Interested in Architecture Tours?

We’ve received some great suggestions for multi-day architectural tours that offer the opportunity to earn learning units while exploring interesting and significant sites. We think they sound exciting, but we want to make sure you do too before exploring them further! Let us know by completing this 30-second survey.

Jefferson Pools and Homestead Tour
This multi-day event would involve overnight travel to the Omni Homestead Resort. Tour the newly restored Jefferson Pools (anticipated completion, summer 2020) and get a behind-the-scenes look at the phased renovation of the resort. The program may include visits to other nearby sites.

Architectural Tour of Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail
The multi-day tour would involve overnight travel to destinations along Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail. Discover some of the unique challenges of distillery design and visit some of the architecturally significant stops along the trail.

(final programs may vary)

Your response is not an obligation to participate – we just want to see if enough members are interested before investing in further planning.

Have other programming ideas to share? Email your suggestions to Rhea George.

Class of 2020

The 2020 Class of Emerging Leaders in Architecture includes:

Allison Powell, AIA
Amanda Ferzoco, Associate AIA
Ariana Arenius, AIAS
Catherine Hendrick, AIA
Chris Cheng, AIAS
Gabriela Orizondo, Associate AIA
Jacob Sherry, AIA
James Vidoni, Associate AIA
Kenneth Johnston, Associate AIA
Kristin Jones, Associate AIA
Matt Stevison, Associate AIA
Mert Kansu, Associate AIA
Michael Lawson, AIA
Paris Casey, AIAS
Randa Malkawi, AIAS
Zachary Robinson, Associate AIA

Also pictured are Interim Chair, Christopher Kehde, AIA, Vice-Chair, Nick Cooper, AIA, and ELA 2019 member Divya Nautiyal, Assoc. AIA.

Design Forum Explores Shadows, Craft and Materiality

Junichiro Tanizaki, in his book In Praise of Shadows writes, “In darkness, immutable tranquility holds sway.” Designers integrate this interplay of light, color, and shadow in the spaces they imagine — navigating the clarity that light brings alongside the ephemeral mystery of the shadows.

Inspired by this 73-page homage to “well-placed darkness,” the fourteenth biennial Virginia Design Forum: In Praise of Shadows embraces this theme through an exploration of craft and materiality. The program, which is intended to challenge and stimulate design and creative thinking, takes place on March 27–28, 2020, at the recently-opened Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Through a series of conversations, the Design Forum showcases the work of talented individuals whose shared craft extends beyond the calculated and strictly quantitative into more holistic practice — whose leading-edge preoccupation with light and shadow extends the diversity of approaches to how designers seek beauty through form, space, and materiality. Register online.

The work of the speakers embodies those essential connections.

About the Speakers
These thought leaders come from diverse cultural and professional contexts, yet their work shares the power and nuance of how architects and allied professionals shape form through light. Through engaging the continuum of dim to bright, these designers shape our experience.

Steven Holl, FAIA (Steven Holl Architects | New York, NY)
Steven Holl is widely recognized for his ability to blend space and light with great contextual sensitivity and to utilize the unique qualities of each project to create a concept-driven design. He specializes in seamlessly integrating new projects into contexts with particular cultural and historic importance.

Kirsten Murray, FAIA (Olson Kundig | Seattle, WA)
Throughout her 30-year tenure at Olson Kundig, Kirsten Murray has created buildings and spaces that strengthen and enrich communities. Long inspired by Scandinavian modernist traditions, her architecture emphasizes warmth, natural materiality, tactility and refinement. By translating the innate conditions of a site—its nature, culture, topography and history—into built form, Murray’s designs create new interpretations of place that remain relevant over time.

Herve Descottes (L’Observitoire International, New York, NY)
In 1993, Hervé Descottes co-founded the lighting design firm L’Observatoire International in New York City after eight years of design practice in Paris, France. Descottes creates the lighting concepts for all projects designed by L’Observatoire, and oversees project development through project completion. He has been recognized numerous times by the lighting design and architectural community.

Morten Schmidt, Intl. Assoc. AIA (Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects | Copenhagen, DK)
Since cofounding Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects in 1987, Morten Schmidt has developed a diverse portfolio of work and expertise in the planning and design of major libraries and cultural facilities across the globe, bringing an innovative, rational and clear design leadership to many of the practice’s highest profile projects. His work exhibits a deep commitment to the Nordic architectural traditions based on democracy, welfare, aesthetics, light, sustainability and social responsibility.

