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.

At the April Board Meeting

MEETING RECAP
AIA Virginia | 2019 Board of Directors
April 12, 2019
Hampton University | Bemis Laboratory

Motions Made and Approved:

The Board of Directors of AIA Virginia voted as follows:

  • Approval of the February 15, 2019 Meeting Minutes
  • Approval of the Nominations for Appointment of the Disaster Assistance Committee
  • Approval of Candidate Endorsement for APELSCILDA Gubernatorial Appointment
  • Approval of Appointment of Virginia Architect Licensing Advisor

Written reports were provided for the following consent agenda items:

  • Blueprint for Better – National Mall Initiative
  • Art of Practice Review
  • PAC Update
  • Inform Update
  • Membership Update
  • Architecture Exchange East 2019 Update
  • ACE Update
  • Formation of Honors Committee Diversity Task Force
  • Grassroots Visit Response from Sen. Kaine

Questions regarding the written reports were answered to provide additional clarification.  Members may request a copy of these written reports by emailing AIA Virginia Executive Vice President, Corey Clayborne, AIA at cclayborne@aiava.org.

Jeffrey Butts, Assoc. AIA explained his role as the Regional Associate Director which is to serve as the informational conduit between Virginia/West Virginia and the Institute on issues impacting the Associate membership.  He attended a meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico where he was a part of a work group that focused on how technology and equity are impacting the practice of architecture.

AGENDA ITEMS BASED ON STRATEGIC PLAN GOALS:

Position Architects as vital contributors to our built environment:

  • A motion was presented by the Government Advocacy Advisory Council recommending appointments to the AIA Virginia Disaster Assistance Committee.  The motion passed unanimously.
  • A motion was presented by the Government Advocacy Advisory Council to endorse the reappointment of Mel Price, AIA to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers and Landscape Architects (APELSCIDLA).  The motion passed unanimously.
  • It was noted that Kathy Galvin, AIA is running for the Virginia House of Delegates 57th District seat.

Become a model of a strong non profit and vibrant membership organization:

  • The draft Memorandum of Understanding between AIA Virginia and the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) for the Virginia Values Veterans (V3) program partnership was reviewed and discussed.  The draft document will be sent to the Deputy Commissioner of DVS for review and comment.  The Board empowered the Executive Committee to oversee the finalization of the MOU.
  • A motion was presented by the Member Services Advisory Council recommending appointment of Michael Hammon, AIA as Virginia’s Architect Licensing Advisor.  The motion passed unanimously. Jeanne LeFever, AIA recused herself from the vote.
  • A summary was provided of key takeaways of the Member Satisfaction Survey responses.  In March 2019, the survey was sent to 2,338 AIA Virginia members and allied members and received a 19.5% response rate.  The survey inquired about membership satisfaction, perception of organizational effectiveness, and membership value.  A discussion was held about how to engage the media more frequently at events and how to communicate our advocacy work more effectively.

DISCUSSION ITEMS:

Treasurer’s Report:

The organization’s Balance Sheet indicates the cash and cash equivalents is approximately $88k greater than at this point last year. Expenses are currently at 75% of the budget.  To date, the organization has an excess of revenue over expenses of $253,857.  This funding is used for operations during the spring and summer months when program revenue is minimal.

The draft 2019-2020 budget was reviewed and discussed.  It was noted that the digital release of Inform was not yet depicted in the budget.  There was a consensus that the draft budget was tracking successfully toward a final submission.

EVP Report:

It was shared that the staff is continuing to work on budget preparation while exploring a contingency plan in the event of an economic downturn.

President-Elect’s Report:

A joint task force consisting of AIA Virginia and Branch board members was formed at the beginning of 2019 to look to the future, determine recommended collaboration strategies, identify tactics, and develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that can be supported by both boards.  At its February meeting, the task force identified the key items of inclusion for the document. 

New Business:

  • The Branch will celebrate the Virginia by Design Awards on April 27 with “Brunch at the Branch”.
  • A discussion occurred regarding the 2019 Candidates for National Office.
  • The Region of The Virginias breakfast will be held at A’19 on Friday, June 7.

The next meeting of the 2019 AIA Virginia Board of Directors will take place Friday, June 21, 2019, in Richmond.

