DESIGNMONTH RVA: APRIL 2016 by Modern Richmond

RICHMOND, VA— Look for a variety of architecture and design-related activities and events in April as The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design and Modern Richmond Tour join forces for the first DesignMonth RVA

“We have enjoyed a long and successful relationship with The Branch,” says Modern Richmond Tour co-founder Andrea Levine, “and are honored to be their modern design partner in this new annual program that will continue to position Richmond as a leader in the discussion of the impact of great design.”

“Richmond is a vibrant area with beautiful historic and modern examples of design and architecture,” says The Branch Museum Director Dr. Craig Reynolds. “We’re filling the month of April with presentations, tours and roundtable conversations to engage in meaningful dialog with Richmonders on the benefits of thoughtful design in 2016 and in the coming years.”

Look for more details on these DesignMonth RVA events:

  • Thursday, April. 7, 6-8 p.m. Beauty in the Details: The Classical Tradition of Downtown Richmond. Join architectural historian Calder Loth for his presentation held in partnership with Historic Richmond at The Branch. Tickets are $20. Register at https://www.historicrichmond.com/event/beauty-in-the-details-the-classical-tradition-in-downtown-richmond/
  • April 10 – 16, 2016 National Architecture Week (NAW). A public awareness campaign from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) dedicated to increasing attention to the role architects play as a force for positive change in our communities and to elevate the public’s appreciation of design. NAW is annually held during the birthday week of our nation’s first president/architect, Thomas Jefferson (April 12).
  • Wednesday, April 13, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tour Richmond’s New Quirk HotelEnjoy this insightful tour hosted by Modern Richmond Tour as a part of the AIA Richmond Architecture Week in celebration of National Architecture Week. Sponsored by Quirk Hotel, LaDiff and Arias LLC Design + Build Studio. Look for upcoming registration details at www.modernrichmondtour.com
  • Sunday, April 17, 2 p.m. Exclusive Tour of the Branch House and Garden. Take a behind-the-scenes look at rarely seen rooms at the Branch and get a more in-depth understanding of its significance and that of its architect John Russell Pope. Hosted by The Branch. Register at www.branchmuseum.org.
  • Wednesday, April 20, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tour 5500 Riverside DriveExplore this beautifully renovated 1950s-era Westover Hills home hosted by Modern Richmond Tour. Sponsored by Patrick Sullivan of One South Realty and developer Jeremy Connell. Look for upcoming registration details at www.modernrichmondtour.com
  • Thursday, April 21, 5-7:30 p.m. Community Roundtable: Cohousing and Sustainability. Examine concepts of community cohousing and sustainability with members of Richmond Cohousing at The Branch. Sponsored by Richmond Cohousing, John Zeugner and The Branch. Register at www.branchmuseum.org
  • Saturday, April 23, 1:30 p.m. Curator led Gallery Tour of the Historic American Buildings Survey: Documenting Virginia’s Architectural Heritage exhibition. Free event at The Branch. 
  • Thursday, April 28, 7-9 p.m. Modern Tide: Midcentury Architecture on Long Island. Discover the work of Long Island’s best post war architects and designers in this film at The Branch. Sponsored by Arias LLC Design + Build Studio and LaDiff. Register at www.branchmuseum.org

Modern Richmond Tour is committed to the concept of understanding and appreciating modernism in all of its forms. We believe that Richmond has the resources and the potential to be a significant platform for modern projects. Our hope and mission is to promote and explore these original expressions of modern aesthetics in a way that both engages and delivers modernism to a larger audience. Learn more at www.modernrichmondtour.com

The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design is located at 2501 Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia's historic Fan District. The mission of The Branch is to reveal the inherent beauty of the created form and space, igniting a passion for design. The Branch is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Learn more at www.branchmuseum.org.

MRT RECAP: 20 W. Leigh Street by Modern Richmond

March 9, 2016

For those who were unable to attend our season opening tour at 20 W. Leigh Street, we offer you this final look at the 2900 square foot, three level home of John Ryan and Wesley Chenault in the historic Jackson Ward district.

Working with design architects Josh McCullar and Katie Cortez of SMBW and builder John Gray of Peak 3 Construction, the collaborative effort resulted in a structure that fits seamlessly within this important Richmond neighborhood. 

The primary goals of the house for John and Wesley were for it to function well, feel spacious, and maximize the amount of natural light. They wanted the house to be as low maintenance as possible. Adequate wall space for their extensive and ever changing art collection was also important.

Construction began in November 2013 and was completed in July 2015.

