In it 12th year of spotlighting the places and spaces that make the county special, the Loudoun Design Cabinet on Tuesday used its highest award to honor the contributions of a community leader who played a key role in defining community.
Powell Harrison, the recipient of the third annual Vision in Design Award, died in 2000, after a lifetime working to promote preservation in the county. The award was accepted by his grandson Edmund Rhoads, with congratulations from the Board of Supervisors.
Design Cabinet Chairman Alan Hansen said Harrison was remarkable for his vision, leadership and success in historic preservation, conservation and transportation projects in Northern Virginia over 50 years.
Hansen said that after returning from World War II, Harrison founded Colonial Leesburg Inc. to preserve the historic buildings in downtown Leesburg. He was instrumental in the establishment of Oatlands Plantation as a National Trust property with a local board, also fought to save Gen. George C. Marshall’s Leesburg home, Dodona Manor, from development. He also was a founder of the Piedmont Environmental Council, and led planning trips to England to teach county leaders about the value of countryside preservation.
In the transportation area, Harrison was instrumental in the widening of Rt. 28 from a two-lane road and founded the Bypass Alternatives Review Committee that pushed for a western transportation corridor through Northern Virginia, believing it essential for relieving traffic on the Capital Beltway and to preserve Rt. 15 as a historic scenic byway.
Other winners in the 2016 Signatures of Loudoun awards for design excellence were:
Legends—Ida Lee Recreation Center. The category recognizes unique objects that are “icons of our collective memory.” The building both references the history of the region through its winding driveway, wood fences and the restored 1789 Ida Lee Farmhouse as well as its contemporary features that bring the beauty of the site into the building.
Makeovers—1. The Barn at One Loudoun. Category recognizes projects for excellence in historic renovation, restoration or adaptive reuse, and for preservation of Loudoun’s history. Originally built in 1875 in Farmwell, One Loudoun developer Bill May directed the barn be reconditioned and adapted as the centerpiece of an amphitheater at the development. The work was done by Lincoln timberframe preservation expert Allen Cochran.
Makeovers—2. The 1804 Vine Hill Mansion in Middleburg. The project was honored for its conversion into a world-class art museum, including a 10,000-square-foot addition and successfully melding the older structure with the modern expansion in a seamless blend of old and new.
Public Spaces—The Washington and Old Dominion Trail. The category recognizes design excellence in public greens, streets, plazas and squares. As a linear space on the former right-of-way of the Washington and Old Dominion Railroad, it successfully connects the county’s historic towns and allows recreational experience for the public.
Details—Creeks Edge Winery. The stunning spiral staircase in a silo at the winery was one of the visual highlights among many fine details, including the handmade walnut bar, post and beam construction that show outstanding craftsmanship.
The Familiar—Middleburg Professional Center. The category recognizes the attention given to buildings, places and details, and for exceptional and harmonious design. The new office building was designed to fit perfectly in its context at the edge of the historic district of the town, acting as a transition between the urban center and surrounding countryside. The center used traditional building materials in the design.
Interiors—The Cooley Gallery in Leesburg. Recognizing design excellence in interiors of a building, the cabinet noted the revealed beauty of the building housing the gallery, that dates to 1792, when the previous hidden brick walls and original wood beams were revealed. With its modern interior features, the building blends historical character with contemporary industrial design.
Pace Setters—Northern Virginia Community College’s Robert G. Templin Jr. Higher Education Center in Sterling. The new education center was honored for its three-story steel frame structure with a cantilevered second floor that extends over the campus pond. The building uses a mix of glass and metal panels with a brick and stone veneer. Its many energy-saving features are designed to a LEED Silver standard. The building also was the choice of the student panel.