Volume 3, No. 8 - July 29, 2009
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BLAST - News and Notes from AIA Northern Virginia

Geier Brown Renfrow Architects, LLC
SVA Brooks Center, by Geier Brown Renfrow Architects, LLC (more info)
In This Issue

Nominating for Honor Awards

Stratford Hall Tour

Boxwood Winery Tour

In Practice...

Featured Project: Elizabeth Seton
  High School SVA Brooks Center


Featured Sponsor: Potomac
  Valley Brick

Visit the AIA Northern Virginia Website

Nominations Sought for Chapter Honor Awards
by Valerie Hassett, AIA
Honors Committee Chair

AIA Northern Virginia Honor Awards are presented to recognize outstanding achievements in support of the profession of architecture. There are four honor awards open to nomination by Chapter members. As the current chair of the Honors Committee, I encourage members to nominate deserving individuals or organizations. Member nominations insure that these awards are truly representative of our Chapter. The deadline for nominations is August 31, 2009. Information on all of the Chapter awards is available on our website at honors.aianova.org.

Please consider nominating for any of the following:
  • Award of Honor - To honor a member architect who has demonstrated outstanding levels of professional influence and activity, over a sustained period of time. This is the highest award of the Chapter.
  • Outstanding Achievement - Recognition of a member architect's achievement that has made such a significant and seminal contribution to the built environment that it transcends the scope of normal professional activities.
  • AIA Northern Virginia Chapter Award - Recognition of an individual or organization that has, through their professional activities and body of work, significantly inspired or influenced the architecture profession in Northern Virginia over a sustained period of time.
  • Craftsmanship Award - Recognition of an individual or organization that has exhibited superior work in the building trades.
When submitting a nomination, please provide name and contact information for both nominator and nominee, along with a narrative (no longer than 300 words) supporting the nomination and supportive photographic material. Send nominations to the Honors Committee Chair, Valerie Hassett at honors@aianova.org by August 31, 2009. If you have any questions about the nomination process please send an email to the address above.

Finally, I look forward to seeing everyone at the Chapter's Annual Dinner on Wednesday, October 21 at the Crystal City Sports Pub, where we will announce the award recipients and celebrate their achievements.

Stratford Hall Construction Tour

The Chapter's Historic Resources Committee is planning a behind the scenes tour of a current restoration site at historic Stratford Hall on the Northern Neck on August 15 and all Chapter members and their guests are invited. The Great House at Stratford Hall was built circa 1738 by Thomas Lee and is one of the great historic homes of Virginia. He was a leader in Virginia politics and his two youngest sons, Francis Lightfoot Lee and Richard Henry Lee, were signers of the Declaration of Independence. As constructed, the 9,000 sq. ft., two-story house consisted of family quarters on the upper floor with the business of the 22,000 acre plantation being carried out on the lower floor. There was no connecting interior stairway. The oldest son, Phillip Ludwell Lee, inherited the house in 1750 and lived there until his death when, through marriage, Light Horse Harry Lee became the master.

Light Horse Harry made numerous changes to the house. Because of his growing family, a portion of the lower floor was turned into quarters for the children and a stairway was built in the northwest corner about 1798. During the restoration in the 1930's the noted preservation architect Fiske Kimball removed the stairway in an attempt to take the house back to the time of Thomas Lee. While he removed the stairway, he didn’t return the revised configuration to its original state so that, for more than 70 years there have been narrow stair halls on each floor, but absent the stairway. The only record of the historic stairway is a photograph in Manors of Virginia in Colonial Times, a book by Edith Tunis Sale published in 1909 and some artifacts – a newel post, portion of handrail, and a tread.

The interpretive committee of Stratford Hall has made the decision to reconstruct the stairway in order to interpret the evolution of the house from Thomas Lee to the boyhood of Robert E. Lee, Light Horse Harry Lee’s son, at which time it passed out of Lee ownership. John Milner Associates, Inc., an Alexandria preservation firm that has been working at Stratford for a decade, is overseeing the work. The challenge has been to determine what the stairway was like and how it was constructed given the lack of documentation save the one photograph. Working with the Stratford Director of Preservation, Phil Mark, layers of wood flooring, plaster ceilings and walls from the 1930’s restoration have been removed and clues such as nail holes, hidden original plaster clues which were found have told the story. Construction will begin immediately after our tour so that the guts of the building are open for everyone to see.

To learn more about Stratford, visit their website at www.stratfordhall.org.

We have arranged a behind the scenes tour on Saturday, August 15, beginning at the Stratford Visitors Center at 10:30a. John Mott, FAIA of John Milner Associates will present a program showing the evolution of the house in the area of the stairway and describing and illustrating the clues that have informed their design. Then, the group will tour the area of the stairway where he and Phil Mark will give everyone a first hand look at what the researchers found and what it means. The tour should conclude about 12:30p. The Stratford Dining Room is not open to the public that day, but the Chapter is working to arrange box lunches, available for purchase, in the Library.