@SMBW

@SMBW

According to Josh McCullar, one of the two design architects on the project along with Katie Cortez, 20 W. Leigh established a precedent in Richmond for new urban infill projects.  The original rendering of 20 W. Leigh, seen above, is remarkably consistent with the finished building. The design received unanimous approval by the Richmond Commission of Architectural review, whose guidelines state in part that any new construction in an historic district shall be clearly discernible from the historic, but relate in materials, massing and form. 

©Ansel Olsen

©Ansel Olsen

20 W. Leigh comfortably fits into the Jackson Ward neighborhood, interpreting the architectural components of the older house in the community with a modern vocabulary. The projecting glass and metal window bay on the front façade was inspired by the bay windows that punctuate many of the neighborhood historic houses.

©Ansel Olsen

©Ansel Olsen

The subdued color palette of gray, black, and white serves as perfect background for John and Wesley’s extensive art collection. Entry into the house takes visitors into the dining room furnished with an Eero Saarinen-inspired table and four Bertoia-style chairs.

© SMBW

© SMBW

Fire separation requirements restricted the use of any openings or windows on the east and west (non-street) sides of the house. This design model shows the creative solution for bringing natural light into the center of the house. A centrally located lightwell bathes the heart of the house with sunlight.

© Ansel Olsen

© Ansel Olsen

The full height, three-story, light filled tower is the focal point of the house, providing natural lighting for the interior of the house. Katie Cortez, SMBW design architect for the project, described it as a key element for creating an interesting and active space. She sees the lightwell as a modern interpretation of the centrally located fireplace.

© Ansel Olsen

© Ansel Olsen

The lightwell is topped with an off-the-shelf Velux skylight system and provides an ever-changing play of light and shadows while also visually tying together the three levels of the house. The house becomes a frame for the infusion of natural light.

© Ansel Olsen

© Ansel Olsen

As with many well-designed modern homes, what at first appears to be a relatively straightforward structure is actually a sophisticated series of vertical and horizontal relationships.

© Ansel Olsen

© Ansel Olsen

The open floor plan of the compact twenty by forty eight foot footprint results in a clear horizontal orientation from front to back with the kitchen being the anchor of the first floor. Continuous white oak floors further unify the house. Built-in shelves provide a perfect exhibit space for the diverse art collection. Notable in this wall display is a series of face jugs, which represent a prominent chapter in the history of African-American art.

©Adam Ewing

©Adam Ewing

The family room is the primary gathering place for John, Wesley, and friends. The room layout centers on an Isamu Noguchi-inspired coffee table and two Saarinen-inspired Womb chairs. The wall mounted Travis Pack piece is a primary focal point from their inspiring art collection.

©John Ryan and Wesley Chenault

©John Ryan and Wesley Chenault

The family room includes a beautifully designed fireplace insert. Created by Fireplace Xtrordinair, the gas fireplace contains under-lighting that shines through the translucent glass floor. A Caesarstone London gray stone hearth complements the installation.

© Ansel Olsen

© Ansel Olsen

The house is unique in it ability to effectively maximize every square foot of its compact plan. Flush door openings conceal spaces, which creatively incorporate liquor storage, laundry chutes, and a guest bathroom.

© Ansel Olsen

© Ansel Olsen

The connecting stairway runs parallel to the light tower providing access to each room via a glass floor section. Carefully located openings at each level of the house provide framed views of the art collection.

Photos © Adam Ewing

Both owners and their companions have become comfortable walking on their glass bridges. Each bridge is 1 ½” thick and consists of three sheets of glass with layers of laminate between.

© Ansel Olsen

© Ansel Olsen

The second floor of the house provides two guest bedrooms, each with expansive views through full height window curtain walls. The white oak floors continue throughout the house as a visually unifying feature.

© Ansel Olsen

© Ansel Olsen

The top level of the house is reserved for the master bedroom and a home office/media room. The cleanly furnished room features the art of Suellen Parker.

© Ansel Olsen

© Ansel Olsen

Careful detailing is prevalent throughout the house, including in the master bathroom.

© Ansel Olsen

© Ansel Olsen

The unusual bathroom tile appears to be a random installation but actually consists of 8” by 12” ceramic tile sheets. The seams of the tile sheets, from Porcelanosa, disappear after installation.

The eclectic and original art from John’s and Wesley’s twenty-plus years of collecting fit perfectly within the architecture of the house.

The previous house on the site was demolished in 1972/1973, and replaced forty years later with this modern interpretation. 20 W. Leigh Street is a successful piece of urban architecture and a model for how modernism can be seamlessly incorporated into a historic community.

