The recently completed expansion to the Claude Moore Education Complex features three new state-of-the-art culinary teaching environments. This collaboration between the Roanoke Higher Education Authority and Virginia Western Community College allows the culinary school to exist outside of the VWCC campus, and in close proximity to a multitude of restaurants, commercial kitchens, and future employment opportunities for their graduates.

In addition to serving as an educational facility, the existing complex includes a cultural icon, the historic Strand Theatre. Once home to the offices of one of the first African American filmmakers Oscar Micheaux, the building has hosted many great artists and musical legends. The design team worked with the neighborhood to develop and incorporate historic markers and artwork to help document and share the community’s rich history.

Located along the Henry Street Historic District, the design team at Spectrum Design worked with representatives of the Gainsboro neighborhood to develop a series of back-lit historic markers that showcase the rich story of the once thriving business and cultural hub. Panels are broken out into categories that feature famous entertainers that performed in the theater as well as prominent businesses and restaurants that once fronted Henry Street. A push-button at each panel triggers an oral history recording featuring interviews with neighborhood residents.

With an addition that respects the past, the Claude Moore Complex now looks to define its future.

The Claude Moore Education Complex was recognized with an Award of Merit in the Contextual Design category in 2019.

About the Project

Architecture Firm: Spectrum Design, PC

Owner: Roanoke Higher Education Authority

Contractor: Avis Construction

Photographer: Boyd Pearman Photography

Project Size: 18,000 SF TOTAL


Project Cost: $4,419,875

Image credits

Photo by Boyd Pearman Photography

Photo by Boyd Pearman Photography

Photo by Boyd Pearman Photography

Image courtesy Spectrum Design, PC

Photo by Boyd Pearman Photography