Slate Roofing and Maintenance Repair Webinar

Join the Historic Resources Committee (HRC) and Nick Price with Stevens Roofing Corp. for a webinar presentation and Q&A on Wednesday, June 26 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. to learn more about how to repair and maintain slate roofs.

Slate is one of the most durable materials that can be used for roofing. However, when it becomes damaged or dislodged, homeowners and architects rush to conclude that the material needs to be replaced when it can be retained and repaired. This webinar will explore the different types of slate, the longevity f he material, proper installation and the various repair techniques to retain and maintain a slate roof.


AIA Member: $15
Non-Member: $20

Register Here>>

Historic Resources Committee Events for 2024

Virginia HRC kicked off 2024 with a great retreat at Frazier Associates in Staunton, VA and a BIG thank you to Kathy Frazier, FAIA for hosting.  We are planning to do 5 tours and 2 webinars throughout the year with a Craftsperson’s Crawl at the AIA Virginia Architecture Exchange East Conference in November and ending the year with the traditional HRC Trivia night in December.

Please visit the Historic Resources Committee webpage here to learn more and see our calendar of events for 2024. 

If you are interested in participating in HRC leadership or activities, contact us at and members are always welcome to join our monthly calls.

Join the Historic Resources Committee!

Do you have a love and passion for historic architecture? Maybe adaptive reuse of existing buildings? If so, we need more committee members and would love to have you join this wonderful knowledge community.

To identify, understand, and preserve architectural heritage within the Commonwealth of Virginia. VHRC is engaged in promoting the role of historic preservation, rehabilitation, and adaptive use within the profession through the development of information and knowledge among members, allied professional organizations, and the public.

Virginia HRC’s activities are developed and sponsored by a leadership group of AIA Virginia members from across the state.

If you are interested in participating and being a member of the committee, please contact us at or

Seeking Preservation Heroes

The county has some little-used historic properties that have fallen on hard times because of exposure to the elements and lack of use. When Virginia’s General Assembly changed the state code in 2011 to allow Resident Curator programs, Fairfax County saw the opportunity. In 2014, the County Board of Supervisors adopted a Resident Curator program to preserve the county’s tangible heritage.

rcp-logo-blueThe county designed a program to preserve these select properties, which are historically significant, by offering long-term leases to tenants who agree to rehabilitate and maintain them. It’s not just an anybody-can-live-there program. The curator must be qualified to rehabilitate and maintain the building, which must be done according to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (36 CFR Part 68 (2013), as amended). The curator also has to allow reasonable access to the property so that the public can appreciate the building’s historic significance. As long as they qualify, a curator can be a private citizen or an organization — non-profit or for-profit.

The length of a lease for a curator depends on a formula that is based on the building’s gross annual fair market rent as established by a third party appraisal and the curator’s annual estimated costs to manage and maintain the property. No cash rent is collected. Once the property’s rehabilitation is complete, the curator can remain there for the length of the lease without paying any rent, as long as they properly manage and maintain the site.

The county’s goal is to preserve valuable, underused historic properties. Curators are responsible for upkeep, property maintenance expenses, utilities, and county property taxes. That relieves the county of certain costs related to the care of the structures. Similar public/private partnerships elsewhere have shown this kind of stewardship solution for cultural resources can be successful.

“One benefit for the curator is the uniqueness of the properties,” said Resident Curator Project Manager Denice Dressel. “All of them are on parkland, so the curator benefits by living in a park. By partnering with the private sector, the county hopes to preserve these properties for future generations.”

Fairfax County has established a specific web page for its Resident Curator Program. The individual properties that are available, along with program details, can be seen at

Article submitted by:
Robert E. Beach, AIA
Fairfax County History Commission, Architect-at-large
Chairman, Resident Curator Program

Call for Entries: 2014 Design Awards

Join the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects, the Virginia Center for Architecture, and Inform magazine in a celebration of the very best work from designers working from Virginia.

The Awards for Excellence in Architecture recognize outstanding design— both built and un-built — in five categories: Contextual Design, Residential Design, Architecture, Historic Preservation and Interior Design.  All entries must be the work of architects who have an office in Virginia or are members (including associate members) of the Virginia Society AIA. The location of projects is not restricted, but built work must have been completed after Jan. 1, 2007. Un-built work will also be considered, as long as it was commissioned by a client as opposed to hypothetical work completed in the mode of research or academic training.

Awards certificates are presented each November at Architecture Exchange East, the Virginia Society’s annual conference. They are also honored during the Visions for Architecture gala, in Inform magazine, and serve as the subject of an annual exhibition at the Virginia Center for Architecture.

