Crozet Elementary School Receives 2020 Test of Time Award

Crozet Elementary School by VMDO Architects was intended to be a community anchor whose architecture reflects the modest, yet aspirational identity of this tight-knit, rural community. Thirty years later, AIA Virginia honors the project with the Test of Time Award for achieving a high standard of excellence and inspiring students, faculty, and staff with a unique and enduring design vision.

As Charlottesville and Albemarle County grew in the 1980s, traditionally agrarian communities like Crozet had to accommodate population growth while safeguarding the local ecology. Completed in 1990 and inspired by community stakeholders and a “village” concept, while also honoring classical Jeffersonian architecture, the design struck a balance between function and symbolism, which contributed to its distinctive forms. Writing in the pages of Inform Magazine, Elena Marcheso-Moreno noted, “Crozet Elementary grew out of a unique concept that highlights the image of the one-room schoolhouse. By recalling the ideal of the schoolhouse as an important town structure, this facility reinforces the importance of education while creating a new source of civic pride.”

VMDO recognized public expectations for a conventional main façade and balanced with a more progressive design throughout the rest of the 47,000 square feet of learning space. The school’s wings join together to encircle the library, in a nod to Thomas Jefferson’s placement of the Rotunda library at the center of his ideal campus plan less than 20 miles away. The library is the focal point and the heart of the school, and the enduring architectural characteristic that generations of students remember and cherish.

Light-filled classrooms and expansive views also figure prominently in the memories of former students–features long recognized as having health benefits, but rarely accomplished so thoughtfully and expertly as it was at Crozet. Lead designers Bob Moje, FAIA, and Randy Livermon, AIA, have steered this project and dozens of others by VMDO to continuously challenge the status quo of school design. Dan Simpson, now a principal at ZGF, also contributed significantly to the school’s design approach. Their goal at Crozet, beyond creating a salubrious learning environment, was to engender in students a lifelong love of learning about academic subjects, the natural world, materiality, and the power of good design.

“I know Crozet Elementary School very well and have a deep appreciation for the enduring quality of its design,” wrote Karen Marcus, School Principal from 2005 to 2010. “I believe that it set a new bar for school design and its legacy as an enjoyable and positive learning environment will last far into the future.”

The Test of Time Award 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.

First Unitarian Universalist Church in Richmond Recognized with Test of Time Award

The First Unitarian Universalist Church (UUC) has been selected to receive AIA Virginia’s Test of Time Award in 2019. The award recognizes a structure at least 25 years old (but no more than 50) from the date of initial construction. Building use may change over time if the overall design is 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, 2019, at the Hilton Downtown Richmond.

UUC was designed by Ulrich Franzen, a German-born graduate of the Harvard School of Design. Built in 1972, the design reflects Louis I. Kahn’s influence, simultaneously complementing and distinguishing itself from its more traditional setting in Richmond’s Carillon Historic District.

Comprised of interlocking blocks of scored concrete and glass, the building proudly displays the how it was assembled, conveying a sense of honest purpose. The strong, solid massing, formal repetition, and simple materials give it a grounded sense of place and permanence on its prominent site.

The building frames shaded outdoor spaces for quiet contemplation but also opens up views to the garden through floor to ceiling glass, bringing a sense of peace and serenity to the meeting hall inside.

In 2002 and 2012, respectful renovations were completed by Quinn Evans Architects.

Called a “timeless work of abstract geometry,” the UUC has admirably met the changing needs of the Unitarian congregation with only modest renovations throughout its 47 year history.

Virginia Eye Institute Recognized with Test of Time Award

The Virginia Eye Institute, designed by 3north principal Sanford Bond, FAIA, has been selected to receive AIA Virginia’s Test of Time award. The award recognizes a structure not less than 25 years nor more than 50 years from the date of initial construction; in addition, the project should still carry out the original program in a substantial manner and must be standing as originally designed in appearance and in good condition. The award will be presented at the Visions for Architecture gala on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, at the Hotel John Marshall.

