Test of Time Awarded to the Wells Theatre

Norfolk's Wells Theatre
Norfolk’s Wells Theatre. Photo courtesy of HEWV.

Norfolk’s Wells Theatre, designed by the New York firm of E.C. Horn & Sons, and painstakingly renovated by Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company, has been selected to receive the Society’s Test of Time award. The award recognizes a structure that is no less than 25 years old; while building use may change over time, the overall design must be cherished as a significant contribution to the community and the built environment. The award will be presented at the Visions for Architecture gala on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013, at the Jefferson Hotel.

As the building celebrates its 100th anniversary, the 25-year-old faithful restoration of the theatre continues to sparkle like a jewel box. The work not only recaptured the original splendor of the 1913 Beaux Arts structure, but the adaptive use and ingenious incorporation of an adjacent structure to serve as support services for the theatre Company, allowed for greater public appreciation of important restored areas and essential facilities for a contemporary theater company. Today, the theatre continues to delight both patrons and performers and remains an essential catalyst for Norfolk’s “Downtown Turnaround.” In presenting this honor, the Society recognizes not only the timelessness of the original design but, in particular, the careful restoration of the theatre and sensitive addition and adaptation of the Monroe Building.


Design Awards for 2013 Announced

Across five award categories — Architecture, Contextual Design, Historic Preservation, Interior Design, and Residential Design — 29 projects were recognized for design excellence in 2013. Five separate juries identified 16 Honor Awards, 12 Merit Awards, and one special citation from a pool of 139 submissions. The awards recognize the very best work by designers working from Virginia. Held annually, the Awards for Excellence (also known as the Design Awards) celebrate projects no older than seven years that contribute to the built environment as clear examples of thoughtful and engaging design.

The 2013 Virginia Society AIA Awards for Excellence in Architecture presented by IMAGINiT Technologies, are sponsored by IMAGINiT Technologies, Donley’s, First Light VA, Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company, GeoEnvironmental Resources, Inc., Williams Mullen, and McPherson Design Group.

The winning projects will be the subject of an exhibition at the Virginia Center for Architecture called Design 2013: A Retrospective of Winning Work running Oct. 24, 2013–Jan. 5, 2014. The Opening Reception is Oct. 24 from 5:30–7:30 p.m.

Western Carolina University Health & Human Services by Clark Nexsen. Photo by Mark Herboth Photography.
Western Carolina University Health & Human Services by Clark Nexsen. Photo by Mark Herboth Photography.

In the ARCHITECTURE category

In deliberations, the jury—chaired by Thompson E. Penney, FAIA—considered aesthetics, adherence to the client program, proven and projected building performance, and concept development.

The three Architecture Honor Award recipients for 2013 are:

Western Carolina University Health & Human Sciences by Clark Nexsen
“A successful contrast to the natural setting out of which it grows, the building carefully pushes in the hillside contours, preserving a sensitive environment and gracefully stepping down the site,” noted the jury.

RdV Vineyards Winery by Neumann Lewis Buchanan Architects. Photo by Gordon Beall.
RdV Vineyards Winery by Neumann Lewis Buchanan Architects. Photo by Gordon Beall.

RdV Vineyards Winery by Neumann Lewis Buchanan Architects
“The structure is beautifully integrated with its spectacular site,” the jury said. “The interiors are quite bold and very well detailed and executed.

Buckingham County Public School by VMDO
“The masterful stitching together of two outdated mid-century schools into a new elementary school is very sophisticated, yet, at the same time, is very approachable for children,” said the jury.

The Architecture Jury also recognized four projects with Merit Awards:

Park Shops by Clark Nexsen

Buckingham County Primary and Elementary Schools by VMDO Architects. Photo by Alan Karchmer.
Buckingham County Primary and Elementary Schools by VMDO Architects. Photo by Alan Karchmer.

Tred Avon River House by Robert Gurney, FAIA

Verde Dining Facility by Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas, and

Barcode House by David Jameson, FAIA



The awards for contextual design recognize outstanding architecture that perceptibly reflects the history, culture, and physical environment of the place in which it stands and that, in turn, contributes to the function, beauty, and meaning of its larger context.

The Context Jury, chaired by R. Randall Vosbeck, FAIA, awarded three projects with Honor Awards:

Holaday Athletic Center, U.S. Air Force Academy by Cannon Design
The project is notable“for its sustainable, contemporary design, which is most respectful of its well-known mid-century surroundings,” stated the jury.

Becherer House by Robert Gurney, FAIA, Architect
The jury noted the exquisite detailing and overall design as the deciding elements in convincing them that this project is relevant to its wooded setting.

Headquarters for Ruppert Nurseries by  Muse Architects
“This complex of new and remodeled buildings respects the 1898 Queen Anne Victorian farmhouse on the site,” said the jury of the nursery’s “overall agrarian character.”

