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Short Pump Town Center

Project Description

As the Senior Design Architect, I created the theme and designed the architecture of this regional lifestyle town center.  The project is a 1.2 million square-foot, open air, two-level mercantile center with three Department stores (May Company (now Macy’s), Nordstrom and Dillards) and a pad for a fourth Department store (now a mall extension).  In addition, Short Pump Town Center has three feature tenant anchors, numerous restaurants and a ten-tenant food court on a 147-acre site.


The design of the town center is a series of streets leading to courtyard spaces.  A central courtyard is the heart of the project, with the theme fountain depicting the historic “short pump.”  The scale, proportion and character of the architecture echoes the rich mercantile tradition found in Richmond and the small towns of Northern Virginia. The rhythm of storefronts and building facades is carried through into the detail of the cast stone accents and pier bases, which vary in color, texture and proportion.  The building facades offer a variety of finishes, including stucco and brick of different colors and textures.  The resulting spatial experience creates a richly woven tapestry, layered with memories, for the consumer.


I led a five-person team of architects, designers and interns to develop and document the design.  The project evolved through several iterations, from a single-level open street concept with a streetcar to a two-level concept open to automobile traffic.  The design evolved to a fully pedestrian street, with landscaping.  In one version of the central courtyard design, a stand of native oaks was incorporated into the design of the space.  Subsequent to the opening of the center, the many of the landscape features were enhanced.


A graphic design consultant was responsible for adding the design features of signage, wayfinding, directories as well as special features, such as a series of statures honoring Virginians to be placed in the courtyard and entry open spaces.  In the central courtyard is a statue honoring Ella Fitzgerald and the statue in the Nordstrom courtyard honors the Native American Chief Powhatan.  The local tribe performed a dedication ceremony when the statue was unveiled.


I designed a decorative medallion to serve as a design feature on a tower that anchored one side of the courtyard, with Nordstrom on the opposite side. 


Coordination of the design features of the graphic designer, with the work of the landscape architect, as well as the other engineering professionals was my responsibility, to assure that the project had a total sense of coordinated design and functioned, as it should.


The pedestrian experience was one that varied when walking down the street from one of the center to the other.  Some building facades had covered arcades on one level, or none at all.  Others would have arcades on both levels, and others would have only awnings over the window and door openings.  One design challenge was to keep a richness of variety, yet to provide a continuous covered pedestrian path accessing each department store, the food court and the main entry porte-cochere pavilion on both the lower and the upper level of the center.



Senior Design Architect for Thompson Ventuilett Stainback and Associates.

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