Brandon Avenue Master Plan
Just across the road from Jefferson’s Lawn, an uninspiring, dead-end street sat lifeless. For a campus renowned for its aesthetics, this simply would not do. Administrators knew the area had potential for a vibrant new life, it just needed the right vision.
What we saw in the space was this: The possibility for a bustling urban outdoor room. By changing the street into a one-way loop and transforming the empty space around it into a square, Brandon Avenue became a new destination at UVA. For the triangular section in the center, we imagined a bioretention basin that would serve as both a water retention system and gathering spot.
UVA and the design team collaborated closely to see the final vision through. With sidewalk entrances on every building, cafés that spill into the street, some retail, and lush plant life, the street is a textbook case of total transformation.
To say that the Brandon Avenue bioretention basin was a complex project does not do it justice. Thankfully, the entire team—nicknamed “talent central”—pulled off an engineering feat.
And it’s not just “a place where the water goes,” the basin is a new watershed of filters and plants. It serves as a living lab where students monitor plant progress and, most importantly, it protects the fragile Chesapeake Bay estuary.
Yet for visitors to the area, it also means there’s a pretty place to have lunch and take in a bit of nature.