previews arts precinct
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.
proposed arts precinct addresses current space and programmatic
deficiencies for studio art and art history, the performing arts,
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.