Our hosts, John and Wesley, the SMBW design architects, Josh and Katie, and MRT co-founder Andrea Levine answer questions from the audience.

John shared how he and Wesley are of like minds in terms of design. For 20 W. Leigh they enjoy the clean lines, simplicity and uncluttered feel to their house. 

Josh noted that the three greatest design challenges were understanding the architectural context of the Jackson Ward neighborhood, keeping the scale of the house within this understanding, and addressing the owners’ needs for the house in a structure only twenty foot wide.

Earlier John shared with me that previously he and Wesley had been modern in their minds longer than modern in their home. At 20 W. Leigh Street they can fully enjoy both.

We thank John Ryan and Wesley Chenault for opening their home to Modern Richmond.  Also, many thanks to architects Josh McCullar and Katie Cortez of SMBW for sharing many design details with the capacity crowd.  Catering was provided by our own Helen Reed and Wendy Umanoff. Photography provided by Ansel Olson, Adam Ewing, and John & Wesley.  

-smr-

 

 

 

MRT PREVIEW: 20 W. LEIGH by Modern Richmond

March's tour takes us to SMBW's 20 W. Leigh Street  on March 9th in Jackson Ward.. This modern home were featured in this R Home article by Melissa Scott Sinclair

Fitting in While Standing Out

A thoroughly modern house blends into the historic fabric of Jackson Ward

by Melissa Scott Sinclair

Photos by Adam Ewing, styling by Melissa Molitor From the article in the November-December issue of R•Home magazine

Photos by Adam Ewing, styling by Melissa Molitor
From the article in the November-December issue of R•Home magazine

The modern house at 20 W. Leigh St. is like an optical illusion: It simultaneously blends in and stands out.

The three-story, tan-brick structure has been attracting curious stares since construction began in November 2013. Yet, a few visitors have completely missed it as they drove past.

That was the intention of owners John Ryan and Wesley Chenault: to build a thoroughly modern house that blends into the historic fabric of Jackson Ward. They aren’t alone in this endeavor; Richmond’s in the middle of a mini-modern boom. 2015 has seen the construction of Citizen 6, a row of six geometric row houses by Baskervill at Floyd Avenue and Robinson Street, as well as a contemporary single-family house on the edge of Byrd Park.

More details here: http://richmondmagazine.com/home/fitting-in-while-standing-out/

MRT RECAP & PREVIEW: Where We Were (in 2015) and Where We’re Going (in 2016) by Modern Richmond

2015 was our sixth year of celebrating Richmond’s modern architecture. Encouraged by our loyal and ever growing number of colleagues, friends and guests, Modern Richmond was able to showcase and share eight special projects. Each building offered its own unique perspective on modern design yet, as we look back, we again realize that all of these projects were connected by a basic tenet of modern design.

 “Modernism is not a style, it is an attitude.” Marcel Breuer

March 18//The Rice House//1000 Old Locke Lane

Photograph of Richard Neutra's Rice House in Richmond, Virginia by Ansel Olson  

Photograph of Richard Neutra's Rice House in Richmond, Virginia by Ansel Olson  

We began the 2015 season at the Rice House, one of our favorite and most well attended venues. The only example of Richard Neutra’s International style in Richmond was showcased on a beautiful early spring evening.  Dramatically situated on a 110-foot ledge overlooking the James River, the Rice House is named after the original owners, Inger and Walter Rice. Completed in 1965, the 6,000 square foot house recently underwent a major stabilization project focused primarily on protecting and upgrading the exterior of the house. Highlights of the evening were presentations by two members of the project team, architects Bodil Hammeman and Patrick Farley. 

Speakers: Bodil Hanneman, Rice House Team Leader and Patrick Farley, Rice House Team (Restoration & Preservation Team) 

Catering by: Mosaic and Shuttle Service: BioRide

April 15//Beckstoffer’s Loft Apartments//1207 n. 28th Street

Beckstoffer’s Loft Apartments and Somanath Senior Apartments | Photo: ©Chris Cunningham Photography

Beckstoffer’s Loft Apartments and Somanath Senior Apartments | Photo: ©Chris Cunningham Photography

Beckstoffer’s Loft Apartments and Somanath Senior Apartments at Beckstoffer’s represent Phases I & II of the Better Housing Coalition’s Beckstoffer’s block development in North Church Hill. In the early 1900’s, German native Henry Beckstoffer established a lumber mill on N. 28th Street, supplying materials for homes in The Fan District, Church Hill, the Governor’s Mansion, Agecroft Hall and other local treasures. After three generations, the firm was sold in 2006. In 2008 the Better Housing Coalition (BHC) acquired the property and transformed the former mill structure into 22 energy-efficient, mixed-income loft apartments. Two buildings on the site of the former lumberyard encompass the 39 units of Somanath Senior Apartments at Beckstoffer’s, which opened in 2014. The smaller, seven-unit building is designed to be “net-zero energy” – the first affordable property of its kind in Virginia. The 32-unit, three-story building is certified to EarthCraft’s Tier III (highest) level of energy efficiency. 

