UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA                                                                                                          GROUNDS PLAN                                                                                                          OFFICE OF THE ARCHITECT
 

 

 

 

The University Grounds comprise the lands and systems that support the physical activities of the institution: the organization of land use, natural systems, transportation, and infrastructure.  Adhering to its environmental quality and connectivity principles, the Plan ensures that these systems are accounted for and that the proper resources are available and/or protected in the future on Grounds.  This section establishes a set of implementation objectives for these systems, in order to guide future development, while preserving and enhancing the order, character, and operation of the campus.  Sustainable development, the idea that growth can be designed to conserve resources for future generations, is an overarching concept that pervades all aspects of these objectives.

In planning for the redevelopment of the University Grounds, the Office of the Architect for the University (OAU) determined that a traditional master plan that takes the approach of establishing future building sites would not provide the vision needed for UVA.  To preserve the character of the University and provide for future growth, this Grounds Plan required a distinctive approach to campus planning, largely based on identifying opportunities and constraints for infill and redevelopment through Geographical Information System (GIS) planning. This approach has determined the carrying capacity for the University Grounds and helped to establish the system of redevelopment zones that is at the core of the new Plan.  An important aspect of this Plan is to keep future growth within the existing developed area of 1,135 acres.

The designation of redevelopment zones is based on a strategy of carefully planned infill and redevelopment that curtails outward expansion, preserves historic assets, promotes an intelligible aesthetic order, improves connectivity, protects natural environments and leverages existing infrastructure resources.  These redevelopment zones help to preserve the green space network that provides structure to the University Grounds, and highlight opportunities for development close to existing systems and supportive of adjacent programmatic functions.  In this way the Grounds Plan provides an opportunity to knit the precincts of the University together with greater clarity, employing defined redevelopment zones and the green space network to bridge the precincts with a more consistent and active pattern of development.

Starting with Jefferson’s Academical Village, the University’s historic pattern of development has been to intersperse housing, academic, and auxiliary uses within each precinct, reinforcing a mixed-use approach to efficient and effective land use.  The goal of this Plan is to continue this legacy, ensuring that the three precincts will each contain a mixture of uses that is consistent with our long-term vision of the University.  As the University pursues this strategy, opportunities will arise to better connect disparate buildings and redefine underutilized spaces.  Strategic infill development will increase the unity of the Grounds as a whole, helping to develop more fluid transitions between distinct geographic areas and to mediate differences in building scales.  While infill development is central to the mission of this plan, this approach includes establishing a balance of green space for a variety of uses.  Views and sightlines must also be retained (or returned where possible) across the Grounds, providing symbolic reference points, approach sequences, and scenic vistas of the surrounding landscape, such as the original vista of the Lawn established by Jefferson and now being re-established with the South Lawn project. 

In addition to creating the 1998 UVA Landscape Master Plan, which established the larger precepts built upon in this Plan, the University, through the OAU, Environmental Health and Safety, and Facilities Management, has previously developed specific land-use plans, design guidelines, and other documents to establish best management practices, and reduce the negative impact of future growth (see appendix).  Land-use stewardship at the University is based on prudent integration of the planning principles, and this plan goes beyond the established guidelines to provide a coherent, overarching framework for future development.