City of Norfolk


Norfolk, Virginia

Completion Date



Norfolk’s Coastal Character District is a 7.5 mile-long area on the Chesapeake Bay. It is the City’s “North Coast.” The bayfront is connected by local street patterns to several communities, hundreds of houses, many apartment buildings and retail buildings. The district’s traditional building patterns create a unique environment that is greatly valued by both residents and visitors. There are a number of properties ripe for redevelopment as well as some vacant properties. New construction on these sites could either enhance the character of the community or erode its quality and unique sense of place.

The goal of the pattern book, authored by Work Program Architects, is to provide design guidance and assistance in the process of building new construction and renovation in ways that are consistent with the character that is so valued by the community and comply with the city’s Zoning Ordinance. It was developed through a process that engaged district residents and businesses to understand the area’s most valued design elements.

Applications of the pattern book include: a prototype for a resilient coastal house; redevelopment concepts, and the design review process. The pattern book provides additional criteria that are specific to the district with suggestions for appropriate key architectural and landscape design elements. These include a “kit of parts,” architectural elements which exemplify the Coastal Character District.