Survey Suggests ‘Green’ Schools are a High Priority with Most Americans

According to a nationwide poll, three out of four Americans support federal investment in school-building improvements related to creating healthier learning environments, saving tax dollars or lowering carbon emissions. Click here to find out more!

October 24, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

VMDO and Barton Malow join JRGBC for Solar Decathlon tour

Taking part in a JRGBC (James River Green Building Council) fieldtrip, Steve Davis, Kelly Callahan (and daughter, Olivia) & Elizabeth Rhodes of VMDO and Chris Weatherford of Barton Malow traveled to the nation's capital for a day of touring student-built, energy-efficient, solar-powered houses. Sponsored by the US Department of Energy, the 5th Solar Decathlon was cited in West Potomac Park, within view of the Jefferson Memorial and Washington Monument. Twenty universities (including four international teams for the first time) participated in a competition to conceive, design, build, transport, promote and operate houses embodying the foremost thinking in green power and energy conservation. Many of the houses reflected their locale; Appalachian's 'Solar Homestead' was sited with hay bales and partially clad in local bark, Tennessee's 'Living Light' was inspired in form by the native crib-barn, Maryland's 'WaterShed' included a constructed wetland based on the Chesapeake. SCI-Arc/Caltech's 'CHIP' was an amorphic form with a quilted vinyl coating over 'outsulation'. While next in line for Ohio State's 'enCORE', we were booted as the secret service cleared the way for the Department of Energy's Secretary Steven Chu to tour. He later awarded Maryland first prize. Appalachian State, located in Boone, NC, won the 'People's Choice Award'.

October 24, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

C-ville Weekly names VMDO Architects "2011 Best Architect in Charlottesville"!

VMDO Architects has been selected as "The Best Architect in Charlottesville" by the C-ville Weekly in its annual "Best of C-ville 2011" edition. Click here to find out more!

August 16, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

VMDO Architects takes members of the Buckingham County Public Schools board on a tour of their new schools

VMDO Architects' Bob Moje and Kelly Callahan recently gave the Buckingham County School Board members a tour of the construction of their new lower and upper elementary schools. Click here to find out more about these exciting projects for Buckingham County Public Schools!

July 19, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The ribbon-cutting ceremony for The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey's new Student Center is this Saturday!

The $65 million, 153,000 square feet campus center will become a welcoming living room as well as a one-stop shop for the entire campus and student community. Formerly, Stockton College lacked a central gathering place for students to gather, eat, study, hang out, and shop. The campus center provides spaces and amenities to serve all of these activities and more. Its program includes: student services, food court, cafe, game room, theater, formal and informal gathering spaces and offices. Click here to find out more!

May 5, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Richmond's new Oak Grove Elementary construction underway!

The City of Richmond’s ambitious “Building a Better Richmond” has begun! Oak Grove Elementary School will accommodate 650 students – sharing the site with Bellemeade Elementary School, which is a larger property several blocks away and currently an annex to Oak Grove. Final grading of the building pad is underway with vertical construction soon to follow. Click here to watch the video.

May 3, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

VMDO’s Kim Smith will be one of several panelists for the Mentoring Program at the AIA National Convention

Orchestrated by The Women in Architecture Committee AIA New York, this program is an opportunity for architects to meet and mentor other women professionals in a structured networking setting. Attendees will include women of varying professional experience levels. Focused on the technique of mentoring “up and down”, the participants will be selected so that small groups will have a range of levels of advancement in the field. Groups will engage in a discussion for approximately 20 minutes. There will be 3 rotations and an opportunity to meet at least 6 other women “face-to-face”. Conversations may range in topic from the best practices for advancing each woman's career to various career paths one can take, etc. The “take away” should be a set of contacts for all at a variety of levels for future professional relationships. For a look at the entire convention schedule, click here!

April 22, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Charlottesville’s Architecture Week Features Lautner Films


Thanks to the efforts of VMDO’s Dina Sorensen, American Institute of Architects – Central Virginia will celebrate John Lautner’s birthday during its “Architecture Week” with the screening of the two Lautner documentaries: The Spirit in Architecture: John Lautner and Infinite Space: the Architecture of John Lautner.

The Spirit in Architecture will screen April 25, and Infinite Space will screen April 26. See details on the Architecture Week website.

April 22, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

VMDO offers tours of residence halls to representatives of the University of the Free State in South Africa

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As Winston Churchill famously noted, “we shape our buildings, and then they shape us.” Administrators at the University of the Free State in South Africa are taking a careful look at how new buildings on their campus can shape a promising future for their diverse, and growing, student body. 

Currently in the planning stage for several new residence halls on campus, Rudi Buys, Dean of Student Affairs, Quintin Koetaan, Director of Housing and Residence Affairs, and architect Anton Roodt made a study trip to the United States to explore some of the best thinking in current residence hall design. VMDO was proud to share a day of their visit touring some of our projects at James Madison University 
and the University of Virginia. We were excited to share the conceptual and material strategies that underlie our work and discuss how these strategies could support students in the South African context. 

Maggie Burkhart Evans, the Director of Residence Life atJames Madison University, graciously hosted our visit on the James Madison campus. She offered our visitors an extensive tour of James Madison facilities and thorough understanding of the strategies behind their residence hall designs. Nancy Takahashi, Principal of Hereford College (and wife of VMDO’s own David Oakland), joined us for a tour of the UVa Lawn and its modern interpretation, Hereford College. 

We are excited to stay in touch with our new South African friends to see how innovative thinking in residence hall design can shape a rich learning environment at the University of the Free State. 


April 20, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Who is the most influential recruiter for a University or college?

Imagine the most influential recruiter for a University or college. The dean? The students? The website? What if I told you it was the director of buildings and grounds. As is often the case, first impressions matter the most. A well kept campus environment shouts “Welcome! We care about how you learn!” The VMDO book club explored this and many other factors both physical and psychological in the book: Educating By Design, Creating Campus Learning Environments that Work, by C. Carney Strange & James H. Banning. This was the kick-off book for the club. The authors explored many factors that influence the campus learning environment as researched and categorized by many leading experts in the fields of education and psychology. The club seemed most drawn to the idea of community as a theme that weaves the sections of the book together. How does environment cradle community and in turn community cradle the individual?

The book club will meet in the near future with Maggie Burkhart Evans (Director of Housing at JMU) and her husband, John Evans (Director of Accommodations at UVA) to discuss the book as well as current trends in housing and the campus environment as a whole.

On to the next book…

April 18, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)