the overall quality of the exterior and interior design is notable.

Honorable Mention

Marvin Gaye Recreation Center + Trail (Washington, D.C.)

Firm Name: ISTUDIO Architects
Owner: DC Department of General Services
Contractor: MCN Build
Photographer: Hoachlander Davis Photography
Jury Comments: The jury particularly appreciated the passive strategies. The design team clearly accomplished a lot with this project

DC Water Headquarters by SmithGroup

DC Water Headquarters (Washington, D.C.)

Architecture Firm: SmithGroup
Owner: DC Water and Sewer Authority
Contractor: Skanska USA Building Inc.
Photographers: Alan Karchmer Photography, Emily Hagopian Photography
Landscape Architecture: OEHME van Sweden | OvS
Structural Engineering: The SK&A Group
Associate Architects/Associate Structural Designers: Leuterio Thomas, LLC
Associate MEP Engineers: JVP Engineers PC (now part of Ameresco)
Civil Engineering: Wiles Mensch Corporation
Commissioning: SETTY & Associates
Traffic Consultants: Gorovo/Slade Associates, Inc.
Program Managers: Samaha Associates, PC
Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment Consultant: Studio of Sandra Raan
Owner’s Representative: Constance Schwartz
Jury Comments: For a municipal infrastructure project on an unusual site, this LEED Platinum water plant was particularly notable.

FutureHAUS by students and faculty from Virginia Tech Center for Design Research

FutureHAUS (Blacksburg, Va.)

Design Team: Students and Faculty from Virginia Tech Center for Design Research
Owner: Virginia Tech
Photographer: Erik Thorsen
Jury comments: The jury was impressed with this solar-powered, net-positive concept home. It brought together a series of environmental strategies without looking like a pastiche. They also appreciated the plug-and-play cartridge construction which allowed the project to be easily shipped, assembled, and disassembled.

Co|Lab by William McDonough + Partners

Co|Lab (Falls Church, Va.)

Architecture Firm: William McDonough + Partners
Owner and Contractor: HITT Contracting
Photographer: John Cole Photography
Jury comments: The jury appreciated the lifecycle thinking and the use of CLT, noting that this project was designed for disassembly. “We need more of this,” they said.


The awards for contextual design are chosen based on outstanding architecture that perceptibly reflects the history, culture, and physical environment of the place in which it stands and that, in turn, contributes to the function, beauty, and meaning of its larger context.

Award of Honor

Masoro Health Center by GAC

Masoro Health Center (Republic of Rwanda)

Architecture Firm: General Architecture Collaborative
Owner: Masoro Health Center
Contractor: Structure Stone
Photographers: James Setzler, Yutaka Sho, Leighton Beaman
Jury Comments: The jury agreed, as a whole, that this project was exemplary — it was their top choice. The site plan, in particular, was very well conceived.

Awards of Merit

American Civil War Museum by 3North

American Civil War Museum (Richmond, Va.)

Architecture Firm: 3North
Owner: American Civil War Museum
Contractor: Whiting-Turner Contracting Company
Photographer: Keith Isaacs
Associate Architects: Madge Bemiss Architects and Robert Mills Architects
Structural Engineer: Balzer and Associates, Inc.
MEP Engineer: Lu+Smith Engineers
Civil Engineer: Draper Aden Associates
Exhibit Designer: Solid Light, Inc.
Jury Comments: In the U.S., it’s still a little contentious to bring together glass boxes with historical ruins, and this project does this quite effectively.

Honorable Mention

Capital Yacht Club by Cunningham | Quill Architects.

Capital Yacht Club (Washington, D.C.)

Architecture Firm: Cunningham | Quill Architects PLLC
Owner: Capital Yacht Club
Contractor: Clark Construction Group, LLC
Jury Comments: The jury appreciated this project’s relationship to a maritime motif. The designers did a good job of incorporating the exterior existing fabric into the design.

Carlton Union Building Renovation by Hanbury

Carlton Union Building Renovation at Stetson University (Deland, Fla.)

Design Architect/Architect of Record: Hanbury
Owner: Stetson University
Contractor: Williams Company
Photographer: Keith Isaacs
Jury Comments: “Talk about contextual,” the jury exclaimed. The design team stitched together a variety of different spaces very successfully.


The historic preservation category focuses specifically on excellence in strategies, tactics, and technologies that advance the art, craft, and science of preserving historically significant buildings and sites. The jury takes into consideration adherence to local, state, and national criteria for historic preservation.

