Page N1.2 . 02 May 2001                     
ArchitectureWeek - News Department
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Virginia Appreciates Architecture


That same evening, Jean O‚Toole, AIA, from Kerns Group Architects, led an architectural tour of the firm's award-winning addition to, and interior renovation of, St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Arlington, a stone church built in 1928.

This work won a 2000 AIA NOVA Design Award of Excellence for Commercial Architecture. The jury had commented on how well the diverse elements of the old and new sections blend to form an integrated whole.

The chapter organized a free, self-guided architectural bike tour along the Virginia side of the Potomac River. Participants were given a free tour packet, written by local architects O'Toole and Marlene Shade, AIA.

The tour packet, designed to hang on handlebars, highlighted the architectural sites of interest between Theodore Roosevelt Island and Old Town Alexandria. Over 150 tour packets were distributed that morning to architects and the general public.

Participants learned about the history of the buildings that most see every day, including the Capitol and the Washington Monument. The tour also included buildings by prominent contemporary architects, such as Cesar Pelli (Reagan National Airport), I.M. Pei (Potomac Towers), and Weiss/ Manfredi (The Women in Military Service to America Memorial). The tour sites ranged in scale from the minimal foundations of the Abigdon Plantation, to the large development know as Rosslyn.

On Saturday afternoon of Architecture Week, two licensed architects presented a free seminar for those interested in remodeling their home, building an addition, or designing a new house. Held at a local bookstore, over 25 people attended "How To Work with an Architect."

Charles Matta, AIA and William Evans, AIA discussed how to develop a program, how to approach design decisions, what an architect can bring to the project, and what to expect during the building process. A lively question and answer period followed and the bookstore offered discounts on selected architecture books.

Two events organized by the American Solar Energy Society (ASES) and cosponsored by the AIA Northern Virginia Chapter focused on solar energy. Teachers of grades 3-12 came together for "Sun Day," a solar energy workshop.

Presenters from all over the country shared information and hands-on activities and participants received free curriculum materials, lessons plans, Junior Solar Sprint kits, CDs, and other materials.

The next day, Earth Day 2001, ASES and the Potomac Region Solar Energy Association led a group of architects, engineers, teachers, and solar enthusiasts to some fascinating, sustainable buildings in Virginia.

The tour began with a visit to">EcoVillage, a cohousing sustainable development community in Loudoun County, which features energy-efficient and environmentally friendly houses.

The tour then moved to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Barns at Franklin Park, a performing arts theater built by community volunteers using reclaimed wood and featuring 2050 solar panels, making it the largest solar array in Virginia.

The weeklong celebration ended on a sunny, warm day featuring two tours. Al Cox, AIA, from the City of Alexandria Department of Planning and Zoning, led the first tour and discussed the history of Old Town Alexandria as reflected through its architecture and urban design.

This city began as a seaport in the 18th century and has successfully preserved its historic architecture and scale, while remaining lively and vibrant. Examples covered a full range of architectural styles from Georgian through Art Deco, and participants discussed the pedestrian scale of the city plan and streets.

At the same time, architect Ken Bonner presented a seminar titled "Elements of Design" at the Reston Museum. Then Robert E. Simon, Jr., founder of Reston, led a walking tour of the Lake Anne Village Center, the historic heart of Reston and a National Historic Landmark.

Reston is an innovative and successful planned community begun in 1962. Its designers placed importance on the natural surroundings, and a variety of houses and businesses were built among trees, lakes, and pathways.

Simon shared stories about the early stages of this unique community and his experiences with its many architects and planners. This event was cosponsored by the Reston Museum, operated by the Reston Historic Trust for Revitalization.

With the success of the first Virginia Architecture Week, the AIA Northern Virginia Chapter looks forward to this annual event next April.

Deborah S. Burns is executive director of the AIA Northern Virginia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.



ArchWeek Photo

A tour of the renovated St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Arlington by the Kerns Group Architects was included in Northern Virginia's Architecture Week.
Photo: Maxwell MacKenzie

ArchWeek Photo

An open house was held at the Alexandria Center, a renovated turn-of-the-last-century schoolhouse that is home to Virginia Tech's Department of Architecture. On display were projects from local architects.
Photo: Patricia Cardenal

ArchWeek Photo

From the Virginia side of the Potomac River, bikers on an architectural tour get a distant view of the Washington Monument and the nation's capital.
Photo: Jean O'Toole

ArchWeek Photo

Charles Matta, AIA delivers advice in a public seminar about how to work with an architect.
Photo: Patricia Cardenal

ArchWeek Photo

Robert E. Simon, Jr., founder of Reston, Virginia, leads a walking tour of the Lake Anne Village Center, a National Historic Landmark.
Photo: Kenneth L. Bonner

ArchWeek Photo

Christ Church in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.
Photo: William A. Cox, AIA

ArchWeek Photo

Christ Church in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.
Photo: William A. Cox, AIA

ArchWeek Photo

Duke Street in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.
Photo: William A. Cox, AIA


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