Urban Sketchers: Sketch Virginia

A new exhibition, Urban Sketchers: Sketch Virginia, opens April 9th at the Virginia Center for Architecture.

Urban Sketchers: Sketch Virginia
April 9-July 12, 2015
In partnership with Urban Sketchers
Sponsored by Glavé & Holmes Architecture

Most every designer creates sketches, but not every designer creates location sketches. Location sketching is a practice shared by professionals and amateurs who enjoy exploring the designed environment around them. The educational nonprofit group Urban Sketchers is dedicated to raising the artistic, storytelling and educational value of location drawing, promoting its practice, and connecting people around the world who draw on location where they live and travel.  The exhibition will include sketches that tell a story about design in Virginia, the actual sketchbooks, and displays of sketching materials and tools.

Richmond Sketch Walk
Take a self-guided sketch walk A route map will be provided with points of interest and a couple tips to improve your sketching from Marc Taro Holmes. Sketch walk and sketch book giveaway sponsored by Strathmore.
Saturday, April 18, 2015 – 2–5 p.m.
Starts at the Virginia Center for Architecture
Free. Register on Facebook

more sketch walks planned for around the state. Stay tuned!



Reprogramming Virginia Cities

As part of the Reprogramming the City exhibition at the Virginia Center for Architecture, visitors have the opportunity to offer suggestions for improving Virginia’s infrastructure for urban living.

These suggestions are all entered to create a beautiful word cloud – known as a Wordle.

Reprogramming the City Word Cloud











Want to add your suggestions? Email Marshall Dreiling or come to the panel discussion on Thursday, Feb. 12th.

Honor and Design Awards presented at Visions 2014

The Virginia Society AIA Awards for Excellence in Architecture and the Society’s Honor Awards were presented at the 2014 Visions for Architecture gala at the Jefferson Hotel on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014.


Watch the 2014 Awards for Excellence and Virginia Society AIA  Honors Awards video

Ten Buildings that Changed Black History in Virginia

Buildings shape our lives and reveal our history. The year 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects. In close collaboration with the Virginia Center for Architecture, the two organizations are embarking on a public outreach program called Virginia Celebrates Architecture.  One element of this program is to introduce new conversations about the built world and the part it played in shaping Virginia’s history.

In recognition of Black History Month in Virginia, the Virginia Society AIA and the Virginia Center for Architecture have assembled 10 structures that changed history in the Commonwealth.

1. Robert Russa Moton High School — A student-led strike at this Virginia school played a significant role in ending segregated “separate but equal” schools throughout the nation.

2. Fort Monroe — In 1861,the commander at this Hampton fortification announced that his troops would not enforce the Fugitive Slave Act. Slaves who fled to the fort would be treated as “contraband of war” and not be returned. By the time the Civil War ended in 1865, it is estimated that more than 10,000 enslaved African Americans sought refuge at Fort Monroe. [adrotate banner=”53″]

3. Harrison School — Now the Harrison Museum of African American Culture, the Harrison School was the first public high school for African-American students in Southwest Virginia.

4. Gum Springs — West Ford, a former slave, founded Gum Springs after being freed by George Washington. The oldest African-American community in Fairfax County, Gum Springs became a sanctuary for freedmen and was an important stop on the Underground Railroad.

5. The St. Luke Penny Savings Bank — Conceived of by Maggie L. Walker, St. Luke’s provided a courteous, safe place for African Americans to conduct financial business during a time when Jim Crow laws and oppressive conditions made banking difficult for many blacks.

6. Kate Waller Barrett Branch Library — On August 21, 1939 — more than two decades before the famous sit-in movement — five young African Americans staged what is thought to be the first planned sit-in at the public library in Alexandria, Virginia.

7. Jackson Ward — After the American Civil War, previously free blacks joined freed slaves and their descendants and created this thriving African-American business community, which became known as both the “Black Wall Street of America,” and “The Harlem of the South.”

8. Attucks Theatre — Built in 1919, the Attucks Theatre was designed, developed, financed, and operated entirely by African Americans. Once known as the “Apollo of the South,” the theatre is named in honor of Crispus Attucks, the first American casualty of the Revolutionary War in the 1770 Boston Massacre.

