London’s Hopkins Architects is continuing its streak of ambitious American academic buildings with the groundbreaking of a new hall for the University of Virginia’s (UVA) School of Data Science on October 21.
Established in January of 2019 after the school received a $120 million gift from alumni Jaffray Woodriff and wife Merrill Woodriff through the Quantitative Foundation, the new School of Data Science will be UVA’s 12th, and the first new school since 2007. Fittingly, the school’s physical home in Charlottesville, Virginia, will also serve as the anchor of UVA’s ongoing, phased master plan to further build out the UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed campus. Local firm VMDO Architects is serving as executive architect, and both are working in tandem with UVA’s Office of the Architect.
“This groundbreaking is for the first building project of the Emmet/Ivy corridor, which we believe will be a hub for the University community, with classrooms; offices; gathering, exhibition and performance space; and a hotel and conference center,” said Vice Rector Robert Hardie at the groundbreaking ceremony, according to UVAToday. “And it is fitting that our newest school should be located here. Data Science is the here and now, and the future, and we want to provide our students with cutting-edge facilities and resources so that they can go out in the world and make important contributions to industry, government and academia.”
The four-story, 61,000-square-foot academic hall will include meeting and research areas, four flexible classrooms, two seminar rooms, and offices for faculty members. Although the new hall will utilize a red brick facade at the first three levels to better visually connect it to the rest of the historic campus, the project’s defining feature is a massive steel portico that will both shade the rooftop terrace and the plaza below, all supported by six full-height columns.
Just outside, a sunken, P-shaped amphitheater will wrap around a retention pond intended to help modulate flooding from storms, while back inside, the Hub, a double-height multipurpose assembly space, will face the new water feature. Boston’s DumontJanks is acting as the project’s landscape architect, and Arup is the engineer.
Once the new data science center opens in early 2024, it will anchor a 14.5-acre parcel on the campus at Emmet Street and Ivy Road. Other Emmet/Ivy corridor projects in the pipeline include a combination hotel-and-conference-center expected to begin construction next year, the Karsh Institute of Democracy, various road and crossing improvements, and a future performing arts center.