Virginia Eye Institute

Located along the Kanawha Canal at the end of Richmond’s Huguenot Bridge, the Virginia Eye Institute is situated to take advantage of the unique site’s natural beauty and provide an environment that encourages patient comfort and healing. Completed in 1987, the building’s strong lines, light industrial aesthetic, and generous use of concrete and steel excited some controversy. Today, however, the Virginia Eye Institute has become a well-loved local landmark that still functions as originally designed.

When developing the design, the architect sought to create a place that fit seamlessly into its context and surrounding landscape while creating a facility that was conducive to both employee efficiency and patient experience. Successful elements include the waiting room with a large glass wall that overlooks the canal, providing patients with increased connectivity to the surrounding landscape and ample natural light. Three pods, each consisting of six examination rooms situated around a central nurses’ station, were designed to streamline operations for doctors and nurses. This layout is still in use today.

The site’s challenges also influenced the design aesthetic. Situated below the flood plain and filled with unstable soil, the site demanded a deep pile-driven foundation that led to a building supported by piers rather than a continuous footing. Raising the structure thus enabled the architect to pursue an industrial wharf aesthetic, taking advantage of natural light and choosing evocative materials and textures such as concrete, corrugated steel and exposed wood frame construction on the interior. A decorative strip of blue tile marks a “waterline” on a glazed concrete block wall that leads up to the patient drop-off and front door.

AIA Virginia recognizes the Virginia Eye Institute with the Test of Time Award as it remains a place for patients to receive care in a beautiful setting that provides connectivity with the surrounding landscape from within an ultramodern medical facility.

Test of Time Awarded to the Muscarelle Museum of Art

DSC_1616The College of William and Mary’s Muscarelle Museum of Art, designed by Carlton Abbott, FAIA, has been selected to receive the Society’s Test of Time award.

The award recognizes a structure not less than 25 years nor more than 50 years from the date of initial construction; in addition, the project should still carry out the original program in a substantial manner and must be standing as originally designed in appearance and in good condition. The award will be presented at the Visions for Architecture gala on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014, at the Jefferson Hotel.

The Muscarelle Museum of Art was a gift to The College of William & Mary from alumni and friends. Completed in 1983, the building’s most notable feature is the ingenious trombe wall, which incorporates monumental tubes filled with colored water. The colors are changed several times a year, as the wall serves double-duty in transforming the south façade of the Museum into a dramatic and innovative work of art, while also functioning as a solar energy collection system.

In making this award, the selection committee noted the contemporary design as “cutting-edge” and “remarkable for the time in which it was built.” With its own permanent collection of more than 4,000 works of art and an impressive schedule of traveling exhibitions, the Society also recognizes the success of the building in fostering the full integration of a dynamic art museum into the life and liberal arts mission of the College, as well as the surrounding community.

Board Clarifies Test of Time Award Criteria

On June 6, 2014, the Board of Directors of the Virginia Society AIA unanimously approved a motion put forward by the Honors Committee clarifying the Test of Time award criteria. There has long been discussion among committee members about the intent of the award. Although it had been understood that award was not intended to recognize historic preservation or acknowledge landmark status, the existing criteria did not address maximum building age. As Honors Committee Chair Mary P. Cox, FAIA, quipped, “Debate about the award could, itself, win the Test of Time.”

[adrotate banner=”59″]A sub-committee chaired by Marvin Cantor, FAIA, studied the issue and developed a set of recommendations to provide additional clarity. The following criteria (largely inspired by the national AIA Test of Time Award eligibility statement), was approved by the VSAIA Board of Directors.

This award recognizes architectural design of enduring significance that meets the following eligibility conditions:

  1. The period of time for which the project must have endured the “Test of Time” shall be not less than 25 years nor more than 50 years from the date of initial construction.
  2. The project may be a single structure or group of buildings forming a single project.
  3. The project should still carry out the original program in a substantial manner (i.e. residential, place of assembly, institutional, education, etc.).  The project must be standing as originally designed in appearance and in good condition.
  4. The project must be located in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The primary purpose of the award is to recognize the structure(s) itself and not necessarily the architect, owner or tenant.