Awards of Honor

Carr's Hill Renovation by Glave & Holmes

Carr’s Hill Renovation at University of Virginia (Charlottesville, Va.)

Architecture Firm: Glavé & Holmes Architecture
Owner: University of Virginia
Associate Architect: John G. Waite Associates
Contractor: Alexander Nicholson
Photographer: Virginia Hamrick Photography
Landscape Architect: Wolf Josey Landscape Architects
Jury Comments: This project was really well done. “The details are amazing,” remarked the jury.

Folger Shakespeare Library (Washington, D.C.)

Architecture Firm: MTFA Architecture
Owner: Folger Shakespeare Library
Contractor: Dan Lepore & Sons Company
Photographer: Prakash Patel Photography
Jury Comments: This was an excellent example of materials conservation. The cleaning and color-matching are textbook examples of preservation.

Honorable Mention

Richard Neutra Renovation by 3North

Richard Neutra Renovation (Richmond, Va.)

Architecture Firm: 3North
Owner: David and Christy Cottrell
Contractor: Mako Builders, Inc.
Photographer: Ansel Olson
Structural Engineer: Ehlert Bryan Consulting
Interior Designer: Todd Yoggy
Jury comments: Though this was submitted in a different category, they jury thought this project was notable enough to warrant recognition in the historic preservation category for its respect of the original design and the sensitive preservation of character and materiality.

Note: This project was also recognized with an award in the Residential category.

In the INTERIOR DESIGN category

Interior design projects are judged on mastery of composition, functionality, material and color palettes, and well-integrated adherence to the highest levels of accessibility, health and safety, environmental, and occupant-comfort considerations, standards, and regulations.

Award of Honor

Quirk Hotel (Charlottesville) by ARCHITECTUREFIRM

Quirk Hotel (Charlottesville, Va.)

Owner: Quirk Charlottesville, LLC
Contractor: Martin Horn
Photographer: James Ewing / JBSA & Kate Thompson
Jury Comments: Though the spaces vary in scale, there is a consistency throughout. The treatment of the arched windows, the view to the streetscape, the hallway, and the accents: they’re are all well done. “I thought this was just outstanding,” said one juror.

Awards of Merit

McKinnon and Harris Flagship by Architecture AF

McKinnon and Harris Flagship (New York, N.Y.)

Architecture Firm: Architecture AF
Owner: McKinnon and Harris
Contractor: Tribeca Restoration
Photographer: Ashok Sinha
Lighting Designer: Ventresca Design
Jury Comments: Through embracing the company’s all-white branding, the designers created a very pleasing space, bringing focus to the products in this retail environment. The stair and railing are very nice, as is the detailing. “It’s just beautifully put together,” the jury said.

ASLA Center for Landscape Architecture by Gensler

ASLA Center for Landscape Architecture (Washington, D.C.)

Architecture Firm: Gensler
Owner: ASLA Center for Landscape Architecture
Contractor: Coakley & Williams Construction, Inc.
Photographer: Halkin Mason
Jury Comments: The jury was impressed by the spirit of landscape carried throughout the building, from the handling of beacon signage focusing on green vegetation at the exterior to the careful handling of rainwater-harvesting and irrigation on the roof.

Potter’s Craft Cider at Neve Hall  by Studio FIGURE

Potter’s Craft Cider at Neve Hall (Charlottesville, Va.)

Architecture Firm: Studio FIGURE
Owner: Dan Potter and Tim Edmond
Contractor: Evergreen Builders
Photographer: Nick Brinen Photography
Jury Comments: This project has a subtlety to it. It’s a really nice retrofit. Instead of tearing things down, the designers showed a balanced restraint – even the lighting isn’t intrusive. “I want to be in this space,” said one juror.

Honorable Mention

Subterranean Studio by mcdowellespinosa architects

Subterranean Studio (Charlottesville, Va.)

Architecture Firm: mcdowellespinosa architects
Owner: Seth and Megan McDowell
Contractor: mcdowellespinosa architects
Photographer: mcdowellespinosa architects
Jury Comments: While hesitant to elevate a project with little natural light, the jury particularly appreciated the lighting treatment and ceiling design which brought an organizing element to this subterranean space.

National Council of Architectural Registration Boards by OTJ Architects

National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (Washington, D.C.)

