The Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center at Virginia Wesleyan University was always intended to improve the performing arts facilities of the university and provide a new front door to the campus. Core to the mission was a focus on the theater as an educational space that would prepare performers and technicians alike for future work in professional theater. Highlights include adjustable acoustics, counter-weight rigging system, and various shop spaces.
This new multi-purpose building is 44,500 square feet over two primary levels in the same location as the existing Perry Family Auditorium that it replaces and the northern wing of Everett Hall. The building brings arts and science under one roof and includes a 450-seat theater with orchestra, parterre, balcony, and box seating; state-of-the art multi-disciplinary fabrication lab and maker space; over 10,500-SF of academic space; flexible, open classrooms promoting cross-disciplinary collaboration; and seamless connections to existing campus buildings. Construction to be complete in 2023.
240-unit apartment building three blocks from the Atlantic featuring a clubhouse, pool, and 535-space parking garage.
This “Swiss Army knife” of a building needed to fit its multiple disparate functions under one roof, in an emerging urban corridor, and within the neighborhood despite its size.
The mixed-use headquarters for ForKids was designed to support the non-profit’s goal of ending family homelessness. The trauma-informed design creates a calm and welcoming environment for families going through difficult times: natural materials; soft, natural lighting; and avoidance of an “institutional” feel.
Along with spaces to accommodate the administrative work of the ForKids staff, the building includes facilities to help stabilize and get families back on their feet: temporary, emergency housing with 135 beds; a pantry; a commercial kitchen and dining area; warehouse space for a thrift store operated by ForKids; intake offices; storage spaces; records room; and a state-of-the-art education center that includes classrooms, a STEM lab, maker spaces, and tutoring rooms.
This six-building campus is organized around a student “green.” The campus includes the main classroom building, a gymnasium, a two-story media center, a distant-learning center, auditorium, administration building, dining and kitchen facilities, and athletic fields.
Time-honored materials, such as tumbled-brick, stone, granite, copper, and slate complement the traditional feel of the surrounding neighborhood.
Held in Sewell’s Point in 1907, the Jamestown Exposition celebrated the 300th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown in 1607. New roads, streetcar lines, piers, and hotels had to be in place for the expected millions of visitors to the exposition. The Savoy, at 161 Granby St., was one of those hotels.
For more than a century, though, the building was most famous for its distinctive 21-inch northward tilt, earning it the moniker The Leaning Tower of Granby, and the building deteriorated to the point that it was condemned. Our team’s structural engineer, Speight Marshall and Francis, determined that the building was structurally sound despite the tilt, and in 2016 Marathon Development acquired the building, with the goal to rehabilitate and straighten it. Straightening a building that tall had never been accomplished before.
Correcting the lean on the building involved first removing non load-bearing walls, heavy plasterwork, and existing steel framework. Historic masonry walls were removed from the first two floors so a horizontal steel frame could be installed to connect all 21 columns. The team used 84 custom-made 200,000-lb jacks, eight inches in diameter. A hydraulic manifold supplied hydraulic fluid from a pump to the jacks to transfer the entire building load to the columns and into the jacking system. The columns were then cut between collars that were installed on each. This freed the building from its foundation, allowing the straightening process to begin. Even though the team was confident that the building had stopped settling 100 years ago, the foundation was stabilized with 122 helical screw piles, screwed 65-feet deep and connected to the existing pile caps. Once the jacks were energized, the lifting of the building took four days.
On the first day, workers cautiously raised the jacks a half inch. After inspecting the building for cracks and any other potential damage, the process continued, inch by inch. Some columns as little as one inch; others more than twelve. When the jacking process was complete and the building leveled again for the first time in more than 100 years, the columns were repaired with reinforcing and concrete.
The renovations that followed the straightening transformed the building. The interior of the building had been nearly gutted by a previous owner. The building was rehabilitated by retaining and preserving remaining historic features and inserting compatible finishes to restore the building for the residential apartments above and retail use on the ground floor. Remnants of previous systems were removed, and modern, code-compliant systems were installed for the building’s new use.
Office spaces above became 44 new apartments with modern amenities and the details and charm of a century-old building. Historic windows were retained where possible; windows unable to be salvaged were replaced with custom-fabricated ones to match those in historic photos. Storm windows were appended the historic sash for energy efficiency. Contemporary compatible wood flooring and ceramic tiles in bathrooms were installed in the apartments. The vast majority of historic woodwork, trim, and doors in the interior was missing. What remained was retained in place where salvageable, and what was beyond repair was replicated.