9. Manassas Industrial School —The school was founded largely through the efforts of former slave Jennie Dean who, after years of fundraising, chartered the school on October 7, 1893. The school taught both academic subjects and skilled trades to young African Americans.

10. Longdale Recreation Area/Green Pastures Recreation Area — At the urging of the Clifton Forge Chapter of the NAACP, the Forest Service constructed this recreation area to be used by African Americans in the area. It was built by a local Civilian Conservation Corps company from 1938 to 1940 for the African American community in response to the construction of the whites-only Douthat State Park.

About the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects
The Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects is a professional association representing nearly 2,500 members. Since 1914, the Virginia AIA has represented the professional interests of architects and allied professionals in the Commonwealth of Virginia. For more information, contact the Virginia Society at (804) 644-3041 or visit www.aiava.org.

About the Virginia Center for Architecture
The Virginia Center for Architecture is located at 2501 Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia’s historic Fan District. The Center is dedicated to developing the understanding of the power and importance of architecture through programs, exhibitions, and its stewardship of an historic landmark. The Center is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Learn more at www.architectureva.org.

About Virginia Celebrates Architecture
Virginia Celebrates Architecture is a year-long public outreach program marking the 100th anniversary of the American Institute of Architects in Virginia. It is intended to develop a broader understanding of architecture and design by beginning new conversations about buildings and the impact they have on our lives. Learn more at www.vacelebrates.org.

Virginia Center for Architecture Announces $250,000 Gift from The Elmwood Fund

Walter Dotts and Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA

The Virginia Center for Architecture announces today that it has received a pledge of $250,000 from the Richmond-based Elmwood Fund to support its mission and the preservation of its historic home.

The home of the Virginia Center for Architecture is the Branch House, a Tudor-Revival mansion situated at the heart of Richmond’s Monument Avenue.  The house was designed by the New York firm of architect John Russell Pope, FAIA and was completed in 1919; it is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was commissioned by and built as a private residence for financier John Kerr Branch and his wife, Beulah Branch. The Elmwood Fund is a private, non-profit family foundation operated by descendants of the Branch family.

“I feel strongly that the Branch House represents an iconic presence in the city in terms of our family’s history,” says Walter Dotts, administrator of the Elmwood Fund. “If they can be successful in attaining their goals,” he continues, “I believe the Virginia Center for Architecture would substantially benefit the city, state, and local cultural community.”

“We are thrilled to receive the Elmwood Fund’s support,” says Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA, the Center’s executive director.  “We believe this generous gift demonstrates the Branch family’s confidence in the mission and direction of the Virginia Center for Architecture, as well as our commitment to stewardship of their family home, an architectural treasure.  Their contribution will allow us to enhance our physical presence in the Fan District and Richmond community, while strengthening our programmatic presence throughout Virginia.”

The Virginia Center for Architecture is located in the Branch House at 2501 Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia’s historic Fan District. The VCA is dedicated to developing the understanding of architecture and design and their influence on our lives, our communities, and our world, which it promotes through programs, exhibitions, and education. The VCA is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Learn more at www.architectureva.org.

Mutations on View at the Virginia Center for Architecture

Saul Bass's Vertigo poster
By combining photography, typography and hand-made graphics into expressive pictographs, Saul Bass brought additional power to the work of directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Otto Preminger.

Design, like DNA, describes who we are and how we evolved. Technological evolution presents designers with means and methods to express ideas that continually build upon a collective heredity. Evolution, however, is not contingent solely on nature. Often misstated as “survival of the fittest,” evolution depends on the genetic mutations that best provide an individual or system the ability to adapt to and thrive in its environment. Accordingly, great design evolves not out of the desire to generically appeal for universal acceptance, but from an astute reading of and capitalization on the passions, needs and aspirations of an era. As opposed to timelessness, design speaks to a moment. If design lingers in our collective awareness, it is precisely because it captures the spirit of the best ideas, practices and expressions of its time. This cultural, philosophical, geographic and intellectual nurturing of design is as important, therefore, as its elemental composition.

Louis Kahn's Salk Institute
Louis Kahn’s Salk Institute spans the dogma of early modernism and the ambiguity of late-twentieth century design. Photo by Llewellyn Hensley.