The jury also awarded four projects with Merit Awards:

Duncan, McMurty, Baker & Will Rice Colleges of Rice University by Hopkins Architects, design architect, and Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas, executive architect

E. Claiborne Robins Stadium, University of Richmond by BCWH, architect of record, and McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, associated architect

Bedford Hall Visual Arts Building, Longwood University by Moseley Architects, architect, and HGA, consulting visual arts design architect

University of Mary Washington Residence Halls Renovation by Bowie Gridley Architects

Additionally, the jury recognized The One Nest by McGraw Bagnoli Architects, with a special citation as a clever interpretation of a rural farmhouse related to its countryside site.



Aesthetic appeal and functionality are two long-established criteria for home design as are affordability and resource efficiency. The jury—chaired by 2014 national AIA Custom Residential Architecture Network Chair David Andreozzi, AIA—looked at each submission in its totality toward meeting those goals.

The Residential Design jury selected four projects for Honor Awards:

Three of those are by Robert Gurney, FAIA, Architect:

308 Mulberry, which the jury called “absolutely brilliant, a truly spectacular example of a minimally and expertly detailed project that respects the context of a site as well as the history of an existing structure.”

Difficult Run Residence which was called “a remarkable renovation,” by the jury. “Like the rolling landscape, the roof gracefully folds and rolls, thus unifying the house. It is quite an honor to the original architect.”


WISSIOMING2. “The lines of the house form a myriad of squares and volumes,” observed the jury. “Its connection to its vernacular is spellbinding from every direction.”

The jury also honored A Move to the City by Muse Architects. “This project’s exterior skin was restored from the last century, and its interior is transformed for the next century.”

The jury recognized Ocean Walk, by Studio Twenty-Seven Architecture, with a Merit Award.



The historic preservation category focuses specifically on excellence in strategies, tactics, and technologies that advance the art, craft, and science of preserving historically significant buildings and sites. The jury took into consideration adherence to local, state, and national criteria for historic preservation.

The Historic Preservation jury—chaired by Associate Dean of the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Gaines B. Hall, FAIA—recognized one with an Honor Award.

For the Honor Award, the jury recognized the National Academy of Sciences restoration by Quinn Evans Architects, which they called “beautifully executed. It followed the best of preservation practice in an exemplary way. This is a first-rate renovation of a landmark building.”

They recognized three projects with Merit Awards:

The Restoration of the 1917 Chesterfield Courthouse by Davis Buckley Architects & Planners

The State Theatre Restoration by Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas, and

The Pierce Mill Complex by Quinn Evans


In the INTERIOR DESIGN category

Interior design project of distinction evince mastery of composition, functionality, material and color palettes, and well-integrated adherence to the highest levels of accessibility, health and safety, environmental, and occupant-comfort considerations, standards, and regulations.

The Interior Design Jury—chaired by Jose Castillo, cofounder of arquitectura 911sc in Mexico City—recognized five projects with Honor Awards; three by Robert Gurney, FAIA, Architect:

Lorber Tarler Residence, with its “clean palette of materials, finishes, and colors as well as the specific role the stair plays in organizing space and bringing in natural light.

Watergate Apartment, as “a clever use of geometry to achieve a better integration for what otherwise would feel like a small apartment. This space honors the legacy of Moretti’s 1960s masterpiece.”


5110-½ Offices, was lauded by the jury for how it draws light “into the deepest parts of the office. The organization in plan is warm, clean, and professionally formal.”

The jury also recognized the North Avenue Dining Hall at Georgia Tech by Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas for “the way the project establishes a relationship between interior and exterior and between existing and new.


The Allsteel Showroom by Hickok Cole for its “sensitive integration of brand into physical space. The relationship between different ceilings, floorings, and lighting achieves an unmistakable identity and character.”


2011 Design Awards Announced

The Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects honors 18 projects with Awards for Excellence in Architecture. The 2011 Design Awards are presented by Scott Long Construction and sponsored by Carolina Cast Stone Co., Inc.

Held annually, the Awards for Excellence in Architecture recognize projects no older than five years that contribute to the built environment as clear examples of thoughtful and engaging design. 134 entries in the categories of Architecture, Historic Preservation, and Interior Design were reviewed by three blind juries.

Recipients of the Awards for Excellence in Architecture presented by Scott Long Construction will be honored during Architecture Exchange East, at the Visions for Architecture gala on Nov. 4, 2011, in Design 2011, a special exhibition at the Virginia Center for Architecture opening on Oct. 20, 2011, and in Inform magazine’s annual directory.

Members of the design teams are identified where available. Stay tuned for an image gallery as images and credits become available.

Winners of the 2011 Award for Excellence in Architecture are:



Honor Awards

PNC Place in Washington, D.C. for PNC Financial Services
Designed by Gensler (Washington, D.C.)


