When the Commonwealth of Virginia determined to renovate the Ninth Street Office Building for continued use as badly needed office space, it was confronted with many challenges. Not only does the prime location of the 11-story building on Richmond's Capitol Square come into play, but also the complications inherent in the rehabilitation of any iconic 110-year old building for contemporary life. Overlay the Commonwealth's mandate to meet a minimum threshold for sustainability, and we have the recipe for a challenging, but ultimately rewarding, project.

This article will describe the historic evolution of the project along with a discussion of the process necessary to design and implement a sustainable building solution within the context of an historic building, including identification of potential sustainable strategies and the implementation of an appropriate approach to arrive at the final solution.

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Author notes

1. Principal and Director of Historic Architecture for Commonwealth Architects, a 40-person multi-discipline architectural firm in Richmond, VA. Email: rburns@comarchs.com. Website: www.comarchs.com.