Preservation Spotlight – Restoring a Helical Newel Post

One recent project found us briefly stumped over a battered ornamental newel post. We did some research and found out a lot more than the building owner expected. G&HA Project Manager Linda Coile, working with our in-house preservation specialists, was able to turn it into a miniature triumph of sorts.

One of Glavé & Holmes’ recent projects illuminates the interesting quirks found in significant historic properties and the technical innovation and historic expertise needed to make them whole when they have been damaged through hard usage over time.  The Brody Jewish Center, located in the University Corner neighborhood in Charlottesville, has served as a student center for Jewish students at the University of Virginia since 1949.

Watts House in 1945, before it became the Jewish Student Center.

The compact, two-story, stuccoed brick house incorporates details derived from English Arts and Crafts country houses of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  The architect included some details that are associated with American Colonial Revival designs.

The historic building was originally a residence completed in 1914 for Professor Stephen H. Watts and his family. It represents architect Eugene Bradbury’s work, one of the most innovative and accomplished designers working in Charlottesville in the early twentieth century. The Brody Jewish Center engaged the team of Martin Horn and Glavé & Holmes Architecture to evaluate and rehabilitate the historic portion of the existing facility. 

The restored entry hall at the Brody Jewish Student Center

As might be expected from the exterior, the interior of the Watts-Hillel House is provided with a high degree of finish and detail. The most significant interior is the entry passage. This is treated as a fully paneled 18th-century hall with an elegantly detailed staircase. The stair features wide paneled tread ends supported by applied scrolled brackets, three turned balusters per tread, ramped and eased molded rail with helical turned “barley sugar” secondary newels, and a substantial turned bottom newel with an undercut double helix surround. This masterful example of craftsmanship had been treated roughly by generations of students and was hardly recognizable. The helical portion had broken mostly off.

GH&A architectural historian Gibson Worsham recognized the detail from past reading. With a little focused research on the kinds of books available to the architect in 1914, he identified it as being derived from an important New England house dating from 1755.  The carved newel in the Mary Lindall House in Salem, Massachusetts, has the same form, but the Charlottesville example, while incorporating the helical surround, had been much simplified.

The newel was judged to be too damaged to restore and instead a copy was made by the millwork shop at Gaston and Wyatt in Charlottesville, produced on a CNC Router. Here is the final result!  

Top Mixed-Use Project 2020 Awarded to The Westhampton on Grove Development

Congrats to the Urban Architecture Studio on the recent Greater Richmond Association for Commercial Real Estate 2020 Award for work on the Westhampton on Grove Development! The three-story building houses retail on the first floor (including Taste Unlimited gourmet market; Mango Salon and a Long & Foster location), offices on the second floor, and residential units on the third floor.

Civil Engineer and Landscape Architect: HG Design Studio

Structural Engineer: Speight Marshall & Francis

Contractor: Taylor & Parrish

Owner: Westhampton, LLC

Developers: Stefan Cametas and Jason Guillot

Read more about this year’s GRACRE award winners HERE

Glavé & Holmes Architecture Publishes Book Reflecting on Its Legacy

Firm Has Over 50 Years of Transformational Projects in Virginia and Beyond

Glavé & Holmes Architecture, a nationally recognized architecture, interior design, and planning firm, published a book reflecting on the firm’s legacy. Elevating the Human Spirit: The Architecture of Glavé & Holmes showcases many of the firm’s signature projects over the past five decades (1965-2015) and provides insight on the philosophy that great architecture can elevate the human spirit.

“We are honored that our firm has served so many communities and created a legacy that celebrates the power of architecture to elevate the human spirit,” said Randy Holmes, AIA, Senior Principal and President at Glavé & Holmes. “This book has been a labor of love for many at the firm as we seek to honor the past, salute the present, and speak to the future.”

Throughout its history, Glavé & Holmes has been at the center of many transformational projects throughout the Richmond region, Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond, including service to academia, cultural institutions, resorts and spas, residences, and urban architecture.

The 61-person firm now boasts seven studios serving a variety of markets, including higher education, cultural institutions, urban architecture, hospitality, and interior design. The firm recently announced the launch of its seventh and newest studio focused on historic preservation.

