Virginia War Memorial
McGlothin Wing, VMFA
VT Corporate Research Center
President + Principal, Architecture
As head of the firm’s quality-assurance team, Lou is charged with the review of design and construction drawings prepared by the firm and its consultants for compliance with applicable building codes, ordinances, and protocols. Lou led the design and delivery of the Virginia War Memorial and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts expansions working hand-in-glove with reviews from the State’s Bureau of Capital Outlay management to arrive at mutually acceptable solutions to very challenging technical and life safety issues.
What is your favorite project, you've ever designed?
The one he just completed. After a 40-year architectural career, Lou finds creative energy in the task at hand, no matter how large or small. The work remains energizing because there are always new lessons to be learned and each project can inform the next.
Seeing a design evolve from concept to renderings, and then realizing it through detailing, drives Lou towards perfecting the next project. That being said, we think he should feel pretty proud of the McGlothin Wing at the VMFA and Virginia War Memorial's C. Kenneth Wright Pavilion, two of Richmond's most notable architectural gems.
Why did you want to be an architect?
Lou's interest in architecture revealed itself at a very young age. Playing in his father's lumber yard as a child, Lou would toy with scrap materials and draw on discarded blueprints. He later taught himself lessons in constructability on his paperboy route. Intersecting with constant construction projects at the local junior college, Lou would cut through campus on his bike to check in on projects being constructed. Through his personal investigations, he learned about how materials fit together and the layers of structure required to create a whole.
What inspires you?
The SMBW staff. Mentorship has been a constant through Lou's career. Coached by inspiring leaders as a young architect in Texas, he's worked to build and uplift the next generation of designers at SMBW. It's rewarding to watch his mentees (current and former) succeed, branch out, and affect change in the community.
What has changed the most throughout your career?
The rate of technological change has shifted work style and approach drastically throughout Lou's career. He's fascinated by the ways technology has changed the profession and by the creativity employed by his team members in using these technologies.
After work, find Lou...
Absorbing the history and architecture of Richmond, perfecting his golf swing, or working in his garden.