Architecture Firm: OTJ Architects
Client: NCARB
Tenant Brokerage and Project Management: Cresa
Contractor: Bognet Construction
Photographer: Trent Bell Photography
Jury Comments: The details on this project are well conceived and history has been incorporated in a clever way. The jury was pleased that NCARB is “walking the talk” and earning LEED Gold and Fitwel certification for the space.

Waterview Condominium by Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect. Photo (c) Maxwell MacKenzie.

Waterview Condominium (Arlington, Va.)

Architecture Firm: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect
Project Architect: Nicole Dejong
Owner: withheld
Contractor: Peterson and Collins Inc.
Photographer: Maxwell MacKenzie
Interior Designer: Baron Gurney Interiors
Structural Engineer: Tadjer Cohen Edelson Associates Inc.
Jury Comments: The jury appreciated the rigor of the ceiling’s folded planes and lighting plan.

Offices for an Investment Firm by Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect

Offices for an Investment Firm (Bethesda, Md.)

Architecture Firm: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect
Project Architect: Claire Andreas
Owner: withheld
Contractor: Bognet Construction
Photographer: John Cole Photography
Interior Designer: Baron Gurney Interiors
Jury Comments: “Organizing the offices around the curving steel wall was a compelling move,” the jury remarked.


Aesthetic appeal and functionality are two long-established criteria for home design, as are affordability and resource efficiency. The jury looks at each submission in its totality toward meeting those goals.

Award of Honor

Richard Neutra Renovation by 3North

Richard Neutra Renovation (Richmond, Va.)

Architecture Firm: 3North
Owner: David and Christy Cottrell
Contractor: Mako Builders, Inc.
Photographer: Ansel Olson
Structural Engineer: Ehlert Bryan Consulting
Interior Designer: Todd Yoggy
Jury Comments: This was a careful and surgical upgrade to a modernist masterpiece. It was just plain inspiring in its rigor. Exquisite.

Awards of Merit

3131 CBR (Washington, D.C.)

Architecture Firm: David Jameson Architect
Owner: withheld
Contractor: Ally DC
Photographer: Paul Warchol Photography
Jury Comments: Beautiful clean lines and use of materials.

3333 Q St. by Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect. Photo (c) Maxwell MacKenzie Architectural Photographer.

3333 Q St. (Washington, D.C.)

Architecture Firm: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect
Project Leads: Kara McHone and Mateusz Dzierzanowski
Owner: withheld
Contractor: Commonwealth Building and Design
Photographer: Maxwell MacKenzie Architectural Photographer
Interior Designer: Baron Gurney Interiors
Engineer: Robert Silman Associates
Landscape Architect: Campion Hruby Landscape Architects
Jury Comments: The use of the open corner facade to orient to the landscape and pool is exceptional. The clever use of glazing, doors, and the site created spaces that flow between interior and exterior.

Franzen House by Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect

Franzen House (Bethesda, Md.)

Architecture Firm: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect
Project Leads: Sarah Solander and Nicole Dejong
Owner: withheld
Contractor: Commonwealth Building and Design
Photographer: Anice Hoachlander
Engineer: United Structural Engineers
Jury Comments: Great use of the site section to create high internal volume and views out to the surrounding tree canopies. The balance between the front and rear façades is impressive

Honorable Mention

Hither Hill Residence by ARCHITECTUREFIRM

Hither Hill Residence (Montauk, N.Y.)

Owner: Withheld
Contractor: Forden & Co. Builders
Photographer: James Ewing / JBSA
Jury Comments: Each building on the site is done with care to proportion and detail and eloquence. The two volumes are carefully and well-sited in the surrounding landscape.

Vapor House by David Jameson Architect

Vapor House (Bethesda, Md.)

Architecture Firm: David Jameson Architect
Owner: withheld
Contractor: Ally DC
Photographer: Paul Warchol Photography
Jury Comments: There is a nice contrast between that textured, reflective quality of the cladding and the flat matte panels that define the programmatic volumes. This play between the surfaces helps to breakdown the massing.

Duvall CourtDuvall Court by KUBE architecture PC

Duvall Court (Washington, D.C.)

Architecture Firm: KUBE architecture PC
Photographer: Greg Powers Photography
Jury Comments: A very clever project with clean lines. It’s a great model for the development of alley lots.

Alley Armor by KUBE architecture PC

Alley Armor (Washington, D.C.)

