C. Richard Bierce, AIA

C. Richard Bierce, AIA

Longtime Alexandria resident Richard Bierce passed away Dec. 26, 2023, in Tucson, Arizona, after a long struggle with leukemia. He was 79. 

He was the beloved husband to Violet for 56 years, sister to Rose of Alexandria and Bill, who is deceased. He is also survived by two sons and their families: Jonathan and Hillary and their sons, Grant and CJ, and Matthew and Diana Alkire and their son, Victor. 

He graduated from the University of Arizona School of Architecture in 1967 and earned his master’s of science in architecture/preservation from Columbia University in 1968. 

He worked as a historical architect and preservation consultant in Alexandria for 38 years. He came to Alexandria in 1973 to manage two projects for the 1976 bicentennial: Carlyle House Museum and Gadsby’s Tavern. He was Alexandria’s first historic resources and preservation director. He later served as architect for the Properties for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. As a private consultant, he worked on many public and private historic sites, including St. Paul’s Church, Alexandria Academy, Lloyd House, Bank of Alexandria and Huntley Manor in Fairfax County. 

Although he specialized in preserving old buildings, Rich believed modern architecture was the heritage of the future, and so was equally passionate about his work on the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Woodlawn, Virginia, as James Madison’s home in Montpelier. 

He was the design and preservation consultant for the City of Annapolis for 20 years and volunteered for the Architectural Review Board of Fairfax County for 33 years. Rich was one of the founding members of the Alexandria Society for Preservation of Black Heritage. 

He received many awards for his work in historical architecture, including, in 2017, the Award for Distinguished Achievement from the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects. The award citation praised him as a “quintessential historical architect … and a citizen architect who generously shares his expertise.” 

Generosity was a constant thread of his life, from his time in the Peace Corps with Violet in 1968 to volunteering with his sons’ Boy Scout troops and with the Disciples of Christ churches. He served as a congregational Leader at Springfield Christian, First Christian in Alexandria, the Capital Area Region and Disciples of Christ Historical Society. After retiring to Tucson in 2018, he helped raise funds for scholarships through the Tucson High Badger Foundation. He was inducted into the Tucson High Badger Foundation Hall of Fame in 2021. 

A memorial service will be held March 16 at 6 p.m. at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum, 134 N. Royal Street, Alexandria. Memories may be shared online at Dignity Memorial/ East Lawn Palms of Tucson site. In lieu of flowers, Rich would be honored by donations in his name to Historic Alexandria, the Tucson High Badger Foundation scholarship fund, or any historic, humanitarian or environmental group of your choice.