Student Competition Winner Announced

AIA Virginia is pleased to announce the students recognized as honorees in 2019 AIA Virginia Prize competition.

AIA Virginia Prize
The top award and $3000 prize goes to Jackson Reed a student at Virginia Tech for the submission “Frames of Reference.” The jury recognized the elegant way the structure could be both unveiled and packed away, noting that there was “a kind of magic to how it captured the light.” The submission displayed a technical superiority and a “completeness” to its presentation. The jury appreciated the fresh approach to a shipping container building, particularly in the way the volume could be reconfigured.

"Frames of Reference" by Jackson Reed, Virginia Tech was awarded the AIA Virginia Prize.
“Frames of Reference” by Jackson Reed, Virginia Tech was awarded the AIA Virginia Prize.

Special Jury Award and Hampton University Best of School
The Best of School Award for Hampton University goes to Julian Washington for “Veggie Soul.” The jury appreciated that the submission was rooted in its cultural context as well as its inventive placement inside an existing building. They found the rendering particularly evocative, giving a true sense of the concept and placement. The jury found this submission particularly notable and elected to make a Special Jury Award of $500.

Veggie Soul" by Julian Washington, Hampton University - The Best of School Award and Special Jury Award
“Veggie Soul” by Julian Washington, Hampton University – The Best of School Award and Special Jury Award

University of Virginia Best of School
The Best of School Award for University of Virginia goes to Taha Suhrawardy for “Sic Parvis Magna Café.” They jury enjoyed the design’s informality counterbalanced with its placement within a formal setting. Its lightweight characteristics and structural creativity were interesting. The approach to mobility was notable.

“Sic Parvis Magna Café” by Taha Suhrawardy, University of Virginia – Best of School Award

Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center Best of School
The Best of School Award for the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center goes to Meredith Sattler for “Deadrise Oyster Bar.”  This entry expressed what the environment has to offer in a really simple, pleasurable way. The jury found the response to the tidal condition interesting.

“Deadrise Oyster Bar” by Meredith Sattler, Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center – Best of School Award

The following were recognized with an Honorable Mention


“The New Taste of Flow” submitted by Mengzhe Ye and Weiran Jing from University of Virginia
The jury appreciated the graphic approach. They found the innovative and thoughtfully-considered user experience notable.

“The Hangout” submitted by Gary Garner from Hampton University
The jury found the idea of using readily-available swing equipment to create seating and a dining environment refreshing.

“King St. Pop Up Café” submitted by Juan Urey Fernandez from the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center
The jury was pleased with the clean, comprehensive design. The site placement was clear and precise — there was little missing.

“The Fulcrum” submitted by Andy Merida from Virginia Tech
The jury appreciated the elegant simplicity of this submission and its implied invitation to engage your imagination.

“Boba — A Pop Up Bubble Tea Shop” submitted by Kirt Hilker from Virginia Tech
The jury delighted in the submission’s imaginative approach that was truly representative of a “pop up” café.

“untitled” submitted by Anna Fletcher from Virginia Tech
The jury found this entry and its story gripping. The graphics beautifully captured the mood and emotional context of the narrative.



About the Challenge

The competition — which took place over the weekend of Jan. 25–28 — challenged students to design a pop-up diner with a small kitchen, short-term supply storage, and a dining counter for standing and sitting customers. Students were asked to consider the energy, water, and waste flows in their solutions. [Read the full competition brief.]


About the AIA Virginia Prize

Conducted simultaneously at Hampton UniversityUniversity of VirginiaVirginia Tech, and the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, the competition is a design charrette that engages students at all of the accredited schools of architecture in Virginia. Students are given the competition program on a Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. They work over the weekend to create a design solution and submit it by 9 a.m. the following Monday. The top submission wins a $3000 prize.

Launched in 1980, the competition is intended to promote collaboration between the profession, students, and professors in Virginia. Historically, the charrette has taken place in January, however over the last several years, the competition has been hosted in September to accommodate an ongoing scheduling conflict at one of the schools. Now that the conflict has been resolved, the Prize weekend has shifted back to the spring semester to better align with the demands of the academic calendar.

Development of the competition brief rotates between the four schools annually — the 2019 Prize challenge was developed by Virginia Tech.


