In 2016, DumontJanks was selected to envision a strategic and urban design plan for the Ivy Corridor, a key connective parcel between historic Central Grounds and North Grounds. Central Grounds contains the historic Jefferson Lawn, Rotunda, and pavilions, and the major undergraduate academic enclaves. North Grounds is home to the university School of Law, the School of Business, university athletics and recreation, several university academic centers, and several districts of university residential life. Our study focused on a 14-acre parcel with significant capacity and a smattering of uses, including a mixture of outdated small retail, restaurant, office, hotel, and residential programs, an underutilized 1,200 car parking facility, and remnant second-growth forest and a partially restored stream system.
The plan envisions a bold new mixed-use district, home to academic and arts collaborations, surrounding a long, terraced green that is composed of strong bosques of trees and a restorative water idea. The 24/7 aspiration for the district would include major hospitality and conference facilities, a mixed portfolio of residential uses for faculty, staff, and university long-term guests and alumni, and some neighborhood retail, restaurant, and office support uses. The overall effort was accepted and approved by the university’s Board of Visitors.
We followed the initial study with several more detailed programming studies. This work examined several existing academic programs for their compatibility to the collaborative aspirations of the district, program needs, program site fit, and potential scenarios for building massing. This included a focus on performing arts, and a program and siting study for the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.
DumontJanks and our consultant team, was subsequently asked to help the University develop the North Grounds Framework Plan, a district of Grounds that has historically included the professional schools, residential life enclaves, and athletics. We examined all aspects of North Grounds, including the individual programs for potential growth, connectivity and mobility (f parking, vehicular, pedestrian, and bicycle circulation). The existing residential life enclaves were approaching 50 years of age and had been organized with a random suburban pattern in a stunning forested hill and stream valley topography. Finally, athletics had outdated facilities and lacked an overall organizing idea.
After a thorough analysis and examination of several scenarios, the framework plan proposed an overall organizing idea to restore and define the stunning hill and stream valley system as the district’s central preserve,. To accomplish this, the existing aging residential buildings will in time be replaced to create a more distinct and compact crossroads location at the intersection of two prominent district streets, and in walking proximity to the schools of business, law, and to several other small but important academic centers in the district. The now restored central hill and stream valley will accommodate a system of major walks and bikeways tied to existing Grounds and city systems. Athletics will be organized around a bold “gameday” pedestrian street that links athletes and spectators to all exterior field venues and indoor practice and performance facilities. Over time, new field venues will be added, replacing existing large surface parking lots with a singular parking structure. The existing series of dead-end streets in the district will be connected to each other, creating a rational internal street framework that ties to surrounding street system and improves connectivity and choice, preventing backups during major collegiate events. All streets will have parallel system of walks, connected to the new preserve, and to the new Ivy Corridor District to the south.