THE VIRGINIA MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS engaged Glavé & Holmes for the complete rehabilitation of the Robinson House, originally erected ca. 1820 as a family farmhouse. The structure was converted into the R.E. Lee Camp No. 1 before it became part of the VMFA in 1964. The museum’s goal was to restore the facility and adapt it for use as a regional visitor center. The Robinson House was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2013 and is one of the oldest buildings in the Boulevard Historic District of Richmond. The reimagined building houses the Richmond Region Tourism Center, VMFA’s Human Resources Division, and a first-floor gallery featuring an exhibition about the story of the site from the 17th century to the present.
The project has added 3,200 additional square feet to the original 7,600- square-foot structure. The addition complements the former home’s style and introduces an accessible entrance. The expansion houses an elevator, stairway, and three floors of glass-enclosed porches that connect to the original structure. Interior work included restoring the space to reflect historical accuracies. New mechanical and electrical systems are among other building updates.
CHRISTOPHER NEWPORT UNIVERSITY (CNU) hired Glavé & Holmes to design a new Fine Arts Center adjacent to their Ferguson Center for the Arts. The three-story, 82,000 plus-square-foot center will house gallery and programming space for CNU’s fine arts program. The space will also be the new home for Newport News’ Peninsula Fine Arts Center, which will become part of CNU at the building’s completion and will take on a new name. The colonnade, which lines the front of the Ferguson Center, will be extended across the front side of the new building.
The highlight of the building features three tall, staggered glass domes, while the rest of the design fits contextually with the rest of the campus. The first floor houses an art history lecture hall, museum shop, a hands-on gallery, and studios for 3-D art disciplines. Part of the space between the new building and the Ferguson Center will be an outdoor museum space. The museum’s large gallery, the walls of which are two stories high, takes up most of the second and third floors. Moveable walls and structures will allow the space to be configured to display each exhibit. The second floor will also contain galleries for student work, classroom and lab spaces, including a dark room, photo lab, light lab, and digital art studios. The third floor will include drawing and painting studios, as well as studios only for upperclassmen. A cafe will provide food near the outdoor terraces overlooking the entryway.
THE NATIONAL D-DAY MEMORIAL is located on a 50 acre site in Bedford, Virginia. G&HA was commissioned by the National D-Day Memorial to assist in coming up with a conceptual master plan for the complex. The site consists of a well-developed, landscaped memorial, serviced by several utilitarian structures originally intended to be temporary in nature. The Memorial is beautifully conceived, but the visitor experience is diminished by the quality of the support structures, lack of clear organization, and a lack of indoor space.
The goal of the Master Plan is to plan for the evolution of the property and its development to become the center for learning and teaching. As a result, the Master Plan considers prospects for new enhancements including an education center, visitor services, a welcome center, event facilities, service areas, and additional exhibition space. G&HA went through a six month planning process, including research, design charrettes, discussion with key stakeholders, design and analysis of multiple alternatives for future development and enhancements. Our team analyzed existing code and site restrictions and the existing structures to determine viable options. The next phase prepared conceptual designs, including a site plan, as well as general cost estimates for the various options.
THE VIRGINIA MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS holds one of the foremost collections of Fabergé objects outside of Russia with over 150 pieces including five Imperial Easter eggs. Previously housed in a much smaller square room, the redesign of the Fabergé Gallery celebrates this significant collection by expanding and reorganizing the collection into five gallery spaces. Each of the gallery spaces showcases specific assortments from the collection, from enamels to hardstones to Russian icons. These are housed largely in recessed picture window display cases. The Imperial Easter eggs are the centerpiece of the new permanent exhibit at the museum. Arranged in a round room, the eggs are displayed in individual cases so that the visitors might appreciate the intricate splendor of these objects from all sides.
The architecture of the space was designed to support the detailed quality of the objects, articulating the space with a classical motif of painted columns, cornice and trim. The detail of the trim work increases as you move through the exhibit, from simply wainscoting and cornice in the entry galleries to engaged doric pilasters and pedestals in the interior galleries. The detail grows to its maximum crescendo with three-quarter round fluted doric columns and an intricately detailed chair rail in the central round egg gallery. The central gallery is accentuated with a shallow, elliptical dome ceiling, bearing out some of the same drama that is revealed with the Fabergé eggs themselves when they are opened and unfolded. The simple color palette, warm stained wood floors, and symmetry throughout the galleries serve to complement the objects themselves and celebrate their artistry. The architecture of the galleries was designed in close collaboration with the Virginia Museum of Fine Art’s curators, lighting designer, and exhibition design staff to create an inspiring exhibition. Opened in October 2016, the result has been a dramatic success for the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and their permanent collections.
Photos: Travis Fullerton © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
FORT MONROE is a National Monument managed by the Fort Monroe Authority (FMA) in collaboration with the National Park Service (NPS). Glavé & Holmes Architecture recently completed the conversion of Building 138 at Fort Monroe into a new Visitor Center. Building 138, also known as Wisser Hall, was originally built in 1909 as a military library and is a contributing structure to the Fort Monroe National Historic Landmark District.
This project is a unique example of a State and Federal collaboration at this significant historic site. The Visitor Center welcomes visitors to Fort Monroe and orients them to the significant history of this property in addition to providing a welcome center for NPS staff to greet visitors to the National Monument. As a key component of the new permanent exhibit, this building tells the story of the arrival of the first African slaves in the continental U.S. to the site of Fort Monroe (Point Comfort) in 1619 and connects that story to the “Contraband of War” decision in 1861 that eventually led approximately 10,000 enslaved people to obtain their emancipation at Fort Monroe. The visitor center builds upon the additional historical exhibits in the Casemate Museum and entices visitors to the museum using the postern gate into the original masonry Fort. The new Visitor Center contains visitor facilities, a staffed visitor desk, exhibits, classrooms and archival storage space. A new addition makes the building fully accessible, by adding a new elevator and grade level entry for visitors.