Founded in 1965, Glave & Holmes has for over five decades, created a lasting impact in Virginia and around the country. Local projects in the Richmond region include the Valentine renovation, the Robinson House at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Virginia Museum of History and Culture renovation and addition, University of Richmond Carole Weinstein International Center, Westhampton on Grove Mixed-Use Development, and Virginia War Memorial Paul & Phyllis Galanti Education Center.

The firm also has worked on a wide array of impactful projects throughout the Mid Atlantic.

In addition to showcasing signature projects and exploring the firm’s approach to architecture, the book also pays tribute to the firm’s founders, James Glavé, Pete Anderson and Bill Newman. The book is dedicated to Jim Glavé, who mentored and transitioned the firm to Holmes.

“Jim was a true visionary,” added Holmes. “His ethos continues to inform our firm’s mission to this day. He was a champion of historic preservation and a contextual approach to architecture in which we explore the specific context of time and place for every project.” Copies of Elevating the Human Spirit: The Architecture of Glavé & Holmes are available on Amazon

Design Awards for Carr’s Hill at the University of Virginia

Carr’s Hill, a project completed by Glavé & Holmes Architecture, in collaboration with Associated Architects John G Waite Associates, was awarded the first place for Historic Preservation at the IIDA Virginia & West Virginia Chapter/ASID IDEAS Awards, AIA Virginia’s Excellence in Design Historic Preservation Honor Award as well as the Historic Preservation Merit Award from AIA Richmond. Congratulations to the whole team. Well done!

https://www.aiava.org/tag/design-awards/

Virginia Museum of History & Culture to begin $30 million renovation

Congrats to the Cultural Studio and the hard work on the VMHC for the $30 million renovation that will add a new café, theater and green space. Read more about the renovation HERE.

Richmond Hill Restoration

Glavé & Holmes performed a historic structures report in 2017 for the historic monastic complex known as Richmond Hill. This report has begun a restoration of the organization’s 42,000-square-foot building and its surrounding 2.1-acre campus in Richmond, Virginia.

Richard Adams House, Monte Maria Convent, before 1893.

45.15.267 Monte Maria Convent between 21st and 22nd - Valentine Collection

The hill-top location, first developed in the 1780s, became the site of several architecturally significant houses. These were adapted in the 1860s as a school and convent operated by the Catholic Sisters of the Visitation. After years of occupation and several building campaigns, including construction of a chapel and dormitory, the sisters moved to a new location, providing an opportunity for the ecumenical Richmond Hill community to purchase and thoroughly rehabilitate the complex and its walled garden.

Read the full article about this building’s history and restoration process HERE.

 

Robinson House Rehabilitation

Congrats to the Cultural Studio for their work on the VMFA Robinson House Rehabilitation.  “For 20 years it was vacant and used for storage, until we rehabilitated the building and brought it back to life.” -Steven Blashfield, Cultural Studio Director

Read the full article about this building’s rehabilitation as a gallery and tourist center in Richmond, Virginia HERE.

Westhampton School Development lands Spider Management as first office tenant

Congrats to the Urban Architecture Studio on the recent updates to the Westhampton School Development! Spider Management, an investment firm owned by the University of Richmond, recently leased the entire top floor of this project. We are happy to see the mixed-use residential, office, and retail spaces as well as a Bon Secours medical facility, begin to take shape with plans for the school building to be complete in December.

Read the full article HERE

How to bring historic buildings new life and purpose

Given the current health and safety concerns among students, their parents, faculty, staff and administrators, universities are rightly adjusting campus and facility plans. Read insights from Susan Reed, our Director of Historic Preservation about how to bring historic buildings new life and purpose on university campuses.

Read the full article HERE

As a society, we can and must do better.

In the past week, we’ve seen and heard a rising chorus of voices shouting against the evils of racism and systemic oppression. We stand in solidarity with the Black community and others who are fighting against racism, inequity, and oppression in our communities and throughout the country. Glavé & Holmes Architecture believes in elevating the human spirit. Our collective spirit can’t be fully realized or elevated until we’ve dismantled systems of oppression. As a firm, we are committed to listening, learning, advocating for social justice, and helping to build a more equitable and inclusive future. As a society, we can and must do better.