Miller Center for Public Affairs, Phases I and 2
University of Virginia,
GLAVÉ & HOLMES ARCHITECTURE (G&HA) was commissioned to develop new interior design schemes for the University of Virginia’s Miller Center for Public Affairs. The project presented unique challenges as the building consists of the original c. 1855 central pavilion, known as the Faulkner house, in a classical temple form, and two flanking wings, including the J. Wilson Newman Pavilion designed by Alan Greenberg in 1991.
After extensive research of the building and the architectural perio in central Virginia, historically sensitive design schemes were developed. Henry Sargent’s, “The Tea Party” of 1824, for example, provided the design concept for a custom Axminster carpet. Document fabrics were chosen from Brunschwig & Fils and Scalamandre and the furniture elements such as the Baltimore “fancy chairs” were resourced from period driven companies such as Kindel Furniture. Enormous care was taken to choose furniture, wallpapers, lighting, fabrics, and paint colors that linked the decoration to the mid-nineteenth century. Furnishing styles were selected from the late-eighteenth century and first half of the nineteenth century as most Virginia houses of 1855 tended to have a mix of period and then contemporary styles.
The G&HA team worked with a film consultant to determine which historic colors worked best in a space that is routinely televised. Additional character was added with custom signage, which was based on Sheraton style chair backs. A lighter touch was used for the reading room, in which a Stark sisal echoes similar period floor coverings from nearby Monticello, and crewel and printed linens serve as a reminder of more casual Virginia porches and loggias of Albemarle County. Enhanced by its exacting and conscious design, the Miller Center has become a vital part of the Charlottesville intellectual culture.