Architecture Firm: KUBE architecture PC
Owner: Dean Storer & Lamar Whitman
Contractor: Milloy Carpentry
Photographer: Paul Burk Photography
Steel Fabricator: Metal Specialties
Jury Comments: This adaptive reuse really works within an existing urban fabric. The small outdoor space is magical. Natural light and perforated and angled-metal and wood slats create privacy and atmosphere – all above a mundane garage.

Renovation 1662 by Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect

Renovation 1662 (Washington, D.C.)

Architecture Firm: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect
Project Architect: Claire Andreas
Owner: withheld
Contractor: Washington Landmark Construction
Photographer: Anice Hoachlander
Landscape Design: Campion Hruby Landscape Architecture
Structural Engineer: United Structural Engineers, Inc.
Jury Comments: A bright, clean, and lofty addition to what would be a typical dark and cramped row house.

About the Jury

Mark Gardner, AIA, NOMA | Jury Chair
Principal at Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects, New York

Monica Rhodes
National Park Foundation, Washington D.C.

Phu Hoang AIA, FAAR
Founding Director at MODU, New York

Reid Freeman, AIA
Principal at Reid Architecture PLLC, New York

Jennifer Newsom, AIA, LEED AP, NOMA, NCARB
Principal, Dream the Combine, Minneapolis  

Julie Torres-Moskovitz, AIA, LEED AP, CPHC/CPHT
Founding Principal, FNA Architecture, New York

About the Awards

All entries must be the work of architects who have an office in Virginia or are members of AIA Virginia. The location of projects is not restricted, but any built work submitted must have been completed after January 1, 2012. Un-built work was also considered, as long as it was commissioned by a client as opposed to hypothetical work completed in the mode of research or academic training.

John H. Spencer Recognized as the 2020 Noland Medalist

John Henri Spencer, FAIA, has been recognized with the William C. Noland Medal by AIA Virginia for his leadership within architectural education beyond the status quo to create opportunities for generations of architecture students. As the highest honor bestowed by AIA Virginia to an architect, the Noland Medal is intended to honor a distinguished body of accomplishments, sustained over time, spanning a broad spectrum of the profession, and transcending the scope of normal professional activities. The honor is in memory of William C. Noland, FAIA, one of the founders of the AIA in Virginia, its second president, and Virginia’s first member to be elevated to fellowship.

Spencer is a pioneering leader for Black architects in America, a distinguished teacher who influenced thousands of students, and a committed educational administrator who created countless programs, initiatives, and pathways for growth and mentorship. Under his leadership, the study of architecture at Hampton University evolved through focused curricular development, fundraising, and academic excellence–the pinnacle of a 63-year career of service in education, in the public arena, and to the profession of architecture. Spencer was born in Monrovia, Liberia to missionary parents serving at the Suehn Industrial Mission, which influenced his philosophy for teaching, community and professional service and social action. After high school in Huntington, West Virginia, John enrolled in the architectural engineering program at the Agricultural and Technical College (now university) in Greensboro, North Carolina. His education was interrupted by service in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War and, upon discharge, John transferred to Hampton Institute (now University) graduating in 1956 with highest honors.

Spencer joined the faculty of the School of Engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he co-founded the Committee for the Collegiate Education of Black Students (CCEBS) with support from the Ford Foundation to increase the number of Black students enrolled at the school. The first group recruited by CCEBS arrived in 1968 and of the original 128 students, 90 graduated four years later in 1972–more than the total number of Black graduates of Amherst combined in its 105 years. In its first decade, CCBES recruited and Amherst graduated more than 2,000 Black students. At Amherst, he also led efforts to provide volunteer tutoring for Black students and led the Amherst Human Relations Council and Fair Housing Committee, and established Black history education in high schools that brought about positive change in the town of Amherst and beyond.

In 1970, Spencer returned to the Hampton Institute as Chair of the Department of Architecture, where he encouraged students to look beyond the campus gates and involve themselves in the larger community. Notably, he initiated a student exchange program between Hampton and Amherst, and a broader travel program soon followed, growing out of a need to strengthen the fifth-year planning studio. It began with trips to large American cities supported by alumni who provided housing and meals at no cost. With the support of faculty, Spencer revised and expanded the program to require a two-week travel module to foreign cities, from Europe to Asia, and from Africa to Latin America. Since then, he has always led by example, becoming the first Black architect elected to the National Architectural Accrediting Board, first Black architect appointed to the Virginia Licensing Board, and assuming numerous other local and national positions of influence within the profession.