LumenHAUS in Blacksburg, Va. for the School of Architecture + Design at Virginia Tech
Designed by the Virginia Tech Solar Team
The design team was lead by faculty members Joseph Wheeler, AIA, Robert Schubert, David Clark, and Robert Dunay, FAIA


Merit Awards
Kensington Residence
in Kensington, Md.
Designed by the Alexandria, Va.-based firm David Jameson Architect Inc.
The design team included David Jameson, FAIA, and Ron Southwick


Nevis Pool and Garden Pavilion in Bethesda, Md.
Designed by the Washington, D.C-based firm Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect
The project architect was John Riordan, LEED AP


Virginia Commonwealth University Dental Clinic at Wise, in Wise, Va., for Virginia Commonwealth University
Designed by the Richmond office of HKS, Inc. Wise-based Thompson & Litton is the Architect of Record

Covington Farmers Market
in Covington, Va. for the City of Covington
Designed by design/buildLAB at the School of Architecture + Design at Virginia Tech
The 17-member student design team was lead by professors Keith Zawistowski, Assoc. AIA and Marie Zawistowski


in Richmond, Va. for The Greater Richmond ARC
Designed by the Richmond-based firm 3north
The design team included Sanford Bond, AIA, Danny MacNelly and Jason Dufilho


HRA Mosaica Public Charter School to be built in Washington, D.C.
Designed by the Washington, DC.-based firm Studio 27 Architecture
The design team included Todd Ray, AIA, Hans Kuhn, Raymond Curtis, and Jason Shih


George Mason University Founders Hall in Arlington, Va. for George Mason University
Designed by the Washington, D.C. office of   SmithGroup


Graticule in Great Falls, Va.
Designed by the Alexandria-based firm David Jameson, Architect


Sir John Soane Personality Award

Loft Upon Cork in Winchester, Va., for Dr. Peter Bullough
Designed by the Winchester-based firm Reader & Swartz Architects, P.C.
The design team included Beth Reader, AIA, Chuck Swartz, AIA, Laura Ours, AIA, Joel Richardson, Assoc. AIA



M2L Collection in Washington, D.C.
Designed by the Washington, D.C.-based firm Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect
The project architect was Claire L. Andreas


The Pew Charitable Trusts in Washington, D.C. for the Pew Charitable Trusts
Design by Gensler (Washington, D.C.)
The design team included Chris Banks, Lisa Amster, Faisal Naveed, Steve Steimer, Ryan Waltke, Carmen Epstein, David Epstein, Jessica Taylor-Williamson, Kelly Dabney, Anat Gimburg, Min Kim, Timothy Taylor, Scott Hasty


Rincon Bates House in Washington, D.C., for Juan Felipe Rincon and Robert Bates
Designed by the Washington, D.C.-based firm Studio 27 Architecture
The design team included John K. Burke, AIA, Todd Ray, AIA, Chris Dehenzel, and Hans Kuhn


Forbes Center for the Performing Arts at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. for James Madison University
Designed by Norfolk-based Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company




Freemason Baptist Church Renovation + Addition in Norfolk, Va. for Freemason Baptist Church
Designed by Norfolk-based Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company


The Bowman House in Staunton, Va. for the Frontier Culture Museum of Virignia
Design by the Williamsburg-based firm Carlton Abbott and Partners, PC
The design team included Carlton S. Abbott, FAIA and David M. Stemann, AIA


The Hazel River Cabin in Woodville, Va. for Joe Svatos
Designed by the Washington, D.C.-based firm Bonstra | Haresign Architects
The design team included David Haresign, AIA, Sarah Carrier, LEED AP, Brian L. Forehand, Assoc. AIA, Laura Williams, Tom Wallinga, AIA, and Evan Hathaway


John Paul Hanbury Dies

John Paul Hanbury, FAIADistinguished Virginia member John Paul Conwell Hanbury, FAIA, died from complications related to cancer on Thursday, April 28. The 76-year-old Portsmouth native was a founding principal of the internationally-recognized firm Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Co. After guiding the firm’s historic preservation studio for two decades, he retired in 2005. Hanbury received the Society’s William C. Noland Medal in 1997.

Hanbury, the recipient of numerous awards for both design and service to the profession, was much-admired for his preservation work. “When urban renewal seemed synonymous with tearing down,” noted Carlton Abbott, FAIA, he “proved that imagination, preservation and activism were as effective as bulldozers to change the course of a community.” He guided the restoration of more than two dozen historic structures, including Norfolk’s 1913 Wells Theatre, the 1850 Freemason Street Baptist Church, and the Superintendent’s Quarters at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington. His dedication and passion for saving historic structures contributed to the preservation of Portsmouth’s Olde Towne and the restoration of many of its significant structures. Undoubtedly, his most celebrated work was the award-winning restoration of the 1813 Virginia Executive Mansion. The project required exhaustive research and garnered numerous awards and national attention.

Hanbury was also noted for his volunteer service to his profession and community. His advice to others in his firm was, “If you believe that something is important, go lead it. Make a difference in the community.” To that end, he directed a loving restoration of the 1919 Branch House, transforming it into the Virginia Center for Architecture and home to the Virginia Society AIA. “John Paul (and his firm) made a significant and generous gift to us through his pro bono design work for the Center, over which he lavished such loving attention,” said the Center’s Founding President and Society CEO John Braymer.  

“John Paul was a driving and shaping force for our firm. He led by example. He personally taught us so much about how to be professional, how to respect clients, how to respect the work we do, and he helped us understand why what we do is important. He was one of a kind,” said his colleagues. “He will be missed.”

A memorial service was held May 10 in Kilmarnock before interment in the Historic Christ Church churchyard near his home, Massaponax, in Irvington.