This new office space was completed in September, 2008. A medical publishing company needed to occupy two 6,000 square foot levels of a narrow, historic building on Charlottesville's main street. The design goals were to keep visible as much of the existing surfaces and materials as possible. Additionally, keeping a sense of openness and a connection to daylight were paramount in a space measuring 29 feet by 240 feet.
A new 2,200 square foot residence occupying the rear portion of a large urban lot. A lap pool, partially formed by a site cast concrete retaining wall, buffers the property from the nearby train tracks. The landscape design was provided by Nelson, Byrd, Woltz of Charlottesville.
12th St Apt
12th Street Apartment
Interior renovation and combining of two distinct apartment units.
Winter Park, Florida
Ten Japanese Restaurant
From the dark street, faintly shimmering lights beckon you upstairs. Inside, you are transported...to another world. This was the challenge posed in the design brief for Ten, a sophisticated Japanese restaurant. The space is divided into night and day. In its front room, ceiling panels reflect light to evoke a starry sky and sense of endless space. In the day area, inspired by clouds, iridescent fabric highlights banquette seating, and the sushi bar appears as a clean white box. Transporting its customers, Ten has been operating at capacity since opening.
House on the Dell
House on the Dell
A renovation of an existing house and detached cottage in the neighborhood of the University of Virginia. Small, constrained rooms were opened up and finished with a material palette responding to sunlight and landscape elements visible to the south. Custom built-in components were provided throughout the project to provide a home for the owners' massive book collection. History and landscape architecture books now create many of the surfaces and partitions constituting the new design.
Guest Quarters for a Farmhouse
The owner of this 1,100 square foot project sought to convert a half-basement into a self-contained guest apartment. The existing raw wood and plaster finishes lent themselves to a minimal intervention, with design direction originating with the owners' Scandinavian roots. Heavy wood, white surfaces, and red accents make up the entire palette. Careful lighting and iridescent finishes make up for the loss of daylight in the most interior spaces.
This residence is situated just below the crest of a hill on a saddle where two rivers almost converge. A substantial renovation to an existing residence was combined with 2,200 new square feet to complete the new master plan. The design goal was to modify the house to meet the owner's unusual program and connect the interior spaces to the near and far landscape. Custom furniture by Formwork Design was provided throughout the project.
Martin Horn Offices
An established general contracting firm wanted to enhance the quality of their workspace as well as demonstrate their ability to execute highly custom design. LEED certification and the desire to make a strong impression on their clients defined the broad design criteria. The design strategy sought to introduce visual interest and beauty into the primary public space of the facility, while maintaining a masculine atmosphere. A central conference room features a translucent "garage" door that creates a private meeting space at the touch of a button.
An 1,100 square foot apartment in The Holsinger building, also designed by Formwork, packed with a second bedroom and bath into a space originally intended for one. By maximizing efficiency in the private areas of the program, the living, dining and kitchen areas were made to feel spacious and open.
An completely renovated interior gave new life to an existing wine bar whose business had grown stagnant. Keeping the overall layout of the space, Formwork created a new material and color palette, added a new display wall for retail wine sales, and redefined the storefront and entry zone with a dropped wooden soffit.
Red Light Management Offices
The young staff at Red Light, an artist management company, wanted collaborative work space. Managers required private offices. Everyone needed a space that would imbue the frenetic work environment with a sense of calm. A glazed curtain wall transformed the 5,000 sf space, formerly a windowless department store. Daylight now penetrates the open plan. Natural materials and colors create a feeling of tranquility. And a freestanding library housing thousands of compact discs has become an impromptu gathering spot.
The Holsinger serves two masters: pedestrians who pass by everyday and the residents who live inside its 16 luxury apartments. The 60,000 sf building stands on a difficult, sloping corner site. Modern in design, it's a good urban neighbor, echoing the massing and proportions of the surrounding historic warehouses. Elevating the parking deck to the second floor made way for six retail spaces at street level. Inside, departing from the loft trend, each apartment is defined by elegantly proportioned rooms laid out to maximize the flow of natural light.
Blue Light Grill
Blue Light Grill
The Blue Light Grill was one of the first Charlottesville, Virginia restaurants to tap into a rapidly growing interest in contemporary design on the part of college students and young professionals. Bold lighting and a super-scale graphic decor has made the Blue Light one of the most popular destinations for young professionals since opening in 2001.
Formwork Design LLC was established in 2000 and is run by its two principals, Cecilia Hernandez and Robert Nichols. The firm was created to provide comprehensive design services with insight from overlapping design disciplines. The typical Formwork project addresses issues related to site, building, furnishings and graphic elements. The firm aims to design spaces with a sense of warmth and sensuality, relying on material, color, form and texture to establish the mood of a space. Formwork maintains an abiding faith in the promise of modern architecture to provide buildings that suit our contemporary culture. We believe modernist architecture is an essential reference for the design of interior spaces and landscapes that want to be closely connected.
Cecilia Hernandez Nichols
Cecilia is a principal of the firm, focusing on private residential work, and interior design for hospitality clients. Cecilia earned a Master of Architecture degree from the University of California Berkeley in 1994 and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1987. Previously she been a principal of Design Associates Miami and Assembly, a design-build practice in Berkeley, California. Cecilia frequently teaches at the University of Virginia School of Architecture as an adjunct faculty member.
Robert Nichols is a principal of the firm, focusing on multi-residential and hospitality projects. He is also responsible for integration and coordination of all technical systems. Robert earned a Master of Architecture from the University of Virginia in 1995 and a B.A. from Bucknell University in 1986. He is a regular member of architectural juries at the University of Virginia.
We find the recent elevation of “green design” as a special subset of architecture a bit distracting. For in addition to sustainable and efficient, our work also needs to be beautiful, comfortable, affordable and well-organized. So, don’t look for an "eco" logo on our drawings or web site. That’s not to say it’s easy being green. It takes enthusiasm, a lot of research and a will to look past the most obvious ways of building to reduce the environmental footprint of modern construction. We have LEED Accredited designers guiding this work, and are happy to see our buildings sit more lightly on their foundations every year.
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We are located in downtown Charlottesville, near the intersection of Park and High Streets.
Formwork Architecture llc
620 Farish St., Studio B
Charlottesville, VA 22902