2019 Golden Hammer Award Winners


Historic Richmond and Storefront for Community Design are excited to announce the winners of the 2019 Golden Hammer Awards. 11 Golden Hammer Awards were given in the categories of Best Adaptive Reuse, Best Adaptive Reuse & New Construction, Best New Construction, Best Placemaking, Best Single Family Residential- Renovation, Best Single Family Residential- New Construction, and Best Restoration.

Click here to see all nominations!


Best Adaptive Reuse














Port City
Owner: American Tobacco Holdings LLC
Architect: Walter Parks Architect
Developer: MARAMJEN Investments LLC
Engineer: ONeil Engineering Services
Contractor: KBS Inc.
Tax Credit Consultant: Sadler & Whitehead

Port City is a $28.6 million pioneering economic development project on the historic Route 1 corridor. Not only is it the largest new residential project in this challenged area, the project includes the largest solar installation in Richmond – which greatly reduces utility costs and lowers the project’s carbon footprint. It is a mixed-income, high quality, affordable housing development.

Port City provides 135 units of workforce housing (plus another 147 that are planned), along a bus line. The project is restricted to residents with incomes ranging from $24,200 to $48,400 (for a one-person household), with all-inclusive rents ranging from $648 to $1,297 for one bedroom units. Two bedroom units range from $778 to $1,556. The project will serve households with a mix of incomes that range from 40% of the area median income (AMI) to 80% of AMI, with an average AMI of 60%.

The adaptive re-use of six buildings that were once the American Tobacco Company leaf processing facility includes a number of amenities- too many to list here. The tobacco sheds feature units with an exposed historic timber roof structure and large windows creatively concealed by see-through perforated panels that match the corrugated metal skin of the warehouses.

Best Adaptive Reuse & New Construction













New Clay House II
Owner|Developer: Virginia Supportive Housing
Architect: Johannas Design Group
Engineer: DMWPV (Structural Engineer), Staengl Engineering (MEP), Silvercore (Civil Engineering)
Contractor: KBS Inc.
Tax Credit Consultant: Sadler & Whitehead

New Clay House II may be utilitarian in feel, but it serves the formerly homeless through what can only be described as a remarkable number of individuals and organizations partnering to make a transformational impact.

With this project, Virginia Supportive Housing provides 80 new apartments along with on-site services for the residents.

The process for developing this project was a complicated one, involving historic rehabilitation tax credits – this is not easy when the addition is twice the size of the historic structure!  The project also required a special use permit. The Carver neighborhood voiced support for the project and increasing the existing 47-unit building to 80 housing units.

Virginia Supportive Housing received financing from 25 different individuals and organizations. Many of these organizations had specific design requirements regarding accessibility, energy, environmental design, and longevity of interior and exterior finishes. The new four story addition blends with the existing two-story structure while fulfilling all of these design requirements.

Structured parking tucks into the center of the block, while the courtyard above it provides respite for residents with a space to call their own. The construction meets sustainability requirements with solar panels and a solar hot-water system.
















Owner: Mike Ledesma
Architect: Johannas Design Group
Developer: Charles Bice
Engineer: Speight Marshall Francis (Structural), Dunlap and Partners (MEP) , Kine Vue (Civil)
Contractor: Leipertz Construction
Designer: Helen Reed Design (Interior)

Perch is a local chef’s vision to revitalize the former Joy Garden restaurant as a spectacular space combining architectural and interior design with the culinary arts, while simultaneously invigorating the street. A major reconfiguration of the corner of the building opens a clean, modern facade to clear views of the interior from the street. Rising above the existing building, a new entry atrium creates an iconic glass and steel beacon that both ushers guests into the restaurant and physically directs them toward the open kitchen and chef’s table, where the owner/chef’s personality shines. With its expansive front glazing and atrium entry, Perch energizes West Broad Street, setting the precedent for design in an ever-evolving district.


