After three decades of using his architectural skills to help preserve and improve Middleburg’s historic streetscape, Bill Turnure plans to head south for retirement in the next few months.
Turnure, 65, spent 42 years of his life working as an architect in town and 30 years serving on the town’s Historic District Review Committee, which ensures that applications seeking to make changes to properties in the town’s Historic District plan to preserve and protect the historic, architectural, cultural and archaeological heritage there. The Town Council appointed him to that post in 1990 and he held it until his resignation Oct. 31.
Turnure’s departure came in anticipation of the next chapter in his life, as he plans to retire and dissolve Turnure Architecture once he completes a few remaining projects by March. By then, he’ll head to South Carolina to live in retirement with his wife in a lakefront home his parents built decades ago.
Turnure first set foot in Middleburg in 1978 after landing a job with Billy Dew. He said that opportunity presented itself after he lost his first post-college job in Alexandria when the project that architectural firm was planning fell through. A conversation with the receptionist at the American Institute of Architects office led Turnure to a Friday interview with Dew and a Monday start date.
“I’ve been out here ever since,” he said. “I just fell in love with the place.”
Turnure worked under Dew for eight years, learning all he could about residential architecture. At that point, he decided it was time to take on more responsibility and start his own firm. Turnure teamed up with another local architect, Andrew Stewart. In 1986, the two started Stewart and Turnure Architects. That firm eventually expanded to a second office in Winchester. It employed 17 people at one point.
Amid his responsibilities with that firm, Turnure in 1990 decided to use his architectural knowledge to help the town by applying for an inaugural seat on the Historic District Review Committee—a committee the Town Council formed after multiple projects came out different than what council members had anticipated.
“The town has always given so much to me that my contribution seemed minimal,” Turnure said of his desire to serve on the committee. “So, I was more than happy to stay on as long as I did.”
Back in his place of work, Turnure branched out on his own when Stewart’s health began to deteriorate. He started his own firm, Turnure Architecture, in 1994.
During his time in Middleburg, Turnure worked, among many other projects, to convert multiple older buildings along Washington Street into separate shops, helped with the Rt. 50 traffic calming improvements through town, and worked on the Chinn’s Crossing project, which converted an infill space along Washington Street across from the Post Office into a retail structure. Today, Middleburg Common Grounds operates out of the original house and is surrounded by other businesses.
Turnure also designed the new Middleburg museum that will eventually be added onto The Pink Box on North Madison Street.
Outside the town limits, Turnure designed an English cottage-style house in Delaplane. To prepare for that project, Turnure’s clients flew him to England to get a grasp on British architectural styles—styles he said are similar to those found in Middleburg. Turnure even had a truckload of materials flown back for the construction of that house
Perhaps the most memorable of all the projects Turnure has worked on in the past four decades was a 20,000-square-foot addition to actor/comedian Martin Lawrence’s Purcellville-area home.
There, Turnure designed plans for bowling lanes with video screens, lights, speakers and a concession area, an indoor swimming pool, a small movie theater and a half-basketball court with the same flooring the Los Angeles Lakers practice on; Turnure found in his research that the arena floors NBA teams play on during games aren’t of the best quality, since they’re frequently removed and re-installed amid a cycle of other events, like NHL games.
“That was a ton of fun,” Turnure said of the project.
In his 42 years in town, Turnure also served on the Middleburg Business and Professional Association, the Middleburg Streetscape Committee, the Middleburg Museum Committee and other bodies.
For his years of contributions to the town, the Town Council on Nov. 12 adopted a resolution recognizing Turnure.
Now that he’s resigned from the Historic District Review Committee, Turnure is planning to complete the last few projects his firm has taken on before closing the doors and driving to South Carolina to meet up with his wife, who also recently retired and is waiting for her husband to begin their retirement together.
“I really just want to start the next chapter of my life fresh,” he said.
Tutnure said it has been “a gift” to work in Middleburg for so long and that the best parts of the town are the residents.
“The people are just wonderful and they appreciate everything you do,” he said. “It’s a special place and it’s really been able to hold that feel over all these years.”