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Newsletter 19


July 11th, 2013

Chuck is now married to a Fellow!

We are very pleased to report that Beth has been elevated to Fellowship! At the Investiture Ceremony at the National AIA Convention in Denver in June, there was considerable drama as to whether or not the medal would fit over her head/hair. Since Beth is now a Fellow, Chuck would like to be referred to as a Trophy Husband. More about the “Fellow thing” after the break.

Virginia Society AIA Fellows Fete at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.

L to R: Beth with her official Investiture judge’s robe and Olympic style Fellowship medal; Beth at the AIA National Convention in Denver (if the bear were real, she would be in serious trouble); Beth back at work, virtually unaffected by her new status.

New Fellow with her Arm Candy. Taylor Swift was also spotted in the hotel lobby, but all we got was a picture of this guy in a kilt.

Beth is a Fellow?

Beth Reader was recently elected to The College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The Jury of Fellows from the AIA selected her for elevation to Fellowship in the Institute because of her notable contributions to the advancement of the profession of architecture. This year, the Jury elevated 122 AIA members in the U.S. to its prestigious College of Fellows. Beth was one of the three architects elevated in Virginia in 2013. Out of a total AIA membership of over 80,000 architects nationwide, only about 3 percent are distinguished with this honor.

What is the College of Fellows?

The College of Fellows, founded in 1952, is composed of members of the AIA who are elected to Fellowship by a jury of their peers. Fellowship is one of the highest honors the AIA can bestow upon a member. Elevation to Fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of the architect as an individual, but also elevates before the public and the profession those architects who have made significant contributions to architecture and to society on a national level, and those who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession. The purpose of the College of Fellows is to stimulate a sharing of interests among Fellows, to promote the purposes of the Institute, to advance the profession of architecture, to mentor young architects, and to be of ever-increasing service to society.

Why is Beth a Fellow?

The 2013 Jury of Fellows recognized that, in a small city within a rural area, Beth has established a vibrant, diverse, collaborative practice that excels in design and is committed to bettering the community. Along with her husband and partner, Chuck Swartz, Beth began her practice in 1990, in Winchester, proving that architecture firms don’t need to be located in large metropolitan areas to be viable. The firm has received over fifty design awards, from national, state, and regional entities for a diverse range of project types, from low-income housing, to museums, to innovative adaptive reuses of historic buildings. The firm’s work has been published in many books and magazines. Additionally, Beth has served as an advocate for architecture and small design firms by serving as both a juror, and a speaker, for many AIA programs.

You can read more on the American Institute of Architects page as well as the Virginia Society of the AIA page

Here are a couple of projects we are working on now…


This is the Shenandoah River House in Shenandoah County, along the Shenandoah River, which winds through the Shenandoah Valley. All the major living spaces look out onto the water and the staircase becomes a good place for coffee and the Sunday afternoon “before you leave, we have to take a picture” photograph.


A physical manifestation of the Metrobilly existential condition. The living spaces in the rural barn frame are paired with the modern bedroom wings.