Any AIA member, group of members, component, or VSAIA Knowledge Community may make a nomination in this category.  Projects previously nominated and not selected may be re-nominated in following years providing they meet the eligibility criteria. These criteria will be used for the 2014 Honors Awards cycle. If you have questions, or would like additional information, contact Rhea George.

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.

 

Honors Awards Deadline Looms

medal-198x300The Virginia Society AIA Honors program is accepting nominations for Virginians who exemplify the profession’s highest ideals and who are committed to enriching the built environment. Nominations will be accepted through 5 p.m. on Friday, July, 19, 2013. Awards will be presented at the Visions for Architecture gala on Friday, Nov. 8.

Nominations must be submitted electronically as one PDF document, no larger than 20 pages and 50 MB. Nominations must be accompanied by the nomination form.

Nominations for all Virginia Society honors may be made by individual members, by chapter honors committees, by Society committees, or by the Board of Directors itself. Sitting Society board members and members of the Honors Committee are not eligible for Honors Awards.

AWARD CATEGORIES

The William C. Noland Medal, as the highest award bestowed on a member architect, is intended to honor a distinguished body of accomplishments, sustained over time, that spans a broad spectrum of the profession and that transcends the scope of normal professional activities. Only one medal may be bestowed each year.

The Architecture Medal for Virginia Service is the Society’s most prestigious public award, honoring an individual or organization that has made an unusually significant contribution to Virginia’s built environment or to the public’s understanding and awareness of the built environment. Only one medal may be bestowed each year but may be given simultaneously to more than one person.

The T. David Fitz-Gibbon Virginia Architecture Firm Award, as the highest honor bestowed by the Virginia Society to a Virginia-based architecture firm, recognizes a firm that has consistently produced distinguished architecture for at least ten years.

The Award for Distinguished Achievement signals distinguished achievement by an architect in any one of the following categories: design, practice, education, service as “citizen architect” , and service to the profession; and thus may serve as an accolade for the work of an entire career or recognize the current accomplishments of a younger leader. Up to three awards may be bestowed each year.

Honorary Membership is bestowed upon a person of esteemed character who is not eligible for membership in the Virginia Society but who has rendered distinguished and exemplary service, over a sustained period of time, to architecture and the built environment within the domain of the Society.

Virginia Society Honors may be bestowed on non-member individuals or organizations that have inspired, influenced, or complemented the architecture profession in Virginia through practice of an allied profession, research, education, planning, legislation, architectural writing, the arts, or crafts. An individual who has previously been elected an Honorary Member of the Society is ineligible to receive Society Honors.

The Test of Time Award recognizes architectural design of enduring significance. The structure must be no less than 25 years old. Building use may change over time if the overall design is cherished as a significant contribution to the community and the built environment.

Questions? Contact Rhea George at rgeorge@aiava.org or (804) 237-1768

Oberndorf Library Awarded Test of Time

Oberndorf Central LibraryVirginia Beach’s Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library, designed by the late Laszlo Aranyi, founder of The Design Collaborative, has been selected to receive the Society’s Test of Time award. The design team included Richard Fitts, project architect, and W. Ray Jennings, interior design, who also designed the library’s recent renovation in 2005. 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. 9, 2012, at the Hotel John Marshall.

Envisioned as an energy-efficient, day-lit facility, the library is an early example of the emerging practice of sustainable design. Energy-saving strategies played a major role in determining the siting, form and appearance of the library. The plan is elongated on the east-west axis to allow for the collection of natural daylight through the south facing windows, while suspended acoustical baffles reduce glare. Roof overhangs, which shade the windows during the hot summer months, work in conjunction with the white roof and green-tinted glass to reduce the cooling load.

In addition to many forward-thinking sustainable features, the library was designed to be highly adaptable. Under-floor raceways provide for power and data connectivity to within 30 inches of any location, allowing the library to accommodate demand for internet access in the years after opening. With wider aisles, self-lighted shelves, and systems furniture (rather than traditional library furniture), spaces are easily reconfigured to adapt to changing needs.

Called the “best new building, hands-down” by a local paper during its opening year, the iconic library continues to be a state-of-the-art facility as well as a popular destination in the region.