Speakers: Bernard Rogers of BHC, K.C. Belize of Earthcraft VA, Mark Larson, AIA, Baskervill

Sponsor: Groovin” Gourmets

May 13//Xtreme Rehab Redux//5208 Riverside Drive

5208 Riverside Drive. Watershed Architects

5208 Riverside Drive. Watershed Architects

Sited along a noted Virginia Scenic Byway, this late 1940’s cottage-style home was fully rehabilitated and expanded to capture views into the James River valley while expressing the owner’s appreciation for modernism. The “upside-down” configuration of primary living spaces over top of secondary functions improves overall functionality while enhancing the home’s connections to the landscape. (Long-time MRT fans will remember this house as the site of a hardhat Exchange during construction back in the spring of 2013.) Watershed delivered the project as both architect and builder and firm founder/principal Patrick Farley told the story of transforming a modest little place into a modern living environment reflecting 21st century values.

Speaker: Patrick Farley, AIA, Watershed Architects

Sponsor: Rancho T

June 17//Rural Pool House//1614 Carriage Drive//Manakin-Sabot

Photography credit: Mick Anders Photography

Photography credit: Mick Anders Photography

To kick off the summer, Modern Richmond visited a rural retreat in nearby Goochland County. Taking cues from the forms of vernacular buildings, this multipurpose pool house by Fraerman Associates Architecture capitalized on beautiful westerly views. Outside, a gable roof and stonewalls nod to the rural setting while a striking and bold trellis controls the sun and ensures year-round comfort. Inside, vaulted ceilings and a restrained material palette keep things functional and focused on the scenery beyond. 

Speakers: Jenny Maraghy & Karen Stephens of Joyner Fine Properties (with input from the architect and owner)

Sponsors: Jenny Peel Maraghy & Karen Stephens Realtor of Joyner Fine Properties - Maple

September 16//Tektonics Design Group//702 E. 4th Street

Modern Richmond Tour: Lanre Ajibola

Modern Richmond Tour: Lanre Ajibola

To those who would perhaps propose that American manufacturing is on the decline, Tektonics Design Group and its family of “Made In RVA” brands would counter that in fact nothing could be further from the truth. Principals Christopher Hildebrand and Hinmaton Hisler, each with a background in traditional blacksmithing and metal craft, started their industrial design firm in 2003 in the Old Manchester neighborhood of Richmond. Since then, they’ve worked with architects and designers all along the East Coast, and are known for their ability to solve unique design and fabrication problems (a current project involves the design and fabrication of 40 solid mahogany reproduction Corinthian capitals to be installed in the Rotunda of the University of Virginia as part of their massive restoration project). 

As they built the Tektonics brand and reputation, Christopher and Hinmaton also began to grow several in-house brands that could more tightly focus and deliver on their massive skillsets and capabilities. These include Fern & Roby, a furniture and audio line that integrates reclaimed wood and custom castings; Stijl Cycles, Richmond’s premier maker of bespoke custom bicycles; and Loco Machine, a business-to-business brand of high-quality turned and machined titanium bicycle components used by frame builders across the country in their bicycle builds.

The expansive 20,000 sq.ft. industrial space in Manchester (originally built in the ‘30s by the Army Corps of Engineers) houses their design offices, full machine shop, dedicated welding areas, bicycle studio, showroom and woodshop. Operating under a single roof allows the challenges involved with conceptualizing, modeling and machining their own products—whether a head tube or a bronze turntable platter—to be solved as easily the projects they manage for their corporate clients.