Stratford is off Virginia Highway 3 about 45 miles west of Fredericksburg. It’s about a 2 hour drive from the Chapter House. There is a $10 fee for the tour which is the cost for touring the plantation. Following the tour everyone is welcome to take the regular tour of the house and grounds and to view the new exhibits in the visitors’ center. We can only accommodate 15 people on the tour, so be sure to reserve early. 2 AIA/CES HSW continuing education credits will be available for the tour. Advance registration for the tour and the box lunch is required. E-mail reservations@aianova.org.

Boxwood Winery Tour
photography by Robert Lautman

The Chapter is planning a tour and wine tasting at Boxwood Winery, recipient of an AIA Northern Virginia Design Award in 2007. Designed by Jacobsen Architecture (Hugh Newell Jacobsen, FAIA and Simon Jacobsen, Associate AIA), the notable winery is located in the historic town of Middleburg.

The winery is a complex of four linked buildings set in the middle of the vineyard - a reception space with tasting bar, a fermentation chai, a bottling building and the underground cure housing 375 oak barrels. Built between 2003 and 2005, the winery is contemporary in design, while the fieldstone and white clapboard buildings with standing seam roofs relate to the original early 19th century farmhouse on the property and many other buildings throughout Middleburg.

Boxwood Farm, purchased in 2001 by John Kent Cook, former owner of the Redskins, features a large stone house built in 1826. From 1926-1936 this was the home of General William "Billy" Mitchell, an important figure in military aviation. Because of its association with General Mitchell, Boxwood Farm is one of only six sites in Loudoun County designated as a National Historic Landmark.

The vineyard, designed by Viticulturist Lucie Morton, produces eight varieties of grapes, certified by the French Government. The state-of-the-art winery, developed under the expert guidance of Dr. Richard Vine, Head of the Oenology Department at Purdue University, produces a limited run of red wines, blended in the French Bordeaux tradition. Peterson and Collins served as the contractors for the project.

To learn more about Boxwood, visit their website at www.boxwoodwinery.com.

We have arranged for two tours on Saturday, September 12, at 2:00p and 3:30p. The tour will be conducted by manager Rachel Martin, who has been involved in all aspects of developing both the vineyard and winery.

There is a $20 fee for the tour and tasting. We can only accommodate 15 people on each tour, so be sure to reserve early if you wish to participate. 1 AIA/CES HSW continuing education credit will be available for the tour. Advance registration and payment is required. E-mail reservations@aianova.org.

In Practice...
Make Sure Your Firm Is Included in the 2010 Metro Directory
In June, all members were mailed a Firm Profile Form for the 2010 Metro Directory of Architecture + Design Firms. One person from each firm must complete the form and return it to Dawson Publications by August 3. You must submit a new form each year even if your information remains the same. Only firms submitting the profile will be included in the directory. If you have any questions, please e-mail aianova@aianova.org.

Green Housing Awards Program - Show How You Re-Green
The AIA Housing + Custom Residential Knowledge Community is looking for innovative designs that have significantly reduced the resource use and increased the indoor environmental quality of existing housing. Projects may be either complete remodels or substantial alterations that significantly improve building performance. The Call for Entries may be found here. Submission deadline is September 3, 2009.

AIArchitect Offers Helpful Economic Information
Last Friday's issue of AIArchitect included an Updated User's Guide on how to Find a Federal Stimulus Design and Construction Project for Your Firm. The article explains that while 12% of the 2009 stimulus money will go towards transportation, energy, the environment and community development projects, in 2012 that percent rises to 63%. The updated guide provides information on federal agencies with stimulus projects.

If you are not receiving AIArchitect each Friday, please contact us at aianova@aianova.org. Likely we have an incorrect email address for you.

Podcast - Project Finance for Principals and Project Managers
In this podcast, Jim Sawyer, AIA, speaks to AIArchitect Contributing Editor Michael J. Crosbie, AIA, about what an architecture firm needs for a successful financial project plan in the current economic climate. He discusses five key elements: project description, services provided, project team, project schedule and fees and cost. You can access this free podcast by clicking here.

Featured Project

Elizabeth Seton High School SVA Brooks Center for Sports + Fine Arts
Geier Brown Renfrow Architects, LLC
Bladensburg, Maryland

The Elizabeth Seton High School SVA Brooks Center for Sports and Fine Arts is a 26,000 sf multi-use facility designed to provide much needed spaces for this Catholic girls' high school in Bladensburg, Maryland. A main feature of the building is a 600-seat Gymnasium/Arena along with related locker room and training spaces. The building includes classrooms, gallery space and band and choral practice rooms.

The new building is sited to provide for a secure student circulation link to the existing high school facility and a separate public event access to the Gymnasium. The building is located parallel to the existing track with views of the outdoor playing area from fitness and dance areas.

