Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus Takes Shape Near Washington, DC


Diving brief:

  • Construction progresses on Virginia Tech’s first academic building, the first part of the school’s new innovation campus located in Alexandria, Va. according to a statement. JThe project team is finding solutions to site-specific challenges, such as working below the water table of the nearby Potomac River to build a 170-space underground parking garage.
  • The first phase of the 11-story project in the Potomac Yard area is proceeding on schedule. Crews led by Baltimore-based construction manager Whiting-Turner Contracting broke ground in September on the site adjacent to the future Potomac Yard-VT subway station.
  • Designed by Detroit-based architecture firm SmithGroup, the innovation campus will provide teaching, research, office and support spaces for graduate programs in computer science and computer engineering and other areas. There will also be flexible multipurpose zones, laboratories and creative spaces.

Overview of the dive:

Construction progress is expected to go above ground this summer, according to the release, and Virginia Tech expects the 300,000-square-foot Building 1 to be completed by fall 2024. Additional plans call for two other structures, measuring approximately 150,000 square feet. feet each, to be built as the campus grows.

Whiting-Turner orchestrates massive concrete placements of up to 1,400 cubic meters at a time. In addition, in order to cope with the constant intrusion of water into the car park, the teams installed around twenty continuously operating wells to evacuate water from the site. The wells have pumped about 41.5 million gallons of water since construction began, the statement said.

SmithGroup used computational and generative design techniques to inform the building’s unique geometry, according to the university. The shape of the building was created to capture solar energy to maximize photovoltaic power generation.

Whiting-Turner and Virginia Tech also created what the release calls the “Connector,” intended to educate and inform the public about the state of campus innovation and its construction. Scheduled to open in July, visitors will be able to browse the physical information centerwhich is the size of a shipping container, to learn about building using videos and renderings, among other technologies.

“The connector will provide a unique opportunity for the public to stay engaged with the project and follow the physical progress of our first college building,” said David Baker, director of government and community affairs at Virginia Tech in the release.

The Whiting-Turner site team includes senior project manager Summer Cleary, who graduated from Virginia Tech in 2000 with a major in civil engineering. The Innovation Campus site is the third largest project she has worked on in her career.

“Living in Alexandria, I never thought the chance to work on a Virginia Tech project would arise – it’s a great opportunity,” said Cleary, who visits the college’s main campus in Blacksburg, Va., a few times a year to represent Whiting-Turner. at job fairs, in the press release. “It’s exciting to be part of a project that will provide a new learning environment for students. »


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