Williamsburg architectural firm to close after 50 years

svaughan@vagazette.com

An architectural firm that has been a long-time fixture in the city will close its doors next month.

Carlton Abbott and Partners, founded more than 50 years ago by Carlton S. Abbott and his late father, Stanley W. Abbott, will close its Duke of Gloucester Street office, where it has been for 46 years, in March.

The firm has designed more than 100 award-winning buildings. Among the firm's local projects are the College of William and Mary's The Muscarelle Museum of Art as well as the Williamsburg Community Building and Green with Fountain Plaza.

In preparation for the 400th anniversary of Jamestown in 2007 Carlton Abbott and Partners designed the Yorktown Riverfront master plan and River Walk for historic Yorktown, remodeled the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center along with designing the Courtyard of Philanthropy.

In partnership with the National Park Service and Preservation Virginia, the firm re-imagined the entire Historic Jamestown Island providing a new National Park Service Visitors Center, a creative approach via a pedestrian bridge crossing a marsh area.

For Preservation Virginia, the firm designed an innovative contemporary copper and glass building, "The Archaearium," where, as the architect for the project, Abbott met Queen Elizabeth II when she toured the facility during her 2007 visit.

The firm received awards from the Virginia Society and Hampton Roads Chapter of the American Institute of Architecture, American Society of Landscape Architects, Preservation Virginia, Scenic Virginia and numerous other organizations

In announcing the closing of the Williamsburg office, Abbott expressed his appreciation to former clients, architects, landscape architects, and consultants who have worked with the firm throughout the years, singling out William Mettler and Richard Wiatt Jr. for praise.

"It has been my privilege to have contributed to so many significant projects throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia especially those close to home in the Historic Triangle," Abbott said Thursday.

The Williamsburg office employs two people.

"They have already found new positions," Nancy Abbott said Friday afternoon. "We would not have closed until they did."

A 1963 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Architecture, Abbott has also authored, illustrated and was the photographer for four books which include "Abbott Associates," "Carlton Abbott and Partners," "Humpback Rocks Mountain Farm" and "Visual Character of the Blue Ridge Parkway." He was a guest lectured at the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, University of Arkansas, Penn State, University of Colorado and Hampton University.

His father was the first resident landscape architect and primary designer of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The closure of the Williamsburg office does not mark Abbott's retirement. He will continue to provide architectural design consultations and his art creations with Carlton Abbott Design located in York County.

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