RICHMOND, VA (1/11/07)-Throughout the past decade, with an innovative process for the selection of architects and their designs for new federal buildings, the Design Excellence Program of the U.S. General Services Administration has set about changing the image of government. From U.S. courthouses to border stations, federal buildings are being designed with stunning results by some of America’s best-known architects.
A one-time exhibition, co-sponsored by the GSA and opening at the Virginia Center for Architecture February 2, will showcase federal courthouses, border stations, and a selection of other Design Excellence Program projects that illustrate the government’s goal to commission inspiring, contemporary civic architecture that reflects and promotes American ideals. Growing Country, Growing Needs: Federal Architecture and Art will be augmented by the story of the Fine Arts Collection that has been integral to the design of federal buildings.
"The good news for America is that an elevated standard of design and a streamlined process has been adopted by the federal government for its landmark buildings," says Vernon Mays, Virginia Center for Architecture Curator of Architecture + Design. “Soon Richmond will be the beneficiary of that process, and our new federal courthouse will be one among an outstanding collection of new government buildings that elevate the spirit and celebrate democracy all across this country.”
The exhibition will highlight six federal courthouses, including the new U.S. Courthouse in Richmond, designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects and slated for completion in the spring of 2008. Architects to be represented in the exhibition include nationally renowned firms such as Kohn Pedersen Fox, Arquitectonica, Kallmann McKinnell & Wood, Richard Meier & Partners, Moshe Safdie, and Michael Graves. Other buildings to be featured include the United States Mission to the United Nations, by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates; the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility, by Morphosis; and representations of commissioned artworks that accompany most of these buildings.
In addition, a separate segment of the exhibition on U.S. border stations includes 12 new facilities at points of entry along the Canadian and Mexican borders. Included are architects such as Lake/Flato Architects, Ross Barney + Jankowski, Smith-Miller + Hawkinson, and Charles Rose, along with four small-scale models of commissioned artworks. Another element of the exhibition will interpret the tradition of public art in federal buildings in Virginia, including the mural by artist Jared French that was reinstalled in Richmond’s current U.S. Courthouse after a renovation in 1998.
Growing Country, Growing Needs will be on view through May 27, 2007.
About the Virginia Center for Architecture
The Virginia Center for Architecture, one of the nation's few museums devoted to the building arts and design, is dedicated to creating understanding of the value, meaning, and influence of built environments in our lives, our communities, and our world. Located in a 1919 27,000-square-foot landmark Tudor Revival mansion at 2501 Monument Avenue in Richmond, Virginia's historic Fan District, the Center is open to the public 10 am-5 pm Tuesday through Friday and 1-5 pm Saturday and Sunday. Exhibitions, programs, and house and neighborhood walking tours are offered throughout the year. Learn more at www.virginiaarchitecture.org.