Best New Construction















7west Townhomes
Owner: Jeremy Connell
Architect: Mario DiMarco Architcts
Developer: Pareto LLC
Engineer: Gradient
Contractor: Capstone Contracting

7West Townhomes is comprised of 12 luxury townhomes that efficiently utilized an awkward triangular shaped lot to create panoramic and breathtaking views of the downtown skyline and James River. With price points in excess of $1.1m, this project redefined the development and housing market, especially in Manchester and South of the James. The project has all the luxury bells and whistles – including amazing views – but also incorporates a sustainable and nearly zero-maintenance exterior material and design palate that reflects Manchester’s industrial past and complements its historic fabric.















Solar Row
Owner | Developer | Contractor: project:Homes
Architect: David Winn
Other Partners: City of Richmond, Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority

Solar Row was built on land that had been vacant for over 12 years, finalizing the last stage of the City of Richmond’s Neighborhoods in Bloom Program in Carver. Neighborhoods in Bloom was a City program begun in 1999 to support the restoration of Richmond’s historic neighborhoods. This project marks the end of the 20-year initiative in Carver. The Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority partnered with project:HOMES for development.

The space was made as dense as possible by building 7 – 13ft. wide “narrow lot” homes that are energy-efficient. The homes are 1,200 square feet, on a small footprint, to maximize efficiency and require fewer materials. The project aims to encourage and facilitate homeownership in a neighborhood with a high concentration of rental units. Each home will be purchased by a buyer making 80% or less of the Area Median Income. The solar panels on each house will produce just as much energy as the homeowner consumes, making the home more affordable by reducing monthly utility payments. Low-income households typically spend 7.2% of their income on utility bills. With the net-zero homes like these, $0 of a household’s income will go towards their energy bill. This project represents an innovative solution to affordable new construction.

Best Placemaking













American Civil War Museum 
Architect | Landscape Architect | Designer: 3north
Engineer: Balzer & Associates Inc. (Structural), Lu + Smith Engineers (MEP), Draper Aden Associates (Civil)
Contractor: Whiting-Turner

The American Civil War Center and the Museum of the Confederacy merged not so long ago to create the American Civil War Museum. The newly reinvigorated organization born of this merger needed a place to call its own — an expanded facility to house consolidated collections and serve as the face for the organization’s updated mission.

A new 30,000 square foot brick and glass building provided connectivity between the existing buildings on the historic Tredegar Ironworks campus and a new wing for the museum. This new structure houses two galleries, an experience theater, and storage for the museum’s collection.

The Tredegar site is one of Richmond’s most historic, reflecting our complex history of industrialization in an era of slavery. Its ruined walls are a tangible connection not only to the economic power of Richmond and the labor force on which it was built, but also to the ironworks that helped fuel the machine of a war that divided a nation but resulted in the emancipation of 3.9 million people.

Those ruined walls are now the connective tissue, a visible icon illuminated behind a unique glass encasement, connecting the buildings on the Tredegar campus to each other and connecting us to our past by offering us the opportunity to better understand that past.

The interior space created by the ruin and the glass wall serves as the main lobby, enabling visitors to get a close look at the historic ruin, while also acting as a gentle delineation between public space outside and the paid exhibits within.

The public space outside is remarkable too. The main plaza not only provides a place for the public to gather around food trucks by the canal, Browns Island and the James River, it also provides a clever solution for an accessible entry, while also raising the ground level of the museum above the James River floodplain.

























Congregation Beth Ahabah
Architect: Shinberg Levinas Architectural Design Inc.
Engineer: Ehlert Bryan Consulting Structural Engineers
Contractor: Kjellstrom & Lee Construction

Sacred places are places for people – de facto community centers.

Congregation Beth Ahabah is one of the oldest congregations in Richmond. It moved to its current location with the completion in 1904 of a magnificent Neo classical structure. Over the years, it expanded its campus to include the 1912 Joel House and a 1957 educational building and several other nearby townhouses. With so many historic structures, Congregation Beth Ahabah realized that many of their facilities were out of date and required improvement for their expanding congregation and the many services it provides.

