2018 Golden Hammer Award Winners


Historic Richmond and storefront for community design are excited to announce the winners of the Golden Hammer Awards. With over 35 submissions there were over 150 people in attendance on November 1 to support those who were nominated.  It was a wonderful night to celebrate the variety of nominations and how each project brought new life to our historic built environment and their impact on our communities. 10 Golden Hammer Awards were given in the categories of Best Adaptive Reuse, Best New Construction, Best Placemaking, Best Residential, and Best Restoration.

Click here to see all nominations!

Best Adaptive Reuse

Richmond Ballet

Owner|Developer: Richmond Ballet
Architect|Interior Design: 3north
Engineer: DMWPV and Lu + Smith
Contractor: Conquest Moncure & Dunn, Inc.

Richmond Ballet’s rehabilitation of their underutilized lower level is a remarkable example of a non-profit creatively finding new program space within their existing facilities.

To support their Minds in Motion program for Richmond school children, the Richmond Ballet needed to add two new dance studios, new locker rooms, and a new costume storage area. A renovation in 2000 of this historic Reynolds Metals facility turned the upper floors into office and dance spaces, ultimately leaving the lower level untouched.

To use the lower level several major challenges had to be overcome. First, large concrete columns supporting the three stories above had to be removed to create the large spaces needed for dance space. The solution required installing large steel beams and new footings through careful demolition and construction. Next, the existing stairs were steep, dark and dangerous. To create a safe, beautiful path from the lobby to the lower level required removing the floor in an entire column bay and building a large stair with bleacher seating, giving students a place to warm up and wait between classes.

1717 Innovation Center

Owner|Developer: Capital One
Architect|Designer: SMBW, PLLC
Contractor: Gilbane Building Company
Landscape Architect: Tilage Studio

A 100 year-old tobacco warehouse rehabilitated and adaptively reused to house a magnet for entrepreneurial activity in the place where our city began. The 1717 Innovation Center is a business incubator, housing the non-profit Start-Up Virginia. This 5-story heavy-timber tobacco warehouse in Shockoe Bottom is home to Capital One’s Future Edge program, which facilitates investment in local businesses and mentoring opportunities to start-ups.

The project scope included a complete renovation of the existing warehouse to include new building systems, the addition of a 6th level for larger meeting functions, an outdoor rooftop terrace, and vertical transportation systems. Respecting the historic tradition and character of the building while emphasizing the modern building additions, the project juxtaposes new and old to celebrate its history while providing opportunities for local entrepreneurs to build the businesses of the future.

The space can host up to 50 startups at one time, from single-owner to 8-10 person teams. — And — it was at full capacity before the project was even completed – reflecting the demand in Richmond for such incubator space.

Best New Construction

Jefferson Green Condominiums

Owner|Developer: Richard Cross, Hollyport Ventures
Architect: R. Michael Cross Design Group
Contractor: Health-E Community Enterprise of Virginia

A LEED certified, urban infill condominium building in historic Union Hill showcasing how energy efficient structures can be integrated into historic neighborhoods,

As the first multi-unit residential LEED for Homes project in the City of Richmond, Jefferson Green Condos is an in-fill project on a complicated site. The site is fill dirt from trolley construction in the late 1800s. Two duplexes which once stood here were demolished in the 1970s due to improper foundations. Construction here was made possible only by the installation of 37 concrete pilings and a 24″ grade beam foundation.

The developers worked with the Commission of Architectural Review to ensure the exterior of the building would be compatible with the existing historic fabric in the neighborhood. Design of the interiors was focused on energy efficiency and sustainability while also including all the modern amenities.

Best Placemaking

Monroe Park

Owner|Developer: City of Richmond, Monroe Park Conservancy
Landscape Architect: 3north

One of Richmond’s oldest parks, was renovated through a partnership among the City of Richmond, the Monroe Park Conservancy, and the people of Richmond. The renovation included comprehensive upgrades to the Park’s underground infrastructure and significant improvements to the Park’s surface amenities.

The overall layout and features of Monroe Park were preserved, including the historic radial paths, which were converted to compacted stone dust and raised to the level of the park lawns. Secondary paths were narrowed and park lighting reduced in height to reinforce the pedestrian scale. New brick perimeter sidewalks incorporate a substantial planting of American Elms.

