Beauty Can Lie Below the Surface 

click to enlarge building_capitol_200.jpg

Boston may have completed its big dig, but Richmond was no slouch when it came to ambitious underground projects. For $104.5 million the State Capitol was renovated and expanded south under Shockoe Hill and given a new entrance on Bank Street. The Hillier-designed project allows for new security points, conference rooms, exhibition space plus a restaurant and gift shop. Amazingly, because of high ceilings, strategic natural and artificial lights, and a blend of choice marble and granite surfaces, the new and modernist spaces are ennobling, not subwaylike.   

Building of the Decade: Virginia State Capitol renovation and expansion.

Runner-up: The Early Worship center renovation at Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Ginter Park (Glave & Holmes, architect). Like the Capitol project, this was a rehabilitation project and most of the excitement is on the interior.

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