In his nomination letter, Professor and Dean Emeritus of Howard University, Harry G. Robinson III, FAIA, noted, “His consistent leadership has contributed to the strength of the African American narrative in architecture and has increased the richness and stability of the Hampton University Department of Architecture. If the Noland Medal is the pinnacle of recognition, the contributions of Professor Spencer are nearly unmatched and exceeded most.”

The William C. Noland Medal will be presented at Visions for Architecture on Thursday, Oct. 8 in an online awards ceremony beginning at 4:30 p.m. The program is free but registration is required.

Virginia Beach City Public Schools Awarded the Architecture Medal for Virginia Service

Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) will be awarded the Architectural Medal for Virginia Service this year for its commitment to environmental, social, and financial health in its building campaigns, and aligning this commitment with curricular innovation. As the AIA Virginia’s most prestigious public award, the Architecture Medal for Virginia Service honors an individual or an organization that has made an unusually significant contribution to Virginia’s built environment or to our understanding and awareness of the built environment. Since 1984, and with this year’s award, 35 individuals and two organizations have been premiated with the medal.

VBCPS students actively learn about the interconnectedness of our world, and through the school district’s efforts, they are able to recognize the importance of place, values, and culture in the Commonwealth. For the past 15 years, VBCPS has been both a regional and statewide recognized leader in school design and sustainability. Since the development and initiation of their Sustainable Schools program in 2006, VBCPS has constructed nine LEED buildings, and plans to complete three more in 2020 alone, bringing its LEED building inventory to over 2 million square feet. Since 2006, they have managed to reduce their energy use per square foot by 27 percent, even while adding nine percent to their total building square footage, resulting in a cumulative cost avoidance of $45 million since 2006.

VBCPS’s commitment has expanded beyond the building envelope to demonstrate how the Commonwealth’s fourth largest school district can walk the walk on sustainability in a real and long-term way. Examples include implementing a “cook-from-scratch” program for cafeteria food (thereby relying less on packaged items and instructing students on food sourcing and preparation), to supporting electric buses and charging stations, to its 25-year partnership with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to create outdoor learning experiences, to integrating sustainable messages, practices, and principles into all aspects of its curriculum for all grades.

In his nomination letter, AIA Hampton Roads President Scott A. Campbell, AIA, applauded “VBCPS’s exceptional and relentless dedication to their mission of ‘educating students about the Triple Bottom Line and understanding the interconnectedness and interdependency of social, economic and environmental systems,” and calling VBCPS’s award, “a well-deserved honor for their incredible accomplishments in school design and sustainability.”

The Architecture Medal for Virginia Service will be presented at Visions for Architecture on Thursday, Oct. 8 in an online awards ceremony beginning at 4:30 p.m. The program is free but registration is required.

Cox, Gordon, and Price Receive Awards for Distinguished Achievement

Al Cox, FAIA, Christopher Gordon, AIA, and Mel Price, AIA, will be recognized with the Award for Distinguished Achievement next month by AIA Virginia. The Award for Distinguished Achievement recognizes the accomplishments of one or more architects each year in design, practice, education, service as “citizen architect,” service to the profession, or initiatives to advance social justice, equity, diversity, or inclusion.

Al Cox, FAIA, retired in March after 28 years as Historic Preservation Manager for the City of Alexandria, which is home to no fewer than six National Register historic districts and nine African-American historic places containing dozens of significant and contributing structures. Cox conceived and implemented several processes to streamline development review and build consensus between city officials, architects, developers, and citizens. By building relationships with all stakeholders and encouraging constructive public participation in the regulatory process, he became respected as a fair-minded, effective mediator, guiding development teams to the most appropriate design solution and consistently pushing them to accomplish their best work.

It was Cox’s conviction that the city is a living, evolving organism and not a museum frozen in time. In that vein, he fostered many successful new infill projects in Alexandria as well as many thoughtful and sensitive adaptive reuse projects throughout the city’s 15 square miles. A passionate preservationist, he was also a proactive advocate for good design, regardless of style. His philosophy, education and private sector experience was grounded in historic preservation for its cultural, economic and environmental benefits without limiting creative, appropriate modern design alternatives. The role of City Architect and the design review processes created by Mr. Cox provides a model that can, and should, be repeated in local governments throughout the country.

