Work Program Architects


Norfolk, Virginia


3,000 square feet

Completion Date

July 2014


The former offices of Work Program Architects in the historic Monticello Arcade allowed passersby to see the design process at work. The Arcade, a graceful connector between City Hall Avenue and Plume Street, provided a natural first home for WPA. Its large signature windows, both on the exterior and the interior path, reflected the firm’s core values of collaboration, community focus, transparency and process. The contemporary build-out was open, informal, comfortable and adaptable with long work tables, flexible furnishings, a lounge and galley kitchen, and windows that often were used as wipe-off boards, with process sketches tacked on multiple surfaces. The street-level location connected the firm to the community, in which it plays an active role.

Work Program Architect’s commitment to the arts begins at home, with a small art gallery contiguous with the firm’s former office space. From July 2013 to March 2015, Nobile & Amundsen hosted six showcases for artists from around the world working in a variety of media. Beginning in March 2015, the gallery continued to show both regional and international artists, with pop-up shows curated by Cindy Mackey and Deborah Marquardt, as well as Lorrie Saunders of Popblossom. In conjunction with the Glass Arts Society conference hosted by The Chrysler Museum in 2017, the WPA Gallery featured an immersive installation of Ben Wright. Features of the gallery included a “white cube”-type configuration with a glass storefront along one entire side of the space, museum-quality lighting by ERCO, power and data on the walls and in floor boxes to accommodate multimedia installations, and dedicated heating and cooling.