Volume 1, No. 10 - August 23, 2007
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BLAST - News and Notes from AIA Northern Virginia

Cooper Carry
Cooper Carry Studios (more info)
In This Issue

LEED for Residential

Inter-School Design Competition

ARE Graphic Divisions Review

Featured Project: Cooper Carry Studio


Visit the AIA Northern Virginia Website

Carter + Burton Earns Gold Rating in Pilot LEED Residential Program
Photos by Daniel Afzal

Carter + Burton Architecture, a participant in the USGBC LEED for Homes pilot program, was awarded a LEED Gold certification for The Yoga Studio, in Clarke County, Virginia, only the second home in the state to receive LEED certification and the first to achieve a Gold rating.

The US Green Building Council has established the LEED for Homes pilot program that evaluates the sustainable design of single and multi-family homes. Eleven local and regional organizations, called LEED for Homes Pilot Providers, have formal responsibility for rating LEED Homes during the pilot phase. A LEED certified home is designed to be energy efficient, consume fewer resources, include high performance features to provide improved health, safety, comfort, and lower operating costs, and is environmentally friendly, more durable, less polluting, and makes better use of resources.

The Yoga Studio, 753 square feet (including a storage loft), was built as a weekend retreat in the Shenandoah Valley. While compact in size, it feels big and takes advantage of spectacular views of the valley. The clients’ interest in energy efficiency and minimal waste and consumption of materials inspired a sustainable project. The house features curved structural insulated panels for wall and roof construction, a geothermal mechanical system, energy-efficient appliances and a green roof. The south-facing windows allow passive solar heating in the summer and maximum day lighting. The energy efficient features save an estimated 70 percent in utility bills.

Yoga Studio / Living Roof
Yoga Studio / Living Roof Carter + Burton Architecture, in Berryville, Virginia, ( focuses on quality, craftsmanship, and innovation as well as the promotion of passive solar techniques and eco-friendly building materials. The builder, The Charles Snead Company, is a small construction and millwork company located in Boyce, Virginia. Both firms worked with sustainability consultant, Southface, on this project to ensure the LEED for Homes standards were met.

Yoga Studio / Living Roof
The pilot version of the LEED for Homes Rating System is scheduled to be updated based on lessons learned in the pilot. After a public review period, the final LEED for Homes Rating System will be launched soon. Additional information can be found at

Annual Inter-School Design Competition
By Francie Fetzer, Associate AIA and Sean Reilly, AIA

Over the past two decades the three Washington area chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Washington Architectural Foundation, and the National Building Museum have collaborated to organize the annual inter-school student design competition. These competitions have opened the door for students to learn about the various local architectural curriculums and the architectural profession. Participants in this event are architecture students at all levels enrolled at Virginia Tech’s Washington Alexandria Architecture Center, The Catholic University of America, Howard University, and the University of Maryland.

The universities take turns developing the architectural program for the competition. This year Howard University is developing the program and will present it to the students at a charrette on September 23, held in the Great Hall of the National Building Museum. The program, not yet released, will challenge students to explore ways to apply the AIA’s 10 Principles of Livable Communities. The competition is open for public viewing between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. This year, in an effort to capture the experience of the competition, the Arlington Career Center will be doing a documentary on the competition process.

We are very fortunate to have Jane Weinzapfel, AIA from Leers Weinzapfel Architects as the lead juror. Her firm recently won the AIA’s firm of the year award. The presentation of awards will be held at the National Building Museum on September 24 at 5:30 pm.

Architect Registration Exam: Graphic Divisions Review

With our chapter’s 2007 ARE Prep series winding down, we are planning the last sessions which cover the three Graphic Divisions of the exam. For the past several years we have relied on the unfailing expertise of Norman Dorf, FAIA to guide our graphics review and had him scheduled to conduct his sessions on September 29. Unfortunately, after a long battle with cancer, Norman passed away last month.

We feel it is important to provide our ARE candidates the opportunity to prepare for the graphics exams, and so the planned review sessions will still take place on Saturday, September 29 at the University of Maryland School of Architecture, but will now be lead by Kurt Wassenaar, Architect and Principal of the Wassenaar Design Group, PC and Bruce Grulke, AIA, Project Architect with Clark-Nexsen Architecture and Engineering. Both have extensive experience with the ARE and in the academic community.

The sessions will cover all three graphic divisions of the exam, Site Planning, Building Planning & Building Technology, including topical information, ARE testing skills and sample vignettes.