The Virginia Center for Architecture announces a new exhibition chronicling the intersections between fashion, graphic design, interior design and architecture throughout the last century. MUTATIONS: The DNA of Twentieth Century Design features the work of 28 iconic designers and demonstrates the physical and metaphysical intersections that bind design. The exhibition opens with a Reception on July 25 from 5:30–7:30 p.m. and features light refreshments. There is no charge to attend, but space is limited and reservations are recommended. Call (804) 644-3041, ext. 100, register online at www.architectureva.org or email info@aiava.org to make reservations.  The exhibition will be on view through Oct. 13, 2013.

The exhibition was curated by Roberto L. Ventura with students from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Departments of Graphic, Fashion and Interior Design. Most of the students came to the project through their participation in the Middle of Broad interdisciplinary studio and each played large roles in the generation of the design brand, exhibit design, and content. The design team included Liz Belte, Sarah Brown, Ying Jun Cheng, Laura Colagrande, Llewellyn Hensley and Mia Zhou.

About the Guest Curator

Roberto L. Ventura has practiced and taught modern and sustainable design in Virginia and North Carolina for 15 years. A member of a number of local teams earning design awards from AIA Richmond and the James River Green Building Council, his work has also been exhibited nationally through the HOME house Project sponsored by the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. For the international light art exhibit InLight Richmond 2009, he collaborated with poet Joshua Poteat on the installation “for gabriel,” winning Best in Show.

While maintaining his practice, roberto ventura design studio, Ventura is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Interior Design in the School of the Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has also taught Interior Architecture at the University of North Carolina – Greensboro, and has lectured at the University of Oulu, in Oulu, Finland. Ventura holds a Master’s in Architecture from Miami University and a B.A. in Math and Physics from Albion College. He earned his LEED AP accreditation in 2008 and his NCIDQ certification in 2012.

About the Virginia Center for Architecture
The Virginia Center for Architecture is located at 2501 Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia’s historic Fan District. The Center is dedicated to developing the understanding of the power and importance of architecture and design through programs, exhibitions, and its stewardship of an historic landmark. The Center is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Learn more at www.architectureva.org

VCA Launches New Website

screenshotIn celebration of Architecture Week and the 8th anniversary of its public opening, the Virginia Center for Architecture announced today a redesign of its website. In addition to a more user-friendly interface, the new site features responsive design, providing a better browsing experience on mobile devices.

The site also has new address — architectureva.org. It will still be accessible though the www.virginiaarchitecture.org portal, however now users will also be able to access the site directly.

Art by Architects Opens at the Virginia Center for Architecture

Art by Architects posterThe Virginia Center for Architecture announced its inaugural Art by Architects exhibition, opening on Thursday, April 11, 2013, in conjunction with the celebration of Virginia Architecture Week. Residents of Virginia who have a degree in architecture or who are practicing architects were encouraged to submit their artwork. From among the 175 submissions, 44 artists had at least one handmade piece of visual art chosen for the exhibition, which includes paintings (oil, watercolor, acrylic), drawings (pencil, ink), and collages (mixed media).

Art by Architects was developed to spotlight what many architects do for recreation. Architects paint, draw, sketch, doodle, and create art on paper, canvas, and even napkins. They design wherever they are — inspired by nature, their surroundings, and their travels. “Architects create art as an avocation or to inspire their architectural work,” says guest curator Michael Bednar, FAIA.

The exhibition was juried by Marvin J. Malecha, FAIA, Dean of the College of Design at North Carolina State University. “The inspiration to act as a judge for a show of creative work,” says Malecha, “is a quest for the greater cognitive skills that come from a life of intense observation. It comes from the success and failures of a creative life, of a design life.”

The exhibition, which runs through July 7, kicks off with an Opening Reception on Thursday, April 11, 2013, from 5:30–7:30 p.m. The Opening Reception is free, but space is limited and reservations are requested. Make reservation online, call (804) 644-3041, ext. 100 or email info@aiava.org.

The following artists and works are featured in the show.

