Friday, April 11, 2014

Tech Shines, Roanoke Fades in Top Va. Architecture List; Rigged?

Sweet Briar House near Lynchburg.
Virginia Tech, with four buildings in the top 10 statewide, shone brightly in the Virginia Center for Architecture's list of the Top 100 architecturally significant buildings in the state.

While Tech, which has an architectural college, was stealing the show, Roanoke--which has some truly nice buildings including several on City Market, as well as residences, churches and commercial buildings throughout the city--barely made a dent. The Taubman Museum of Art, 2008, was the city's top-ranked building at 52 and Carlin's Amoco service station, built in 1947 and restored by the Berglund Automotive Group, came in at 85. No other Roanoke Valley building was on the list (here).

The Taubman Museum of Art, Roanoke's best.
Sweet Briar House, 1790, and Monticello, 1770, topped the list with Tech's signature Burruss Hall, 1936, at No. 3.

Let me interject here than this survey looks rigged. My guess is that Tech grads banded together and stuffed the ballot box. There simply are not 40 percent of the best buildings in Virginia on Tech's campus. But that's my conjecture.

Here is the press release from Tech:

Hokies and Virginia Tech fans from everywhere who voted in the Virginia’s Favorite Architecture public poll helped land four structures on the Blacksburg campus in the top 10 of 250 nominees.
Burruss Hall was chosen as third followed by the LumenHAUS as fourth, the Pylons and Memorial Chapel as sixth, and the Moss Arts Center as eighth. The survey, which pulled nearly 30,000 votes, whittled the nominees down to 100 deemed Virginia’s most beloved pieces of architecture.
Photos and information about the top 100 buildings, bridges, monuments, and memorials are part of an exhibition that runs through Oct. 19 at the center in Richmond.
Universities and Thomas Jefferson claimed most votes for structures that placed in the top 10.
The top 10 most admired Virginia architectural structures, including the architect or firm, and the location, includes:
Carlin's Amoco in Roanoke.
  1. Sweet Briar House, Sweet Briar College, c. 1790 — Joseph Crews, Sweet Briar, Va.
  2. Monticello, c. 1770 — Thomas Jefferson, Charlottesville, Va.
  3. Burruss Hall (, Virginia Tech, 1936 — William Carneal and J. Ambler Johnston, AIA of Carneal, Johnston, and Wright, Architects and Engineers, Blacksburg, Va.
  4. LumenHAUS (, Virginia Tech, 2009 — Center for Design Research, Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, Blacksburg, Va.
  5. The Academical Village, University of Virginia, 1822 — Thomas Jefferson, Charlottesville, Va.
  6. War Memorial Chapel and Pylons (, Virginia Tech, 1960 — Roy F. Larson, FAIA of Harbeson, Hough, Livingston, & Larson, Blacksburg, Va.
  7. Washington Dulles International Airport, 1962 — Eero Saarinen and Associates, Chantilly, Va.
  8. Moss Arts Center (, Virginia Tech, 2013 — Snøhetta, Blacksburg, Va.
  9. Christ Church, 1773 — Col. James Wren, Alexandria, Va.
  10. Poplar Forest, 1809 — Thomas Jefferson, Forest, Va.
The Top 100 beloved examples of architecture in Virginia include:
  • Thomas Jefferson is the architect appearing most frequently on the list, with 6 structures
  • There are 7 places of worship on the list
  • Schools and universities own or operate 12 structures on the list
  • One structure hasn’t even been built yet: The Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Contemporary Art
  • Nearly all of the structures are cultural destinations: either museums, historic homes, memorials, or entertainment venues
  • The Richmond region boasts the most structures on the list with 32; the Blue Ridge region claims 23 (with 6 in the top 10); Northern Virginia has 18; the Hampton region has 16; and Central Virginia holds 11.

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