As the past director of one of Glavé & Holmes Architecture’s higher-education studios, Lori Garrett, now president and senior principal of the preservation-minded firm, has elevated the architecture of higher education through a focus on context, sensitivity to mission and celebration of campus heritage.
Guided by deep-rooted values of collaboration and stewardship of culture and resources, she instills timeless quality, economic efficiency, and environmental sustainability in every project.
“I enjoy creating and reimagining buildings and open spaces to reflect a university’s history, identity, and values in tangible form,” she says. “Our firm’s work builds upon a deep understanding of the places we work, and this creates a sense of cohesiveness in the communities our buildings serve.”
Garrett, who enjoys “revealing value in existing assets and breathing new life into worn-out or badly served spaces,” says that “these places are not only important to their current inhabitants but are often beloved by loyal alumni or members of a community. And so my work respects both cherished memories and the pride taken in supporting continued vitality and relevance of an institution.”
It was while she was working on her master’s of architecture degree at the University of Virginia that Garrett became passionate about Classical architecture. While studying in Vicenza, Italy, where there are significant buildings by Classical master Andrea Palladio, “I immersed myself in my surroundings and Italian architecture, and I became interested in the balance and interplay between memory and invention,” she says. “I could see firsthand amazing examples of Classical architecture, innovative variations, and interpretations of Classicism built through the centuries, as well as sensitive preservation of the architecture that helped define place.”
When Garrett joined Glavé & Holmes Architecture in 2003, the firm already had established itself as a leader in the field of historic preservation and restoration. The firm’s founder, Jim Glavé, was instrumental in saving many historic buildings in Richmond’s core, and through its five decades of existence, the firm has worked on more than 30 National Historic Landmark properties and numerous structures associated with landmark properties or districts.
During her nearly 30-year career in architecture, Garrett, the first female owner in Glavé & Holmes Architecture’s half-century history, has held a number of leadership and mentoring positions, particularly in advocacy for women and minorities and for young practitioners and students.
Since she became a principal in 2007, Garrett and her associates have steadily built the firm from 28 to nearly 60 employees.
She’s a sought-after speaker, panelist, and moderator at industry conferences, and she participates in design juries around the nation. In addition to receiving numerous regional and national design awards, other awards include Virginia Business magazine’s 2022 Women in Leadership Award, the 2014 AIA Virginia Award for Distinguished Achievement, and the 2010 American Institute of Architects Athena Leadership Award.