David J. Lewis, AIA (LTL Architects, New York, NY)
David Lewis is founding principal of LTL Architects, a design intensive architecture firm founded in 1997 with Paul Lewis and Marc Tsurumaki, located in New York City. LTL Architects develops solutions that work within project constraints to inform the design trajectory, exploring opportunistic overlaps between space, program, form, budget, and materials.

Introduced and moderated by:
Kendall Buster
Kendall Buster earned a BFA from the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Washington, D.C. and an MFA in Sculpture from Yale University. Her work has been exhibited in numerous venues nationally and internationally.

The Design Forum is generously sponsored by:

Clark Nexsen

Virginia Tech College of Architecture and Urban Studies

Moseley Architects
Quinn Evans

Glo Windows and Doors
Reader & Swartz Architects

Gulf Seaboard General Contractors, Inc.
Pella Windows of Virginia
Pyrok, Inc.

About the Schedule

Friday, March 27, 2020
5–7 p.m.

Opening Remarks and Keynote Address
Kendall Buster
Steven Holl, FAIA

7–8 p.m.

Saturday, March 28, 2020
8:30 a.m.–4 p.m.

David Lewis, AIA
Morten Schmidt, Intl. Assoc. AIA
Kirsten Murray, FAIA
Herve Decottes
Panel Discussion


AIA/Allied Member: $185
Assoc. AIA Member: $60
Non-member: $225
Friday Keynote Only: $90
Student: $30 (students actively enrolled in a degree program are eligible)

Earn up to 8 AIA/CES learning units.

Register online.

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Contact Judy Cheadle.

Virginia’s Fire Safety and Prevention Codes

When buildings or structures, except exempt structures such as farm structures, are constructed in Virginia and when work is done on existing buildings and structures, the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) ensures that a minimum level of safety is achieved. After the work is completed, the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code (SFPC) ensures that the level of safety in those buildings and structures is maintained. The USBC regulates construction-related aspects of fire safety and the SFPC regulates certain maintenance and operational related aspects of fire safety in existing buildings and outdoors. Both regulations incorporate provisions of the International Fire Code (IFC), a national model code that contains a comprehensive set of fire safety regulations that was developed to be used as a stand-alone code in jurisdictions that do not have a building code, or to be used in conjunction with the International Building Code (IBC) in localities that utilize the IBC as their model building code. The IFC also contains fire prevention regulations related to operations and the maintenance of buildings, structures, and systems, that can be referenced in jurisdictions that have a fire prevention code.

In Virginia, the IBC is incorporated as part of the USBC for construction. The IBC references the IFC for requirements related to hazardous materials, spray finishing, high-piled combustible storage, tents, and several other items. Each time the IFC is referenced, those provisions of the IFC are incorporated as an enforceable part of the IBC, and since the IBC is incorporated as part of the USBC, those referenced provisions of the IFC are incorporated as part of the USBC. When enforcing the USBC, it is important to remember that any references to the IFC are just that, and are not a reference to the SFPC.

The SFPC in Virginia is applicable to certain operations and to the maintenance of buildings and structures after a certificate of occupancy is issued or the work regulated by the USBC is completed and approved. It also includes some regulations specific to items that are not regulated by the USBC, such as food trucks. The SFPC incorporates those portions of the IFC, not incorporated by the USBC, that are related only to operations and the maintenance of buildings, structures, equipment, activities, and systems. The administrative provisions of the SFPC state that any provisions of the model codes that relate to the scope of enforcement of the code are deleted and replaced by the administrative provisions of the SFPC. Since the scope of the SFPC does not include the design, construction or installation of buildings, structures, systems, equipment or fire protection systems, those provisions are not incorporated as part of the SFPC.

The Virginia SFPC was edited during the 2015 code update cycle to remove references to construction requirements brought in from the IFC, in an effort to eliminate confusion over what is enforceable in the SFPC and what is not.

Local governments in Virginia are required to enforce the USBC. Enforcement of the SFPC is at the option of the local governments. The State Fire Marshal’s Office has the authority to enforce the SFPC in those localities in which there is no local SFPC enforcement.

The USBC and SFPC contain enforcement procedures that must be used by the enforcing agency as well as provisions for administrative appeals to resolve disagreements that may occur between the enforcing agencies and an aggrieved party.

