Gilbert Street Mixed-Use Development
As Virginia Tech looks to the future of its innovative partnership with Amazon in Northern Virginia, the Blacksburg campus is growing to accommodate Amazon adjacent to campus. This mixed-use development will bring 260,000 square feet of Class A office/research/innovation space to the University. Sited at the edge of campus as the transition point into downtown, the development promotes a more walkable urban district.
Ground-floor retail and restaurants activate the street as outdoor seating areas that spill out of the building and onto the wide sidewalks, while the uppermost floor is animated by rooftop terraces overlooking downtown. Another terrace area on the sixth floor features a unique rooftop venue that overlooks the campus and includes a bar, catering kitchen, outdoor fire pits and television screens to host a variety of events ranging from weddings to tailgates. The exterior aesthetic transitions seamlessly to interior spaces, minimizing the threshold between inside and out, and reinforcing building identity with a palette that balances modern materiality and timeless simplicity. Daylight is intentionally brought deep into the building, enlivening public zones and common spaces, while maintaining visual connections to the outside.
The interior design concept for the lobby makes a connection to New Town, the African American community that thrived in Blacksburg during the first half of the 20th Century. Building users are greeted by the lines of New Town’s former streets with the 1905 community map articulated on the terrazzo floor. The lines converge at a single embedded point—the Historic Odd Fellow’s Hall—reinforcing the significance of African American history and culture in Blacksburg and giving a testament to the past in a place that represents a gateway to the future.