Sept. 29-Oct. 5, 2000
Back Issues
Casteen discusses College, role of new A&S dean
Board previews arts precinct
Steinem: older and younger feminists need more dialogue
New liberal arts program in media studies launched at U.Va.

Guerrant leads U.Va. effort for better worldwide health

U.Va. center stresses patient comfort and dignity in the final stages of life
'Wielding the Red Pen'" Library presents censorship exhibit
Notable -- awards and achievements of faculty and staff
Hot Links -- IQ Health
New York artist Alex O'Neal to exhibit in Fayerweather Gallery
U.Va. employees show they care

Board previews arts precinct

By Rebecca Arrington

The conceptual plan for U.Va.'s arts precinct was the main agenda item at the Board of Visitors' Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting Sept. 20. Board members and others crowded around an architectural model of the precinct to see how one of the University's most ambitious undertakings might eventually look.

The proposed arts precinct addresses current space and programmatic deficiencies for studio art and art history, the performing arts, including music and drama, the Bayly Museum, the Architecture School, and their combined library needs.

At the start of the meeting, Colette Sheehy, vice president for management and budget, reminded board members that this was just a conceptual plan, which precedes the University's architectural review stages that require state funding approval. Committee chair James C. Wheat III also warned the board that the new arts precinct might need to stray architecturally from the buildings typically seen on Grounds.

"I hope it won't be too out of keeping with Jeffersonian architecture, given its proposed proximity to the Rotunda," said board member Benjamin P.A. Warthen.

Plans call for the arts precinct's academic buildings to frame a landscaped common space, which will reach northward down Carr's Hill from Campbell Hall. Buildings requiring a high degree of public access would be located at the edges of the precinct. The new art museum would be north of Beta Bridge, on the slope above Lambeth Colonnade, and the performing arts center would be built at Nameless Field, between Alderman Library and Memorial Gym.

The University has received state funding for a new studio art building and for the continued development of renovation plans for Fayerweather Hall.

Feasibility studies are also under way for the other arts buildings, including an addition to the drama building, a new music building, an arts library, a performing arts center, and a 500-space parking garage to be built across the street from the performing arts building on University Avenue.

The need for these new facilities is a top recommendation of the Virginia 2020 Fine and Performing Arts planning commission, a U.Va. initiative to enhance excellence in four areas.

William Rawn and Associates of Boston and landscape architects from the Olin Partnership were hired to develop conceptual design studies for what U.Va. Architect Samuel A. "Pete" Anderson III said is a long-term plan. It's hard to predict when funds will become available for the arts precinct project, though, he noted.

The landscape plan provides the "matrix that will bind the arts buildings together and tie the arts precinct into the larger Groundswalk," as part of the University's master plan, Anderson said. Scaled similarly to Jefferson's Academical Village, the Olin design calls for the south and southwest area of Carr's Hill to remain natural. The north side of the hill will be the most developed area. The hill below the Architecture School might be terraced for outdoor classes and performances.

The buildings in the arts precinct will be within a five-minute walking distance of one another, Rawn told board members. All of these arts buildings actually would be closer than the distance from the Rotunda to Old Cabell Hall, he said. And all of the facilities can be built independent of one another, as money becomes available to build them, he said.

Also at the meeting, board members approved five consent agenda items, including approval of Ayers/Saint/Gross, Inc., of Baltimore to perform architectural and engineering services for the Emmet Street pedestrian bridge project, the first phase of the Groundswalk.

The Buildings and Grounds Committee's discussion of the Observatory Hill dining facility will be included in a future issue. The full Board of Visitors meets Oct. 5 and 6.


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