The Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects (VSAIA) has awarded Phoebe Crisman, principal of Crisman + Petrus Architects in Charlottesville, Va., its first annual Prize for Design Research & Scholarship for her research and architectural design for three intertwined projects on the Elizabeth River in Chesapeake, Va.

The Prize for Design Research and Scholarship was created to encourage theoretical awareness, educational exchange, thought, and research in architecture. It will be awarded annually to a faculty member at a Virginia institute of higher learning or to a licensed practicing architect in Virginia in recognition of outstanding design research and/or scholarship in the field of architecture.

Centering around the contaminated ecosystem of a peninsula along the Elizabeth River, Crisman's work included the development of urban planning and building strategies designed to help regenerate local ecology, as well as a set of guidelines for sustainable development of the river uplands. To complement the research and the guidelines, Crisman and her student collaborators developed the Learning Barge, a self-sustaining, floating classroom providing interactive education about the area's ecosystem and the restoration efforts. For more information about the Money Point Revitalization Plan and the Learning Barge, visit

The VSAIA also gave Honorable Mentions to a submission by John S. LaMonica, AIA, of Marshall, Va., which the jury praised for its potential for sustainable land management, design, and construction; and to a submission by Michael Ermann, LEED AP, assistant professor in the School of Architecture and Design at Virginia Tech University, on a technique for affecting the acoustical clarity and reverberation in a concert hall.