The restored historic cast-iron fountain remains at the park’s center. The rehabilitated Checkers House has space for park security staff and a food vendor. A new plaza with movable tables and chairs surrounds the facility. And you have to see it when the piano is out! Other park amenities include table tennis, and quoits courts, a Bikeshare station, and a bikeway. Broad play lawns provide flexible outdoor space, while a new pavilion provides an additional opportunity for sheltered activity.

Approximately 130 new trees were planted, selected from the park’s historic plant palette. Canopy trees were arranged by species in allées along primary paths radiating from the central fountain. Perimeter plantings buffer park visitors from vehicular traffic.

Stormwater runoff mitigation was key. The park has an 8- to 9-foot drop in elevation from west to east. Permeable pavers at the entrances and plazas along with bio-filtration perimeter planters collect and retain the 8-acre park’s rainwater to reduce the discharge of stormwater into the James River.

Institute for Contemporary Art

Architect: Holl Architects and BCWH Architects
Engineer: Arup, Ascent Engineering Group, Silman, and VHB
Contractor: Gilbane Building Company
Landscape Architect: Michael Boucher Landscape Architecture

One of the most anticipated new buildings on a national basis, the ICA has quickly become a familiar landmark at the Corner of Broad and Belvidere, one of Richmond’s busiest intersections. This complex building of dynamic movement incorporates space for exhibitions, film screenings, public lectures, performances, and engages not only the University but the City and beyond. Drawing international attention from national architectural periodicals, artists and tens of thousands of visitors in the few months it’s been open, the ICA has augmented Richmond’s reputation as an artistic incubator. Drawing local attention are the glowing planes of obscure glass which activate the exterior at night.

Exposed concrete beams and planks in the galleries complement the concrete floors. The galleries are flexible and can accept a wide range of art installations. The performance space seats up to 240.

One side of this striking building opens to the City, the other to the VCU Campus, thereby forming a connection between City and campus. On the ground level, the café opens onto the terrace. Paved in bluestone gravel, a large reflecting pool shapes the sense of this garden as a “thinking field.” We “think” this is an amazing placemaking project that not only welcomes the public, connecting campus and community for provocative conversations around art and society, but also – through its aspirational and transformational space – sets the bar for Richmond’s future architectural legacy!

Best Residential

125 N. 25th Street

Owner|Developer: Todd and Neely Dykshorn
Architect: Architecture Design Office
Engineer: Balzer & Associates
Contractor: Kiwi Development and Greenleaf Builders
Designer: Todd Dykshorn

A renovation of a historic 1840s frame house with a contemporary glass box addition. 125 N. 25th Street is a rare surviving example of a 19th-century tenement in Church Hill, just up the street from Richmond’s historically industrial riverfront. The front portion dates to 1846 and features 2 mirror halves on either side of a chimney. On each side, one room up and one down, every room with a fireplace and stair. A later shed roof addition housed kitchen and baths.

The project – which was led by the homeowner/architect and involved review by CAR – restored the historic tenement with the original footprint of the historic rooms, reconstructed the deteriorated older addition and extended the living space with a 2 story steel framed glass box, which preserved the character of the historic building and minimized the scale of the new addition. Outdoor spaces were organized against a ten foot high historic granite wall at the property’s north edge.

2013 & 12015 Venable Street

Owner|Developer|Contractor: project:HOMES
Architect: David Winn

These properties at 2013 & 2015 Venable Street are within the Union Hill Old and Historic District and were noted as the worst homes on the block. 2 of 5 homes built in 1882 by R.P. Boze, these homes are distinctive in that the facades are angled to align with Venable Street. Both sat vacant for years, and endured near catastrophic deterioration – from the vagaries of time, long term disinvestment and even an oncoming car. Project:HOMES worked with CAR to restore the exteriors as closely to the original structure as possible. The project hand reproduced the property’s original architectural features, such as the cornice. At 2013 Venable, high quality and sustainable fiber cement siding replaced the unrepairable historic wood siding. The siding of 2015 Venable is real wood, used to maintain the historic look of the home. The completed homes were sold to families that earn at or below 80% AMI. This project demonstrates how preserving the unique historic architectural fabric and use of high quality sustainable materials to provide affordable housing can strengthen a neighborhood, overcome the inertia of chronic disinvestment and build pride of place.

Best Restoration

Holly Lawn

Owner: Leslie Stack and Frank Rizzo
Architect: Glavé and Holmes Architecture
Engineer: Lynch Mykins
Contractor: Restoration Builders of Virginia

Holly Lawn is a Queen Anne-style house designed by renowned Richmond architect D. Wiley Anderson and built in 1901. Listed on the National Register, Holly Lawn is one of Anderson’s best – with a buff colored brick façade, decorative detailing, fishscale slate roof slates, polygonal towers, and roof finials.

