The AIA Northern Virginia Chapter awarded the DC office of CannonDesign two design awards of merit for the University of Virginia’s College at Wise New Library and the University of the District of Columbia Student Center.
The design team, who were present for the awards ceremony, were thrilled by the prestigious recognition of two projects so close to home. Design principal and DC office practice leader, Roland Lemke, AIA, LEED AP, said “These two projects have special meaning to me and those locally who worked on them over the years. As design principal for both, I tried to immerse myself in the world of the client — listening and learning from them to better understand their vision and needs. I am very thankful for this recognition from the jury.”
Below are short project synopses of the winners:
The new library at the University of Virginia College at Wise is the new landmark for the campus and local community. To achieve the dual function as both library and campus connector, the building has two vertical circulation cores, one providing access between the lower and upper campuses via a free zone and one serving secure library functions.
The new library draws upon three primary materials – stone, brick and galvanized metal – to create a building anchored into the context of the surrounding campus. Wrapped in the local stone, the base of the building at the lower campus level becomes a plinth for the five-story brick mass of the library. At the top of the hill, cascading stone retaining walls create tiered planting beds that resolve the two levels of the upper campus. Visible from the campus entry and adjacent neighborhoods, the glass-enclosed space at the fourth and fifth levels creates an entry beacon that provides north filtered light to student collaboration and study spaces beyond.
The University of the District of Columbia, Washington’s only public higher education institution is set back from the street and features utilitarian, concrete, sparsely windowed 1970s-era architecture. The updated student center is the new image of the institution.
This highly visible and accessible building creates a gateway and public face for the university, engages and supports students academically and socially and integrates the campus with the neighborhood to create an urban community. The monumental stair and gathering space are the new front porch to campus.
The central gathering space is the first student-oriented place on campus to collaborate and be seen in a non-academic environment. The north oriented space gathers light from above and filters this light internally to spaces for student government and campus life activities. Student activities spaces are located below the quad and connected to natural light via skylights above.
The new student center supports the university’s global initiative for sustainable stewardship and is certified LEED Platinum.