Speakers:  Christopher Hildebrand and Hinmaton Hisler, Tektonics Design Group Principals

Sponsor: Backyard Grill

November 11//Citizen Six//2515.5 Floyd Avenue

A rendering of the row houses at 2615-2619 Floyd Ave. (Courtesy of Bill Chapman)

A rendering of the row houses at 2615-2619 Floyd Ave. (Courtesy of Bill Chapman)

Citizen 6 was an urban infill project completed in 2015 that replaced a 1950's era office building and surface parking lot with six new single-family homes. The project took place on the 2600 block of Floyd Avenue, a non-traditional stretch of Richmond's Fan District that included a block-long 4-story parking deck and only one owner-occupied single family home. In addition, the project's L-shaped parcel required a Special Use permit to allow variances in lot coverage, lot size and parking and a Subdivision for seven individual lots. Based on the surrounding nontraditional elements, the project took a non-traditional approach in design. The six homes reflect fine contemporary architecture while paying close attention to the scale, massing and material palette of the neighborhood. The result was a project that met 100% approval from the Fan District Association and City of Richmond Planning Board. 

Construction began in summer of 2014 and all six homes were sold before sheetrock was installed at prices 20 to 25 percent above existing sale prices on Floyd. The project was completed in late 1Q 2015 with all six owners taking occupancy by March. The project has won the 2015 Contextual Design Award from the Virginia AIA and has been featured in numerous magazines, newspapers and regional television. It is recognized as a trail-blazing project, establishing pricing and demand for high quality new construction in the city and has influenced others to pursue similar developments.

Speakers: Burt Pinnock of Baskervill, Bill Chapman, Mr. and Mrs. Kelly O'Keefe

December 2//Modern Richmond Holiday Party// La Diff//125 S. 14th Street, Richmond, VA 23219

IMG_6095.PNG

 

Our annual holiday party was once again at La Diff, one of Richmond’s most innovative contemporary furniture stores. La Diff’s ever changing offerings of furniture and home accessories were wonderfully presented against a background of holiday decorations. We appreciate and value our relationship with Andy and Sarah and thank them for opening their building for our Modern Richmond supporters.

A highlight of the evening was meeting and hearing from Craig Reynolds, Ph.D, the recently appointed Curator at the Branch Museum of Architecture and Design. As Craig reminded us, “…everything was modern at one point in time.”

Speakers: Craig Reynolds, Ph.D., Curator of The Branch Museum of Architecture and Design, Andy Thornton and Sarah Paxton of LaDiff

Sponsors:  LaDiff, AIA Virginia, Umanoff Design, Buckhead's Chop House

Looking Ahead

2016 is shaping up as another exciting year for Modern Richmond to showcase and share examples of the best modern design in Richmond. Our tours will include a diverse group of projects, ranging from carefully detailed residents to innovative urban infill designs. We’ll also be touring one of the newest and best downtown restoration projects in Richmond. And as in past years, 2016 will include an evening of architectural movies. Finally, we’re excited to be rolling out a new partnership with one of Richmond’s most important architecture and design organizations. More details will soon follow.

Our sincere thanks to all of the kindred spirits and supporters of modern design. We look forward to seeing you again this year.

Watch our event page on our website and Facebook page for detailed announcements!

MRT PREVIEW: MODERN ARCHITECTURE IN TRADITIONAL RICHMOND by Modern Richmond

November's tour takes us to Baskervill's Citizen 6 in the Fan District on November 11th. Watershed's Lakeview house in Byrd Park  and SMBW's 20 W. Leigh Street will be toured in early 2016. All of these modern homes were featured in Style Weekly's  Contemporary Love article by Edwin Slipek. 

Contemporary Love

History may reign in Richmond. But residents are growing to accept modern architecture within their traditional world.

By: Edwin Slipek for Style Weekly, February 10, 2015

Photograph by Scott Elmquist One of Richmond’s most historic neighborhoods, Jackson Ward, has watched a modern three-story townhouse rise on West Leigh Street.

Photograph by Scott Elmquist

One of Richmond’s most historic neighborhoods, Jackson Ward, has watched a modern three-story townhouse rise on West Leigh Street.

Plans for a modest, two-story frame house in the Springhill neighborhood are circulating among residents and city planning channels. 

These aren’t some shocking schematics. A local couple wants to build an infill house that should meld politely with the neighboring and traditional collection of mostly frame bungalows and Cape Cods. But this former working-class pocket of town has the distinction of being the only old and historic district in South Richmond — so design restrictions are tight.

Future generations rightly might scratch their heads and ask: “Did Richmond’s architectural thinking stop in the early 20th century?”

But other old neighborhoods have less stringent requirements, leading to refreshingly contemporary architecture that’s raising the design bar. Three projects, each piloted by a different local architecture firm, illustrate that there’s commitment and talent to bringing alternatives to derivative Italianate or watered-down colonial revival house designs to life.