This review is presented by AIA Northern Virginia, Virginia Society AIA, AIA Potomac Valley & Washington/AIA Chapter.

Additional information and registration are available on the Virginia Society web site at For questions, please contact the Chapter at (703) 549-9747 or

Featured Project

Cooper Carry: The Angle of Design
Alexandria, VA
Cooper Carry, Inc.

Cooper Carry, a national design firm, created an open, light-filled work environment in a mixed-use building in Old Town Alexandria. Employees have access to bike storage and mass transit, in line with the company’s urbanist philosophy. The firm is seeking Gold LEED Certification for the project with sustainable materials, recycling programs and integrated environmentally friendly practices. The space won two awards, for sustainable design and interior design from Northern Virginia NAIOP in 2006. Natural daylight flows to all the workspaces because there are no enclosed areas on the window perimeter. Spaces are flexible in use and can be quickly reconfigured for work needs, meetings or presentations. Angles define the space’s walls, floors, workstations and even the custom-designed entryway. The result is a space that enables productive life and work through its sensible design, and refreshes the human spirit by its beauty.

Our approach was to create an open, light-filled work environment with clearly defined circulation spaces, meeting rooms and teaming spaces throughout. There are no doors or full-height walls in the non-conference areas, emphasizing the open communication and welcoming style of the firm. The office was selected in part for the three-sided window exposures. The white and red color palette is simple and rich. Geometric glass insets in the principals’ offices and low-height partitions allow greater transparency between spaces while giving the occupants privacy. Glass walls partition three conference rooms from the rest of the office while allowing light to enter.


September 8 - Architecture in the Schools Introductory Meeting
At the AIA/DC Chapter House, 1777 Church Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036. The Washington Architectural Foundation’s Architecture in the Schools (AIS) program is a unique curriculum enrichment program that matches the skills of design professionals with the talents of teachers in the Washington DC metropolitan area. AIS is supported by the Washington Chapter AIA and the AIA Northern Virginia Chapter.

AIS works in a wide range of subject areas and has been successful in classrooms ranging from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Design professionals visit their classrooms once a week for eight weeks over a semester. Often the highlight of the students’ week, these visits demonstrate how the built environment affects every aspect of life. Intern Architects get IDP credit for their work in the classroom and AIA members receive continuing education learning units. We’re celebrating the 15th Anniversary of Architecture in the Schools this year, and with your help we can teach more kids than ever before. Please consider volunteering for this semester or in the spring. Classes begin September 24.

For additional information, contact AIS chair Jean O’Toole at Or to sign up for the AIS program, please contact Beth Judy at the Washington Architectural Foundation at (202) 667-5444 or by e-mail

September 11 - AIA Northern Virginia Board Meeting
4:30p-6:00p, at the Chapter House, 205 South Patrick Street, Alexandria. For additional information, contact the Chapter House at

September 19 - Lunch Seminar - Designing a Vertical Path to Safety: Precast Concrete Stair Systems
The presentation will examine building safety codes related to egress stairs and the degree to which these stair systems comply with codes. It will evaluate the safest and best method to travel from floor to floor in multistory buildings of different structural types and will consider how a vertical path to safety can be designed with precast stair systems. Presented by Castcon-Stone, Inc. 1.25 AIA/CES HSW LUs. For reservations, e-mail

September 23 + 24 - Inter-School Design Competition
September 23 - Design Charrette, 11:00a-5:00p
September 24 - Awards Ceremony, 5:30p
At the National Building Museum. Teams of architecture students from The Catholic University of America, Howard University, Virginia Tech’s Washington Alexandria Architecture Center, and the University of Maryland participate in a day-long design competition held in the Museum’s Great Hall. Each team consists of one student from each school. Museum visitors can view this charrette—an intensive design session—in progress, as the teams work on a design project. Winners of the juried competition will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Museum. Free; registration not necessary. For additional information, visit:

September 29 - Architect Registration Exam: Graphic Divisions Review
8:30a – 6:00p, at the University of Maryland School of Architecture, College Park, Maryland. This day-long seminar offers an overview of the Graphic Divisions of the Architect Registration Exam and is designed to prepare interns for the successful completion of the ARE. All three Graphic Divisions – Site Planning, Building Planning & Building Technology – will be reviewed. Pertinent information regarding each division will be covered, as well as ARE testing, instructional information and sample vignettes. For more information, view the article above.