UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA                                                                                                          GROUNDS PLAN                                                                                                          OFFICE OF THE ARCHITECT
 
 

 

 

 

North Grounds

North Grounds is the most recent precinct developed on Grounds, with the relocation of the Law School, Judge Advocate General’s School, and the Graduate School of Business Administration in the late 60s and early 70s.  While these Graduate Schools benefit from their expanded facilities, the suburban scale of this precinct results in a sense of separation from the Central and West Grounds.  North Grounds also accommodates housing facilities, athletic/recreation fields, and the recent John Paul Jones Arena.  Two planning workshops addressed this area.  The North Grounds Workshop identified upcoming projects and potential land use issues, examined needed infrastructure improvements, and explored differing perspectives on connectivity within the area.  Emerging from the workshop was a common desire to better integrate the Law and Darden graduate facilities into the larger University community, through a formal gateway or approach sequence into North Grounds.  The Arts Grounds to North Grounds Workshop focused on the areas linking North Grounds with Central Grounds.  The goals for the workshop were to promote better connections between multiple destinations, including Carr’s Hill, Fine Arts, Lambeth Field and Housing, and North Grounds.  Additional goals included conceptualizing a signature entry experience into Grounds, featuring a sequence of building and landscape elements designed to clarify the University’s boundaries and reinforce its identity.  As part of the planned improvement of the arts and cultural facilities, the Arts Gateway concept was developed and sited at its planned location at the intersection of Ivy Road and Emmet Street.

A large variety of green spaces contribute to the suburban character of the North Grounds precinct.  High-quality green spaces are located in the stream valley at the north end of the precinct, at the Park, in areas around the Law and Darden Schools, in parts of the Copeley Hill Housing Area, and at the Miller Center. These spaces range from forested natural areas with strong trail systems to busy intramural playing fields.  Much of the remaining green space in North Grounds is currently inaccessible and use-specific, such as the varsity athletics practice and competition fields and forested remnants near the John Paul Jones Arena and Copeley Family Housing.  As with West Grounds, a central green space capable of defining and organizing North Grounds is essential, and this green space is planned as part of the major connective element between North and Central Grounds, along the new entrance roadway and through the Arts Gateway.

Strengthening the connection to North Grounds through redevelopment and the realignment of Copeley and Massie Roads

The redevelopment area east of the Arts Gateway project and portions of the athletics area offers the largest tract of land for new academic development on Grounds.  This area is largely undeveloped, features desirable topography and utility opportunities, and connects to the new primary access road into Grounds.  University Hall, the former basketball arena in the center of this area, is a candidate for adaptive reuse.  Development of additional parking structures in proximity to the John Paul Jones Arena will allow for shared commuter and event use, making efficient use of the land.  The area will continue to accommodate athletic fields, with competition fields clustered to the west of Copeley Road and practice fields east of University Hall.  The proposed Field House is planned for the practice cluster in order to be accessible to multiple sports programs.  On the north-west corner of Emmet Street and Ivy Road, planning and design of the new Arts Gateway is underway and will include an expanded art museum, café, University forum, a site for a future concert hall, and a transit hub to provide access to other University and local destinations.  As professional school facilities in North Grounds continue to grow, new buildings can be accommodated adjacent to existing facilities.  This infill development should seek to form connections between the schools and provide opportunities to create green activity spaces to be shared among the North Grounds community. 

The Lambeth Field upper-class student housing is a promising location for coordinated redevelopment to provide increased density and improve connections between the Arts Grounds, athletics and recreation and Central Grounds.  Increased density can be achieved by replacing the 250-space parking lot with new housing facilities, and relocating the parking at an adjacent structured facility. The Copeley Hill housing area, supporting a mix of undergraduates, graduates and student families, is low density and provides an opportunity for infill.  The fifty acre site has an FAR of .15, and the age of these facilities is an additional concern.  Infill or redevelopment at a higher density is appropriate, and future development should seek to protect and celebrate the hilly, wooded character of the site.

A major goal of this Grounds Plan, and other recent master plans, is to improve the linkage between North Grounds and other areas of the University.  The completion of Leonard Sandridge Road affords a unique opportunity to alter the entrance sequence into the University and actively place North Grounds into this sequence.  Concurrent with the realization of this new entrance as a primary University gateway will be improvements to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, transit service, and enhanced connections to North Grounds.  Improvements to the Emmet-Ivy intersection are also planned to support improved pedestrian and bicycle use, while further emphasizing the linkage between Central and North Grounds.

These three precincts are all located within the 1,135 acres of the core Grounds where all future development for UVA is planned to occur.  Like many other public institutions, the University also has additional lands and facilities in the form of research parks, satellite campuses and field stations.  A summary of these additional entities is provided below, as the use and planning for these facilities was addressed in the development of the Grounds Plan.