Richmond’s Storefront for Community Design will be awarded the Architecture Medal for Virginia Service this year for its commitment and dedication to inspire equitable community-driven design in the built environment through innovative programs and resources that engage the next generation of designers. 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 2011, Storefront for Community Design (SFCD) has been a stalwart, non-profit design hub that seeks to bridge the gap and make design programs and resources accessible to all. Located in the heart of downtown Richmond, SFCD has convened over 350 low-cost design and planning projects with community members, youth, young adults, local businesses, nonprofit organizations, and neighborhoods. By maintaining a network of over 180 volunteer planners, architects, landscape architects, design professionals, educators, and community engagement specialists, SFCD prioritizes equitable and sustainable growth and remains committed to equipping youth for career success, civic engagement, and creative expression.

The organization started with a 2009 phone call from Cynthia Newbille, 7th Voter District Council Representative, to Baskervill’s Burt Pinnock, FAIA, then-founder and principal of BAM Architects. Newbille wanted to find a way to bring design services to her constituents, many of whom lived below the poverty line. Pinnock recognized that a city-wide design center was desperately needed in the rapidly growing Richmond area. With a vote of confidence from the City Council, SFCD was founded on February 14, 2011.

In the beginning, programs around community workshops, community improvement days, and design sessions later matured into formal partnerships with other local non-profits expanding its reach and influence. In 2018, SFCD launched a City Builders Design Workshop program for urban youth leaders that focused on place-making projects and neighborhood-based skill building. By 2019, SFCD and m0b studi0 hosted a nationwide architecture and youth competition funded by the NEA Artworks to consider how to represent the history and figures monumentalized on Monument Avenue.

By spring of 2022, SFCD announced a new vision and a three-year strategic plan that will focus on transforming its low-cost design and planning programs and expand its design education programs to inspire more community-driven design. Over the next three years, the organization will serve over 200,000 residents in the greater Richmond area through community design.

Strorefront for Community Design will be celebrated at Visions for Architecture on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.