In 2018, the Partners for Sacred Places calculated the localized economic impact of Congregation Beth Ahabah through their direct spending, schools and daycares, and invisible safety net of community oriented programs was nearly $5 million. With an understanding of their impact on the City, the congregation recommitted to their urban campus with their largest ever financial expenditure.

Now it is important to understand that members of Congregation Beth Ahabah have been making a design impact on Richmond for centuries, hiring architects of note to design homes and commercial establishments of distinction. Indeed, there are many neighborhoods and commercial districts with a unique sense of place entirely attributable to the design sensibility of members of this congregation.

Their design solution here allowed them to maintain activities throughout construction, and to provide the security, accessibility, multi-purpose indoor and outdoor spaces, technology, and efficient HVAC and other systems, all on a small campus and tight building site.

The new modern structure successfully ties together three buildings with different floor elevations and beautifully complements the historic streetscape with its massing, scale and materials. While a cornice line and water table at the base visually connect to architectural elements of neighboring structures, the new building’s design is a bold, modern statement. Important for the congregation’s educational programs, it incorporates religious symbolism, with the unusual two-sided arch at the entrance representing Hebrew letters that spell Life, the 2 tall thin windows split into 5 parts representing the Ten Commandments, and the 8 smaller windows near a 9th larger window representing a menorah.


Randolph Revitalization
Owner|Developer|Contractor|Designer: Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity
Engineer: Obsidian

Randolph Revitalization Partners:
Maggie Walker Community Land Trust, project:Homes, Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity, Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority

So we know that sometimes nominees don’t like it when we move their nominations around to a different category. Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity nominated a single family house, thinking it would be considered with the other residential projects… But we received a very similar nomination last year from another nonprofit – project:HOMES – which was very well received by the judges. While it did not receive an award, we used it as an opportunity to explain the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust and how it works to provide permanently affordable housing. 

So when we discussed this project this year, the judges started discussing the larger impact of the program of which both house projects were a part. You see, Habitat and Project Homes, working together, are transforming the Randolph and Maymont neighborhoods. Their impact is much larger than any single home nomination.

Our judges talked about what placemaking really is – It is making places for people to live, work, play and be. Placemaking builds communities. The purpose of these awards also is to showcase the good things being done in our area and some larger trends.

In July of 2016, the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) announced an initiative to redevelop certain housing into affordable homeownership opportunities through a program with local nonprofits. The homes involved have an interesting history – they were built in the 1940’s and then moved in 1968 from their former location to make way for the Downtown Expressway and into the Randolph and Maymont neighborhoods. At that time, they were given to RRHA by the Richmond Metropolitan Authority for lease or possible sale. At the time RRHA announced its program in 2016, most of the homes had been vacant for at least 10 years and needed major renovations. These historic but humble dwellings were appropriately sized for affordability, making them ideal candidates for preservation and rehabilitation.

Habitat acquired 12 properties and completed rehabbing them in Spring 2019. Based on the success of the first homes, Habitat will rehab another 13 RRHA homes in the area. Project Homes has rehabbed, or will rehab, another two dozen or so homes.

With all of the homes located within a few blocks of each other, this collective rehab work has had a real and meaningful effect on the stability and appearance of the neighborhood.

Even more notable, with so many homes to rehab, the nonprofits took a multi-prong approach in order to better address the larger community housing goal of achieving mixed income neighborhoods. A portion of the homes were earmarked for qualified, low-income Habitat for Humanity homeowners. Others were rehabbed for sale to qualified homeowners earning below 80% of the area median income. Many of these homes will also be owned in partnership with the Maggie Walker Community Land Trust, keeping them affordable in perpetuity.

Had these nonprofits not worked with RRHA, these homes would have been sold at auction, which likely would not have helped stabilize the neighborhood.


