Revitalizing a Civic Icon

Old City Hall

Old City Hall

Richmond, Virginia

Our renovation of Richmond’s iconic Old City Hall will create a contemporary workplace within a National Historic Landmark. The renewed building will house state legislative and executive agencies in cutting-edge workspaces with neo-Gothic charm.

Our design preserves and upgrades the building envelope to address water infiltration issues and increase energy efficiency. High-character interior spaces like the magnificent cast iron atrium are being restored to their original grandeur, with new building systems seamlessly woven into the historic fabric. Subsidiary spaces will be rehabilitated serve new functions; for example, historic courtrooms will become open offices. Twice slated for demolition, Old City Hall will continue to support a new generation of public servants.

Revitalizing a Civic Icon
This civic landmark will once again provide a dignified and elegant home for our civic government and, with its Capitol Square neighbors, will continue to set the standard for architectural excellence in civic buildings.
A laser scan of the interior of Old City Hall.

Preservation Approach

We used a range of low- and high-tech surveying tools, from visual inspection to laser scanning, to assess the building. We implemented different treatment approaches for building areas based on their condition and historic integrity: preservation for the exterior, restoration for the atrium, and rehabilitation for the offices.

A photo of an office space inside a government building.

Working with Multiple Tenants

Old City Hall’s office spaces will accommodate five state agencies: the Division of Capitol Police, Department of Human Resource Management, Division of Legislative Automated Systems, Capitol Square Preservation Council, and Capitol Foundation.

A photo of the entrance to a building.

A Dignified Entrance

We designed a new accessible walkway at the building’s west entrance to provide a dignified entry experience for people with mobility issues. Sympathetic to the historic context, the guardrail features an abstracted trefoil motif that recalls the building’s interior atrium railings.

An exterior photo of a stone building.

Sustainable Stewardship

As part of our preservation of the building envelope, we are adding low-e coatings to the existing windows and skylights to improve their energy performance. Energy will also be saved through the installation of LED lighting and occupancy sensors that turn lights off when rooms are unoccupied.

A historic photo of a statue outside of a stone building.

Building History

Old City Hall was designed by Elijah E. Myers and opened in 1894. It was first considered for demolition in 1915, when its Gothic Revival architecture was no longer in fashion. It was again threatened in the 1970s when the city government moved to a new building. The state purchased the building in 1981.

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