Higher Education
Virginia Commonwealth University
Academic Learning Commons

Dedicated to providing an excellent learning environment for its 22,000 undergraduate students, Virginia Commonwealth University is creating a state-of-the-art classroom building in the heart of its academic campus. The building will provide a stimulating educational atmosphere, facilitate interaction between students and faculty, and support the context of historic Richmond.

The building design, shaped to reflect VCU's academic mission and interactive teaching format, combines formal and informal collaborative spaces with large classrooms, many with occupancies in the hundreds. To provide an opportunity for physical and intellectual freedom, classrooms have about 20 percent more square footage per student than required, giving instructors room to move around and interact with students.

Located at a crossroads of city and campus activity, the building creates connections between interior and exterior spaces. A large courtyard allows indoor interactions to spill outside on warm days. Vegetated green roofs provide garden views from inside and help regulate indoor temperature and manage storm water. The building facade incorporates red brick masonry, cast stone, and metal detailing to tie in to Richmond's historic, vernacular architecture. The design integrates different levels of building scale to transition elegantly from the city's small-scale residential neighborhoods to the larger scale of VCU campus buildings.

Richmond, Virginia

Program: State-of-the-art classrooms, lecture halls, informal gathering spaces, administrative and faculty offices, outdoor courtyard

Size: 102,000 sf

BCWH Architects

Sustainability initiatives
Pursuing LEED Silver certification upon completion

Photography: Halkin | Mason Photography