On a sliver of a lot on Jackson Ward’s West Leigh Street near the Bill “Bojangles” Robinson statue, a strikingly crisp, three-story townhouse has taken final form amid a row of red-brick townhouses.

It’s a joint product of fresh blood — a client from Atlanta who will live here — and one of Richmond’s well-regarded architecture firms, SMBW. It long has been a proponent of modernism here. The architects strategically held their first client meeting within the bright-white, spatially dramatic confines of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. A clever starting point, considering it was associate architect for the museum’s expansion — a project that signaled a sea change in the public’s embrace of modernism locally. 

“We took in such things as how the light filters in and how the bridges cross and translated this into a three-story house with light wells,” says Josh McCullar, an architect with SMBW. He says the open plan, influenced by house designs from contemporary British architect John Pawson, also should serve as excellent space for the client’s art collection.

“At the end of the day it’s not that difficult to do something that fits with the neighborhood,” McCullar says of so stark a statement that stands adjacent to decidedly Italianate structures. “There’s the appropriate setback and a porch that ties into the vernacular of the street.” He says the city’s Commission of Architectural Review concurred.

Photograph by Scott Elmquist In the Fan, residents are about to move into Citizen 6 in the 2600 block of Floyd Avenue.

Photograph by Scott Elmquist

In the Fan, residents are about to move into Citizen 6 in the 2600 block of Floyd Avenue.

Across town in the Fan District, in the 2600 block of Floyd Avenue, residents are about to move into Citizen 6, six attached and handsome townhouses. Baskervill, one of the city’s oldest firms, has designed open interior living areas with generous light wells and icebox-white walls. 

The exterior offers an almost shocking contrast with first-floor walls of black, glossy brick, and a warm, wooden surface on the second level. 

At a site overlooking Swan Lake in quiet Byrd Park, neighbors are intrigued by a three-story house that’s risen between two red brick colonial revival houses. On this rare, in-town lakefront location, the Watershed architecture firm has flipped the house plan to create a dwelling you might expect at the north end of Virginia Beach or along the Carolina coast: living spaces on the top, bedrooms below and garage below that. Architectural drama occurs on the top level with a projecting “porch” sheltered by a butterfly roof. 

“This creates a powerful connection between house and park — a spatial connection,” Watershed’s Patrick Farley says. “It’s the intersection of private versus public space, the aperture is like a giant dormer window.” In addition to the upper deck, which offers spectacular views across the lake and toward Maymont, other new outdoor spaces include a roof garden and a terrace at the sidewalk level near the front door.

Watershed Architecture & Construction/RenderSphere A rendering for an in-town lakefront house in Byrd Park shows the modern touches by the Watershed architecture firm, which include living spaces on top and a projecting porch sheltered by a butterfly roof.

Watershed Architecture & Construction/RenderSphere

A rendering for an in-town lakefront house in Byrd Park shows the modern touches by the Watershed architecture firm, which include living spaces on top and a projecting porch sheltered by a butterfly roof.

Are Richmonders ready for the shock of the new taking shape in old neighborhoods?

Apparently. One of the first purchasers at Citizen 6 is an architecturally erudite couple — empty-nesters who are leaving a modernistic house designed in the 1950s by Frederick Hyland, an architect who set the gold standard for modernism in Richmond.

Other architects have picked up the baton, and the modern is breaking through.

Stay tuned to the MRT websiteFacebook, and Twitter for updates on our upcoming events.

MRT Preview: Fern & Roby in Dwell Magazine by Modern Richmond

This month's tour takes us to Tektonics Design Group, a full service design and manufacturing firm. One of their product lines,  Fern & Roby, was featured in Dwell in May. 

Made in America: An Inside Look at a Virginia Furniture Workshop

Written By: Heather Corcoran, senior editor, Dwell, May 5, 2015

In Richmond, Virginia, furniture brand Fern & Roby is helping keep American manufacturing alive. 

Courtesy of Rob Bratney | Fern & Roby

Courtesy of Rob Bratney | Fern & Roby

Sara Moriarty, Christopher Hildebrand, and Hinmaton Hisler pose outside the workshop of Tektonics, a Richmond, Virginia, design and manufacturing group based in the city's historic industrial hub of Manchester. Founded in 2003, Tektonics is also home to bicycle product lines Stijl Cycles and LocoMachine, as well as the furniture, audio, and hard ware line Fern & Roby. It houses a design studio, metal fabrication shop, CNC machine shop, and woodworking shop in a sunny 20,000-square-foot building built in the 1930s by the Army Corps of Engineers.    

