THE ORIGINAL 1897 Spence Hall at Union Presbyterian Seminary’s Richmond campus was expanded in 1940 and 1970 and housed the campus library until 1997 when the library holdings were relocated to the then new William Smith Morton Library. In 2000, Glavé & Holmes Architecture (G&HA) was commissioned to rehabilitate the vacant Spence Hall building into a state-of-the-art facility for teaching and worship.
The G&HA design and plan left the exterior façade substantially unaltered, whereas the interior spaces feature a contemporary style with cantilevered floors and moveable walls to create maximum flexibility. The eight stories of the 1970s, self-supporting stacks were removed and the resulting awe-inspiring volume—now a 40ft x 40ft x 40ft worship and teaching space—is infused with daylight filtering through the existing windows.
The use of glass walls at the galleries and retention of original, decorative cast iron columns recreates the spatial experience of the historically significant 1897 building. A multi-media conference room and gallery of faculty offices are included within the original two-story library and reading room.
Other areas of the building are rehabilitated to provide state-of-the-art classrooms, offices, and building support facilities. Lecterns, a baptismal font, and altar table were custom designed for the project.
THE RESTORATION AND SITE DESIGN for this project converted a c.1897 Victorian residence, the home of Alexander Black, into a museum, gallery, and meeting facility. The new center serves to narrate the story of Blacksburg and functions as a community gathering place. Alexander Black was a prominent businessman, founder of the National Bank of Blacksburg, and the grandson of the founder of Blacksburg. To prevent its destruction resulting from development activity on Main Street, the Alexander Black house was acquired by the town in 2002 and moved to its current location.
Glavé & Holmes Architecture (G&HA) restored the exterior of the building to its late-nineteenth-century appearance and made necessary modifications and additions to the structure to provide for its new function as a museum and cultural center. The general design approach was to preserve historic fabric wherever possible. Interior reconfiguration of the original core was minimized, historically inappropriate modifications were removed, and a new contractual rear addition was constructed to provide for accessibility and egress to and from the two principal floors. Archival photographs, research, and data were used to determine the historic qualities and original existing materials were utilized as were feasible. The Town of Blacksburg successfully merged its resources with a private non-profit foundation to preserve a piece of local heritage for the community. The resulting project is pursuing LEED-Silver certification and is an excellent example of a public-private partnership.
9WG STUDIO realizes a vision for a vital, collaborative, and creative environment for media production. The owners, Jody Boyd (Red Amp Audio), Marna Bales (9WG Manager), and Melanie Cox (Spang TV) discovered the ideal location, 9 West Grace Street, in the urban core of Richmond. Originally an appliance showroom and more recently a photography studio, the space featured a double-height ceiling that provides the perfect scenario for Red Amp Audio’s tracking room. Working in concert with nonzero/architecture’s Peter Grueneisen, a specialist in recording studio design, Glavé & Holmes Architecture (G&HA) worked with the clients to convert the remainder of the ground floor into a media complex, including an isolation booth, editing suites, and a photography “cyc” wall for photo and video shoots.
Canted, non-parallel walls and the rich textures of acoustical surfaces are fundamental elements for recording and editing spaces. Drawing from these functional cues, G&HA expanded the finish palette with vibrant colors and warm materials to complement the raw brick of the existing shell. Each of the spaces is carefully crafted to its intended function and fit together in the plan like a puzzle, all the while maximizing flexibility and efficiency. The result is a stimulating environment that supports the creative work of the studio spaces as well as the revitalization of the Grace Street corridor.