The retail footprint was extended back to its original configuration based on historic images and delineations in the floor pattern. Efforts were focused on restoring the historic ornamental plaster ceilings in the first floor retail area as this is the character-defining element and the plaster there was the most intact. Molds were taken to reproduce the missing or unsalvageable pieces. The exterior finish masonry that was removed by hand to allow for the jacking process was reinstalled where possible. Any missing bricks were replaced with additional bricks purchased as new to match the historic.
A new cornice was added along the roof on Granby Street and City Hall. New canopies of steel, aluminum, and polycarbonate to match historic photos were installed over entry doors on Granby and City Hall.
The design and construction team encountered numerous unforeseen conditions, design challenges, and logistical opportunities during this unique historic renovation. While the jacking process is laid out simply here, the actual process was highly complex and required seventy pages of drawings for each step in the straightening. The efforts to restore and preserve historical appearances throughout the building could fill a book. The building that was once a blight on the renaissance of downtown Norfolk, surrounded with seemingly permanent scaffolding and netting, now contributes to the forward motion and future of Norfolk while preserving its historic charm.
The LEED Simonsdale Elementary School is an 80,000 SF two-story building for 780 students. The school is supported on reinforced concrete spread footings. Steel columns, beams, and open-web bar joists support floors and roofs. Super-insulated metal panels rise above precast concrete base, providing a maintenance-free and energy-efficient building. The central theme that emerged in planning the school was one of flexibility. Each classroom provides space that can be configured however a teacher sees fit using furniture on casters.
The vegetated roof is visible from the street, and louvers and overhangs protect windows on the south side. Rain water is filtered by the vegetated roof, rain gardens, and pervious concrete pavers in the parking areas. Recycled material and responsibly harvested wood products lessen the building’s draw on natural resources. Completed in August 2011.
The 84,500-SF Student Center and its connecting bridge to the 56,000-SF Student Services Center create a gateway from campus residential spaces to the academic spaces and central quad, providing common dining and gathering space for students and faculty alike. The project began with demolition of the original 1967 student commons and redesign of a 2006 building plan. TMA worked within the constraints of the 2006 footprint to minimize impact to the site and to expedite the construction and permitting process, while completely revising the exterior style and interior configuration of the building.
The Student Center is widely known as “the hub” of the Norfolk State University student experience. It is home to the university bookstore, a fitness and training center, food court and dining area, meeting rooms, board room, offices, and a multi-purpose room/auditorium with an indoor/outdoor stage.
Durability and functionality were important considerations in interior design and furnishing selections. A seamless transition between spaces was maintained by using repeated materials such as cherry hardwood, brushed metal finishes, and the school colors of green and gold. A key factor was a level of flexibility that allows for collaborative, impromptu gatherings in both public and more private spaces.
The Consolidated Arts Project includes the Barry Arts Building and the James A. Hixon Studio Arts Building and Annex. The Barry Arts Building is a new 3-story, 39,000-SF facility located in the University Village. The new building includes two libraries: The Jean Outland Chrysler Library (reflecting permanent collections of the Chrysler Museum of Art) and the Elise Hofheimer Art Library. The collection of more than 112,000 rare and unique volumes, more than 50,000 monographs, and other materials relating to the history of art is regarded as one of the most significant art libraries in the South. The Barry Arts Building is also home to a variety of art studio and learning spaces as well as multiple departments of administrative offices. The Hixon Studio Arts Building is a 2-story, 26,000 SF new arts facility located adjacent to Barry Arts and was completed in the spring of 2015.
The Barry Arts Building won an HRACRE Award of Merit for Best Institutional/Public Building in 2015.
The 2007 Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Center (2007) is a 32-acre education, technology and research campus straddling Suffolk and Portsmouth. Buildings include VMASC, 2 stories; MAST 1, 3 stories; and Tri-Cities, 2 stories. The Tri-Cities Center is an office, classroom, and research facility. The architectural design includes a glass atrium that is both the central meeting area and technology showcase. The exterior brick walls and roof planes are accentuated to create the impression of moving, dynamic surfaces representative of modeling and simulation. The building won the HRACRE (Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate) Award of Excellence for Best Institutional/ Public Building in 2008.