Virginia by Design Awardees

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/or support for the architecture and/or design community. The recipient is chosen by leadership of The Branch.

Honorees: Joan and the late Macon Brock

Virginia Beach’s Joan Brock and her late husband Macon are honored for their patronage on many projects including their ongoing support for The Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach. The Branch trustees feel this Chesapeake Bay Foundation facility exemplifies the transformative power of design. It’s an environmentally sensitive and smart building, among the first in the nation to embrace energy and water independence. Its purpose is to advance efforts to defend the valuable and threatened Chesapeake Bay.


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: Virginia Beach City Public Schools

Virginia Beach City Public Schools work with the community to keep each new school or development project in the context of its surroundings while displaying sustainability efforts, progressive ideas and design. They use a triple bottom line approach balancing a project’s environmental, social and financial aspects. The school division also teaches this to students. The system has 12 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) schools completed or in the works. They focus on reducing their ecological footprints and operating costs.


Emerging Designer

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

Honoree: Katie MacDonald

Katie MacDonald is the Collegiate Assistant Professor of the Virginia Tech College of Architecture and Urban Studies in Blacksburg and a founding partner in After Architecture, LLC. In a time when cities risk losing their individual character, she is dedicated to cultivating local identity and place. Her work fuses new approaches to material, program and site with local materials and building traditions. MacDonald’s work has been designed for a variety of locations around the world. She has a Master’s in Architecture from Harvard and a Bachelor’s in Architecture from Cornell.


Vision in Design Honor

The honor recognizes a visionary thinker such as an educator, author, critic, curator, preservationist or designer who has had a profound impact or influence on design education, theory, practice, or public awareness.

Honoree: Susan Piedmont-Palladino

Susan Piedmont-Palladino is an architect with Palladino & Piedmont Architects in Washington, D.C., Director of Virginia Tech’s Washington Alexandria Architecture Center (WAAC), and a consulting curator and writer with the National Building Museum in Washington. She is an educator, author, critic, curator, preservationist and a designer. At WAAC she leads an interdisciplinary, international and individually focused design program using the city as a campus. Her curatorial work is aimed at a general audience. She has a Master’s in Architecture from Virginia Tech and a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts at the College of William and Mary.


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.

Honoree: Phoebe Crisman — The Elizabeth River Project

Phoebe Crisman, AIA, is an associate professor of architecture at the University of Virginia where she focuses on sustainability, architectural theory and urbanism. She also directs the Global Environments + Sustainability major at UVA’s College of Arts & Sciences. For 12 years she has partnered with the Elizabeth River Project aimed at sustainable redevelopment of the river especially in Hampton Roads. The work includes a large Eco-Industrial Corridor Plan, a Learning Barge, Paradise Creek Nature Park Wetland Lab and River Academy. She has a Master’s in Architecture from Harvard and a Bachelor’s in Architecture from Carnegie Mellon.


Prize for Public Interest Design Honorable Mentions

T. Tyler Potterfield
Memorial Bridge, Richmond
ARC Park,
Historic Pole Green Church Foundation and Rev. Dr. Robert Bluford, Jr.,

Virginia By Design Awards Jury

Meet the Jury Here

  • Karen Van Lengen, FAIA- Jury Chair
  • Warren Byrd Jr., FASLA
  • Jack Davis, FAIA, LEED AP
  • Samantha De Tillio
  • Susan Reed, AIA
  • Howard Risatti, Ph.D
  • Lisa Tucker, Ph.D., FIDEC, AIA, ASID, IIDA, LEED AP BD+C