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Brian Broadus

Brian Broadus

Charlottesville, VA, US

 

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About 

I WANT TO BE A NEW YORKER. I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, immersed in building conservation. I assembled a remarkable array of technical skills, and picked up a few honors. Charlottesville is no cultural vacuum, but I love cities, and I'm ready for the big one. In the mean time I'm the trustworthy client advocate here, or anywhere. But, I WANT TO BE A NEW YORKER.

I am a self0contained, modern, computer-literate architectural practice, but without  prima-donna pretensions. It's grubby work I do. But, I'm happy to be judged by the final outcome and attract repeat clients.

I reuse buildings. Can I design a great one from the ground up, one that pleases the client and will continue to do so? Yes. But, my special talent is wringing the last ounce of value out of a standing structure, particularly an historic one. It's that skill for which I've been awarded. I also believe in natural resource conservation, or I wouldn't be LEED AP, or author of the first LEED Platinum building in Virginia. 

I have the curious ability to think laterally and yet keep project focus. It';s why I can set up an AutoCAD architectural practice from scratch, including LAN design, but get the details right on a significant restoration within a World Heritage List District. It's why the Governor of Virginia appointed me to the Board that reviews Register nominations--I can see the building, and the larger story it illustrates. The conscious shift in project focus enables me to handle many assignments at once.

I can draw by hand, which cuts days out of Construction Contract Administration RFI responses. I learned that advantage by having an enormous, impossible CA task handed to me just about the time I got licensed. A Contractor low bid a public project--by over a million dollars, largely the fault of his HVAC sub. All that money on the table made him aggressive. I grew up fast , and fought back. After, I wrote my own  Project Manuals, mastered every building and public procurement regulation valid in the United States,  memorized the General Conditions, and turned out flawless documents.  Nothing left the office bearing my seal that wasn't the best the firm could ever do: both statewide awards given to my next-to-last employer--a Yale-trained star designer--recognized  my independent historic preservation work. 

If I sound rough, I'm not. My client references attest it. Slow response, inadequate response, substandard documents, code violations--none of these pain them. I stand between a client's peace of mind and whatever threatens it. And, I have a sense of humor, and a genuine love for a curiosity about people--it's one reason I took up Arabic, the hardest language I could find, three years ago.

Elsewhere:

Employment 

Broadus LLC Architecture + Graphic Design, Charlottesville, VA, US, Principal

I say "Thank you." A lot.

I'm the boss. I take responsibility for the product, and likewise the profitability of the firm. But, also, mentoring the younger staff. Without staff, I'm useless. Hence, the gratitude. I have a high retention rate, and it's not the recession that keeps staff here.

Jun 2009 - current
 

Keeping Cairo Non-governmental Organization, Charlottesville, VA, US, Executive Director, Researcher

I believe in the transforming power of cultural resource management. Think Egypt, think pharaonic. Go ahead. It's want the Arab Republic prefers that you do.

But, inside the capital city is a string of badly-maintained Islamic-era monuments, some commercial, that are ill-maintained yet offer a fantastic supplement to the Giza-Plateau to Aswan bulk tours. Cairo is the longest-serving Islamic capital city. This is history. This is outside of history--these buildings can resume life as community centers serving the poorest neighborhoods. Tourists to them must walk and--this is a blessing--meet ordinary Egyptians, who turn out to have good humor and be happy to have tourism as an economic aid. So far, the government has done almost everything wrong in its guardianship. Perhaps things will change now--I predicted that there would be a new government, and that it would be of moderate Islamist bent, and populist. If it has the money, there is hope.

Oct 2008 - current
 

Public Service, Charlottesville, VA, US, Various

Member Emeritus, Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Historic Resources (active term 2007-20011)
• Gubernatorial commission with statutory power to declare Virginia Landmarks,
oversee Work Plan of Department of Historic Resources; requires mastery of
National Register Designation Criteria, procedures, and Virginia
preservation and property rights law.
American Institute of Architects
US Green Building Council
Association for Preservation Technology
American Research Center in Egypt
Director, former President, Preservation Piedmont
• Secured 501(c)3 status for Virginia’s model rural-urban preservation advocacy group
• Facilitated designation of Charlottesville’s “Fifeville and Vicinity National Register and Virginia
Landmark Historic District”
Director, Thomas Jefferson Chapter, Preservation Virginia
• Organized “Sustainable Preservation” lecture track, Preservation Virginia, statewide
conference of officials, volunteers

Jan 2002 - current
 

Commonwealth Architects, Richmond, VA, US, Senior Project Manager

A very good firm, specialists in urban revitalization, historic architecture, and rehabilitation tax credits. I was the historic architect (we had a brilliant historian on staff--but not an architect who knew the language of his specialty). We performed detailed building assessments--I already know old materials--and I worked with Charles Gwathmey in an unsuccessful attempt to raise up an Art Gallery for Virginia Commonwealth University. The University loved the design, to the last administrator. The donor did not. Charles, of course, died shortly after, and the work belongs to Stephen Holl now. But, spending the day with Gwuathmey, watching him work a difficult meeting, was an education.

