Purpose of the AARB
The AARB consists of six members appointed by the Governor, plus a representative of the Department of Historic Resources, to advise him on the “artistic character” of buildings and works of art which are to be paid for by the state, or to be located on or over state property. In practice, the AARB recommends approval or disapproval to the Director of General Services, to whom the Governor has delegated this authority. Membership criteria are set out in Section 2.1488.1 of the Code of Virginia.
The AARB interprets its mandate from the Commonwealth in straightforward terms: to encourage the design of buildings and works of art which are both aesthetically and functionally appropriate to the agency for which they are intended. While no rigid prescriptive standards exist, the AARB generally requires each submission to demonstrate:
A resolution of basic functional and organizational requirements.
A command of the fundamental principles of good design, including refinement of color, form, scale, material, and craft.
A positive contribution to the order and aesthetic of the physical setting.
Due consideration of its environmental, historical, and cultural factors.
Concerns for the greater public good.
AARB Meeting Schedule
The AARB meets at 10 AM on the first Friday of each month of the year, unless the Friday or the following Monday is a state holiday, in which case the meeting will occur on the second Friday of the month. Meetings are held in Richmond, Virginia.
All requests for a place on the AARB Review Agenda will be made in writing via a Fact Data form and must arrive in the office of the AARB Chairman no later than 4 PM on the Friday two weeks before the date of the meeting at which the agency wishes to make its presentation. Agency request should also include, where possible on 11”x17” sheets, the location and general form of the building, complete with north arrows and graphic scales. These documents will comprise the Board agenda and also are the basis for the recording of the AARB actions.
Presentations to the AARB
In general, Agency presentations should be organized so that they may be completed within 15 minutes, in order to allow adequate discussion within a 30-minute time frame. However, the Chairman will make a reasonable effort to accommodate the request of any Agency which feels that additional time may be required because of the complexity of a particular project if this request is made at the time of the Agency’s initial submittal.
The following items should be addressed (and well illustrated) by the Agency and its Architect/Engineer at each presentation to the AARB:
Program: A brief description of the building program, including the purpose for the project and primary internal relationships.
Relationship to the Surrounding Community, Adjacent Sites, and Agency Master Plan: Include discussion of land use policy, pedestrian and vehicular circulation systems, landforms, and architectural character.
Site Plan Strategy: Discuss relationships of the proposed design to existing topography and plantings, adjacent structures, service and pedestrian access, surface drainage, and orientation to the sun and wind. Photographs or slides and site diagrams are essential.
Mass, Scale, Form, and Architectural Character: Discuss the impact of the proposed design on existing views and the mass and scale of nearby structures. Explain how the proposed design conforms to the architectural and planning principles embodied in the Master Plan and in precedent examples. Describe and illustrate proposed materials, colors, finishes, and constituent details. Include a brief description of the proposed site development, including grading, site drainage, paving, lighting, landscaping, and site furniture. The architect/engineer project managers should be organized and well prepare. Presentations should not be elaborate and overly formal. Sketches and model studies are often more useful than finished professional renderings and highly detailed models.
Submittals to the AARB
Submittals and presentations to the AARB will be coordinated by the University Project Manager. Generally submittals for AARB shall be completed three weeks in advance of the presentation and will include the following:
  • Agency Name (include address, telephone and fax, contact person):
  • Project Title (include project code and location):
  • Current Project Status and Schedule (pre-planning study, schematics, etc.; next milestone date):
  • Project Description (area, number of stories, building and roof forms, predominant exterior materials):
  • Brief Program Descriptions:
  • Relationship to Approved Master Site Plan (include date of master site plan):
  • Contextual Issues and Design Intent:
  • Previous History with AARB (dates and actions):
  • Names and Titles of Those Appearing for the Agency and Architect/Engineer.
  • Estimate of Time Required for this Presentation: 
  • Action This Date (for use by AARB):
Note: Attachments to this data sheet submittal are required.
All submittals and presentations will be approved by the Office of the Architect for the University.