The open glass public lobby space welcomes visitors to athletic, music and related events at the center. Porcelain tiles line the floor while floating clouds provide varying light fixtures. An adjacent concession area is included for events and built-in trophy cases illuminate the schools many athletic awards.

The gymnasium utilized a metal building shell with translucent glazing on either size to maximize natural light use during the day. Fabric air ducts in red create a visual contrast and reinforce team spirit.

Concrete masonry units clad the building with a rain screen of split face and smooth CMU for the exterior skin. The exterior colors were selected to create unity with the brick on the original 1963 high school building.

August 15 - Stratford Hall Construction Tour
10:30a-12:30p, off Virginia Highway 3 about 45 miles west of Fredericksburg. The Chapter's Historic Resources Committee is planning the tour. See the article above for details. Registration required by emailing reservations@aianova.org.

August 19 - AIA Northern Virginia Lunch Series
11:00a-1:15p, at HITT Contracting, Inc., 2704 Dorr Avenue, Fairfax 22031. Two presentations: Maximizing the Efficiency and Performance of the Thermal Envelope, presented by Chris Parmele with The Dow Chemical Company-Dow Building Solutions, provides information on creating a high performance thermal envelope for residential construction. Then Sustainability from an Engineering Perspective, presented by GPI / Greenman-Pedersen, Inc., will discuss sustainable design including ventilation and indoor air quality, energy performance and construction management. For complete information, visit the event page. 2 AIA/CES HSW LUs. Free. Lunch will be provided. Registration is required by emailing reservations@aianova.org.

August 19 - Women in Architecture Happy Hour
This Happy Hour will be held in Arlington. If you would like to receive information, please email WIA at wia@aianova.org.

September 12 - Boxwood Winery Tour
2:00p + 3:30p, Middleburg. The Chapter is planning a tour and wine tasting. See the article above for details. Registration required by emailing reservations@aianova.org.

September 13 + 15 - Annual Inter-School Student Design Competition
At the National Building Museum. Each fall, students from the four metro area schools of architecture collaborate for this design competition, sponsored by the three local AIA Chapters, the Washington Architectural Foundation and the National Building Museum. The competition takes place on September 13, with the jury and awards ceremony on September 15. Bing Thom will serve as Lead Juror and will give a Spotlight on Design Lecture at the NBM following the awards ceremony.

September 15 - AIA Northern Virginia Board Meeting
4:30-6:00p, at the Chapter House, 205 South Patrick Street, Alexandria 22314. For additional information, contact the Chapter House at aianova@aianova.org.

September 27 - Fellows Application Kickoff Meeting
2:00-3:30p, at the Chapter House, 205 South Patrick Street, Alexandria 22314. Have you been thinking about applying for AIA Fellowship or know someone who should? Ever wonder what the selection criteria is and what is involved in the application process? Join other potential candidates and Fellows Committee members to answer questions and demystify the process. Interested members should contact Committee Chair Al Cox, FAIA at al.cox@alexandriava.gov.

October 15 - Improving Energy Performance in the Building Envelope
9:30a-3:45p, at the Beatley Central Library, Alexandria. Workshop will present information on air barriers, wall cladding, energy analysis, vegetative roofs and photovoltaics. Earn 5 AIA/CES HSW SD Learning Units. Includes breakfast & lunch. Register early to take advantage of substantial discounts: members $50 by September 30, $70 after; nonmembers $75 by September 30, $95 after. For detailed information click here.

October 21 - 34th Annual Chapter Dinner, Honors Celebration and Elections
6:30p, at the Crystal City Sports Pub, Arlington. Save the date! Invitations will be mailed to all members.

Featured Sponsor

Potomac Valley Brick
8306 Cinderbed Road, Newington, VA 22079
Platinum Sponsor

Potomac Valley Brick Announces Green Design Competition With $10,000 Prize.

Hoping to unearth innovative ideas to showcase brick in sustainable new design uses, Potomac Valley Brick (PVB) announces a Call for Entries for a new international design competition.

According to PVB president Alan Richardson, "We are passionate about bricks' sustainability. Its inherent mass helps in passive solar and other energy-efficient designs, plus it offers great flexibility in terms of different colors and sizes and uses, from solid walls to veneer." Richardson says that's why, with the help of Peter Doo, president of Baltimore-based sustainability consulting firm Doo Consulting, PVB made the decision to launch the competition to catapult this age-old material into today's building spotlight.

Potomac Valley Brick has managed to attract interest from regional, national and international architects - with entries received from New York to Milan. In "Brick-Stainable: Re-Thinking Brick," entrants have been asked to design a hypothetical net-zero energy building using clay masonry as a primary material.

Competition registration is available until September 15 with the deadline for entries on October 30. Sponsorship opportunities are available on the competition website. Potomac Valley Brick has named a $10,000.00 grand prize. Winners will be announced on December 15 and an awards ceremony will be held at the National Building Museum on January 27.

For additional information and to register for the competition, visit www.brick-stainable.com.