Submitted by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development

2020 ELA Class Nominations Open

AIA Virginia announces the call for applications for the 2020 class of Emerging Leaders in Architecture (ELA): An Honors Academy of AIA Virginia.

The application and more information is available here>>
The application deadline is Nov. 8, 2019.

ELA is an intensive program of educational sessions structured around presentations, discussions, team exploration, analysis, consensus-building, collaboration, and case study activities undertaken over the course of a year by a small cadre of participants selected for their potential to be outstanding contributors to the profession and the community. Facilitators and mentors who are established leaders in the building, finance, non-profit, development, university, legal, consulting, and design professions and in the community at large develop and deliver the sessions, designed to provide participants with advanced knowledge and skills related to specific areas of leadership and practice.

The program consists of monthly, day-long seminars, work sessions, or class project presentations, culminating at a presentation at Architecture Exchange East in November.

The seminars are interactive, drawing on real examples and actively involving participants. They rotate among sites in Roanoke, Charlottesville, Richmond, Alexandria, and Norfolk in conjunction with the firms, schools, and the local AIA component in each area.

The class project for 2020 will be in Norfolk, VA, so many sessions and the project workdays will be located in the Norfolk area.

How to Apply
The committee seeks applicants from three categories:

Component Nominees: Each of the five AIA Virginia local component Boards may nominate one or more individuals for admission to the program. One participant will be selected from each component for a total of five. If interested, please contact your local AIA chapter representative. Each chapter sets its own deadline and application requirements for these positions.

  • AIA Blue Ridge – 2020 candidate selected
  • AIA Central Virginia – 2020 candidate selected
  • AIA Hampton Roads – 2020 candidate selected
  • AIA Northern Virginia – 2020 candidate selected
  • AIA Richmond – Contact: 2020 candidate selected

Student Nominees: Each Virginia Architecture School (UVA, VT, Hampton, and WAAC) may nominate one or more students for admission to the program. One participant will be selected from each school for a total of four. If interested, contact your department Chair/Dean.

Open Applications: Applicants may apply on their own or be nominated by someone else. Seven participants will be selected from among these applicants.

The application and more information is available here>>
The application deadline is Nov. 8, 2019.

If you have any questions, please contact Cathy Guske, Member Services Director at AIA Virginia,

Resiliency Week Events

Register for Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) Seminar and SAP Training Being Hosted During Resiliency Week

During the 2019 General Assembly, AIA Virginia was proud to endorse Senate Joint Resolution 277 which designates the first week of September as Resiliency Week.  For this inaugural occurrence, AIA Virginia will host two events: a Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) seminar in collaboration with the USGBC in Reston and a Safety Assessment Program Training in Richmond.  Please consider joining us for one or both of these events.

Sustainable Building through Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) in Northern Virginia

Develop more efficient, more competitive, and more valuable buildings with C-PACE financing for Existing Building retrofits and New Construction projects! This Lunch & Learn will demonstrate the value proposition from C-PACE to commercial real estate owners, developers, and service providers. Plus, the event will summarize the addressable market for C-PACE across the NOVA Region and provide the latest on progress toward C-PACE in several jurisdictions. Interest in C-PACE across NOVA is growing; this is one event you won’t want to miss!

Learning Objectives

  • List C-PACE (Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing benefits to building owners, developers, and service providers, and general eligibility requirements for existing building and new construction projects.
  • Describe how C-PACE financing impacts the economics and accessibility of energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, stormwater management, and resiliency measures.
  • Discuss how to integrate C-PACE into client discussions and project proposals to improve building performance, sustainability, and competitiveness.
  • Describe the addressable market for C-PACE in existing buildings and new construction across NOVA today and one year out.


  • 11:30 a.m.: Lunch & networking
  • 12:00-12:20 p.m. Panel 1: C-PACE Financing Value Proposition for Owners, Developers, and Service     Providers
  • 12:20-12:40 p.m. Panel 2: C-PACE Addressable Market in NOVA
  • 12:40-1:00 p.m. Q&A & networking


Panel 1:  Scott Dicke, Sustainable Real Estate Solutions, Director of VA C-PACE Programs. Daron Coates, Thinkbox Group, Managing Director of Finding Opportunities

Panel 2:    Rich Dooley, Arlington County, Arlington C-PACE Program Manager. Dennis Cumbie, Loudoun County, Loudoun C-PACE Program Manager. Bill Eger, City of Alexandria, Energy Manager

DPR Construction
109 Sunset Hills Road
Suite 200
Reston, Virginia 20190

Date:  Monday, August 26, 2019
Time: 11:30 A.M. – 1:00 P.M.

