Virginia by Design recognizes the best efforts of designers or visionaries in Virginia who, by profession or avocation, have made creating, preserving, and enhancing design in Virginia a notable endeavor, which elevates the power of design. The awards specifically highlight excellence in design, visionary thinking, patronage and the transformative role of design in shaping the built environment.

The Branch Medallion

This award is given to acknowledge and celebrate extraordinary patronage of
and support for the architecture design community.
The recipient is chosen by leadership of The Branch.

Honorees: Steve and Kathie Markel, Bill and Pam Royall

It is the considered decision of our Board of Trustees that the Steven Holl Architects building designed for the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU is the crowning design achievement in Virginia in 2018. Nothing else in the commonwealth has come close to demonstrating the transformational impact that design can have for an institution such as VCU and for a city such as Richmond. The Markel and Royall family patronage and determination that led to the completion of the ICA is driving force behind the bestowal of this award.

Vision in Design

This honor recognizes a visionary thinker who has had profound impact or influence on design, education, theory, practice, or public education.

Honoree: Peter Culley, RIBA ARB CPHC

Peter is the creative leader and founder of Spatial Affairs Bureau – an architecture, landscape, furniture and product design studio, with offices in London, Los Angeles, and Richmond. He retains an overarching design role on each project.
While recognizing the overall design vision that Culley brings to all of his work, the jury particularly recognized his visionary work in Virginia. The proposed BridgePark project offers an inspiring vision for the City of Richmond.

In addition, Culley also represented Rich Mather Architects as the project manager throughout the transformative redesign of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts building and campus.
Culley is also a committed educator, as an instructor in architecture schools, but also through taking projects into elementary and high schools to encourage important discussions with young people. Great vision includes planning for those who may someday follow and be inspired to provide their own vision.

Emerging Designer

This award honors a designer, not yet licensed or professionally certified, who demonstrates an exemplary level of excellence in design execution and dedication to advancing the discipline.

Alec Yuzhbabenko

Alec Yuzhbabenko is an Associate Design Principal at Hanbury Architects in Norfolk, Virginia. He has been cited for his collaborative spirit and has shown a constant pursuit for challenge and excellence. His contributions to the profession and the industry exceed his years. As a consummate team member, he brings a broad spectrum of skills to the design table – architectural design, graphic design, presentation, communication, and much more – so that creative thinking happens on numerous levels simultaneously. Yuzhbabenko is a Summa Cum Laude graduate from Virginia Tech with a Bachelors in Architecture. 

Design Achievement Award

This award is for a corporation or institution for utilizing design as a strategic tool in their mission and consistently exhibiting ingenuity and insight in relating design to quality of life.

Honoree: The Valentine

Images from This is Richmond, Virginia, Casanova, the Valentine

The Richmond museum known as The Valentine has been collecting, preserving and interpreting Richmond’s history for more than 100 years. During its recent renovations, design became the strategic tool used to facilitate The Valentine’s mission as reflected in the visitor experience.
The Valentine reflects and interprets the broad issues and diverse communities that define the history of Richmond and its surrounding counties. Their use of their design collections to connect to contemporary themes and issues reflect their continuing ingenuity and insight that enhance their visitors’ experience. 

Honorable Mention: Christopher Newport University

Christopher Newport University (CNU) has utilized design as a strategic tool within their mission to provide educational and cultural opportunities that benefit many in the Commonwealth. CNU set out to transform its campus as an expansion of the transformation of the character and culture of the institution. Design thinking drove the process from the broadest levels of a master plan to the minute detailing of each building. They are recognized for their use of the Campus Master Plan as a strategic design tool and their continued ingenuity and insight in relating design to quality of life for students, staff and all who interact with their campus.

Prize for Public Interest Design

The prize is for a creative project that has transformed its surroundings, whether a setting, neighborhood or community. It is for an individual or entity responsible for shepherding the project within Virginia.

The jury awarded two 2019 Prizes for Public Interest Design

Honoree: Potomac River Water Transportation Framework Plan,Michael Winstanley, AIA AICP

The Potomac River Transportation Framework Plan is a comprehensive master plan outlining a water-based transportation network on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers for commuters, tourists and the federal government (defense and civilian evacuations) in Virginia, Washington, DC, and Maryland. The plan includes inter-modal connections to the existing land based public transportation system. Providing alternative means of transportation that is efficient, economical and environmentally friendly is essential to both a quality of life as well as a thriving economy. Water transportation also provides yet another means to evacuate civilians during major events either man-made or natural.

Honoree: Monroe Park Conservancy, the City of Richmond, and Alice Massie

The Monroe Park Project has truly transformed its surrounding neighborhood and the City of Richmond. It is a project exemplifying visionary thinking that has transformed its environment and provided a fitting rebirth for one of Richmond’s oldest and most significant public spaces. The renovations bring new life, new amenities, and modern infrastructure to Monroe Park. Renovations honor the Park’s history while creating a dynamic welcoming and safe place for all Park visitors to enjoy. In the words of Style Weekly architecture critic Edwin Slipek, “This project raises the level of architectural design excellence and civic pride in the lower Fan District and Western edge of downtown by a remarkable degree.”

Photo courtesy of 3north

Join us for Brunch at The Branch to celebrate our 2019 Winners!

Read about our 2018 Virginia by Design Winners