architecture / culture / history

Cameron Foundation

The Cameron Foundation‘s new headquarters in Petersburg, VA is a striking, glassy,  modern addition to the rear of an 1840s Greek Revival house. The Weddell-McCabe-Chisolm house was originally built as a private home between 1840 and 1845 by James Weddell, a native of Scotland. The 19th century historic structure had fallen into severe disrepair, and suffered from years of neglect, flooding, and nearly destroyed by fire, when the design process, led by Enteros Design began planning its historic restoration and modern addition in 2009. Construction was completed in January of 2011. The 21st century addition reinterprets the massing and form of the extant house by distilling the formal parts using horizontal and full height vertical areas of glass to separate the roof, walls, and openings into distinct purely expressed elements. A two story glass lobby occupies the exact footprint of the original rear double porch, and a glass reception space and entry terrace serve as a hyphen in the overall plan diagram.  The new masonry volume at the far rear (west) recalls the formality of the original house while setting itself apart with the glass hyphen. It’s position alludes to the historic function of rear “dependency” structures common in Southern Antebellum houses. The project is an example of how modern design can complement a historic architecture where the purposeful contrast between old and new serves to amplify the visual clarity of the original building.

The project is located in the Poplar Lawn Historic District and was approved by the Board of Architectural Review for the City of Petersburg. The design approach follows the standards set by the US Secretary of the Interior guidelines for additions to historic structures.

Also profiled on

Additional construction photos on Flickr

228 South Sycamore Street
Petersburg, Va


One thought on “Cameron Foundation

  1. I can not tell you how pleased I am to see the old house in wonderful condition again. In the late sixties, early seventies, we visited my great-aunt and uncle, the Lundermans and I was old enough to appreciate the time period and construction of the house. I still marvel at the floor to ceiling windows on the front and the circular staircase in the entry. I see that one of the magnolias still exists on the front lawn. There was one on each side of the sidewalk when I was little. Thank you for bringing her back to her former beauty. I appreciate you efforts on her behalf.

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