Regenerating Industry: An Urban Campus for the Arts Reclaimed from Lost City Fabric
Drumwright, Colin Lee
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Cities form from layers of different elements and uses to create an urban fabric. These elements include the location, geography, demography, culture, transportation, and building type. Buildings can be thought of in a similar way. Today, successful urban and building design engages in the idea of mixed-use, not only in the program, but in the diversity of spaces created and users of the space. One lost layer to Alexandria is at the northern edge of Old Town. This area is bookended by the Potomac Electric Power Company's abandoned power plant. The site sits along the Alexandria waterfront and Mount Vernon Trail with views looking toward Washington, DC. The power plant closed its doors in 2012 and there are no plans yet to redevelop the site. To regenerate new life to this neighborhood, a new satellite campus for Virginia Tech']s Schools of Visual and Performing Arts will replace the abandoned plant. This campus aims to integrate a long lost piece of Alexandria's waterfront to the city and community. The signature building of this campus is a two-stage theatre that weaves together the new student body with the existing Alexandrian community.
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