Celebrate with us in Charlottesville

Celebrate with us in Charlottesville

Gaines Group Architects has a new home in Charlottesville at 910 East High St. We hope you will Celebrate with us in Charlottesville for a Chamber of Commerce Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting on Wednesday, July 10th from 9am – 11am. Stop by on your way to work and grab a bagel and some coffee, stick around until 10am for a ribbon cutting, then hang out for a bit to let us hear all the incredible things you are doing.

Charlottesville Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting. Wednesday, July 10th, 9 - 11am, ribbon cutting at 10am. 910 East High St. Charlottesville. Light breakfast refreshments. Gaines Group Architects.

After spending a few years on Pantops Mountain, it was time for us to get back to our roots in downtown Charlottesville. Our former offices have been located on Water St. and Ridge St., just a few steps from the downtown walking mall, and now, as they say, “Guess who’s back, back again”! We are excited to be able to walk to downtown local restaurants, so reach out to us if you ever want to grab lunch.

This bright blue house is the first time in a few decades our office has been in a space we didn’t design, so stay tuned, we are scheming for a very cool future! Please feel free to stop in and visit with our team, hear what they are working on, and see our new space. We look forward to connecting or reconnecting with you soon.

Blue house, Charlottesville office.


– Limited parking behind building and on nearby streets.
– Short walk from Market Street Garage. The first hour at the Market Street Garage parking is free.

Tribute to Roger N. Bryant

Tribute to Roger N. Bryant

Written by Raymond E. Gaines.


Tribute to Roger N. Bryant



Roger Bryant, who spent over half his life with The Gaines Group, passed away peacefully on May 25, 2024.  Roger’s life embodied creativity, adventure, family, and faith, but not in that order.

Roger was a man of deep faith.  When I first met and hired him, the list of hobbies on his employment application included Gospel singing with his family as item number one.  The depth of his faith became apparent to me as I got to know him over the 33½ years that we worked together.

Roger was a family man, even though he remained single his entire life.  He often spoke of his love of family when he would talk about his nieces and nephews and his relationships with his parents, grandparents, siblings, and aunts and uncles.  Roger was always there for them as they navigated the good times as well as the illnesses and tragedies of life.  He participated in at least three family reunions annually, and typically organized the Labor Day gathering at the family home.  He also spoke fondly of the times he spent on the Cowpasture River and at Douthat State Park each year with his family.

Roger was a world traveler.  When I first met him, he had just returned from Europe.  He spoke of multiple trips to Europe and “the islands”, often traveling to sing with the family.  He visited The UK, Germany, and Russia over the years that we worked together, and told many amusing stories arising from these trips.  When he retired, he was following his brother-in-law, Bob, on his quest to run marathons in all fifty states, watching the races with his sister, Belva.  I do not know if he ever completed that particular quest.

Finally, Roger was a talented designer and mentor.  His hands-on knowledge of building materials and his ability to use them in aesthetically and stylistically pleasing ways is a talent that few possess.  Roger was comfortable with any style, particularly with Virginia Vernacular.  His body of work also includes Georgian, French Provincial, Prairie, Contemporary (whatever that is) and a touch of Art Deco.  He would always share that with our younger staff.  You have most likely touched Roger’s work from his years as an industrial designer prior to 1989.

Roger’s design talent was not limited to just the built world but he was a genius at floral arranging.  He did the flowers for multiple weddings over the years, and would personally arrange sympathy flowers when they were called for.

He was a loyal friend and colleague from the day he started work in January 1989 until his retirement at the end of June 2022.  He watched my three daughters grow up, and mentored one of them as an interior designer.  He provided a living example to them, and all of us, of how to be a Christian in today’s world.

Rest in peace my friend.

Charlottesville Moving Back Downtown

Charlottesville Moving Back Downtown

By Architect, Adrienne Stronge.


Gaines Group Architects is very excited to be moving back to downtown Charlottesville!  The firm has long roots in the downtown area.  Ray started his career across the street from our new office while doing his professional externship with Sandy H. Lambert, III during his education at VA Tech.  He then worked just off of the downtown mall during his time with Tom Wyant.

The first official Gaines Group office (then known as Raymond E. Gaines, Architect) was started off of West Main Street from 1989-1993.  As the group expanded, they moved to East Market Street into a building that we designed – a place where current partners, Charles, Paul, and Adrienne started their careers with the firm.  In 2011, the opportunity to move into a roof terrace space at Luxor office park (which the Gaines Group designed) was too good to pass up.  The firm has been located on Pantops ever since.



Recently, we realized our space there didn’t match our current needs, so we decided to explore places closer to where we began.  The opportunity arose to share some office space with a local civil engineering firm, Shimp Engineering, and his survey team, Foresight.  We’ve worked closely with Justin’s team on many of our previous projects.  This move puts us within walking distance of the downtown mall, and we’ve all been excited to explore the surrounding area as we move in.

