Learn more about the “Learning Barge”

Last July, the Hook's On Architecture column featured a story on an unusual UVA School of Architecture design-build project–an experimental "learning barge" on the Elizabeth River, the most polluted river feeding the Chesapeake Bay.

Tomorrow, Friday February 2, you can learn more about this funky river boat as the Charlottesville Community Design Center on the Downtown Mall hosts an exhibit featuring the latest student research and designs for the project.

According to Assistant Professor of Architecture Phoebe Crisman, who heads up the project, the 120-foot long, 30-foot-wide "river boat" would serve as a floating classroom to teach school children and the general public about the river's ecosystem, Portsmouth's role as an international port, and the ongoing effort to clean it up. In addition, the barge would handling its own waste, recycling rain water, power its lights and heat with solar and wind energy, have a floating oyster nursery on its side, and an on-board artificial wetland to demonstrate how plants and soil naturally filter and clean river water.

"It's hard to even get near the water in that area," Crisman told the Hook, "because it's so industrialized. So we came up with the barge idea. This is an excellent way to educate people, to have a physical presence on the river."

The exhibit will be displayed from February 2 through February 23 at the CCDC, and the School of Architecture will host a free public reception tomorrow from 6:30 – 8:30pm.

1 comment

That looks like a good place for catching conch fritters.. on the barge, maybe not so much on the Downtown Mall.