  • 1 GBCI CE Hours + 1 AIA LU

Registration link:

SAP Training – Limited Seats Remaining

Registration is open for Safety Assessment Training on Sept. 6, 2019, in Richmond. Post-disaster Safety-Assessment Program (SAP) training provides architects, engineers, and building inspectors with the knowledge to provide evaluations of facilities and buildings in the aftermath of a disaster. Learn more.

At the end of this training, you will be able to:

  • Recognize the important role architects and associated building professionals play in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery.
  • Accurately conduct a post-disaster rapid building assessment and complete appropriate damage assessment forms.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the Applied Technology Council’s ATC-20 Post-earthquake Safety Evaluation of Buildings and ATC 45 Safety Evaluation of Buildings after Windstorms and Floods damage assessment procedures.
  • Earn a Cal-OES registration ID card.


Date: Friday, Sept. 6, 2019
Time: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Location: Richmond, VA

Fee: $70 members; $175 non-members

Earn 6.5 learning units | HSW

Register today>>

Call for ArchEx 2019 Volunteers

We’re seeking a limited number of individuals to serve as volunteers at Architecture Exchange East 2019. In gratitude for your service, volunteers are invited to attend ArchEx for free on the day(s) you help out.

We are looking for volunteers who are capable of completing a number of different tasks throughout the conference. Volunteers are expected to commit to a minimum of one full day in order to receive the complimentary conference registration.

While we try to accommodate all requests, you’ll be assigned to positions where we have the need. (You must fulfill your entire commitment to receive complimentary conference registration.)

If you are interested, please complete the Volunteer Interest Form. We’ll be in touch later to confirm the details of your participation.

Disaster Response Training Seminar Coming in September

AIA Virginia is proud to offer a course that certifies attendees as Building Evaluators in the nationally recognized Safety Assessment Program (SAP) on Sept. 6, 2019, in Richmond, VA. The program is intended for licensed architects, engineers, or certified building inspectors. It utilizes volunteers and mutual aid resources to provide professional engineers, architects and certified building inspectors to assist local governments in safety evaluation of their built environment in an aftermath of a disaster.

SAP is the training standard of the AIA Disaster Assistance Program, which provides leadership, advocacy, and training to architects who are interested in volunteering their professional skills in times of crisis. This workshop will teach participants to conduct rapid damage assessments of structures affected by earthquakes, wind, and water. Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to consistently and safely assess structures for habitability and will receive a nationally recognized Cal OES registration ID card from the state of California.

Register online.

Breakfast and lunch and is included in the registration.  All participants will be able to earn 6.5 AIA LU|HSW.

Design Awards Jury Announced for 2019

AIA Virginia is pleased to announce the jury members for the 2019 Design Awards program. The Design Awards program recognizes outstanding design — both built and unbuilt — from the past eight years. Five categories are considered by the jury: Architecture, Historic Preservation, Interior Design, Contextual Design, and Residential Design. 

The awards are expected to be announced in the fall and will be celebrated during Architecture Exchange East and at Visions for Architecture on Nov. 8, 2019.

Ann Beha, FAIA, Jury Chair
Principal at Ann Beha Architects

Ann Beha, FAIA

Beha is Principal of Ann Beha Architects, a Boston practice known for its exploration of heritage in dialogue with contemporary design. She founded ABA to focus on preservation and adaptive re-use, and has led ABA to honors for new design and construction and planning, extending its reach nationally and internationally.

She has been Design Principal at the University of Chicago, Princeton University, Cornell University Law School, Yale University, and MIT. Her civic projects include the United States Embassy in Athens, Greece, and projects at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, and at the Newberry Library in Chicago.

Beha received a Master of Architecture from MIT, an undergraduate degree from Wellesley, was a Loeb Fellow at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Design at the City College of New York. She is a member of Harvard University’s Design Advisory Council, received the 2018 Award of Honor from the Boston Society of Architects and the 2019 Honor Award from the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Building Operations Industry Advisory Group.

Rodrigo Abela, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP BD+C
Principal at Gustafson Guthrie

Rodrigo Abela, ASLA

Rodrigo Abela is the principal in charge of GGN’s Washington, D.C. office and leads national and international projects. His award-winning work is recognized for its striking clarity in form, materials, and purpose.

