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.
AIA Virginia is pleased to announce the 2019 Awards for Excellence in Architecture. Also known as the Design Awards, these honors celebrate projects no older than seven years that contribute to the built environment and are clear examples of thoughtful, engaging design. Award categories include Architecture, Contextual Design, Historic Preservation, Interior Design, and Residential Design. These 22 projects will be celebrated at the Visions for Architecture gala on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, at the Hilton Downtown Richmond. Jury Chair Ann Beha, FAIA, will offer insights from the jury at Architecture Exchange East at 2:45 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 8.
In the ARCHITECTURE category
The jury considers aesthetics, adherence to the client wishes, proven and projected building performance, and concept development during its deliberations.
Awards of Honor
Blue Ridge Orthodontics (Ashville, N.C.) This project brings an infusion of well-considered craft and good planning into the medical office building type. Light materials convey cleanliness without being institutional and the views to the outdoors convey a sense of tranquility.
Architecture Firm: Clark Nexsen Owner: Blue Ridge Orthodontics Contractor: Beverly-Grant, Inc. Photographer: Mark Herboth Photography, LLC
Google at 1212 Bordeaux (Sunnyvale, Ca.) This thoughtfully-planned project is well connected to its compact setting. The materials and bridges help achieve unity and visibility in this highly-collaborative office space.
Architecture Firm: Parabola Architecture Owner: Google Contractor: Devcon Construction, Inc. Photographers: Prakash Patel Photography (featured) and Kevin Burke Photography
Rhodes College Robertson Hall (Memphis, Tn.) This was an appealing, engaging response to a clear historic context. The architects “pushed it” despite prescriptive exteriors. Fewer materials make the project more coherent and more powerful.
Architecture Firm: Hanbury Owner: Rhodes College Contractor: Grinder Tabor & Grinder Photographer: Robert Benson Photography
Awards of Merit
The Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Engineering (College Park, Md.) As a campus gateway, this succeeds in place-making. It showcases “the arrival” with a strong, contemporary statement. The interiors are varied and welcoming, legibly emphasizing STEM education.
Architecture Firm: HDR Architecture, Inc. Owner: University of Maryland Contractor: Whiting-Turner Contracting Company Photographer: Dan Schwalm | HDR
Elon W. Rhodes Early Learning Center (Harrisonburg, Va.) The scale is good and the planning is extremely strong. Public circulation is active and the adjacencies and flexibilities will make this a long-term asset to the school system.
Architecture Firm: VMDO Architects Owner: Harrisonburg City Public Schools Contractor: Nielsen Builders Photographer: Alan Karchmer
Hotels at The Wharf – Canopy by Hilton & Hyatt House (Washington, D.C.) An Urbanistic success! The simple, slender façade and skillful massing create active, outdoor spaces which are full of life and urban vitality. The podium and geometries are considerate of site, scale, and marketplace conditions.
Architecture Firm: SmithGroup Owner: Hoffman-Madison Waterfront Contractor: Donohoe Construction Company Photographers: Hoachlander Davis Photography (featured), Photofusion Media, Alex Fradkin
Howard University Interdisciplinary Research Building (IRB) (Washington, D.C.) This project makes a strong, simple statement. It is powerful yet restrained in composition with a clear and dynamic street presence.
Architecture Firm: HDR Architecture, Inc. Owner: Howard University Contractor: Turner Construction Photographer: Ari Burling | Architectural Photography
WTCC Parking Deck 2 (Raleigh, N.C.) As a parking garage at community college, this really is a good citizen. The cladding and crenellations are good solar control strategies and the views and daylight promote safety and clear wayfinding.
Architecture Firm: Clark Nexsen Owner: Wake Technical Community College Contractor: SKANSKA Photographer: Mark Herboth Photography, LLC
In the CONTEXTUAL DESIGN category
The awards for contextual design are chosen based on 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.
Awards of Merit
550 East Water Street (Charlottesville, Va.) This project claims its own identity while still successfully responding to its site between the rail tracks and street. It’s a wonderful example of good urban infill.
Architecture Firm: Formwork Design Office, LLC Owner: 550 E. Water St., LLC Contractor: Martin Horn, Inc. Photographer: Kevin Blackburn Photography and Michael Stavaridis (featured)
Claude Moore Education Complex (Roanoke, Va.) With its simple streetscape and successful interior kitchen and training facilities, this is architecture that respectfully contributes to the neighborhood’s vibrant history.
