President Sullivan: Ivy Road is “fertile ground” for future UVA public space

The president of the University of Virginia has told students at the School of Architecture that their work during the 4th annual Vortex will improve the institution.

“One of the things that the Ivy Road and Emmet Street corridor could be for us is a new gateway for the University,” said Teresa Sullivan on Monday at the kickoff of the vortex.

“[The vortex] has evolved over the last four years into a significant signal of our school’s commitment to the urban condition, to community engagement, and the kind of innovation that happens when you cross boundaries and disciplines,” said Beth Meyer, the dean of the School of Architecture.

The original gateways to UVa faced south and east, but growth sprung up on the western road in an unplanned fashion. The vortex gives a chance for today’s students to offer their visions.

“We teach and we learn within a university that was founded by an architect,”

Meyer said. “He conceived of a new type of educational institution that would help create a citizenry who could contribute to the health and prosperity of a new democracy.”

Sullivan said the exercise will help plan for the University’s third century with a bicentennial celebration fast approaching in 2017. 

“Examining these areas along Ivy Road from Emmet all the way up to the Boar’s Head Inn, and thinking about new living spaces along that corridor, I think you can help us strengthen UVa’s residential learning culture,” Sullivan said.

This week’s challenge is to dream up and demonstrate a new landscape for the Ivy Road corridor, much of which is owned by the University of Virginia Foundation for the purpose of future expansion.

“We are responsible for six different eating establishments in that corridor and pretty much every one is going to go away,” said Tim Rose, the foundation’s CEO. One of them, the Panda Garden, will be demolished this year.

“How might those interior and exterior common spaces transform a banal and boring road into a memorable and meaningful space?” Myers asked.

The kickoff concluded with comments from two members of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors.

“This is giving us a heads-up on things to think about,” said Supervisor Liz Palmer, who added that the board will take up plans for this area within the next two years.

“Let the creative juices flow, and throw in a little practicality for those of us that are in charge of land use,” said Supervisor Diantha McKeel.

Awards will be handed out at a public presentation Sunday that begins at 11:00 am at the Carver Recreation Center.