Project Profile: Bicentennial Hall

Francis Scott Key Hall, located on the campus of the Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia, was officially dedicated and renamed Bicentennial Hall in November of 2019. Photo by Anice Hoachlander.

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Why Wood is the Way of the Future for Commercial Spaces

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Real, natural wood has warmth, depth, charm and character that is impossible to duplicate in other materials. Wood has been around for centuries, making it a timeless interior style that can adapt to any decor or season. It is a biophilic design element that is sustainable, recyclable, biodegradable, cost-effective and extremely versatile.

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Cavalier Hotel Rehabilitation

From the day it opened in 1927 until World War II, the Cavalier Hotel was one of the premier resort locations on the East Coast, hosting all the great names of the Big Band Era as well as dozens of celebrities and U.S. Presidents. Its unusual Y-shaped plan, which was intended to maximize views of the ocean, was considered innovative for its time and the neo-classical design drew heavily on Virginia history and Jeffersonian influences.

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Architects Design Parklets to Help Reopen Businesses

As the City of Richmond, Va., reopens, AIA Richmond and Venture Richmond have joined forces to support local restaurants with a program called “Picnic in a Parklet.” This joint enterprise with the City of Richmond offers design and permitting assistance to create parklets — outdoor, physically-distanced seating in street parking areas.

“Transforming our use of public space innovatively and sustainably requires partnerships just like this one,” said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. “By linking the business and design communities, this program will expand the city’s growing network of creatively designed public spaces.”

Business-owners who are interested in temporarily converting an on-street parking space adjacent to their storefront into parklets will work with Venture Richmond to assess their needs and navigate the permitting process. AIA Richmond will connect that business with an architect for pro-bono design services for parklets.

inflatable tubes define physically-distanced seating areas in parklets
Inflatable tubes help define this outdoor seating space concept. They’re highly visible to vehicle traffic. Image courtesy of Venture Richmond, AIA Richmond and HKS.

“We think creatively. We’re problem solvers … and this is one of the many ways we thought of to give back to our community,” said AIA Richmond president, Nick Cooper. “We hope each design team will respond to the historical fabric of the neighborhood,” he continues. “Richmond is composed of distinctively different neighborhoods that all have a certain character, and we imagine these parklets to be an extension of that.”

Unless otherwise specified or revoked, parklet permits are valid for three years and all requests within Richmond City limits will be considered. Business owners can learn more and apply for support at the RVA Strong website.

fabric mesh and scaffolding help define parklet seating
Fabric mesh and repurposed scaffolding could help define parklet seating areas. Image courtesy of AIA Richmond, Venture Richmond, and HKS.

Cradle to Cradle Design for Occupant Wellbeing: Plantronics European HQ

When Plantronics selected Park 20|20 in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands, as the site for their new European headquarters, their primary objective was to focus on employees’ health and wellbeing through innovative, human-centered design — a familiar territory for the pioneering audio and communications technology leader which provided the tech that allowed Neil Armstrong to transmit his famous first words on the moon. Recently acquired by Poly, Plantronics collaborated closely with Charlottesville, Va.- based design architect and Park 20|20 masterplanner William McDonough + Partners (WM+P), to create a Cradle to Cradle-inspired workplace. The result is a building that promotes a perfect balance between wellness and productivity through design strategies that benefit both human and environmental health focused on safe-then-circular materials, user comfort and connectivity to nature.

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