“We envision the Contemplative Commons as an extraordinary resource for our whole UVA community,” said Martin Davidson, interim director for UVA’s Contemplative Sciences Center. “Working together with diverse partners across Grounds, we will dedicate the building’s distinctive elements – classrooms, studios, research lab space, art installations and convening spaces – to help us deliver on our mission to combine contemplation, connection and research to enhance flourishing for everyone. When we formally open in the fall, we plan to launch a home for everyone in the community who is drawn to discovering what helps people thrive.”
The 57,000-square-foot, U-shaped building was designed by the architecture firm Aidlin Darling Design, which previously designed a contemplative center at Stanford University. Local firm VMDO Architects are the associated architects. Given the unique site adjacent to the Dell, the team conceived of a landscape-oriented building that integrates itself in the surrounding site, with special consideration of its solar orientation. The local firm Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects also helped connect the natural and built environments through horticulture, as well as designing the central courtyard and roof gardens, among other contributions.