Without doubt, Thomas Jefferson is our most famous local architect. But Jefferson is not the only architect who contributed something grand to the Old Dominion’s building sense, and Central Virginia Architecture Week has set out to demonstrate that fact.
According to Jenny Koster of event sponsor VMDO Architects, the purpose of Architecture Week is to celebrate and recognize the contributions of architects and architecture to the quality of life in Virginia communities. Of particularly high interest to the general public, Koster says, are tours of Charlottesville architects’ homes, which are offered on Sunday, April 14.
Five architects will be featured in the self-guided tours, including Kevin and Carrie Burke, of the American Institute of Architects, who have built a new residence on Park Street whose house emphasizes the effects of light. On Farish Street, Edward Ford molded urban leftovers into a home that is beautiful and creative. UVA Architecture Dean Karen van Lengen opens her home at Pavilion 9 on the West Lawn, illustrating ways that a home can be creative and modern in concert with the historic façade of the Pavilions.
Three other UVA Architecture professors’ tours take visitors a bit further out of town. In Batesville and North Garden, Peter Waldman, Robin Dripps, and Lucia Phinney have combined the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge with experimental touches to create exciting houses.
In addition to the tours, internationally renowned artist James Turrell offers a lecture on Friday, April 12. Turrell works with artificial and natural light to create three-dimensional light sculptures that have contributed to the architectural world’s understanding of light and its relationship to design and landscape.
Throughout the week of April 15-19, Charlottesville businesses will display models of recent architectural projects from local firms in their storefronts, and UVA architectural historian and writer Richard Guy Wilson will present and sign his new book, Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, at the New Dominion Bookshop on April 16. All these events are part of the programs planned for Architecture Week, so whether your interests lie in the creative or the concrete, now is the time to get out and explore.
The Central Virginia chapter of the American Institute of Architects, in conjunction with the Virginia Society of the AIA, sponsors Architecture Week from April 12 through April 20. Events happen throughout the week, and information on exact times and dates can be obtained by calling 296-5684. All events are free and open to the public, except for the Architect Home Tour, for which there is a $10 fee.