About the Jury

Each school’s faculty reviews the submissions and sends up to 10 finalists to Richmond for final consideration by the following Jury.

Nick Serfass, FAIA, Executive Director, RVATECH | Jury Chair

Burt Pinnock, FAIA, Chairman, Baskervill

Lori Garrett, FAIA, Senior Principal & Director of Higher Education Studio, Glavé & Holmes

Patrick Thompson, Assoc. AIA, Associate, Commonwealth Architects

Donna Phaneuf, FAIA, President + Lead Design Principal, Via Design

2017 AIA Virginia Prize Awarded

At 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, students at the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, The Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center (WAAC), and Hampton University were given a limited time challenge. By 9 a.m. Monday participating students had to turn in their design for a terminus for King Street at the Potomac River waterfront to celebrate its historic role as the origin of Alexandria and the front door of the City. It should be a significant public space that offers a destination, or as was written: ‘where one of America’s great streets meets one of America’s great rivers’. It should provide a counterpoint to the George Washington Masonic National Memorial at the other end of King Street.

2017 AIA Virginia President, Bill Brown, AIA, 2017 AIA Virginia Prize Jury Chair, Rachel Shelton, AIA, 2017 AIA Virginia Prize winner, Erik Styrbjorn Odd Torell from Virginia Tech, and Stewart Roberson, Chairman, President, and CEO of Moseley Architects. photo by Jay Paul

The Honorees

Erik Styrbjorn Odd Torell is the winner of the 2017 AIA Virginia Prize which includes a $1,500 cash prize.

The judges were impressed with the details of the structure, they felt he did an excellent job explaining the different aspects of the design on his board, and enjoyed how open the view was and especially enjoyed how the view was framed differently depending on which direction you were looking. They felt that this was a great design for an all year, any weather community space.

Best of School

Jonathan Legaspi received the Best of School for Hampton University.
Yuchao Xu received the Best of School for Virginia Tech.
M. Ryan Delaney received the Best of School for the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center. He also received the Runner-Up award.

Notable

Aneela Jain, Virginia Tech
Chris Cheng, Virginia Tech
Hannah McDorman, Virginia Tech
Minh Do, Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center
Terry Davis Jr., Hampton University
Victoria D’antone, Virginia Tech

Honorable Mention

Masie Carr, Virginia Tech

AIA Virginia would like to thank Moseley Architects for sponsoring the 2017 AIA Virginia Prize.

Hampton University Celebrates

Seventy-five years ago, Hampton University began offering courses for students wishing to pursue a career in architecture.  Fully accredited by NAAB since 1963, the program offers a five-year Master of Architecture degree.  In addition to providing preparation for successful professional lives, the department has a special commitment to engagement with regional challenges, particularly for urban communities.  It is also committed to teaching sustainable design and to the challenges of building well and sensibly by the water’s edge.

To celebrate this anniversary, the department of architecture is holding a Beaux Arts Ball on 29 April and extends a most cordial invitation to area friends and professionals to join us.  The traditional fiesta of architecture students everywhere, the after-dinner ball will feature costumes related to the theme “Historic Artifacts” for those inclined to such expression, with a $75 prize to the best, selected by a panel of current and former department chairs.  Regional artisanal cheeses, produce, fondues, beer, and champagne punch will be on tap and music will be a mix of the songs that made 75 years of students get up from their desks and dance.

The department also hopes as part of the celebration to raise $75,000 to establish a scholarship fund for fifth-year students who, after clearing undergraduate status, find traditional funding sources like Pell Grants unavailable to them.  As a consequence, many must find jobs during this crucial final year of the program.  We hope many will join us trying to provide this crucial support.

While the department is small and the curriculum dense, we currently run a number of unusual programs within in – we have participated in two Solar Decathlons with ODU as our partner, offer – to the best of our knowledge – the first concentration in adaptation to sea level rise. Our first adaptation elective, done with Wetlands Watch and ODU for the Norfolk Neighborhood of Chesterfield Heights, became the basis for work in the Dutch Dialogues and was awarded $1,100,000 implementation grant in the  The department is one of six members of the National Resilience Institute, a program put together by the Rockefeller Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, and the AIA.  We run an urban design travel program overseas; this is orchestrated in part by faculty member Ray Gindroz, FAIA, who also teaches a course in urban design.  We hope to make more of our academic work available to the local community with eligibility for continuing education credit.As the only accredited architectural program in the

As the only accredited architectural program in the region, we are proud to be part of the region and its professional community.  Many of our students stay and pursue careers locally.

