University of Virginia: Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

Historic rehabilitation, Sustainable Design, LEED Gold - ARG

ARG had an architect’s dream project in the rehabilitation of McKim, Mead, and White’s Garrett Hall at Thomas Jefferson’s masterpiece, the University of Virginia. Constructed in 1908 and unfortunately renovated for offices in the 1950s and 1980s, the building is now in its third incarnation as the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. ARG restored its grand historic spaces and ornate finishes and sensitively incorporated improvements ranging from replicated chandeliers to data and AV systems for 21st century academia. The sustainable, historically sensitive project garnered both LEED Gold certification and preservation accolades.

What You May Not Know

In Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village, students ate in small groups in their residence “hotels”, but by the beginning of the 20th century, the student body had grown to the point where a central dining space was needed. In the new “Commons” they were served by waiters and could reserve private dining rooms.

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The project removed the 1959 renovations that had subdivided the Great Hall and reduced the grand entrance lobby to a one-story space.

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The historic structure is connected to an underground annex, built in the 1970s to house the University’s first computer center, now housing skylit offices and meeting spaces and sporting a new green roof.

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New striped awnings shielding the 16-foot-high windows replicate the original design and contribute to the sustainability of the building.

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Discreet concrete buttresses now strengthen the structurally deficient masonry walls.

Photos courtesy of Philip Beaurline.