Carl Schwarz, AIA
Rotunda Window, 2005, Watercolor (Not for Sale)
Doorway, 2005, Watercolor (Not for Sale)

Patrick W. McClane
Bermuda Shutter, 2012, Watercolor (Not for Sale)

David Ghezzi
Ephemeral Impressions, 2012, Acrylic paste and paints over canvas ($497)

Robert E. Washington, FAIA
Still Life With Blue and Grey Glassware, 2012, Acrylic on canvas ($1100)

William Brown, AIA
Doge’s Palace St Mark’s Square, 1990, Watercolor (Not for Sale — On loan from the collection of Fleur Duggan)

Richard E. Bednar
Fresh Ground, 2012, Oil (Not for Sale)
Got Milks, 2012, Oil (Not for Sale)

Thea Scott-Fundling
Marsh, 2003, Watercolor (Not for Sale)

Margy Bozicevich
Tidal Overflow, 2011, Graphite, watercolor, colored pencil, and xylol (Not for Sale)

Thomas Kerns, FAIA
Hells Canyon, 2008, Plein air watercolors (Not for Sale)
Claytor Lake, 2011, Plein air watercolors (Not for Sale)
Catedral de Santo Domingo, 2010, Plein air watercolors (Not for Sale)
St Ivo, 2012, Plein air watercolors (Not for Sale)
St. Peter’s Colonnade, 2012, Plein air watercolors (Not for Sale)

Cory Dear
Macro Micro, 2006, Oil and acrylic ($750)

Warren Boeschenstein
Caribbean Wall Detail 2, 2013, Acrylic on canvas (Not for Sale)

David A. Prevette, AIA
Villa Maderni, 2002, Pen and ink (Not for Sale)

Lyndl Thorsen Joseph
Paul on The Road to Damascus or Caravaggio Reconfiguration, 1992, Oil on linen (Not for Sale)

Bhagyashri Guhagarkar
Trees Bright Green, 2012, Acrylic on dry erase poster board with a metal scraper (Not for sale)

Donald R. Sunshine, FAIA
Marco Walk 2
, 2012, Watercolor ($275)

James C. Hill
Kensington Avenue, 2012, Screenprint ($120)

David Marion
Father of a Righteous Child, 2011, Oil on Canvas ($2200)

Andrew J. McKinley, AIA
Colosseum, 2005, White charcoal and black ink on toned paper (Not for Sale)

Stephanie Burcham
Skeleton Figure, 2011, Charcoal and chalk ($400)

Ashley LeFew
Glass Gate, 2012, Watercolor (Not for Sale)

David Dugas
Henge, 2012, Graphite on paper (Not for Sale)
Observatory II, 2012, Graphite on paper (Not for Sale)

Helene Renard
Shifting Landscape 2, 2007, Mixed media collage: monotype print, thread ($1200)

Bob Anderson, AIA
Yana III, 2012, Rapidograph pen ($3,950)

Rebecca J. Cook
Florence Views, 2009, Pen and ink (Not for Sale)
Palazzo Tursi, 2009, Watercolor and ink (Not for Sale)
Il Colosseo, 2009, Pen and ink (Not for Sale)

Shannon Dowling
Carve, 2011, Ink and pastels on watercolor (Not for Sale)

Karen Van Lengen, FAIA
San Francesco d’Assisi, 1990, Oil pastel and prismacolor (Not for Sale)

Todd W. Bullard, AIA
Crow, 1973, Pen and ink (Not for Sale)

James J. DePasquale AIA
Lago di Como, 2012, Pen and ink (Not for Sale)

Dennis J. Kilper
17, 2003, Acrylic paint on stretched, acid-free paper (Not for Sale)

Mark C. Campbell AIA
Day at the Beach, 2013, ,Oil on board ($500)
Reflections on the James, 2011, Oil on canvas ($2900)
Carillon Morning, 2012, Oil on canvas ($2900)

John S. LaMonica, AIA
Sicilian Street, 1976, Watercolor (Not for Sale)

Terri Crockett, Assoc. AIA
Notre Dame du Haut, 2011, Watercolor ($350)

Jay Moore, AIA
Point of Origin, 2012, Acrylic on panel ($525)

Christine Haven Canabou
Eroded Corinthian, 2007, Charcoal and conté on paper (Not for Sale)
Tenement Street, 2007, Conté on paper (Not for Sale)

Donald F Kaupp, Jr.
Horse 2, 1999, Watercolor (Not For Sale)

Wesley Page, AIA
Black Dog/Green Couch, 2011, Oil on canvas (Not for Sale)

Scott Gartner
Do Not Discard, 2009, Collage ($750)
Telemetry, 2009, Collage ($1250)