Please join us in celebrating our milestone anniversary and supporting our scholarship program.

Tickets and contributions may be managed at https://www.eventbrite.com/myevent?eid=32651911747 by mail to Department of Architecture, Hampton University, Hampton, VA 23668, or at the door.  Thanks for your support!

 

Hampton University Joins Resilience Network

The Hampton University Department of Architecture has been named a National Resilience Initiative network, a collection of six design studios across the nation that serve their local communities preparing for and adapting to natural challenges. The HU Department of Architecture will be the representative for the Mid-Atlantic region and the designated center on the study of adaptation to sea level rise.

“Our designation is an enormous honor and responsibility,” said Mason Andrews, associate professor in the HU Department of Architecture.  “The department’s on-going interest in engagement with urban communities has led to a leadership role in an emerging field. We may be the slightly damp canary in the coal mine here in Hampton Roads, and have the opportunity to develop adaptation strategies useful to other communities as they eventually face the challenges on which we’re working.  What a privilege!”

The six chosen design studios in the National Resilience Initiative network will continue work in their own communities, but share best practices nationally and identify policy and legislation issues impeding sensible response to an array of current new challenges.

HU’s Department of Architecture was selected due to the past two years of success in the field. An initial project studying adaptation to sea level rise in the National Register of Historic Places listed Norfolk neighborhood of Chesterfield Heights, executed under a small Virginia Sea Grant to Wetlands Watch, resulted in the project’s inclusion in the international design workshop The Dutch Dialogues Virginia: Life at Sea Level. The project was subsequently incorporated into the Commonwealth of Virginia’s entry in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s National Disaster Resilience Competition which has now been funded with $120,000,000 for implementation.

HU’s architecture department has also strategically cultivated with students from the Old Dominion University (ODU) Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and made a commitment to collaborate with a group of engineering students from James Madison University.

The Coastal Community Design Collaborative, the cross-university and cross-disciplinary entity poised to continue design efforts, is headed by Associate Professor of Architecture at HU Mason Andrews and Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at ODU Mujde Erten-Unal. They are committed to exploring adaptation strategies for regional neighborhoods through the crucibles of community engagement and collaborative design. Both departments are pursuing the creation of the first cross-disciplinary cross-university concentration in adaptation to sea level rise, a first for the region.

Reprinted with permission from Director of University Relations – Hampton University.

Final Presentations At Hampton University

You are cordially invited to join the Hampton University Department of Architecture as we review final student projects for the Fall academic semester. Reviews will be held in Bemis Laboratory on our campus. Parking is available adjacent to the building. We endeavor to serve light refreshments and solicit your candid and critical reviews of the work presented by our students.

View the schedule.

Students Compete in Virginia Society AIA Prize

© 2006, The American Institute of Architects. All rights reserved.

Students from Hampton University, Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech’s Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, and the University of Virginia took part in the 32nd annual Virginia Society AIA Prize competition over the weekend of Jan. 27–30, 2012. From those submissions, each school advances 10 finalists; the winning design will be selected by a jury in February.

This year’s competition problem was developed by faculty at Hampton University and addressed our ability (or inability) to provide temporary emergency housing. Students were asked to propose a semi-permanent and reusable intervention in one of the region’s most naturally vulnerable locations — Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. The problem asked students to design one prototypical unit, not to exceed 600 square-feet, capable of housing up to 4 individuals. Designs were to include a site plan demonstrating how four of these prototypical units could be arranged to form the embryo of a community. Students were also asked to envision how these structures could be used as housing for special events during non-catastrophic times.

The Virginia Society AIA Prize — along with the accompanying $2000 check — will be awarded during the Virginia Design Forum: Skins, March 16-17, in Charlottesville, Virginia. Best of School nods (and possibly an honorable mention or two) will be noted as well. An exhibition of all of the finalists will tour each of the schools and will wrap up in the ArchEx Exhibit Hall at Architecture Exchange East on Nov. 8–9.