Best Single Family Residential – Renovation















135 Liberty Street
Owner | Developer | Contractor: project:Homes
Architect: David Winn
Other Partners: Cameron Foundation, Virginia LISC

135 Liberty Street was project:HOMES’ first shell renovation project in Petersburg and was completed in partnership with the Cameron Foundation and with approval and in cooperation with the Petersburg Architectural Review Board and the Historic Petersburg Foundation. Vacant for 20 years, the home was determined to be an important piece of Petersburg’s historic architecture and in need of preservation. An early 1900s addition on the rear also was restored, the entire roof was replaced with standing seam metal, and the square side porch columns were reproduced. The goal of this project, in addition to the preservation of historic architecture, was to revitalize the Poplar Lawn neighborhood and draw investment to the historic area. project:HOMES has plans to restore at least 4 more homes in the area in partnership with other funders.


Best Single Family Residential – New Construction





















508 W Marshall St
Owner: Keenan Orfalea
Architect: Clinger Design
Contractor: Spruce Construction

508 W. Marshall Street incorporates modern design and sustainable materials while complementing the exteriors of the surrounding brick rowhouses on West Marshall Street. The original plans were altered after the transfer of the property to a new owner. The revised plans featured an open floor plan and increased natural light. On the exterior, the home features a brick façade on Marshall Street and, on the rear, sustainably harvested cedar plank to reduce the environmental impact and provide a modern aesthetic. Other sustainable material choices were made on the interior and modern systems focused on reduced energy consumption, including an internal conduit to facilitate the addition of solar panels on the roof in a later phase. Importantly, the Marshall Street façade incorporates not only the fenestration patterns and cornice lines of the nearby homes but also their brick material palette. With most builders promoting the use of fiber cement siding and a generic Italianate design, we appreciate the owner working with the Commission of Architectural Review to create a modern house that beautifully complements an intact block of Jackson Ward brick rowhouses.

Best Restoration














Rice House Restoration
Owner: David and Christy Cottrell
Architect | Landscape Architect: 3north
Engineer: Ehlert Bryan Consulting Structural Engineers
Contractor: Mako Builders
Interior Designer: Todd Yoggy
Historic Architecture Consulting: Sadler & Whitehead

The Rice House was designed in 1963 by Richard Neutra – considered among the most prominent and important modernist architects in the world, a leader of the International style. Neutra’s domestic architecture was a blend of art, landscape, and practical comfort. This is considered by many to be one of Richmond’s best modernist buildings, a style that came to define much of 20th century architecture, internationally and nationally.

Modernist buildings face the same risks as buildings of other architectural styles and eras – age, deterioration, insensitive or irreversible alterations, and neglect. But Modernist buildings also face additional and different risks, such as public apathy, technical challenges, and functional obsolescence. Modernist era materials, once considered “space age” do not, in fact, age well.

Modernist structures, particularly modernist masterpieces like this one, come with their own restoration challenges. Minimalist by nature, they are unforgiving of imperfections, requiring the highest quality workmanship. Every piece of framing material must be perfectly square and true.

The original design and construction process was carefully documented by original owners Walter and Inger Rice and conveyed to the new owners, whose goal was to be good stewards of the property. To maintain historic authenticity, the restoration work incorporated many of the original materials Neutra sourced in 1963 – from marble from the original Georgia quarry to the original exterior door manufacturer to match the custom sliding glass doors. New building infrastructure was hidden and new materials like rosewood and terrazzo flooring material were consistent with the original design.

Working on an island with bridge weight limits presented additional logistical difficulties. The island’s naturally rocky terrain and windier and colder microclimate presented landscaping challenges, which were overcome while honoring Neutra’s theory of biorealism, embracing the rock outcroppings and natural plant life to create a landscape design that fully knits the architecture and its occupants into a healthful, natural setting, honoring the architect’s vision while addressing today’s style of living.


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