Revitalizing a Civic Icon

Old City Hall

Old City Hall

Richmond, Virginia

Our renovation of Richmond’s iconic Old City Hall creates a contemporary workplace within a National Historic Landmark. The renewed building houses 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 restored to their original grandeur, with new building systems seamlessly woven into the historic fabric. Subsidiary spaces serve new functions; for example, historic courtrooms have become open offices. Twice slated for demolition, Old City Hall continues to support new generations 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.
An exterior photo of a Romanesque-style building.

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.

An interior photo of an open office with ornate columns.

Working with Multiple Tenants

Old City Hall's office spaces accommodate several state government agencies. Flexible workspaces and conference rooms can support the needs of a variety of users and work styles.

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.

A photo of a three-story atrium with arcades and a skylight.
A photo of a conference room with people sitting at a table.

Sustainable Stewardship

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

A historic photo of an equestrian monument with a Romanesque-style building in the background.

A Capitol Square Gem

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 and pledged to preserve the building in 1981.

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