Architecture Firm: Spectrum Design, PC Owner: Roanoke Higher Education Authority Contractor: Avis Construction Photographer: Boyd Pearman Photography
Re-Imagining Benefield (Richmond, Va.) This is a successful representation of how an engaged design team and a participatory community can work together to create a design that reflects a neighborhood’s values while pushing it to be all it can be.
Architecture Firm: HKS, Inc. Owner: Boaz & Ruth Contractor: Urban Core MEP: Integral Group Structural Engineer: Dunbar Milby Williams Pittman & Vaughan, PLLC Renderings: HKS, Inc.
In the HISTORIC PRESERVATION category
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 takes into consideration adherence to local, state, and national criteria for historic preservation.
Award of Honor
Spencer Carriage House Deep Energy Retrofit (Washington, D.C.) This is a robust example of repurposing that is both sensitive to history and appealing to a contemporary audience. Balancing the client’s net-zero energy goals with responsible historic preservation is well-documented and laudable.
Architecture Firm: Peabody Architects, Building Envelope and Restoration Owner: Lew Hages and Gerard Boquel Contractor: Ari Fingeroth Interiors Architect: Yoko Barsky, Deco Design Studio Photographer: David Peabody, Buzz Photo (featured)
Awards of Merit
The Cavalier Hotel Rehabilitation (Virginia Beach, Va.) The design confirms the connection between the hotel and its rich history. Structural solutions are well considered and very innovative.
Architecture Firm: Hanbury Owner: Gold Key / PHR Contractor: W.M. Jordan Co. Photographer: Robert Benson Photography
The Lockkeeper’s House (Washington, D.C.) The exterior, interior, and landscape are all well executed — it feels like welcoming back a lost treasure.
Architecture Firm: Davis Buckley Architects and Planners Owner: National Park Service Client: Trust for the National Mall Contractor: Hensel Phelps Photographer: Michael Ventura Photography
In the INTERIOR DESIGN category
Interior design projects are judged on 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.
Awards of Merit
118 East Main St. (Charlottesville, Va.) The small footprint feels airy and enlarged. The simple, disciplined approach optimizes the two windows and is an excellent example of understated elegance.
Architecture Firm: Bushman Dreyfus Architects Owner: West Cote Properties, LLC Contractor: Longview Management & Construction Co., LLC Photographer: Virginia Hamrick
San Francisco Tech Company (San Francisco, Ca.) The efficient, modular approach celebrates the steel frame. The industrial ambiance and mezzanine are very successful and the floor trenching creates future flexibility.
Architecture Firm: Parabola Architecture Client Liaison and Project Management: Alex Neuhold Consulting Contractor: Devcon Construction, Inc. Photographers: Prakash Patel Photography (featured) and Kevin Burke Photography
Watergate 502 (Washington, D.C.) This is a reinstatement and enlargement of thoughtful modernism. The curved element, integrated columns, and angularity of the plan are well-handled.
Architecture Firm: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect Owner: (Withheld) Contractor: Added Dimensions, Inc. Interior Design: Baron Gurney Interiors Photographer: Hoachlander Davis Photography
In the RESIDENTIAL DESIGN category
Aesthetic appeal and functionality are two long-established criteria for home design, as are affordability and resource efficiency. The jury looks at each submission in its totality toward meeting those goals.
Awards of Honor
Chapman Stables Housing (Washington, D.C.) The design offers hints at the structure’s history, expressing how the building has evolved over time. The massing and site planning are notable.
Architecture Firm: Studio Twenty Seven Architecture Owner: 57 N Street LLC Contractor: GCS | Sigal Photographer: Hoachlander Davis Photography Civil Engineer: Christopher consultants Structural Engineer: Ehlert Bryan MEP Engineer: Meta Engineers Landscape Engineer: Clinton & Associates
Mid Century Modern Residence (Bethesda, Md.) This design respected the form of the original house and amplified it. The new co-exists harmoniously with the original. The composition is clear and the landscape is elegantly integrated.
Architecture Firm: Studio Twenty Seven Architecture Owner: Tori and Sam Wales Civil Engineer: Christopher consultants Structural Engineer: Ehlert Bryan MEP Engineer: Provectus Contractor: Washington Landmark Construction Photographer: Hoachlander Davis Photography
Mossy Rock (Free Union, Va.) This simple new construction features clean lines and beautiful use of materials. The scale of the outdoor porch is appealing and well-connected to the landscape.
