The School of Data Science building faces Emmet Street, with an amphitheater and retention pond between the facade and the street. The four-story, 61,000-square-foot facility will include four “custom classrooms” with technology to enhance the learning process and faculty offices, as well as meeting and research areas. The plans call for a single building footprint with a double-height interior space for hosting lectures and other events, as well as a glass facade.
In line with the university’s sustainability goals for 2030, a green roof is planned to reduce heat gain from a south-facing roof, and offices will have windows that can be opened to increase natural ventilation. There will be a connected terrace on the fourth floor to provide views of the pond as well as the Rotunda and the new addition to the Alderman Library. The building will connect with Central Grounds structures in materials and colors, as well as in views.
Bourne, the first dean of the School of Data Science and a renowned biomedical and computer science researcher, called the construction a landmark event for UVA.
“Those of you who are part of the university know that we metaphorically call ourselves ‘The School Without Walls’ to emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of our field and our attitude toward that field,” Bourne said. “For this brief moment, it’s not just true metaphorically, but also in reality. Even as the walls go up to create the workplace we’re all so excited about, we’ll always think of it in the terms reflected today.”
Bourne said he got a perspective on the project on a recent tour of the construction site.
“The three years of effort by so many was to create a true home for computer science at UVA, where generations of students will be trained and so much cutting-edge research will be done,” Bourne said. “It is a home that looks at higher education through a different lens – one of interdisciplinarity, public-private partnership, collaboration and cooperation that is evident from looking at the building itself from every angle. The excitement of this, our mission as a school, will only grow as more is built.”
And he noted that computer science has been applied to the project.
“A lot of computer science goes into it, from data and methods in modern architectural design, to maintaining supply chains, to the precision of every prefab part of the building, and so much more,” Bourne said. “We have every intention of applying data science to ourselves, within and for the building, as we think about a sustainable future and our relationship with the communities that surround us.”