2014 UVA Dean’s Forum

Deans Forum UVA 1OvS Principal Eric Groft recently attended the annual University of Virginia School Of Architecture Deans Forum Dinner. This year the event was held at Old Keswick Farm, an 18,000-acre horse farm near Orange, Virginia.

Marion Weiss, of Weiss/Manfredi was this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award, presented by Paul Weinschenk and Professor of Architecture Robin Dripps. Following the dinner, Eric had a chance to congratulate Marion and comment on the new entrance and visitor center at Brooklyn Botanical Garden, which Weiss/Manfredi designed.

The dinner was new Dean Elizabeth Meyers‘ first chance to host as head of the School of Architecture.  Katherine Ostberg, who stepped down after ten years on the Dean’s Council, received special recognition.

Eric was accompanied by his son Forest, a junior at nearby Lynchburg College, classmate Charles Rudesill from Chicago, and Jane Howland, daughter of Eric’s mentor and former landscape architectural professor Ben Howland.

A Visit to Halcyon

IMG_4057_CropOn Sunday October 5, 2015, supporters of the Phillips Collection visited a collection of gardens and estates on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Included on this tour was Halcyon, located on the Tred Avon River near Royal Oak, Maryland. Halcyon is the country home of long-time OvS clients Arturo and Hilda Brillembourg.

Hilda greeted the group on the veranda, which boasts commanding views of the Tred Avon. She gave a brief talk on the process of finding the property, working with the architect and OvS. She describes the garden as “the dance of the seven veils.” Hilda also regaled guests with many anecdotes of her good friend, OvS Founding Principal Jim van Sweden, who had passed away almost exactly one year ago to the day.  

OvS Principal Eric D. Groft spoke briefly about the collaboration with the Brillembourgs and how the property has evolved over the 15 years since the garden’s construction. Using a rendered plan of the garden, Eric described the design and construction process. He then led guests on a garden tour, stopping briefly along the way to describe the secret garden off the master bedroom, the elliptical vanishing edge pool and the radiating brick and bluestone terrace. The tour continued through the formal cutting garden, past the tennis court and several pieces of outdoor sculpture, wind up at the whispering pines on the point of the peninsula.  

On the way out, guests toured the recently renovated guest house known as “The Woods.” A collaboration between Architect Salo Levinas (of Shinberg Levinas

) and OvS, the garden features a fresh water pond with fountains, boardwalk, and pergola on the rear veranda.