Peyton Boyd, FAIA
Back, 1990, Watercolor (Not for Sale)

Carlton S. Abbott, FAIA
Post Cards from Trier, Germany on The Moselle River, 2012, Ink, watercolor, chocolate and wine (Not for Sale)

Kevin Svensen
Garden Temple, 2012, Graphite & India ink wash on watercolor paper (Not for Sale)
Palazzo Strozzi Bay Study, 2009, Graphite and watercolor wash on watercolor paper (Not for Sale)
Palazzo Cancelleria Bay Study, 2009, Graphite and watercolor wash on watercolor paper (Not for Sale)
Palazzo Farnese Bay Study, 2009, Graphite and watercolor wash on watercolor paper (Not for Sale)

David Stemann
Erforschen 8-3, 2012, Acrylic wash (Not for Sale)

Todd S. Phillips, Ph.D., AIA
Family, 2011, Oil on canvas (Not for Sale)

Mary Cox, FAIA
Motif #1 Rockport Maine, 2012, Watercolor ($350)

Sanda Iliescu
RECOVERED (4a), 2012, Watercolor and gouache on paper ($1400)

Bednar Identified as Guest Curator

Michael Bednar, FAIAMichael Bednar, FAIA, has been selected to curate an upcoming exhibition at the Virginia Center for Architecture. Scheduled to open in April 2013, the juried exhibition will feature fine art by architects, and will showcase the range of artistic talent in Virginia’s architecture community. Individuals with a degree in architecture will be invited to submit their work for consideration.

Bednar, a professor emeritus at the University of Virginia, is an artist in his own right. He works primarily in abstract steel sculpture, focusing on architectonic geometry and spatial relationships. The call for submission for the Art by Architects exhibition at the Virginia Center for Architecture is expected this fall.

About Michael Bednar, FAIA

Michael Bednar has been a faculty member in the Department of Architecture since 1972 with a primary teaching role in design studios at all undergraduate levels. He also teaches courses in urban design, lighting design and design of pedestrian places. Mr. Bednar served as Co-chairman of the Department of Architecture for six years, as Associate Dean for Academics of the School of Architecture for three and one half years, Acting Associate Dean for Students for one semester and is currently Director of Undergraduate Architecture Advising. Prior to joining the faculty at UVa, Bednar conducted funded research and taught at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His research has resulted in the publication of numerous articles, reports and four books: Barrier-Free Environments, Interior Pedestrian Places, The New Atrium and L’Enfant’s Legacy. The New Atrium was named Architectural Book of the Year by the American Association of Publishers in 1986. L’Enfant’s Legacy was named an outstanding academic title for 2006 by the American Library Association.

Bednar was a member of the Charlottesville City Planning Commission for eight years (three years as chair) during which time the city created and adopted an urban design plan. He is on the board of directors of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville and was design director of the 2006 builders’ blitz project.

Michael Bednar has practiced architecture with I. M. Pei and Partners and Geddes Brecher Qualls and Cunningham. Since 1972, he has had his own practice in Charlottesville (currently Bednar Lawson Architects) with the design and construction of over fifty residential, commercial and institutional projects.  A recent project is the preservation of the John A. G. Davis House (1826), built by Jefferson’s workmen. This project received awards from the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, the City of Charlottesville and the Preservation Alliance of Virginia. Recent work includes large scale sculpture exhibited in Washington, D.C., Portsmouth, VA and Charlottesville, Va. In 1990, he was elected to the AIA College of Fellows. In 1997, he received the Community Service Award from the AIA Central Virginia and the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Virginia Society AIA.

Young Architects of Spain Opens at Virginia Center for Architecture

On July 12, 2012, the Virginia Center for Architecture hosted an Opening Reception for their newest exhibition — Young Architects of Spain.  Featuring the best work from a generation of young architects from Spain, the projects in the exhibition were selected from a pool of more than 700 entries by a prestigious international jury of architects and critics. The exhibition presents a variety of extraordinary works, rigorously constructed and deeply sensitive to their cultural or natural environment.  Young Architects of Spain is presented in collaboration with SPAIN arts & culture (www.spainculture.us) and will be on view at the Virginia Center for Architecture through Aug. 24, 2012.

The well-attended reception featured refreshments provided by Plaza Azteca.