VA Tech Innovation Campus Begins To Take Shape

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This image provides an aerial view looking north into Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus. The proposed massing of Virginia Tech’s Academic I building, seen here to the left, is shaped in response to solar generation. It features a roof terrace at the eighth level with sweeping views across the Potomac River. Academic I is the first of three buildings proposed to comprise the Innovation Campus, with future buildings Academic II to the right in the image and Academic III beyond.

Planning and design of Virginia Tech’s Innovation Campus will achieve another milestone next week when the height and massing of the first academic building is shared with the Potomac Yard Design Advisory Committee — another step in a year-long process to secure approvals and permits from the city of Alexandria.

The Innovation Campus will anchor the first phase of a new North Potomac Yard mixed-use development – with the first academic building scheduled for completion in 2024.

Architectural drawings of the first academic building will be submitted to the city in early April as part of the Development Special Use Permit submission. However, PYDAC, a city-appointed citizen group charged with reviewing development plans for consistency with the design criteria, will view preliminary building scale, massing, and architectural character for a portion of the development on March 4.

Liza Morris, assistant vice president for planning and university architect, said the campus buildings will be designed to create a bold new urban identity for the Virginia Tech experience that’s shaped by science, technology, and engineering around sustainability, resiliency, and flexibility, while providing spaces that foster collaboration and engagement.

“We’re at an exciting juncture because we can start to visually communicate Virginia Tech’s architectural and place-making vision for the campus and have productive dialog with PYDAC and others around goals,” said Morris. “We also look forward to our continued work with our partner, JBG SMITH, as we become part of a dynamic district that will serve as a catalyst and magnet for talent, research, and innovation.”

Virginia Tech announced plans for the new campus 15 months ago as part of the state’s successful bid to attract Amazon to the region. The decision to build the campus as a portion of a 65-acre innovation district being developed near the future Potomac Yard Metrorail Station was announced in June 2019.

The Innovation Campus will be located in three buildings on about four acres at the northern end, near Alexandria’s border with Arlington County. The other six buildings will house office, residential, and ground-level retail space, according to a preliminary plan filed last year with the city.

When fully operational, Virginia Tech’s new campus will graduate 750 master’s degree students per year and host more than 100 doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows. The Innovation Campus will support groundbreaking new programs and human-centered research — shaping the high-tech disciplines of the future.