UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA                                                                                                          GROUNDS PLAN                                                                                                          OFFICE OF THE ARCHITECT




West Grounds

West Grounds was the second major area of development for the UVA campus beyond Central Grounds, and houses a large percentage of University research facilities, student residences, and athletic recreation uses.  Two planning workshops were held to gather an understanding of the needs and opportunities in the West Grounds.  The Midmont to Piedmont Workshop focused primarily on housing, developing a framework for the replacement of Alderman Road student residence halls and considering underutilized parcels in the Midmont and Piedmont faculty and staff housing areas for redevelopment.  The Science and Engineering Workshop provided opportunities for academic building infill emphasizing the value of multi-disciplinary academic uses and green community spaces.

As specified by the objectives in Section 2, establishing a central green space for the West Grounds would provide a primary green space for this precinct and link the existing high quality green spaces in this area.  The preferred location for this primary space is the grass ellipse to the south of Observatory Hill dining hall extending into the Gilmer Gulch.  The ellipse, created as part of the development of the Observatory Hill dining hall in 2006, was intended to serve as a central green space for nearby residents.  By linking and reconfiguring this new space with others in West Grounds, it is possible to develop an green space sequence that will define the entire West Grounds precinct.  The diverse mix of adjacent building uses, including housing, dining, academic, support functions and recreation, would benefit from a central green with outdoor amenities designed to support use by these functions.

West Grounds Primary Open Spaces
Proposed Whitehead Road Open Space Amenity


Adequate capacity for new and residential academic facilities can be provided through infill development of underutilized parcels and replacement of existing structures with higher density buildings.  Redevelopment opportunities include the reconfiguration of the Whitehead Road corridor to make additional building sites available, and replacement uses within the existing Facilities Management site west of Alderman Road.  Within these redevelopment zones, a series of linked pedestrian walkways will improve circulation and form stronger physical connections with adjacent areas.  Higher density is the primary strategy for meeting the increased need for student, faculty and staff housing in West Grounds.  Partial redevelopment of the Alderman Road residence halls allows for increased capacity on this site and provides an opportunity to create additional space for academic and student-life use by including these spaces in new residence hall designs.  A planned redevelopment with increased density of the Piedmont faculty housing area will provide additional units for faculty and staff housing.

Alderman Road Residence Area Redevelopment Plan - Phase 1

Improved circulation in the western portion of this precinct will provide UTS access to the Fontaine Research Park and shorten the perceived distance from residence areas to Central Grounds.  The new road connecting through Hereford Residential College provides improved bus service to this previously underserved area. Extending Stadium Road to Fontaine Avenue as a managed street for UTS, pedestrians and bicycles will improve the accessibility to the Fontaine Research Park and provide an important transit link.  The redevelopment of the Alderman Road residence halls presents an opportunity to organize them around a pedestrian and bicycle path linking the Observatory Hill and Runk dining halls.  This path is vehicle free and has little change in elevation, providing a quick, comfortable connection between residence areas and student activity centers.