Virginia Military Institute (Lexington, VA)
The project envisions a comprehensive renovation and expansion of Virginia Military Institute’s engineering facilities, which will enable the facility to meet exploding growth in STEM enrollments.
An existing 3 building complex comprised of the historic Nichols Hall, the Nichols Annex and Morgan Hall will be complemented by the new state-of-the-art addition, with the strategic goal to fuse together the four-building complex and to streamline circulation. Program elements are driven by the mission of learning by doing and include engineering experimentation labs, makerspaces, active-learning classrooms, research labs and cadet project collaboration workspaces. The scope of design services included overhaul of all building mechanical, electrical and plumbing infrastructure, analysis of structural capacity and exterior wall performance, as well as programming and full architectural design in conjunction with our partners at Baskervill.
The site is a transition point between VMI’s Parade Ground and Barracks, designated part of the National Registry of Historic Places, and VMI’s Academic Row and an 80 foot grade change from the Parade Ground down to Main Street. An overarching goal of the project was to respect and enhance VMI’s historic architectural language while creating a modern, innovative structure that anticipates future trends in engineering education.
The design and programming focused on a series of goals: to construct a state-of-the-art engineering lab building that meets and exceeds standards of peer institutions; to create flexible and adaptable lab spaces that provide infrastructural foundation and support for the Engineering Department; to allocate space for individual and team projects that are responsive to the evolving instruction pedagogy; to expand open studio makerspaces that encourage innovation and hands-on learning with updated technology and equipment; and to design new and renovated engineering spaces that can be experienced as a cohesive series of intriguing labs that will appeal to and attract future cadets and faculty by displaying VMI’s mission in action.