Christopher Gordon, AIA, is a national leader who collaborates with developers and zoning authorities to create affordable housing that advances the vision of a diverse, inclusive, and sustainable community. His comprehensive approach from concept through crafting innovative strategies to obtain financing through the whole life-cycle of the building, itself, shapes the efficacy of high-performing and affordable solutions for people. Gordon transforms lives, and as a founding principal of KGD Architecture in 1995, he has directed his firm to award-winning success while remaining anchored in the needs of clients and communities.

Chris’ 2018 Columbia Hills project for Columbia Pike in Arlington is one of dozens of examples of his design leadership over the last quarter century. The $91 million, 330,000 square foot project consisting of 229 units for low-income families, recently won a ULI Washington Trends Award as a national case study that blends a novel hybrid financing model with an EarthCraft Platinum certification with a host of amenities that bring richness and community to one of the area’s largest apartment buildings. “Chris advances the profession of architecture resulting in lasting impact on society,” says Manoj Dalaya, FAIA, in his nominating letter, “and he is highly deserving of an Award for Distinguished Achievement.”

Mel Price, AIA, has spent nearly two decades building a strong reputation for designing and leading numerous successful projects at all scales. When Mel Price and her partner, Thom White, opened their Norfolk firm Work Program Architects in 2010, they also pushed a different sort of philosophy of firm management through transparency about finances and salaries, prioritizing collaboration and openness above all in projects, and reserving 10 percent of firm profits to cover pro-bono service. In short, Price built a practice worth emulating with an unrelenting focus on community.

Price has also built a practice that’s helping secure Norfolk’s future. Coastal resilience is an urgent challenge that will affect the lives of millions of Americans, 1.7 million of which live in the Hampton Roads region. By forging close ties to her home city, Mel and WPA have steered several projects to completion that are born of a focus on resilience, will help ensure a sustainable future, and will repair communities long derelict or suffering. The Elizabeth River Project’s Resilience Lab, the Elizabeth River Trail, government grants for the Ohio Creek Watershed encompassing Norfolk State University and the Chesterfield Heights neighborhood, OpenNorfolk, and the Selden Market are all prime examples of Price’s valuable contribution to the region.

The Awards will be presented at Visions for Architecture on Thursday, Oct. 8 in an online awards ceremony beginning at 4:30 p.m. The program is free but registration is required.

McDermott and Parker Honored with Virginia Emerging Professional Award

Whitney McDermott, AIA, and Carrie Lee Parker, AIA, are recognized this year with the Virginia Emerging Professional Award by AIA Virginia. Launched in 2015, the Virginia Emerging Professional Award is intended to recognize the accomplishments of emerging leaders in Virginia for their contributions to the profession in design, research, education, discourse; service to the profession, mentorship, or service to the community. Most recipients are accomplished in several of these areas, and all demonstrate the strength of the architecture profession in their early promise as thought leaders and designers.

McDermott, an architect who holds degrees in civil engineering, architecture, and urban planning, has demonstrated an extraordinary consistency and focus for more than a decade on architecture’s capacity to improve the lives of others through construction innovation, design thinking, and community-focused collaboration. While at the University of Virginia, she became the Project Manager for the University of Virginia’s eco/MOD Design Build project and graduated with dual degrees in Architecture and Urban and Environmental Design. Post-graduation, she received a year-long fellowship at the Allegheny Mountain School and then returned to Charlottesville to help manage over 26,000 square feet of organic gardens at the city’s six elementary schools.

In 2017, McDermott began working with a group of residents from the Southwood Mobile Home Park, five miles south of Charlottesville, to create a strategy that would transform the way marginalized communities participate in community design. For nearly five years, she has offered her professional and volunteer time working with the 85 percent Hispanic community to create a resident-led strategy to guide the neighborhood’s redevelopment. McDermott has created and led the training programs for residents using the principles of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) to reach across cultural boundaries in preparing workshops that communicate effectively. By employing ABCD coordination and governance, McDermott has helped residents create their own neighborhood redevelopment plan, write their own code of development, and create a mixed-income and mixed-use neighborhood 400 homes strong.