Abela holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Cornell University and a Master of Architecture and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Virginia. His award winning projects include the landscape at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, CityCenterDC, and the winning design for the National Mall Design Competition for Union Square.

Sara Caples AIA, LEED
Principal at Caples Jefferson Architects, New York

Sara Caples AIA, LEED

Founder of New York architecture firm Caples Jefferson Architects with Everado Jefferson, Sara Caples is committed to designing cultural, educational and community facilities for neighborhoods underserved by the design professions. She frequently lectures at schools, community, and professional events, and has served as the Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professor of Architecture at Yale School of Architecture; Visiting Critic at University of Miami and Syracuse University; and lecturer at many more colleges and universities. Her passion for design is embodied in the tenets of her firm: Architecture must communicate; Architecture must deal with social issues & cultural context and Architecture must have formal coherence. “We try to make each project very specific to what it is,” says Caples. “That means that the aesthetic development of each project [differs], and it also means, in a way, that each project is its own artistic statement.”

Anthony Pangaro
Partner, Millennium Partners (retired), Boston

Anthony Pangaro

Anthony Pangaro has transformed the Boston skyline with his building projects. An architect by trade and a former Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, Pangaro’s career in development has included residences, downtown development, and the comprehensive redevelopment of the historic Filene’s department store in Downtown Crossing. He has served as the Manager of the Southwest Corridor Transportation Redevelopment Project for Massachusetts, advisor to the Government of Puerto Rico, and the New York State Urban Development Corporation.  His passions for history, contemporary design, neighborhood revitalization, and service to the community, have been the hallmark of his distinguished career.

James Elmasry, AIA, LEED AP
Senior Program Planner, Yale University 

James Elmasry, AIA

As a Senior Program Planner for Yale University, Jim oversees many of Yale’s largest projects, capitalizing on his passion and success in designing and implementing creative solutions to complex problems. Representing multi-faceted client groups, Elmasry’s expertise in programming and design has informed and enabled remarkable outcomes for Yale and its stakeholders, as well as the architects who he directs.

His projects reflect the extensive design and project management experience he developed while working on dozens of award-winning higher education, civic and performing arts projects along the East Coast during his 26 years with Newman Architects.

Elmasry was a director of the Connecticut Building Congress and received his Master of Architecture, Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Studio Arts Degrees from Tulane University.  

2019 ELA Class Profiles

AIA Virginia’s award-winning Emerging Leaders in Architecture (ELA) program was developed in 2009 to jump-start the careers of young professionals. Conceived of and lead by a passionate steering committee of successful architects (and now ALL past ELA alumni!), the program was designed to share the things they wished they had learned in architecture school.

Each of the seven day-long-sessions focuses on developing essential skills like financial management, communication and negotiation, advocacy and public service, and much more.

Want to be a member of this elite group of leaders? The application for the 2020 class will be available later this summer. Contact Cathy Guske for information on how to nominate an emerging leader or with any questions about the program.

We asked members of the ELA class of 2019 the same five questions. Here are their inspiring answers.

Macy Anne Carman-Goeke

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

Macy Anne Carman-Goeke, AIAS

A: I recently had the chance to see the Pont Du Gard in person, and after all those years of studying it, it took my breath away to see it and appreciate the craftsmanship that brought such incredible engineering to life.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: The All-Girls Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg for a fun read, and The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert for a more sobering read.

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: I had an early knack for puzzles, and discovered that I was more interested in designing a building for my future-career-of-the-day in childhood than the career itself. A dolphin training center, veterinary hospital, and horse barn were just a few of the things I designed. However my curiosity about all things led me down some other roads, and I came back to architecture as a career change after spending time in the environmental and community policy sector, and seeing first hand the way the built environment impacts human lives and the health of our planet.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: To spend time outside hiking, cycling, running, or camping with my husband, taking photographs, traveling to new places, listening to a fascinating podcast, or reading a good book.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: To never box yourself in- we build in a complicated and messy world. Everything is related to architecture and the more you know about it, the better the architect you will be.

Annesley Cole

Annesley Cole, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

A: Most recently, the Royal Danish Library (the Black Diamond) in Copenhagen. It was incredible to experience how something as traditional as a library could be a vibrant modern destination, constantly buzzing with activity – both from visitors and locals.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (and – ongoing in the background – the Ballast ARE 5.0 book!)