The 2014 Awards for Excellence in Architecture are sponsored by Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas + Company, GeoEnvironmental Resources, and Jack Davis, FAIA.


Entries: 5 p.m. on July 7, 2014
Project submissions: 5 p.m. on July 25, 2014


VS AIA Members: $190 first project; $160 each additional project
Non-member Architects (with an office in Va.):  $245 first project; $215 each additional project
VSAIA Associate Members: $80 each project


[adrotate banner=”55″]Contextual Design
Buildings do not exist in isolation. The Award for Contextual Design recognizes 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. Evaluation criteria include:

  • Does the design contribute to the fabric of the surrounding physical context through tangible qualities such as scale, form, materials, and architectural vocabulary?
  • Does the design demonstrate an understanding of the history and culture of the place and embrace traditions relevant to its context?
  • Does the design creatively embody the identity or mission of the client?

Requirements for submission should include a description of the context and how this context is reflected in the design, as well as images (photographs or drawings; at least two) that distinctly reveal the surrounding context of the project.

Residential Design
Aesthetic appeal and functionality are two long-established criteria for home design. More frequently, especially in the last several years, families have also been looking for affordability and resource efficiency. The jury will focus on the issues of:

  • Design that suits the needs of the home owner or resident, regardless of any particular style, and is easily maintained, filled with adequate natural light and fresh air, energy and water efficient, and is universally accessible.
  • Community building, in that the residence is well-sited with respect to views and amenities such as transit, shopping, recreation, and congregation.

Submissions should include a description of the sustainability and community-building programmatic aspects of the residence, interior and exterior photographs, plans, and/or drawings, and a site plan.

Designers may submit projects of all types (including residential) for consideration in the Architecture category. In their deliberations, the jury will consider aesthetics, adherence to the client program, proven and projected building performance, and concept development. As with all categories, entrants will submit a project description and five pages of illustration, each of which may contain plans, sections, renderings, photographs, and captions, as the entrant deems suitable to describe the outstanding elements of the project.

Historic Preservation
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 will also take into consideration adherence to local, state, and national criteria for historic preservation.

Interior architecture projects of distinction will 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. Submissions will highlight accommodation of project goals, including the client’s specific programmatic requirements, in a single page of text supplemented with five pages of illustrations in PDF format.

The Juries

The juries for each of the five categories comprise architects, educators, and related professionals working outside the mid-Atlantic region who are well-recognized for their work pertaining to their particular categories.


The Future of the Past

The Future of the Past
The Future of the Past, by Steven W. Semes

How should contemporary additions to historic structures or new buildings in historic districts relate to the existing character of the neighborhood? Noted expert and author Steven W. Semes discusses the challenges faced by review boards, architects and designers, and the difficulties inherent in following sometimes confusing historic standards and guidelines  on March 5th, 5:30-7 pm,  at the Virginia Center for Architecture,  2501 Monument Ave.

Increasing public concern has arisen over new buildings and additions to old buildings that are conspicuously in contrast with their surroundings. Such projects are often justified by an interpretation of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation (the de facto national preservation policy written and administered by the National Park Service) that places greater weight on “differentiation” than on “compatibility”—the two requirements for new construction in historic settings specified in the Standards. This interpretation has led architects and historic district commissions to adopt contrasting styles of architecture to satisfy the “differentiation” requirement, though the Standards do not mandate any stylistic approach. In many instances, architects designing in traditional styles have encountered resistance from preservation authorities when proposing stylistically sympathetic designs in historic settings.

In his book, The Future of the Past: A Conservation Ethic for Architecture, Urban Design and Historic Preservation (W. W. Norton & Co., 2009), Semes  reflects on the emergence of new traditional design practice among contemporary architects and urban designers and the issues this raises in the preservation field. He makes a persuasive case that context matters and that new buildings and additions to old buildings should be visually harmonious with their neighbors.

A practicing architect for more than 30 years, Semes has designed a variety of projects for preservation and new construction throughout the United States. In addition to many articles, Semes is also the author of The Architecture of the Classical Interior (2004) and a contributor to “The Elements of Classical Architecture” (2001), also published by W. W. Norton & Co. An Associate Professor at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture, Semes  was Academic Director of the Notre Dame Rome Studies Program From 2008 to 2011.  He is a fellow emeritus of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America (ICA&CA) and was educated at the University of Virginia and Columbia University. He is also the recipient of the 2010 Clem Labine Award for contributions to a humane built environment.

Semes’s presentation is free and open to the public.  A reception and book signing will follow.   Because space is limited, reservations are required.   Please contact Andy Liguori, at or (804) 644-3041, extension 100 for reservations. Sponsored by Old House Authority and Fan District Association.