Honor - SCUP/AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture for Rehabilitation, Restoration or Preservation

Washington and Lee University

The Colonnade
Washington and Lee University - The Colonnade
Jury Comments
". . . beautifully done and restored . . . sensitivity at every turn . . . the landscape is integrated well . . . "


    • Site – 1.75 acres / 76,000 sq ft; Building – 75,344 gsf / 42,387 asf
    • LEED Silver
    • National historic landmark
    • In the current campus master plan, the Colonnade’s restoration and update was identified as the highest institutional priority.
    • The Colonnade is comprised of the five most iconic and interconnected buildings in the historic district.
    • State Historic Tax Credits helped reduce net project costs.
    • A new utility structure accommodated new semi- underground mechanical rooms to save valuable interior building space.
    • The design team followed the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, preserving character- defining features and respectfully deferring to the existing esthetic while upgrading systems throughout.
    • The university successfully raised $50 million for project costs, including an $8 million operating endowment before construction.


The Colonnade’s code deficiencies, inefficient infrastructure, and worn interiors reflected decades of use. Offices were inadequate, spaces for interaction were sparse, technology was an afterthought, and there weren’t any bathrooms on the third floors. A pre-planning study was undertaken to help frame key issues of interest. These issues were vetted in formal meetings and open, informal sessions utilizing survey techniques and “visual questionnaires” depicting a range of project approaches. Broad participation yielded a range of aspirations, opportunities, and innovative solutions.

The historic fabric of each building was evaluated and prioritized, ascertaining the level of integrity each space had retained relative to their original condition. The exterior appearance and character of the buildings had traditionally been well maintained by the university, so exterior renovations focused on refurbishment: repointing, repainting, repair of damaged elements, always prioritizing repair over replacement, and using in-kind materials where appropriate.

With diverse programs, state-of-the-art classrooms, seminar spaces, and faculty offices including Office of the President, the life of every student will revolve around the Colonnade at some point. Where few student-centric spaces existed, students can now be found camped out studying or collaborating. Where a drop ceiling once hung below a roof monitor, daylight now filters into lounge and seminar spaces. Always the heart of the university, the deft renovations have pumped new life into each building, guaranteeing their continued place in the heart of future generations.

Project Team

Glavé & Holmes Architecture; also Kjellstrom & Lee, Inc.; Nolen Frisa Associates, P.C.; PACE Collaborative, P.C.; Timmons Group, Inc.; Miller Beam & Paganelli, Inc.; Landmark Preservation Associates; Sadler & Whitehead Architect, PLC; GHD; O’Shea Wilson Siteworks, LLC