11-30-22 | Department

The Gladding Residence Center

Located in the heart of the Virginia Commonwealth University campus
by Nicole Sanford, Carville Landscape Co.

A residence hall building at Virginia Commonwealth University was rebuilt and included a new multipurpose courtyard that features a circular formation of brick and cobblestone paving.
The brick and historic cobblestone in the courtyard at the Virginia Commonwealth University Gladding Residence Center connects with the City of Richmond, as those paving materials are used throughout the city's streets.
The plaza and entryway featured 1,000 square feet of cobblestone paths, 3,000 square feet of brick banding, and 1,400 square feet of concrete pavers.
Brick paving makes up the sidewalks in front of the residential hall.
Streetscaping near the old bath house features individually placed 4" x 4" cobblestone pavers set in gravel and brick sidewalks.

Carville Landscape Co. provided landscaping and hardscaping installation for a new 12-story residence hall. The Gladding Residence Center is located in the heart of the Virginia Commonwealth University campus facing historic Monroe Park in Richmond, Virginia. The former four-story dorm building was demolished, except for the bath house, and the new 360,000-square-foot structure was built. The project began in 2016 and the dorms opened in 2018. The residence complex houses 1,524 freshmen in 784 units, with traditional and semi-suite style double rooms in four "neighborhoods." Amenities include a fitness center, mail and package rooms, office space for VCU Residence Life, courtyard for student activities, and separate flex space for Virginia Commonwealth University.

Hardscape Materials

The project preserved an architecturally and locally significant portion of a bath house built in 1912, which dictated hardscape materials used for the streetscapes in front of the building and in the courtyard. The materials used for the new residence hall project are consistent with other buildings and streetscapes in the City of Richmond and on the Virginia Commonwealth University campus. The project used concrete pavers, brick, and incorporated cobblestone pavers to tie into the historic cobblestone streets located throughout Richmond, Virginia which are the city standard paving material.

New Courtyard
A large central courtyard was an important feature to provide outdoor community spaces where the students could gather for school and recreational activities at the Virginia Commonwealth University Gladding Residence Center. Part of the goal for the design team was to establish a visually creative way to connect the courtyard space to the new building. To accomplish this goal, the courtyard features large white concrete pavers that are laid against the building and in gathering spaces. Then brick pavers accented with cobblestones create a circular pattern to provide movement in the space.

Paving Design
The concrete pavers were all laid in a running bond pattern with a bituminous setting bed. The sidewalks leading to the building entrance feature brick in a herringbone pattern with a soldier course edge on a sand setting bed, and in the courtyard the brick is in a running bond pattern with cobblestone insets to create a circular pattern. The hardscaping was accented with a lush landscape which incorporated a large lawn area for recreation, beautiful plantings, and many trees for shade. Benches, picnic tables, and bike racks were incorporated to provide much needed areas for gathering. Ample lighting was installed in the courtyard and around the building for safety and security.
The streetscaping used at the Virginia Commonwealth University Gladding Residence Center was consistent with what is used elsewhere in the City of Richmond. A full range of brick was used for all sidewalks around the building. In front of the historic bath house the designers incorporated the large white concrete pavers in the entry way, the brick was used on the sidewalks, and the Richmond signature cobblestone pavers were incorporated at the decorative wall. The streetscape was landscaped with plantings consistent with other areas in the City of Richmond.


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