Parker, a Senior Associate at CannonDesign‘s Washington, DC office, works with higher education clients on large, complex projects, to improve the user experience and provide innovative solutions at all scales. Her leadership activities inside and outside of the office, however, define her nomination for this award. For two years, Parker worked tirelessly on behalf of a group of front line designers and emerging professionals from across the globe that directly advise the Cannon’s leaders as part of its NEXT Council. For two years, she also worked with NCARB to make its Licensing Advisors Summit a success and enrich the proceedings of its Intern Think Tank, committed to improving both the practices and policies of architecture. Currently, she serves on AIA’s Manufacturer’s Council as an architect volunteer to maintain bonds between building product manufacturers and design’s vanguard, as well as a proposal author for the DC Board of Trade’s “Urban Design and Quality of Life Working Group,” where she has advanced ideas for storm surge monitoring and photo point monitoring for public spaces. 

Her community work includes board leadership for Horizon House, a 291-unit building in DC entering its sixth decade and serving senior and disabled residents. Wielding a hammer, she worked with Rebuilding Together Alexandria to renovate and rehabilitate the homes of families and seniors in need, putting in the sweat equity her own community needed to not just survive but thrive. She has served as a board member for her own residential community, driving numerous capital improvements and providing pro bono design services for the renovation of the lobby, community center, pool house, and other amenities. Parker’s enthusiasm carries over to the office, as well. In her nomination letter, Patricia Bau, AIA, a principal and co-director of Cannon’s education practice, noted, “Carrie has served many roles in the life cycle of a project as programmer, planner, designer, project architect and project manager. Her versatility makes her a valuable member of our team locally as well as across the firm nationally.” Parker personifies the values of service leadership, community outreach, and mentorship, says Roland Lemke, AIA, a design principal at Cannon, in his nominating letter. “In the seven years that I have known her, she has positioned herself as an irreplaceable member of our team and office family.”

The Awards will be presented at Visions for Architecture on Thursday, Oct. 8 in an online awards ceremony beginning at 4:30 p.m. The program is free but registration is required.

Cheadle, Cushing, and Daniel Granted Honorary Membership from Virginia Architects

Judy Cheadle, Patrick Cushing, and Sam Daniel will be recognized by AIA Virginia with Honorary Membership for their sustained commitment and tireless work on behalf of the Commonwealth’s 7,000 licensed architects. Honorary Membership is bestowed upon a person of esteemed character who is not eligible for membership in the AIA Virginia but who has rendered distinguished and exemplary service, over a sustained period of time, to architecture and the built environment within the domain of AIA Virginia.

Cheadle, who is retiring as AIA’s Director of Sales this year, served as the key business development team member instrumental in the financial success of AIA Virginia programs. For sponsors, exhibitors, and partners, she was the “face” of architecture, working tirelessly to make Architecture Exchange East, Design Forum, Art of Practice, and Inform Magazine valuable venues and resources for architects, product manufacturers, and everyone in the region’s design community. “ Her success is easily acknowledged by the number of allied partners who continue to support AIA Virginia year after year to build professional relationships with our 2,500 architects and designers,” says Elizabeth Reader, FAIA, in her nomination letter. “Undoubtedly, there is a direct and obvious link between Judy’s contributions to the profession and the success of AIA Virginia.”

Cushing, a Richmond-based attorney with Williams Mullen, has lobbied the Virginia General Assembly on behalf of the Commonwealth’s architects and engineers for nearly a decade, advancing the work of AIA Virginia’s and Virginia ACE’s Joint Legislative Committee. Cushing’s work has been instrumental in protecting Qualifications Based Selection, limiting low-bid practices for architecture and engineering services, and establishing a statute of limitations on design claims by state agencies, among other accomplishments.

Of Cushing, Kenneth Payne, AIA, Vice President of Quality Control, Risk Management, and Training at Moseley Architects and an AIA Virginia representative on the JLC, asks, “You may think, ‘Isn’t that what we pay him to do?’ Perhaps, but consider this: When negotiations were not going well and it looked like the other side was going to oppose our bill, Patrick could have given up, as well, but instead, encouraged us to keep discussions going.” Simply put, says Payne, “Patrick has rendered distinguished and exemplary service representing the architectural community before the General Assembly for nearly ten years.”

Daniel, of Daniel & Company, a full-service general contracting and construction management firm, is a committed preservationist who eagerly accepts projects with historical significance and executes thoughtful and contextual renovations and additions. His company’s passion for “Building History,” underscores decades of fruitful partnerships with Virginia’s premier firms to preserve whenever possible, restore in a respectful way, and construct anew with more than an eye toward the Commonwealth’s architectural heritage. “His leadership and support of the  Branch House through his stewardship efforts has been outstanding and the building’s health is turning the corner toward stabilization and prominence,” note architect Robert Boynton, FAIA, and AIA Richmond President Nick Cooper, AIA.

