Renovating the Rice House is a "remarkable opportunity," says lead architect Jay Hugo. (Photo by Ansel Olson)
Since word spread in March that the Science Museum of Virginia had sold the Rice House to Christine and David Cottrell, modern architecture fans have wondered what’s in store for the home originally designed by Richard Neutra for Ambassador Walter and Inger Rice in the mid-1960s. “It’s a landmark property and there’s a huge amount of interest,” says Jay Hugo of 3North Architects, the lead architect on the project.
Details are still being worked out, but Hugo says the house will undergo a complete renovation while staying true to Neutra’s original vision. Some electrical and other systems work has already been completed. Hugo and his team have done extensive research on the house, consulting the original drawings and reading correspondence between Neutra and the Rices during its construction. They also have studied the archaeology of Lock Island, where Native American, Revolutionary War and Civil War history converge with Richmond’s only example of International Style architecture.
Hugo says they are currently interviewing contractors, and hope for construction to be finished sometime in 2017. The Cottrells have selected Todd Yoggy to work on the home’s interiors. Yoggy has previously worked on the Cottrells’ Westham Tudor, their modern condo in Rocketts Landing and other projects.
Hugo says it is “a remarkable opportunity,” to have the chance to work on the Rice House. “I am an architect and a landscape architect and the more I practice, the more I am interested in the relationship between the two,” he says. “The site is one of the prettiest in the region and on the James. It’s a national landmark property, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.