 

Courtesy of Rob Bratney | Fern & Roby

Courtesy of Rob Bratney | Fern & Roby

"Learning how to make something, whether it’s an industrial fastener or a fine piece of furniture, requires a huge amount of intellect, self-control, and dedication," says Hildebrand, co-founder of both Tektonics and Fern & Roby. "I have found that my experiences working as a craftsman has been the single biggest influence in my life as a designer."

Courtesy of Rob Bratney | Fern & Roby

Courtesy of Rob Bratney | Fern & Roby

Materials are at the core of everything the various firms produce at the shop. Leftover scraps from Tektonics's commercial projects are often recycled an reused in pieces for Fern & Roby, while the imperfections in wood and cast metal are celebrated. "Revealing the origin of material and narrative of the process is central to our life and our pieces," say the brand's husband-and-wife co-owners Moriarty and Hildebrand. "Wood and cast metal—these materials naturally have flaws and imperfections. They are the result of processes that leave traces behind. The pine beams that were reclaimed have holes where there were once nails, and cracks where the wood has settled and split. Those aren’t things to hide, they are telltales of the material’s origin." 

Courtesy of Todd Wright Photo | Fern & Roby

Courtesy of Todd Wright Photo | Fern & Roby

Fern & Roby's furniture combines modern finishes with a reverence for the history of American industry. The base of this kitchen island is a reproduction of legs from a salvaged 19th-century kick press machine, which the designers had cast at OK Foundry, a fourth-generation owned family business located four blocks from the Tektonics studio.

Courtesy of Fred + Elliott Photography | Fern & Roby

Courtesy of Fred + Elliott Photography | Fern & Roby

Along with furniture, Fern & Roby also creates audio equipment (speakers and, soon, amplifiers) as well as tabletop accessories, or, as the firm's founders phrase it: "tools for living." With a focus on quality materials, the work is created to be passed down as heirlooms. 


MRT Preview: The Carriage House // Camden Whitehead by Modern Richmond

Our good friend Camden Whitehead was kind enough to dig deep into his archives and share a bit of the design process behind his decade-long renovation of The Carriage House near Byrd Park.  The densely layered marks reveal a work in progress - ideas, to-dos, cut lists, musings, big picture plans and small details.  The makings of architecture.  Come enjoy the real thing this Wednesday evening.  We'll hear from Camden as well as the house's current steward, Therese Lange. 

© Camden Whitehead

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MRT Recap: Cedeno Residence by Modern Richmond

As April draws to a close, enjoy this final look at the Cedeno Residence, designed by Tonic Design in Raleigh.  The house is beautifully detailed throughout and is perfectly suited to its owner.  Special thanks to Alex for sharing his passion for modern architecture, art, music, and dance with our capacity crowd.  MRT would like to thank our friends at The Daily Kitchen for sponsoring with their delicious offerings.  Finally, much love to our friend and resident photographer Chris Friday for documenting the event.

Stay tuned to the MRT website, Facebook, and Twitter for updates on our May event which features a mid-century gem by Bud Hyland right on Monument Avenue.

© Chris Friday

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MRT Preview: BOB Architecture // Newquay Lane by Modern Richmond

November's Exchange Event offers an award-winning double header.  The original house was designed by architect Joe Boggs and won an AIA Honor Award in 1978.  In 2008, a sensitive renovation and addition project by Beyond Ordinary Borders (B.O.B.) Architecture earned an AIA Merit Award.  As a primer to Wednesday's tour, our friends at B.O.B. were kind enough to share a bit of their design process.  See you soon.

© BOB Architecture

 

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MRT Recap: BOB Architecture // Gloucester Road Addition by Modern Richmond

With a pile of shoes left by the front door on a rainy autumn night, October’s Exchange Event featured a home that reflects the modern sensibilities of its owners.  Howard and Roberta Elford have called their cottage in Sherwood Park home for more than 30 years and knew exactly what they were looking for in a renovation: light, openness, and a spiral staircase.  Working against a tight timeline, architects Bob Steele and Terry Wyllie of BOB Architecture described a collaborative process fully informed by their client’s vision.  Modern Richmond would like to thank Howard and Roberta for graciously opening up their home and Bob and Terry for sharing their perspectives on the project.  The Elfords are understandably proud of their modern renovation, which has helped make their long-time house into the perfect home.