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: I’ve always loved puzzles, and figuring out how to make things fit together. We moved a handful of times in my childhood, and each time my parents had the option of a move-in-ready house or one on the verge of collapsing. Needless to say, they always took on the challenge, and I spent many hours watching my mom (an author by trade) hand sketch over the architect’s blueprints to make each house work best for our family of 6. I loved seeing the way a building could shape how and where we spent our time, and continue to love the puzzle that is figuring out how a building will work best for the end user.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: At the end of a long day, I love to go down and sit on the beach with my husband (and our dog!) and just catch up and unwind.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Know that this field is a constant learning curve and that you will make mistakes (especially in the beginning!), and that is totally okay. Make friends with your coworkers, because work is a lot more fun when you have people to push through deadlines with, joke with, and collaborate with – not to mention someone who will answer your dumb questions. Also remember that acknowledgment of, credit to, and gratitude for others goes a long way. Everybody likes to know they are appreciated!

Ashley LeFew Falwell

Ashley LeFew Falwell, AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

A: Lately, I’ve loved opportunities for bird’s eye city views. In Paris, Sacre Coeur is glowing in the distance from many vantage points. Then once you’ve arrived, the perspective it provides is awe-inspiring.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: The 12th book in the Gamache series by Louise Penny, A Great Reckoning. This is a mystery series, but I most enjoy Penny’s lovingly flawed protagonists, brilliant descriptions of art, and thoughtful reflections on human nature. And Book 13 features an architect!

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: My grandmother started teaching me to paint and draw when I was very young. Through her mentorship, I learned how to really slow down and see. I was equally drawn to all of the core subjects in school, but I craved subjectivity in response to an emphasis on memorization and testing. I found a counterpoint in art classes and enjoyed the intuition and embodied knowledge involved in making things. Through travel opportunities and over time, I became more and more interested in large-scale installation and the built environment. I see architecture as the fascinating intersection of many disciplines in physical form; it’s at once technical and empathetic.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Reading is high on the list. It’s even better when combined with the outdoors, a cat, or a cup of coffee. I also love knitting, walking, and meaningful conversations with my extraordinary family and friends.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: One of my professors always said, ‘It takes forty years to become an architect.’ At the time, I thought he was exaggerating. Once I began practicing in an office, his words rang true to me. Becoming an architect is a lifelong process. If you embrace a love of learning and a sense of curiosity, you will never lack for inspiration.

Ojima Glover

Ojima Glover, AIAS

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

A: The Research and Development Center at Virginia Tech. Reason being, I am currently working in the space and seeing how we can take the original design, and mold it to what Virginia Tech needs today. I have had the opportunity to talk to the building’s designers and see why they made certain design decisions. Having the opportunity to compliment the design is a wonderful learning experience for me and has reiterated for me that it is possible to work on an existing building without taking away a lot of its character.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: The Warm of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. This book highlights the migration of African-Americans from the south to the north.

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: That is a funny story. I grew up wanting to go into law because I felt that was the best way to help people. I didn’t want to do Architecture for a long time because of the math involved and I didn’t know how involved with people one could be. My mom pushed for me to look into it because I loved creating things and she didn’t want me to let that go. So after doing a days worth of research about what Architects do, I was hooked and knew that this was the field I wanted to go into. (With a complementary degree in contractual law of course.)

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: I love to spend time with friends, read, and SLEEP!!

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Don’t come in with any preconceived notions of what you must do or know. Enjoy your time exploring architecture and have fun with your designs! Push the boundaries and see what can come out of it. Find what’s important to you in design and let it influence your design and the firms you choose to go for!

Karim Habbab

Karim Habbab, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: The Garage in Charlottesville, VA. It is a single car garage located on a side street across from Market Street Park. Every once in a while the garage door opens, people gather on a grassy hill across the street, and a band performs live music. It is a gem hidden in plain sight and a wonderful use of space.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Evicted by Matthew Desmond

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: Growing up having architect parents instilled in me the importance of design excellence at a young age. I was privileged to have accompanied them to job sites as a child. It was when I saw their sketches become reality that I decided to pursue architecture as a career.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Reconnect with nature and get some fresh air. I currently live near the blue ridge mountains, so I usually hop on over to Shenandoah national park and go on a quick hike.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: You will excel if you are passionate about your work. I challenge you to wear many hats when analyzing your work and never be afraid to go back to the drawing board.