Commonwealth ran out of work for me. I liked it there, and they liked me there.

Dec 2008 - May 2009
 

Train & Partners Architects, Charlottesville, VA, US, Associate: Historic Preservation Studio Head

I came to work with two tasks: automate the firm's practice, and rehabilitate the Charlottesville National Bank Skyscraper, a sophisticated 1916 work, to fit modern banking standards. I did both jobs well. Let me point out that setting up AutoCAD meant creating sheet layout templates, and layer lists, and training every drafts person, none of whom had used CAD. And, doing the same, essentially, for the Microsoft Office applications: transforming standard printed forms into digital ones. And, securing the data. Also, buying the hardware and software (including networking). I even pulled the cabling. Eventually, maintenance and upgrades became my responsibility. I had help--if I made a mistake, someone would point out an easier way. I'm not too proud to change. The firm still uses my systems. It's here I learned that running a team means catering to its individual members, and giving each the confidence to grow, and something interesting to learn, and assuring each that the work had value. And, I thanked them for making me, and us, and the firm, successful.

Oh, and I recreated Charlottesvillle's most notable non-Jeffersonian landmark while setting up the automated office. .From there, I went on to two extraordinary restorations, with time spent deigning new work, too, including the office;s first LEED Certified building, one Platinum. After which, the financial collapse of 2008 caught us overexposed, and I was let go.

Nov 1997 - Nov 2006
 

VMDO Architects, Charlottesville, VA, US, Project Architect

I cut my teeth on computer systems, here.

But, I learned how to work with higher education clients. That's the lasting lesson. And, to read building codes as they are written. I became the go-to guy on regulation, a role I occupied at all future jobs. The range of new work and renovation for the University of Virginia was extraordinary, and I designed new elementary schools. After the nasty Contract Administration experience, the Firm knew that no CA job could scare me. I did CA for every job on my resume, and two CA jobs at VMDO for which I had no design responsibility.

Today, VMDO is known for sustainable design--I'd fit right in, and I'm sure that the Principal who hired me, David Oakland, and who lives, in a twist of fate, in a house I designed, would hire me again. But, it's likely not the best fit--VMDO does little rehabilitation work, and that's become my brand. I left on good terms (for more money and to embrace AutoCAD). David and his wife are godparents to my elder daughter.

Oct 1987 - Oct 1997
 

Education 

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, US, Masters, Architectural History

The School of Architecture offered me the chance to earn a simultaneous Architectural History degree. It encouraged me to do so. I was privileged to be assigned to Richard Guy Wilson as teaching assistant.--we're still friends, and I hung on every word of his seminars and lectures for two years. Carroll William Westfall was the theorist and Renaissance specialist who wrote, when he signed a copy of his book for me, "To Brian, with whom teaching and learning are inseparable for me." Maybe that was the honor of my life. My thesis was on the City of Athens in the Classical Period. I've not visited the subject since. But, the subject, generally, was the city, and politics. That, I've clung to.

Aug 1983 - May 1986
 

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, US, MArch, Architecture

Urbanism was the School of Architecture theme. Measure a building by how well it strengthens the good components of its immediate and intellectual content. I think it was the best preparation possible for an architect, if he or she wishes to consider the influence of the work in the broadest sense. Of course, details matter: I had worked two years in Colorado and bypassed most technical courses, but I never solved an urban problem by making a roof leak. Since then, and my own investigations strengthen my belief, I have been sure that cities are the greatest creation of humankind, and that architecture and building are not the same thing, and that one tears down a structure only if one can replace it with a better one.

I won the Lori Ann Pristo Award for highest grades in the School, and the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Design Competition.

Aug 1983 - Jan 1986
 

Clemson University, Clemson, SC, US, Bachelors, Design

Strong Bauhaus influence. Powerful structural engineering classes. I was very much the historic preservation program, by myself. I was much honored for my design talent and graphic skills.

This was the era of pen-and-ink, and chisel-point lead holders. My first lesson was in lettering. I still use it. It placed my foot in the old school, as my other stepped into computer drafting. And, I realized that, if one can draw by hand well, one can draw by CAD brilliantly.

I won the Rudolph E. Lee Award, the College of Architecture's highest honor, and the Art and Architectural History Award. And, I was cum laude.

Aug 1976 - May 1980
 

Awards 

Virginia Society American Institute of Architects Honor Award-Preservation, Award

For the Rehabilitation of the Retreat for the Sick Students, University of Virginia, Charlottesville

2009
 

Virginia Society American Institute of Architects Honor Award - Preservation (Inaugural), Award

For the Restoration of Lexington Presbyterian Church, Lexington, Virginia

2008
 

Virginia Society American Institute of Architects Honor Award, Award

Boyce Elementary School Renovation and Addition, Boyce, Virginia

1993
 

Virginia Society American Institute of Architects Honor Award, Award

Hereford Residential College, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

1992
 

Areas of Specialization 

Skills 



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