Andrea Righi AIA, NCARB, LEED AP
Andrea Righi is a project planner and senior project architect based in EYP’s DC office with more than 16 years of experience managing integrated design teams. Her specialties are existing building modernizations and behavioral health.
Andrea, who trained at the University of Michigan, has experience working on technically challenging projects with public facing and institutional clients in higher education, STEM, and government to modernize buildings in a way that thoughtfully retains their historic character. Renovation, she believes, is a sustainable way of practicing -not only preserving the history and character of buildings for future generations but also taking the opportunity to reuse something that already exists instead of demolishing and building new. “Old buildings have soul,” she says.
And to work on behavioral health projects that directly impact people’s lives is especially rewarding, says Andrea, who was the senior project architect for the McLeod Tyler Wellness Center at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA, which brought together multiple health and wellness programs and made it convenient for students to actively seek out practices that invigorate their minds and bodies.
Behavioral health is a critical issue right now, she adds. “We are realizing how much our environment plays into our mental health and wellbeing. Creating beautiful spaces that bring in the calming aspects of nature really changes the atmosphere. Patients, students, staff – the goal is for them to walk into such a building and start to feel relaxed, which is especially important if they are actively in crisis.”
Andrea is currently a senior project architect for Central State Hospital, a 300-bed new psychiatric hospital in Petersburg, VA. Using design to destigmatize in-patient behavioral health facilities is vital, she says, to normalize aspects of the experience and allow those inside to see out, giving a sense of agency, choice, and freedom.
She was also the senior project architect for the renovation of the 1934 Theodore Levin US Courthouse building in Detroit, which occupies a full city block. The modernization of this landmark was phased to allow the federal courts to operate without interruption.