Kelley Holmes

Kelley Holmes, AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: I recently visited Paisley Park – the home, music studio, and playground of one of my music idols, Prince Rogers Nelson. The 65,000 square foot multi-purpose facility, constructed in 1987, blew me away in regards to its overall scale. Though many parts of it still felt of the 1980s/1990s era of postmodern architecture, it was an amazing and emotional experience to be in the same spaces where much of Prince’s music was recorded and where two of his films and many music videos were created. The 1500-person sound stage was by far the most jaw-dropping space, but I found myself especially intrigued with seeing samples of his handwriting on display.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: The Hike: A Novel by Drew Magary. Filled with extraordinary characters, this fantasy saga is an exciting read with lots of twists and turns. The novel follows a suburban family man in an epic quest of life-or-death proportions. The essential lessons of the author’s overall narrative are to 1. keep moving forward in your journey and 2. practice the art of empathy by truly understanding what it is like to be in another person’s shoes.

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?      

A: Like many young children, I was enamored with Legos, Lincoln Logs, and building forts in the woods. However, it was in 6th grade (’95-’96) when my father purchased a new desktop computer that came with several free programs, one of which was a very basic 3D modeling program. For me, this instantly sparked a deep interest in design, encouraging me to seek out additional programs and shadowing opportunities to explore, as well as encouraging me to include classes like drafting, art, and advanced math courses into my curriculum during middle school and high school.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Being in nature, especially near water is my preferred way to relax. But, when that option is not available, I enjoy singing along to music and listening to podcasts.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

Maintain a love for curiosity and exploration, as well as learn to ask the ‘right’ questions that will result in a thoughtful and informative response – whether it be in a job interview or during client meetings.

Sydney Huibregtse

Sydney Huibregtse, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

A: Midtown Center by SHoP Architects at 15th and I in DC. Utilizing bridges to connect the two sides make for a unique and fun feature, especially for DC.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: My mother is a graphic designer and my dad was in the construction field. Once I got old enough to understand what they did for a living, I realized my passion for wanting to design. I knew architecture was the path I wanted to take when I took a summer architecture course in high school at Cornell.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Running or paddle board

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Set goals and break boundaries. Enjoy what you do and don’t let anyone dim your light.

Breanna LaTondre

Breanna LaTondre, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

A: Biscuitville in Danville, Virginia. It is the most charming, little yellow shack in the middle of the city. I’m absolutely obsessed.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: The Color of Law: Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: I’ve always loved bridges, for as long as I can remember. For a while, I actually thought I wanted to be a civil engineer, but in high school, I came across the work of Santiago Calatrava. His work just absolutely changed everything I thought I knew about architecture. I thought I could design both bridges and buildings. But now, I understand my love for bridges is really driven by my love for the expression of structure, no matter what I’m designing.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Try everything. Having just graduated a year ago, I see how we can put so much pressure on ourselves to land the best job right out of school, and I have to love what I’m doing every day or I’ve failed. But that’s just not the case. You’ve got to start somewhere, taking on roles in your firm that maybe weren’t in your job description, or taking on a responsibility that you might never have done before, but it’ll stretch you to grow so much faster. Slowly figure out your strengths and weaknesses in order to shape your career for the long haul.

Divya Nautiyal

Divya Nautiyal, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: Pruitt Igoe – mostly negative, but a reminder that architecture does not exist in a vacuum. Public policy, environmental & social psychology are not separate from architecture.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Design Like You Give a Damn by Cameron Sinclair and Beyond Shelter – Architecture and Human Dignity, by Alfredo Brillembourg, Hubert Klumpner, Patrick Coulombel, Teddy Cruz, Deborah Gans, Victoria Harris, John Norton, Sergio Palleroni, Anita van Breda, Sandra D’Urzo, Marie Aquilino.

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: Totally by accident but when I realized architecture had the capability to address social issues is when it truly became a passion for me.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Napping, sketching and cooking, in that order.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: To develop a discerning eye for everything around you.