© BOB Architecture

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MRT Preview: BOB Architecture // Gloucester Road Addition by Modern Richmond

Join Modern Richmond this Wednesday as we tour a modern addition to a home in historic Sherwood Park.  To whet your appetite, our friends at B.O.B. Architecture were kind enough to share a bit of the design and construction process.  Thanks to the Elfords for opening up their home to us for what promises to be a lovely autumn evening of conversation and modern architecture.  See you there.

© B.O.B. Architecture

 

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MRT Preview: Arthur & Wendy Umanoff by Modern Richmond

After a relaxing summer, Modern Richmond is pleased to kick off our fall series of Exchange Events.  September's tour will feature the live/work studio of designer Wendy Umanoff.  In addition to her loft, Wendy will also be discussing her father, mid-century furniture designer, Arthur Umanoff.  Wendy was kind enough to share a bit of her process, along with a variety of collateral related to her father's iconic designs.  We look forward to seeing you Wednesday.

image courtesy Wendy Umanoff

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MRT Recap: Henry Tenser Architect // 5005 Riverside Drive by Modern Richmond

A rainy spring night couldn’t keep away a stellar crowd for May’s Exchange Event.  We were treated to a thoroughly modern and sustainable renovation project secreted away down a narrow drive in the woods of Westover Hills.  Joshua and Carrie were gracious hosts and we appreciate their willingness to open their home to Modern Richmond.  Special thanks to architect Henry Tenser, Eric Schensky with Maize Remodeling, and landscape designer* Steven Koprowski for sharing their perspectives on the project.  Large-scale renovation projects rely on a strong vision and collaborative effort for success.  With a balanced yet distinct relationship between the architecture and the landscape, quality craftsmanship, and a full roster of sustainable technologies, this project delivers on that vision.

© Jay Huggins

 

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MRT Preview: Henry Tenser // Koprowski + Associates // 5005 Riverside Drive by Modern Richmond

This month's exchange event highlights the careful balance that can be struck between modern architecture and the natural landscape.  After an 18-month renovation, the original two bedroom 1950s cottage has emerged as a contemporary dwelling with an emphasis on environmental stewardship and strong connections to the outside. We want to thank the Rogers for sharing their home with us, and we are pleased to report that architect Henry Tenser, landscape designer Steven Koprowski, and contractor Eric Schensky will be on hand to discuss the design and construction efforts.  As a preview, Steven was kind enough to share a bit of the design process with us.

© Koprowski + Associates

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MRT Preview: Pollak Building + ICA Update by Modern Richmond

In tandem with Architecture Week, Modern Richmond is pleased to bring you a double-header for our monthly Exchange Event.  Our friends at VMDO Architects (in collaboration with Siteworks Studio) will be discussing the recently completed Pollak Building green roof.  In addition, Joseph Seipel, Dean of the School of the Arts, will give an update on VCU's Institute for Contemporary Art designed by Steven Holl Architects.

© VMDO Architects & Steven Holl Architects, courtesy VCU

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MRT Preview: Xtreme Rehab // Watershed Architecture + Construction by Modern Richmond

The River City has been enjoying its first taste of warm weather - you know, after the snow last week.  And while some folks mark the occasion by tackling those projects they've been putting off all winter, others prefer a more robust approach to 'spring cleaning.'  To greet spring, we are pleased to bring you a special "hard hat" edition of our monthly Exchange event.  Our friends at Watershed Architecture + Construction will be opening the jobsite to Modern Richmond and will discuss the transformation of a 1940's cottage into a modern and ecologically responsible home that maximizes its views to the James River.  Special thanks to the architects for sharing a bit of the design process with us.

© Watershed Architecture + Construction

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MRT Preview: BAM Architects // The Hodges Partnership by Modern Richmond

Don't miss November's Exchange Event at The Hodges Partnership where we will be discussing the challenges of realizing modern architecture in an Old and Historic District, tight lot lines, and baseball.  Be sure to check out the event page or you can connect on Facebook.  Until then, enjoy this free preview of the design process, courtesy of our friends at BAM Architects.

© Ansel Olson

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MRT Recap: Shearman Associates // Igloo House by Modern Richmond

September’s tour of the Igloo House boasted an unprecedented turnout.  Modern Richmond is pleased to have partnered with our friends over at R-Home to share this one-of-a-kind dwelling, which has figured so prominently on the south bank of the James River for decades.  We truly appreciate the Gardner family’s willingness to share their newly renovated home and the Igloo with our tandem group.  Special thanks to Michael Shearman and Todd Hersey of Shearman Associates for sharing their thoughts about the challenges and opportunities presented by this unique design-build project.  It was a fantastic evening of conversation, architecture, and art.

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