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University Of Virginia Architecture School Faculty To Design School's Addition And Renovation

December 3, 2001-- Karen Van Lengen, dean of the School of Architecture, has embraced the challenge of expanding and renovating the school by turning to its faculty experts to design a project that would bring Campbell Hall into the 21st century.

The Architecture School building, built in 1969, is a modern brick structure set into the north side of Carr's Hill, hidden from most passersby on Rugby Road by the U.Va. Art Museum and a quad of fraternity houses. It is the home of an architecture department ranked sixth in the nation, a graduate landscape program regarded by many to be tops in the country, and distinguished programs in architectural history and urban and environmental planning.

Even 10 years ago, Campbell Hall barely met the needs of the school's faculty and students -- and of its curriculum. Today, with changing goals, expanding curriculum, and nearly double the number of students and triple the number of faculty, the school has outgrown its old home. These changes, coupled with a leaking brick façade and an outdated mechanical system, highlight the critical need for expansion and renovation.

"The expertise of our award-winning faculty, recognized nationally and internationally for their design work, will be a powerful tool for creating a strong visual statement of the values of the school," said Van Lengen, whose own design work focuses on the relationship between design and culture.

Borrowing an idea successfully executed at a number of other architect scholars, including those at the University of Michigan, Columbia University, the University of New Mexico and Parson's School of Design, the dean floated the idea of faculty-designed projects among the faculty to see who would be interested. She announced the designers at the November faculty meeting: W.G. Clark, the Edmund S. Campbell Professor of Architecture; William Sherman, associate professor and associate dean for academic affairs; Peter Waldman, the

William R. Keenan Professor of Architecture; Judith Kinnard, associate professor and chair of the Architecture department; and Warren Byrd, professor of landscape architecture who will work with each of the designers to integrate landscape and building design.

Van Lengen's goal is to create a strong interrelationship between the school's landscape and its architecture and achieve a look that reflects the tone of the school and its teaching philosophy which emphasizes architecture as the cultural expression of its own time and place.

"The schematic plan has a dynamic quality," said Van Lengen. "The strong inter-relationship between landscape and architecture is critical to the School of Architecture's position at the top of the proposed Carr’s Hill Arts Grounds and echoes Jefferson's integration of architecture and landscape in the design of the Lawn."

The 13,000-square-foot project into several pieces:

    • an entry tower to the east that will encompass exhibition space, additional jury rooms, and a new formal entrance to and renovation of the main lecture hall;
    • a wing that will accommodate 26 faculty offices and two conference rooms, and an expanded shop and renovated jury rooms;
    • renovation and relocation of administrative offices;
    • redesign of the student and faculty café.

Peter Waldman perhaps best describes this unusual approach to the project. "It's not about creating heroic architecture or signature architecture, it's about finger prints."

Faculty designers will collaborate throughout the projects with SMBW architects in Richmond, who have already developed a strategic plan for the school and will serve as both the collaborating architect on all the projects as well as the project's architect of record.

Will Scribner, SMBW founding partner and Architecture School alumnus, emphasized the importance of the integration of the building and landscape during an October presentation of the firm's schematic design.

Byrd, whose Charlottesville-based Nelson-Byrd Landscape Architects worked with SMBW on the schematic, is looking to create a visual link between the school and Rugby Road through his landscape plan. "The multi-use outdoor spaces will afford opportunities for

gatherings by students, faculty and public and will reconnect the Arts Grounds and the School of Architecture with the rest of the University," he said.

"The schematic plan has a dynamic quality," said Van Lengen. "The strong inter-relationship between landscape and architecture is critical to the School of Architecture's position at the top of the proposed Carr’s Hill Arts Grounds and echoes Jefferson's integration of architecture and landscape in the design of the Lawn."

In addition to making the school visible from Rugby Road and creating a major access to the Arts Grounds, the plan calls for an entry tower to provide a more visible entry.

Clark, who will design the entrance, said he was "honored to have been asked to participate in the project" and applauded Van Lengen's idea that "our work should extend the ethos of the school and not just be a bought project."

Sherman, selected to design the office wing on the south side of Campbell Hall, views the design process as a learning tool for the students. "In a way," he said, "it's a research project to work with new construction systems and develop a demonstration project of the principles we are working with in the classroom."

Completion of the design phase for the new entry and the office wing is expected in late spring.

Th two other projects, although smaller in scope, are "important to the life of the school," Van Lengen said. Kinnard's project will focus on a redesign of the small, but very popular, café located on the ground floor.

"In its new form, it would become a focal point, not just for the Architecture School, but for the entire Arts Precinct," said Kinnard. "It would act as a magnet to attract people from the various arts disciplines." She emphasized that one way to accomplish this would be to have an outdoor seating area and to create an architectural link to the proposed Studio Art Building.

Waldman, who frequently involves his students in class projects that focus on building additions, sees his task as giving the school a window out into the surrounding community. By opening the brick façade that overlooks Culbreth Road and Nameless Field below, the project would not only let in the setting sun, it would provide a human scale, he said. "People will be able to see inside, see our students working at something they love."

Two faculty-design projects already completed are the Elmaleh Gallery in the school's existing foyer by Assistant Professor Timothy Stenson, and an exhibition ledge to display student work, designed by Associate Professor Charles Menefee III.

"These projects and this approach to the transformation of Campbell Hall will emphasize the importance of the Architecture School not only to the Arts Grounds," Van Lengen said, "but to the entire University."

Contact: Jane Ford, (434) 924-4298

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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