The space we’re moving into is a house that was built in 1920, affectionately known by us as “The Blue House”.  We are across from the old Martha Jefferson Hospital right at the corner of High and 9 ½ Street.  We are still doing finishing touches, and some of us have more to unpack than others, but we would love to have visitors if anyone would like to stop by.  We hope to more formally host guests in the future once we have finished our move.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Mini-Golf for Kids’ Sake 2023

Big Brothers Big Sisters Mini-Golf for Kids’ Sake 2023

This past Friday The Gaines Group team in Harrisonburg had the privilege of supporting the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) through some competitive mini-golf. It was a beautiful afternoon to get out into the sunshine to compete against each other in some (mostly) friendly competition.

Aimee, Deborah, Mariya, Jarod, and Asha at the Big Brothers Big Sisters Mini-Golf fundraiser.

This year our team split into two groups to compete for the lowest combined group score and a group lunch out. Team one, Par Vacation, was led by Interior Designer Jarod, with the dynamic marketing duo Charles and Asha. Team Two was led by Designer Mariya, Architect Deborah and Designer Aimee. Highlights include two hole-in-one’s by Mariya who backed up her smack talk, one hole-in-one by Asha which earned her a free dozen donuts from Krispy Kreme, an embarassing amount of 7-strokes on a hole, and two balls fished out from the water. In the end, though it was close, Team Par Vacation pulled out the win by 5 strokes. 

Jarod puts the ball during mini-golf.

Regardless of the score, we were thrilled to be a part of this event and support such an amazing cause! For more information about BBBS check out what you can do to get involved in your community!

Welcome Aimee Lawson to the Team

Welcome Aimee Lawson to the Team

A big welcome to Aimee Lawson, our newest team member and Designer! In June, Aimee joined us all the way from Florida where she has lived all her life as well as where she attended college.

Aimee Lawson in front of flowers outside.

Aimee attended the University of Florida, earning a B.S. in Architecture with minors in Sustainability and Landscape Architecture. Now she works as a Designer (architect in training) at our firm. In her short time here working under the direction of Deborah Smith, she has already made an impact. Her current project, an addition to a local elementary school, is well on its way to construction documents. 

She grew up in Palm Harbor, Florida, and is grateful to have come from a family of 6, saying “I am very grateful for this because having siblings is like having built-in friends, and they are some of my best ones.” Now in Virginia, she lives with her 8-year-old cat named Eloise.

Growing up in Florida, Aimee is no stranger to alligators. When asked about interesting facts about her hometown she says that alligators are everywhere, which lends itself to interesting stories such as the one where: “One time when I was a kid, I got out of taking out the trash because there was an alligator on our driveway next to the trash can.” 

In her free time, she can be found making pottery, painting, crocheting, and watching movies. Her favorite TV show is NCIS because she loves to try to guess the outcomes and enjoys the suspense, and she also enjoys Parks and Rec when she’s in a lighter mood.

She describes herself as quirky and is appreciative of that characteristic because it helps make others more comfortable around her and creates a more lighthearted and fun environment. We are thrilled to have the addition of her skills and personality to our team!

Welcome Aliyah D. White to the Team

Welcome Aliyah D. White to the Team

We are thrilled to welcome Aliyah D. White to our team as one of our newest full-time Designers! Aliyah grew up in Virginia Beach, VA and after attending the University of Virginia School of Architecture, now calls Charlottesville home. As a 2023 graduate from the UVA School of Architecture with a B.S. in Architecture and a minor in English, she brings fresh design experience and skills to the team. 

Now Aliyah offers her design eye, growing level of experience, and energy to our projects as a Designer (Architect in training) at our firm. In addition, Aliyah brings her writing talents to our team along with organizational and leadership traits that are important for a designer. She is most often working with Ray and Adrienne to develop our luxury living community projects doing unit design, elevation creation, and updating the construction documents needed for a successful project.

Aliyah in graduation stoles.

Aliyah offers her design eye, growing level of experience, and energy to our projects as a Designer (Architect in training) at our firm. In addition, Aliyah brings her writing talents to our team along with organizational and leadership traits that are important for a designer. She is most often working with Ray and Adrienne to develop our luxury living community projects doing unit design, elevation creation, and updating the construction documents needed for a successful project.

While in school, Aliyah was dedicated to equity both in and out of the classroom. Her contributions to the university centered on fairly and accurately narrating Black history at UVA in order to build a more equitable school for future students of color. Her extracurricular time was mainly spent serving on the Cavalier Daily student newspaper as a Social Issues Columnist, the School of Architecture Student Council, and as Social Awareness Chair for her residential college. Through these endeavors, she further developed her skills in leadership, programming, narrative story-telling, and advocacy, all of which are very important aspects to being an architect. Upon her graduation, she received the 2023 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award in recognition of her excellence of character and service to humanity. 

Outside of the office, she can be found reading, writing, or baking. She may also be found watching The Boondocks which she says is as wildly inappropriate as it is hilarious. 

Two important qualities that Aliyah names are her determination and flexibility. She appreciates these qualities saying that they “allow me to succeed in anything I find interest in and put my hands on”. We’re excited about the addition of her talents and personality to our team and community.