The home was remarkably well preserved – so beautiful that it was included on the 2015 Historic Garden Week tour. Then, in 2016, the owners returned from dinner to find a large oak tree smashed through the house. It caused extensive damage –inside and out – to the architectural detailing and finishes, the roof, and structural elements. The damage was so bad it drew crowds of gawkers, souvenir collectors and the press.

The Owners were undaunted and began the process of restoring order to their lives. This was easier said than done. Insurance issues – Don’t even get us started. It would have been easier to give up. Most people would have. But with a great team and extensive research they persevered using restoration approaches compatible with the original construction. To keep the house dry during roof reconstruction, a temporary structure was built over the residence.

Architectural elements were salvaged where possible and replicated to replace those beyond repair. New slate roof tiles were quarried from Buckingham County – the source of the original roof slate. Salvaged wood was used for roof framing repairs in the attic. New wood used during the restoration was rough sawn and stained to match the existing. Salvaged brick was carefully inspected to ensure its suitability for reuse, and mortar color mock-ups were used to match new with existing brick.

Main Street Station Train Shed

Owner|Developer: City of Richmond
Architect: Beyer Blinder Belle and SMBW, PLLC
Engineer: HCYU and Silman
Landscape Architect: Timmons Group

Originally open air, the train shed was built in 1901 and is a National Historic Landmark, important – in its own right – on a national basis for its design and construction.

These days we think of big buildings as no big deal. We can build anything from football stadiums to airports with big roofs covering large expanses. But in 1901, building a massive open air train shed to shield six to eight trains shoulder to shoulder, together with their passenger platforms, was a design and construction challenge. Richmond’s Train Shed was viewed at its time as quite progressive.

Approximately the size of two football fields laid end to end – Richmond’s Train Shed has a distinctive gable roof. It is one of the last gable roofed sheds to be built and is one of the country’s last still standing.

The Train Shed is also important because it is one of the earliest examples of riveted steel truss construction, a technology that made skyscrapers possible. The only historic architectural fabric that survives from the1901 construction is this riveted steel. To insure this was perfectly repainted, the project was broken into zones, prepped, primed and painted with the greatest care.

Because the roof structure is so important, the restoration hides everything mechanical and electrical from view and the beautiful trusses and roof are not aesthetically impacted by building systems. Another challenge was restoring a building in between TWO active railroad trestles. Crane placement was super challenging because Shockoe Creek is in a 27′ arch sewer that runs along the entire west side right under grade and the crane could not sit on the arch and the east side could not host a crane due to electrical lines.

What is the impact of a 47,000 SF GLASS shed prominently located next to I-95, custom lit in LED lighting? 65 million people pass by each year. This is the last grand landmark on I-95 from Richmond to Miami. You might call it our Eiffel Tower. You might call this the power of place to create spaces that are welcoming, connecting, aspirational and transformational. You might say it lights the way towards a shared vision for Shockoe and our City. You might call it a Game Changer.

 The Round Building

Owner: Rick Hood
Architect: Walter Parks Architects
Engineer: Dunlap and Partners
Contractor: Restoration Builders of Virginia
Landscape Architect: Four Winds Design
Tax Credit Consultant: Sadler & Whitehead Architects

A restored mid-century modern office building with a distinctive circular design.

Sometimes it takes time and distance to appreciate a particular architectural style. For some, Modern buildings may be considered too young to be historic, too outdated to be fashionable, and too costly to maintain the once innovative architectural and character defining features. Those flat roofs and big windows leak a lot! As a result, some consider these buildings just plain ugly and thus unworthy of preservation.

We could not disagree more! This tax credit restoration of the former Higgins Medical Office building to serve as office and training space for Ellwood Thompsons preserved the historic integrity of this mid-century modern structure. Designed by Northern Virginia architects of Deigert and Yerkes, this building is more commonly known as the “round building”. It features a concrete structure and large wooden door, floor to ceiling windows, a flat roof and a private courtyard. To increase the overall usable space and increase the historic building’s energy efficiency, the old gas boiler heating system in the central utility core was replaced with a high-efficiency VRF system placed within the existing ceiling cavity. This mechanical change opened up the utility core to create a large flex space for everything from cooking and nutrition seminars to yoga classes.

The restoration was so well received by the family of the original owner that they gifted the original lobby furniture, including the curved coffee table made by Dr. Higgins.

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