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Dominion Tower

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1984–1987, Harwood K. Smith and Partners. 999 Waterside Dr.
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • Dominion Tower (Richard Guy Wilson)

At twenty-six stories, Dominion Tower is the region's tallest skyscraper as well as its most vivid reminder of the fervid real estate speculation of the 1980s. Designed by a Dallas firm, the building has polished red granite walls and a postmodern crown that confirm its slick Sunbelt pedigree. Dominion Tower was intended to be the region's premier office building when it opened in the fall of 1987. Its opulent lobby is a showcase of imported marble and granite, and its cross-shaped plan increases the number of desirable corner offices on each floor with uninterrupted views of the Elizabeth River, Norfolk, and Portsmouth. A glut of office space in the region coupled with an enormous debt load, however, nearly led to the property's foreclosure. A combination of new ownership and management reversed the building's fortunes.

Dominion Tower is best viewed from the Berkley Bridge, where its massive scale can be measured against the Norfolk skyline. From Waterside Drive the main, pseudo-Palladian entrance appears gargantuan and unapproachable. In 1993 the west wall of the adjacent parking garage was covered with a whaling mural by the artist Wyland. Next to Dominion Tower, even images of nature's largest mammals appear small.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Dominion Tower", [Norfolk, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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