THIS PROJECT CONSISTS of a master plan for the 500+ acre property of Gunston Hall to guide the anticipated improvements to the property and support Gunston Hall’s mission. G&HA is conducting an analysis of the existing campus, including a facility needs assessment projecting new and renovated building improvements for the next twenty years. The planning team is also helping to establish locations and implementation strategies for planned improvements based on the facility needs assessment. After developing a unifying concept plan that added an additional level of detail and reflects the ideas, assets, and buildings of the Gunston Hall property, the team worked on documenting the master plan in graphic and written form.
During the research and analysis phase G&HA will collect and review relevant Owner-provided materials and data on Gunston Hall, including topographic survey, previous planning documents, historic records and other materials. The team will then conducted a two day charette with the Owner and Owner selected stakeholders to brainstorm on potential ideas, improvements, key planning components, and programming requirements. Based on this information, G&HA will present options for a conceptual master plan that illustrates building locations, outdoor activities, vehicular and pedestrian circulation, parking, phasing alternatives, and other elements identified in the program.
SINCE 1988, Glavé & Holmes Architecture (G&HA) has partnered with The Virginia Museum of History & Culture (VMHC), previously known as the Virginia Historical Society. Commissioned to oversee the design for renovations to their existing facility in Richmond, Virginia, G&HA has contributed major additions to the institution in 1991, 2001, and 2006 respectively.
VMHC recently completed a comprehensive renovation that addressed key goals with their newest project, known as “The Story of Virginia Campaign.” The museum wished to address developmental issues that have evolved along with the growth and identity of the organization as well as in response to current trends in museum operations. G&HA helped to develop a public-friendly prospect by reconsidering the grounds, key outdoor features, and the points of entry and arrival, with focus on the East, South, and West façades. The galleries were reorganized to provide accessibility to a range of patrons and for a variety of museum experiences. The education center was expanded to respond to the growth of programming, and fourth, the maintenance needs of the building were addressed, including replacement of the mechanical systems in 75% of the building.
These renovations allow the museum to display more of their collections as well as play host to more and larger special events and lectures. “The Story of Virginia Campaign” brings the VMHC facility, its collections, and expertise to a wider audience even as the mission— to collect, preserve, and interpret Virginia’s past for future generations—remains the same.
THE WILLIAM SMITH MORTON LIBRARY at the Union Presbyterian Seminary was created from the shell of Shauffler Hall, a castellated, Gothic-revival former chapel and classroom building, which was built in 1922 and designed by Baskervill and Son. Neo-Gothic architecture ties all of the buildings on this small campus together. Challenges included integrating new and old into a unified whole with a dramatic four-story atrium; cloaking new and flexible telecommunications technologies in comfortable and well-appointed reading rooms and study spaces; and creating a new scholastic center for the campus.
To accommodate the new library, the existing building was transformed into a larger structure encircling a light-filled atrium naturally lit by groin-vaulted louvers. The building has four levels and houses general collections, a variety of open and private study areas, a media resources library for audio and video collections, computerized automation areas, a children’s library, and technical and administrative offices.
Throughout the library, Christian and literary iconography are incorporated in the design of lamps, carpets, furnishings, and building elements.
THE MONTPELIER Visitor Center provides a gateway for guests to experience of the home of James and Dolley Madison. The Visitor Center is located on a beautiful and very sensitive historic site on the original road trace leading from Mt. Pleasant to the Mansion. The focus for the site and building design was to create a relationship between the visitor and the historic landscape through the use of natural materials, scale, views, and connections to the historic narrative.
Glavé & Holmes Architecture (G&HA) in collaboration with Bartzen & Ball, PLLC, provided an elegant and contemporary building that is compatible with the scale, forms, and materials of buildings in the surrounding context, while being distinctive in its use. Building interiors, architecture, and landscape design are integrated to provide a gracious and seamless patron experience.
The complex also provides a 50-seat orientation theater, gift shop, gallery room and a café with doors opening to a slate patio. The duPont Wing features the Red Room, an exact replica of the original room in the Mansion.
THE VALENTINE has been the city of Richmond’s history museum for more than 100 years. The facility is comprised of four houses of varying periods, including the restored Wickham House, a National Historic Landmark property; the Cecil House; and the Valentine Row Houses. The Owner sought to enliven the primary public spaces on the first and lower levels with a contemporary aesthetic that is sensitive to the historic character of the existing museum.
Glavé & Holmes Architecture (G&HA) successfully altered the interiors to conceal previously exposed infrastructure, thusly creating refined spaces that retain a contextual consciousness to their historic provenance. Exterior windows were reopened to the interior and now boost filtered glazing, which make the entire facility feel more open and inviting. Gallery spaces were expanded and reorganized to include a new community gallery, orientation gallery, and improved permanent and special exhibition galleries. Additionally, the education areas and other public spaces, such as the entry/reception and the museum shop, were completely renovated to embody the new image of The Valentine.
The overall impact of the renovation has been remarkable both for the museum and the surrounding neighborhoods. The Valentine has seen a 30 % increase in visitation since the reopening and a significant rise in the frequency of community-centered events.