AIA Virginia Prize Weekend Complete

Over the first weekend of February, students across the Commonwealth participated in the Virginia Prize. And we were thrilled to have JMU’s Architectural Design program join competitors from Hampton University, UVA, and Virginia Tech (Blacksburg and the WAAC) in addressing the challenge.

This year’s competition was authored by Hampton University. Professor Stanford Britt, FAIA, Professor Carmina Sanchez-de-Valle, RA, and Associate Professor Marci Turner developed a brief that invited students to design a “bookless” public library as a community public room on a corner site at the intersection of N. Mallory Street and E. County Street in Phoebus, Virginia.  The project is intended to complement the offerings of the traditional “book-filled” branch library located across the street. And requires students to organize the required indoor and outdoor programmatic elements so that site is building, and building is site, while also addressing resiliency issues such as flooding.

The entries are now being judged by the institutions and selected entries will be forwarded for consideration by the competition jury. We look forward to sharing and celebrating the results.

AIA Virginia Prize Weekend

The AIA Virginia Prize is a design charrette that engages students at all of the accredited schools of architecture in Virginia.  Conducted simultaneously at Hampton University, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, students are given the competition program Friday at 5 p.m. They work over the weekend to create a board presenting their design solution at 9 a.m. the following Monday. Each school’s faculty reviews the submissions and sends up to 10 finalists to Richmond for final judging. Learn more about the AIA Virginia Prize.

CALL for ENTRIES: 2014 Inform Awards

Inform Awards 2014 PosterInform Magazine announces the call for entries to the 23rd annual Inform Awards. The program is intended to recognize and encourage outstanding LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE, INTERIOR DESIGN, and OBJECT DESIGN. Award winners in both the Honor and Merit categories will be featured in a special section of Inform magazine and announced to the public.

The Inform Awards are open to anyone in Inform magazine’s primary circulation area—architects, interior designers, landscape architects, furniture designers, industrial designers, students, and faculty. Your business address must be located in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, or North Carolina. All work submitted must have been completed after January 1, 2008.

Read the fine print or enter online. After entering, you can upload your project submittal here.


March 21, 2014: Registration closes

March 28, 2014: Project submissions must be received by 4 p.m.

April 18, 2014: Winners will be announced by Inform Magazine and

May 16, 2014: Winners appear in a special section of Inform Magazine.

2014 FEES

Virginia Society AIA Member Rate: $140 per project

*All Others: $185 per project

*Interested in qualifying for the member rate? Contact Shanelle Calvin or call (804) 237-1772 or see our membership page for details.

Six Ideas Selected for Washington Monument Competition

Washington Monument Ideas Competition Jury
Meeting of the Washington Monument Ideas Competition Jury. Photo by Judy Feldman, Ph.D.

Six winners have been selected for the National Ideas Competition for the Washington Monument Grounds.  Images of the refined idea concepts will be revealed in late September when the public will be called upon to vote for a People’s Choice award.

“We worked hard to get a diversity of approaches. We could not limit ourselves to five because the six winners were more demonstrative of the range of ideas,” explained jury chair Gregory Hunt, FAIA.

The Competition Stage 2 winners are:

Arcs of Shade by Stephen Lederach, Princeton, NJ – Formal, curvilinear design of trees completes the pedestrian experience of shaded walks from the Capitol through the Monument grounds to the Lincoln Memorial.

 An Inclined Plane by Julian Hunt, Lucrecia Laudi, and Monling Lee, Washington, DC – The bold gesture of planes connects the great obelisk beyond the grounds to the larger Mall cross axis. 

 Field of Stars by Catherine Peek, Pittsburgh, PA – Poetic, ephemeral use of light gives human scale and nighttime interest to the site as well as the larger Mall landscape.

 You and Me by Jinwoo Lim, Seoul, Korea – Highlights the centrality of the obelisk to the pedestrian experience of views to and from the Monument and of the historical significance of George Washington, the founding of the republic, and the central Mall axis.

 The People’s Forum by Karolina Kawiaka, White River Junction, VT – An amphitheater supports the important civic role of the Mall to American democracy and emphasizes the centrality of the site to the Mall cross axis at the Jefferson Pier.

 Monument of Unity by Jacques Prins, Kevin Battarbee and Egidijus Kasakaitis, Gouda, The Netherlands – A majestic skylit hall circling the obelisk’s foundation, accessible from cardinal directions, unifies the entrance experience and historical interpretation for all visitors.

In 2010, the organizers of the Competition asked interested individuals to think how they would complete the unfinished Monument grounds and make them more welcoming for broad civic engagement, hewing to issues of historic visions and modern sustainability, while enhancing the civic and educational experience that the Washington Monument presents for the next generation of visitors.

Hundreds responded from around the world and 24 semi-finalists were selected by the Stage 1 jury on Jan. 28, 2011.   The Stage 2 panel of 5 distinguished jurors met on June 23, and reviewed the semi-finalists, debated, and selected the final 6 winners whose entries met in full measure the challenges set forth by the Competition founders.  In the final stage of the competition in fall 2011 the public will be invited to select the “People’s Choice.” 

“We carefully debated a range of notions from minimalist improvements to a major, large-scale reworking of the landscape,” said juror David Hackett Fisher, Pulitzer Prize-winning George Washington historian.   “An organizing concept that emerged was that this unique site should serve as an agora, a common space that has many layers of meaning from the founding ideas of the republic to First Amendment activities, as well as practical needs for circulation, security, and flood control.”

Hunt, former dean of architecture at Catholic University, reflected on the differences jurors had about the major scope of some proposed changes and spoke of the inherent tension between doing a lot and doing very little.  “We seriously considered the extremes expressed by the ideas between intrusiveness versus unobtrusiveness.  In the end, we chose creative, exciting, and challenging ideas that will give the public real options to choose from and inspire people to think about the long-term possibilities.”

Former Washington Post architecture critic Benjamin Forgey came to the jury looking for simplicity and minimalist designs for the grounds to protect the mound’s open character.  “Some of the entries proposed dramatic, poetic, sometimes spectacular changes that amazed but also worried me,” he said.  “But that is the nature of an ideas competition.  My hope is that the process will stimulate public awareness and discussion of the kinds of changes needed to improve these sacred spaces at the very center of the National Mall.”

For juror Joy Zinoman, Founding Artistic Director of Washington’s Studio Theatre, some of the best ideas found ways to “create welcoming gathering spaces to support modern public use and connect with the larger Washington community.”  

Juror Eric Groft, ASLA, Principal of Oehme, van Sweden & Associates, was pleased with the number of the entries which succeeded in “bringing gestures large and small into a cohesive, unified idea.”

Virginia Society AIA President and Competition Chairman James P. Clark, AIA, on behalf of the entire Steering Committee, applauded the work of the jury and the serious engagement of so many individuals who worked hard to meet the challenging issues posed by the Competition, and the grounds themselves.  “We expect the notable ideas submitted for this Competition will be the real legacy of this Competition. They will promote awareness, education and thoughtful development of the Monument grounds.”

For more information,