Ryan Oldach

Ryan Oldach, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: Not so much a single building, but an entire district – The Art Deco Historic District in the South Beach neighborhood of Miami Beach felt like taking a step back in time. The colorful, retro, and iconic structures reminded me of how architecture from different eras can still be appreciated for their uniqueness and groundbreaking styles.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: What the Health by Eunice Wong with Kip Anderson & Keegan Kuhn

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: I have always gravitated towards the creative realm of hobbies including drawing, music, and building with Legos from a very young age. When I no longer wanted to build Lego sets per their step-by-step instructions and instead come up with my own designs, I think is when I realized I wanted to be a designer.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Give me enough sunscreen and water, you can find me soaking up the sun on the beach all day long with my favorite music at my side.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Do not be afraid to speak up and ask questions – there are individuals in our profession with an immense amount of knowledge that are willing to share. All too often I found myself being too timid to ask the question of “Why?” within architecture but once I really grasped the idea that our professors, mentors, and colleagues were there to help, it opened a new world. The best advice I was ever given was by an architect with much more experience than I: “Wisdom comes from experience, and experience comes from a lack of wisdom.”

Jeff Rynes

Jeff Rynes, AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: Palladio’s Villa Rotunda

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Lectures on Architecture Vol. 2 by Viollet-Le-Duc.

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture? 

A: Playing with Legos and drawing when I was 5

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Spend time with friends and family

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Follow your passion, make the world a better place, and have fun!

Kelsey Sinichko

Kelsey Sinichko, AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently-either positive or negative?

A: The White House.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance 

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: Building forts in the woods behind my house growing up

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Sunday morning ritual of coffee, piano, and easy crossword puzzles

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Surround yourself with people excited about what they do; be one of them

Ianta Summers

Ianta Summers, AIAS

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: At Fort Monroe, I am working with the National Park Service interpreting a museum house from civil war times. It is important to me that everyone’s story is told correctly so there is a lot of emotion put into my efforts.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Dear America, The Diary of a Freed Black Girl

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: On accident! I never knew this profession was something I wanted to do until I came to school and tried it out. I love how I was able to stay creative and precise at the same time.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: I love sitting by the beach. Sadly, I always have something running through my mind and never feel truly relaxed though.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: To my aspiring architects: do your homework, never stop sketching, and keep up with architectural news!! I see you’re already doing that and it’s appreciated this time 🙂

Zakiya Toney

Zakiya Toney, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: I was recently on a trip to Philadelphia and the Philadelphia City Hall building brought me to a standstill. The incredible grandeur of older masonry buildings – specifically those of more ornate architectural styles – will always be awe-inspiring to me.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: The last book that I read was the Site Planning and Design Handbook because I am currently studying for the Architect Registration Exams. (3 down, 3 to go!) I also started reading Becoming by former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: I came across architecture as part of a career research project in high school, but I discovered my passion for architecture at NC State College of Design’s Design Camp in 2010. After being a camper, I applied to NC State for undergrad that fall (c/o 2015) and later returned to the camp as a Counselor and Teaching Assistant.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: My favorite way to relax is by listening to music (since taking a private jet on a quick overseas vacation is currently not a financially feasible option). It is the quickest way to calm down, ground myself and refocus.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Remember your “why.” No matter what the first projects that you are given may be, remember what got you into the profession and stay inspired. Hold on to the principles of design and principles of architecture that align with your purpose.

Jeanne Vick

Jeanne Vick, AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: I’ve never been a huge fan of Antoni Gaudi’s work, and even when standing in front of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona a few summers ago, I wasn’t “wowed.” I could appreciate the intricacy of the sculptures and was amazed by the sheer scale of the building, but it wasn’t until I stepped inside that my entire perception of his work changed. It was truly magnificent. Pictures don’t do it justice. You must see it in person.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: Growing up in North Carolina, my parents took me to visit Biltmore in Asheville one summer. I was around ten or eleven and already had a passion for art and drawing. I left that house in complete awe and my desire to be an architect was born.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: Sit on a back porch with a drink and someone I love, or joyrides out into the countryside with my husband in his convertible.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Surround yourself with people that are better than you and don’t be intimated by it. They will keep you on your toes and will encourage you to reach your highest potential.

Alex Zondlo

Alex Zondlo, Assoc. AIA

Q: What building evoked a strong reaction from you recently—either positive or negative?

A: Notre Dame Cathedral because of the worldwide response in the wake of the fire.

Q: What is the last book you read?

A: Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t

Q: How did you discover your passion for architecture?

A: Through Legos (way too many Legos) and a high school teacher who taught drafting classes.

Q: What is your favorite thing to do to relax?

A: I enjoy being outside, whether camping, hiking, or walking around DC. and also reading.

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring architects?

A: Go shadow a firm and see what it is like to be an architect. If possible, participate in an experiences program during high school.