Virginia African American Cultural Center
The Virginia African American Cultural Center will be a place that brings people together, fostering community, providing education and celebrating African American history and culture. The Center will tell the story of African Americans in Virginia Beach and the Hampton Roads region and will also provide much-needed resources for the local community, such as gathering and meeting space, workshop and flexible learning space, performance and exhibition space, and technology woven throughout.
The building’s design is arranged according to the guiding formula: Co, Ed, Cu. “Co” meaning community, “Ed” meaning Education, and “Cu" meaning Culture. Named for both its architecture and the spirit of what it embodies, the primary feature of the building is “the Drum,” as its elliptical form warmly embraces the surrounding communities, and it serves as “the beating pulse” of the project. Within the Drum, and a source of all three guiding principles, is the Great Room. This is a flexible space shaped to encourage and reinforce these principles through a blend of sculptural architecture, artful historic artifacts, bountiful cultural expression and community interaction.
The facility will craft an experience for a more culturally-diverse society. The building’s architecture will embody the essence of oral transmission known in African culture – the vocal passage of history through generations past. Told through the building’s walls and surfaces, light and shadow, graphics and technology, these stories will be featured in moments and meaningful placements in spaces that foster community, education, and culture.