University of Virginia Vice President for Research
Sustainability Research Initiatives

Adaptive Reuse

Soon after John W. Kluge purchased Morven Stud in 1988, he replaced some of the older horse barns with new equestrian facilities which incorporated traditional forms, local and regional building systems and materials with updated systems for lighting, living space, and natural ventilation and the integration of interior and exterior environments to provide an optimal, healthy environment for the valuable horses they housed. These functions are embodied in carefully-designed and constructed stalls and circulation spaces, with a high level of materials and craftsmanship.

With the transfer of Morven Farm to the University of Virginia, the repurposing of Morven's equestrian facilities provides an opportunity for responsible stewardship through their adaptive reuse for new programs and research development. Both curricular programs and research initiatives that are being considered would benefit from the development of informal, hostel-like housing for students and visitors.

In a series of studios and research projects in the UVa. School of Architecture, faculty and students have explored and proposed designs to adapt these buildings for human habitation. The concepts for compact, community-focused spaces, and forms that reference Virginia's traditional built environment, have a resonance with the historic housing on The Lawn and The Ranges at the University of Virginia.

In addition, designs for a community bathhouse adjacent to the barn provide not only a facility that utilizes local materials and construction with ecologically-focused prefabricated elements including composting toilets, waste filtration and energy. Beyond its implementation at Morven, this design research for a self-contained bathing facility offers the potential for serving humanitarian situations, especially in developing areas with limited access to clean water and sanitary toilets, underserved communities and disaster sites as well as at other places on the economic spectrum, such as remote research stations, national parks and youth hostels.

A collaboration of School of Architecture faculty and students, representatives of the UVA Foundation, and UVa. Facilities Management are participating in cost and feasibility studies, toward the implementation of these designs at Morven.