Three custom houses, campus apartments for medical researchers, and one cool barbecue pavilion may not seem to have a lot in common. These four projects, however, share two things—they all were designed with consideration to gorgeous sites, and they all won a 2012 Virginia AIA Award for Excellence. Three of the projects were selected in the residential design category, which was added as a separate category for the first time. The fourth winning house was awarded in the general architecture category. In addition to the residential winners, a Georgian-style mansion originally designed in 1924 by architect George Oakley Totten Jr. was saved, restored, and transformed into a multicultural center—which earned it an award for historic preservation.

A total of 19 projects were selected for honors. The jurors were divided into separate groups based on categories. The residential jury included Casius Pealer, Assoc. AIA, Tulane School of Architecture, New Orleans; Lisa Hodges, Oystertree Consulting, Baltimore; and Jody McGuire, Studio 8, New Haven, Conn. The architecture jurors were Joseph Bilello, FAIA, Ball State College of Architecture and Planning; Bruce Race, FAIA, RACESTUDIO, Berkeley, Calif.; and Steve Alspaugh, AIA, Schmidt Associates, Indianapolis. The three jurors for the historic preservation category included Ronald Battaglia, FAIA, and Peter Flynn, AIA, Flynn Battaglia Architects, Buffalo, N.Y.; and Barbara Campagna, FAIA, Barbara A. Campagna/Architecture + Planning, Buffalo.

The residential category jurors commented that they would have liked to see more affordable and mixed-income housing projects, but were impressed with the overall quality of submissions. “Based on the submissions for this year's residential awards program,” they said, “it seems that what's going on in Virginia now includes a preservation of the past, as well as new houses that are yearning to connect with nature and save on energy use.”

All of the winners will be recognized at the Vision for Architecture Gala on Nov. 9. Photographs, models, and plans detailing the projects will be on display at the Virginia Center for Architectureweaetxdyvaydzcwq from Oct. 25 to Jan. 6.

Read more about the winning residential projects in the accompanying slideshow.