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Norfolk Botanical Garden Administration Building

The Administration Building's thoughtful restoration blends historical preservation with modern functionality, reviving its status as a community and cultural landmark.

Founded in 1939, the Norfolk Azalea Garden, now the Norfolk Botanical Garden, owes its existence to the vision and hard work of over 200 African American women who transformed 75 acres into a lush azalea haven under a WPA initiative. As the Garden evolved, the early 1960s saw the addition of essential buildings by Architect Vernon Moore, including the Administration Building, enriching the visitor experience with cohesive architectural designs that resonated with the natural landscape.

Moore's choice of stone and glass, topped with distinctive folded roof forms lent an organic feel to the structures. The Administration Building's design, with its rotunda and functional wings, originally served as a vibrant hub for social gatherings and administrative operations. However, over time, changes and neglect led to its underuse, culminating in a critical decision point in 2017 due to heating system failures and structural concerns.

Opting for restoration rather than demolition, the initiative sought to preserve Moore's vision. By dismantling later modifications, the project retained the building's original layout. The detailed rehabilitation preserved distinctive architectural details and restored the building's historical exterior, reflecting profound respect for its architectural and cultural significance.

  • Sector: Civic + Community
  • Scope: Historic Preservation
  • Norfolk, Virginia
  • 2018
  • 15,314 SF
  • Photos courtesy of © Yuzhu Zheng
  • Citation Award for Landscape Architecture and Architectural Preservation, AIA HR, 2019
  • Award of Excellence, Best Renovated or Historic Rehabilitation Project, Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate, 2019
Project Team
Greg Rutledge
Design Principal
William G. Hopkins
Project Manager
McPherson Design Group
Structural Engineering
Pace Collaborative
MEP Engineer