Daniel is also a champion of sustainability, encouraging all of Daniel & Company employees to participate in continuing education and obtain LEED Certification, enabling the company to successfully complete LEED Certified Projects, some achieving Gold status. Over the years, Daniel & Company has worked with a who’s who of Virginia firms, from Hanbury Evans to Carlton Abbott to BAM Architects to Odell to Commonwealth Architects, among dozens of others. His affiliations over the years have included the Virginia Council of CEOs, the Construction Specifications Institute, and the Monument Avenue Preservation Society, as well as Virginia AIA, about which Boyton and Cooper write, “His impressive credentials and his continued support of AIA Virginia will certainly enrich all of our architectural lives.”

Honorary Membership will be conferred at Visions for Architecture on Thursday, Oct. 8 in an online awards ceremony beginning at 4:30 p.m. The program is free but registration is required.

Bulova and VCU Office of Planning and Design Recognized with AIA Virginia Honors

Delegate David Bulova and the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Office of Planning and Design were recognized with AIA Virginia Honors in 2020. AIA Virginia Honors may be bestowed on non-member individuals or organizations that have inspired, influenced, or complemented the architecture profession in Virginia through practice of an allied profession, research, education, planning, legislation, architectural writing, the arts, or crafts.

AIA Virginia Honoree, the Honorable David Bulova, is a delegate from Virginia’s 37th House District, representing the City of Fairfax and parts of Fairfax County. Bulova’s achievements in the areas of smart growth, equity, and alternative energy have garnered praise from many quarters, and his reputation as a results-driven legislator is matched by his knowledge of architecture’s practice and regulation. His appreciation for the role architecture and planning play in shaping livable places without compromising environmental health has been made abundantly clear by his legislative achievements in the areas of transportation, education, affordable housing, energy, and the environment. As an acclaimed member of the allied field of environmental planning, and as a respected member of the Virginia House of Delegates for fifteen years, Delegate Bulova has championed legislation that furthers the goals of AIA Virginia’s Strategic Plan and Directory of Public Policies and Position Statements. Those achievements include House Bill 1471 giving Fairfax additional authority to negotiate with developers to provide affordable housing, House Bill 1913, authorizing localities to require sidewalks during development to promote walking, biking, and public transit, and House Bill 1158, requiring the review of a state water supply plan by the State Water Control Board when making permitting decisions. Delegate Bulova’s personal, professional, and legislative endeavors attest to his commitment to equity and sustainability in both the built and natural environments; a commitment that we share as architects.

AIA Virginia Honoree, the VCU Office of Planning and Design, led for the last 27 years by Mary P. Cox, FAIA, has transformed the City of Richmond’s largest campus from a commuter school into a rich and vibrant collegiate community. VCU has taken its place among its peers with robust enrollment numbers and by investing more than $1.5 billion in new construction, renovations, and additions in the 27 years of the Office of Planning and Design’s existence. Acting as the design conscience of VCU, the Office of Planning and Design has effectively collaborated with architects over the years and challenged them to consider Richmond’s urban fabric, the university’s needs, and the health and wellness of its students, faculty, staff, and neighbors.

The office, itself, is known as an environment of mutual trust and respect in its support of staff and the creative process of design, as well as an effective public advocate of architectural literacy. The Office of Planning and Design has long partnered with organizations to engage the architecture profession, the larger design community, and the public’s trust, including AIA Virginia, the Association of University Architects, the Society for College and University Planning, and the Children’s Museum of Richmond, among others.

At the helm, Noland Medal recipient Mary Cox has defined, defended, reinvigorated, and advanced the Office of Planning and Design, which, in turn, has advanced VCU’s standing within higher education. As part of her tenure, no fewer than five master plans have been adopted by the university, and dozens of new academic, medical, athletic, and research facilities have been designed and constructed. Her retirement in July of 2020 signals the end of an era for the Office of Planning and Design, but her vision and steadfast commitment over the years has created an ample foundation for VCU’s next chapter at a time when concepts like physicality, health, and community will need to evolve at campuses everywhere.

The Awards will be presented at Visions for Architecture on Thursday, Oct. 8 in an online awards ceremony beginning at 4:30 p.m. The program is free but registration is required.