Architecture Firm: Bushman Dreyfus Architects Owner: Anonymous Contractor: Dammann Construction Photographers: Stephen Barling (featured), Will Kerner
Awards of Merit
AUTO-haus (Washington, D.C.) The spatial properties of the existing condition were optimized to create a courtyard-like feel. The industrial vocabulary was consistent and clever.
Architecture Firm: KUBE architecture PC Owner: Nick Rubenstein & Jennifer Hsu Contractor: ThinkMakeBuild Photographer: Hoachlander Davis Photography
Lyon Park House (Arlington, Va.) This light-filled renovation recalls the original while still being adventurous. It conveys a message about future possibilities while still being a good contextual neighbor.
Architecture Firm: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect Owner: (Withheld) Contractor: Arta Construction Structural Engineer: D. Anthony Beale LLC Photographer: Hoachlander Davis Photography
About the Jury
Ann Beha, FAIA, Jury Chair, Principal at Ann Beha Architects Rodrigo Abela, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP BD+C, Principal at Gustafson Guthrie Sara Caples AIA, LEED, Principal at Caples Jefferson Architects Anthony Pangaro, Partner at Millennium Partners (retired) James Elmasry, AIA, LEED AP, Senior Program Planner at Yale University
All entries must be the work of architects who have an office in Virginia or are members of AIA Virginia. The location of projects is not restricted, but any built work submitted must have been completed after January 1, 2011. Un-built work was also considered, as long as it was commissioned by a client as opposed to hypothetical work completed in the mode of research or academic training.
A founding principal of VMDO Architects, Robert W. Moje, FAIA, will be recognized with the William C. Noland Medal at the Visions for Architecture gala on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, at the Hilton Downtown Richmond. 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.
Moje has been a leader in the planning and design of educational facilities for more than 42 years. Through his award-winning designs, research, and professional and public service, he has advanced the practice of educational facility design considerably. His innovative instructional environments have elevated the level of discourse on design, teaching, learning, and the communal aspect of educational facilities on an international scale. In 2014, he served as chair for the global AIA Committee on Architecture for Education (CAE) conference titled The Value of Design: Enhancing Education through Architecture in Barcelona, Spain.
Moje has a long history of service to his profession and his community. Since 1997 he has served as the only architect on the Commonwealth of Virginia Joint House/Senate Subcommittee on Educational Infrastructure. He has also contributed his time on the Charlottesville Board of Architecture review, including a stint as chair, the Virginia Computer Foundation, the Virginia Center for Architecture, and numerous others.
Beyond his design and research accomplishments, he has been an exemplary leader at VMDO. He helped establish a firm culture that is people-oriented, family-friendly, and inclusive of different viewpoints, backgrounds, and experience levels. He has contributed an effective transition plan and a generous profit-sharing system that is available to all at the firm.
VMDO‘s Glenn and Towers Renovation + Addition at Georgia Institute of Technology transforms a rather staid existing dormitory quadrangle into a dynamic student nexus. While serving to boost student community, collaboration, and well-being, the scheme also enhances the street edge and enriches its broader context. The project’s sustainable objectives are commendable, not only for attaining LEED Gold Certification, but also for the effective way in which existing buildings are optimized and newly connected.
Glenn and Towers Residence Halls are home to over 600 freshmen. By hosting Georgia Tech’s Freshman Experience, the buildings help incoming residents build a personal and academic foundation within the context of a diverse and inclusive community. The LEED Gold revitalization of the halls included the retrofit of existing attics into student rooms, the addition and reconfiguration of floor study rooms and lounges, and the construction of a connector building that serves as a social and academic hub shared by the residents.
The design of Glenn and Towers improves connectivity and removes barriers to the way students interact – with one another and with the larger campus. A top engineering and science university, Georgia Tech needed a design that would allow students to experience the kinds of spaces they will one day live and work in – specifically, flexible spaces that dissolve boundaries between work and play, study and socialization.
The design of the glass-wrapped connector building, situated between the two residence halls, supports and showcases a nearly endless combination of activities while creating a graceful strategy for surmounting a topographically challenging site from the street up into a renewed quad for Glenn and Towers residents.
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.
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
“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
Tred Avon River House by Robert Gurney, FAIA
Verde Dining Facility by Hanbury Evans Wright Vlattas, and
Barcode House by David Jameson, FAIA
In the CONTEXTUAL DESIGN category
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.
In the RESIDENTIAL DESIGN category
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.
In the HISTORIC PRESERVATION category
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.
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.”