NELSON BYRD WOLTZ LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS, CHARLOTTESVILLE STUDIOS

Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects is a widely published, award winning firm with studios in Charlottesville and New York City. The firm's projects vary widely in type and are all over the world. Their new headquarters is made up of a series of attached light industrial buildings dating from the early 1900s. The building volumes create two courtyards between them, deep in a downtown Charlottesville city block.

Individual buildings took on important program elements (e.g. the studio building, the gathering building) with the central structure functioning as the threshold between them. The northern most volume makes the headpiece of the composition: a two-story design studio. A massive sculpture by artist Dee Briggs is suspended within the large opening connecting the two floors, occupying both upper and lower studios. This element serves as the connection between upper and lower studios. This was an important element for Thomas Woltz, principal and owner of NBW, who sought to unite the design staff spatially and through art. The primary courtyard, which gives on to the street, provides the primary entry sequence, and is terminated by the project’s largest gathering and meeting space.

Craftspeople and collaborators who were instrumental in executing this project were Claudine Wispelwey and Breck Gastinger of NBW, Martin Quarles of Alexander Nicholson (general contractor), Lauren Danley of Metal is Good, Nick Wispelwey of Wispelwey Woodworking and Simin Faghiri of Simin's Custom Sewing.
Photography: Lincoln Barbour