UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA                                                                                                          GROUNDS PLAN                                                                                                          OFFICE OF THE ARCHITECT




Land Use

Land Use refers to the activity that occurs at a specific location or building. The University and the adjacent City and County areas together have a pattern of mixed land use, including academic and administrative buildings, offices, commercial uses and residences. This pattern of complementary development provides mutual benefits for the University and adjacent community alike.  Within the Grounds, the mixed-use pattern established by the Academical Village continues to some degree, providing a combination of residential, academic, administrative, cultural and social spaces, just as Jefferson intended.  The three primary precincts, Central, West and North Grounds, all support a diversity of uses in addition to primary academic and health system-related functions.

Green space and landscape on Grounds take many forms, including tree-lined fields and pathways, terraced amphitheaters, quadrangles, and courtyards. They provide an equal diversity of uses, ranging from passive recreation to athletics for informal and formal assembly. These spaces and the buildings that surround them in the core of Central Grounds create higher quality outdoor spaces that are more likely to be used than those on the periphery of Grounds. This pattern reflects the smaller scale of buildings and green spaces in the core, as well as the greater mix of historic and modern buildings that relate to one another through a variety of courtyards and pathways. Towards the periphery of Grounds, buildings tend to be newer, larger and more autonomously sited, and the functions of some of these buildings, e.g. Scott Stadium and the John Paul Jones Arena, necessitate large amounts of parking and other auxiliary uses. This creates spaces that are often more difficult to use in an alternative fashion and less enjoyable to occupy.

Most buildings in the Central Grounds are oriented to the orthogonal axes established by the Academical Village, while those in West and North Grounds are oriented to topography or along curving roads, a few of which predate the Jeffersonian grid. Several building sites actually employ both organizational schemes.  At points along the border between Grounds and neighboring Charlottesville and Albemarle, gateways into the University community represent important transitions, and require appropriately scaled entrances. In other cases, the transition between the University and its adjacent neighborhoods is more subtle and traditionally treated with low walls constructed of brick and/or stone.


Land Use Objectives

Integrated, multi-use buildings with a balance of green space are important for fostering the social and inter-departmental interactions that make the University a dynamic, innovative place to live, work and learn.  A strategy of infill and redevelopment on Grounds affords opportunities to develop facilities that cater to the specific needs of interrelated disciplines and their related support facilities.  The continued development of multi-functional academic and research spaces within the context of existing departmental clusters will promote collaboration, and through it, new discoveries as part of the University’s mission for the future.  Compact growth through infill and redevelopment allows the University community to live, work, and recreate without needing to travel significant distances, making transit use, walking and bicycling practical.  Infill also reduces the demand to build new projects on currently wooded riparian wetlands or otherwise undeveloped lands, helping to conserve habitat and wildlife.  Through the use of appropriate scale and thoughtful siting of new facilities, the following objectives can be accomplished.

  • Foster inter-disciplinary academic relationships through development of integrated, mixed-use facilities that leverage existing University resources.  Advance the potential for mixed-use redevelopment on portions of the Grounds where concentrations of exclusive uses are clustered. 
  • Establish a central green space for each precinct, providing a community center similar to the Lawn within Central Grounds.
  • Define a system of specific linkages in circulation between adjacent buildings and green spaces, establishing public and semi-private spaces, as appropriate for each project and its surrounding uses.
  • Consider the design and function of historic buildings, landscapes, and their adjacent sites, including any significant features to be preserved in adaptive reuse/redevelopment projects.
  • Enrich the arrival-and-entry sequence and more prominent edges of the Grounds, helping to clarify the University presence and image.
  • Intensify density and consider opportunities for public uses at major entry points where the University property intersects with City and County lands.
  • Protect wooded, riparian or otherwise undeveloped lands, and provide access to these areas for educational and recreational uses.
  • Establish, protect and enhance signature views and vistas across and off Grounds.