Tricky thing: Battle building merges with West Main

onarch-battlebuildingThe Battle Building will transform West Main's streetscape.
Odell & Associates

“Building, but not sprawling” was the headline of a recent UVA Magazine story on the school’s $308 million build-a-thon this year–- in the face of a recession and UVA budget cutting. But next year one massive project will dramatically alter West Main’s streetscape (something UVA has long been threatening to do): the $141 million, 7-story, 200,000 square foot Barry and Bill Battle Building at UVA Children's Hospital, which is scheduled to go up on a temporary parking lot beside the 12th Street Taphouse from 2011-2014.

The new building, which will serve as an outpatient surgery and family-friendly children's rehabilitative care facility, comes courtesy of the UVA Foundation, and mostly private donations, including $15 million from the Ivy Foundation. In fact, its name honors former Ivy Foundation chair Bill Battle and his wife. Under Battle, who died last year, the Ivy Foundation gave a total of $45 million to the UVA Health System.

The building is also being planned in conjunction with the City’s West Main urban design project.

“Our project will be a 'prototype' for the West Main plan,” says architect for the University David Neuman, “with wide sidewalks, street trees, and special lighting, as well as providing retail space at street level.”

The Battle Building site plan along West Main.

The project also includes undergrounding utility wires on West Main and a green roof, with an aim, Neuman says of getting "gold" LEED certification.

According to Neuman, no buildings will be demolished to make way for the Battle Building itself, though he says the nearby Blake Center–- the 7-story brick medical office building hugging the corner at Jefferson Park Avenue–- will eventually get demolished to make way for green space. "But Blake," he says, "is intended to remain for awhile into the future."

At a preliminary discussion with the Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review, members were generally positive, with BAR chair Fred Wolf pointing out that despite the very different character of buildings in the hospital realm and those along West Main, the design managed to nicely merge the two, something he called a “tricky thing.”

The design relationship to the street was “wonderfully inventive and well worked out," Board member Syd Knight commented during the meeting.

“Reaction from the board was generally very positive,” says Knight, who mentions that the project still must come before the BAR for a certificate of approval, though he didn’t know when. “I’m looking forward to their submission.”

So was there anything BAR members didn't like?

"Nothing controversial," says Knight. "Essentially, just what you would expect for a building still in the early stages of design–- window patterns and fenestration, roof terrace design, further development of the ground-level storefronts on West Main, lots of little details. Overall, it has the potential to be a very nice project."


quote: "Self ordained expert on architecture even!"

It doesn't take any type of expert to see that the new hospital is a disgrace to the community.

Even the town drunk who sees two or three new UVA hospitals side by side can tell you they are ugly.

You can tell its a STATE run Hospital huh..

How's that CYNDI? I looked and looked at all 8 square inches of the rendering on my screen and didn't see a single sign indicating that.

Since when is the corner of JPA and Main Street "made up of mostly black thugs and poor white trash?"

The hospital that is in that area is one of the largest employers in the greater Charlottesville area, so your suggestion that the non-exisitant people you've chosen to disparage have kept anyone from thinking it's an acceptable area to work in makes no sense either. There is a successful restaurant on one side and what appears to be a successful hotel just a stones throw away.

Do you even live in Charlottesville Susan?

One thing for sure .. It can't possibly be any uglier than the UVA Hospital!

Parking is free at the hospital if you are being treated for anything. That is cheap.

Modernization of Main? Say it ain't so Joe.


Sorry I annoyed you again.

Im for any new development that improves an area today made up of mostly black thugs and poor white trash that keeps most from considering the area as an acceptable place to live, work, and play.


How long have you lived here?

When HASN'T parking Sucked-sucked-sucked?

The South Lawn project, which may appear as more "traditional" and therefore more appealing to the uninformed, is a massive disgrace to the city and even more so to the university. The American Institute of Architects named Jefferson's design for the university "the proudest achievement of American architecture in the past 200 years." The South Lawn extension of that original core of the campus looks like an ugly highway overpass with some brick glued to it. Thank god this building is at least doing something better than that.

Looks cool from the tiny pic, which shows it without the Blake building. Very happy to not see red bricks and square columns like every building at Fontaine. The Health System has been open to alternatives to the Pseudo-Neo-classic stuff the University is wedded to (i.e. South Yawn project, Curry School)

It looks like a chiller plant. It certainly will stand out as another eyesore in Charlottesville's skyline. It does not mess with the architecture across the street.

I'll bet parking is going to suck, suck, suck!

I'll bet UVA Hospital is going to charge a testicle to park in their garage.

Parking is free if you are visiting a patient too.

Besides, what is this obsession with parking? Do you expect a valet at every corner keeping a big space open just for you? There's always a space in some garage.

Well, maybe because it's just as ugly on the exterior as the new UVA Hospital is.

Self ordained expert on architecture even! What a renaissance man!

Thoroughly understanding an architectural project well enough to pass judgement on it from a tiny web reproduction of a preliminary rendering is just not something that everyone is capable of. This city is blessed to have a man with your astounding skills as a resident.

I and I'm sure many others are looking forward to, even begging for, your participation in the public discussion at future BAR meetings. We would hate to see all that remarkable talent being wasted.

But the article was about another building that you haven't seen. Not that the actual subjects of the articles you so generously slather your expertise all over has every really mattered to you.