Tricky thing: Battle building merges with West Main
“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 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."