Design for Student Health and Wellbeing at UVA

UVA SHW Exterior facing South West
The building design connects to a new academic mixed-use district along Brandon Avenue. Image courtesy of VMDO Architects.

As students return to campus amid continued pandemic uncertainty, awareness of the importance of good health — physical, mental, and emotional — is intensifying. Attending college can be stressful under any circumstance. Aside from the rigors of academic life, it is often a student’s first time living away from home. For universities looking to develop health programs to address the needs of today’s students, the new Student Health & Wellness Center at the University of Virginia presents a model that expands traditional health services and facilitates a new approach to student wellness with preventative practices and strengthened community connections.

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Elon W. Rhodes Early Learning Center

VMDO’s Elon W. Rhodes Early Learning Center is uniquely designed to facilitate experiential learning as a means to holistically grow social skills, coordination, and sensory development. Measured risk-tasking related to play, touch, sight, taste, smell, and listening are encouraged. With a curriculum based on cognitive development, the Early Learning Center (ELC) encourages curiosity and inquiry in young learners to inspire lifelong learning.

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Designer Q & A: Lauren Shumate, AIA

Contributor: Margaret Hancock

How did you come to architecture as a profession?

As an undergrad, I began studying historic preservation at a small liberal arts school. I quickly realized that my personal interest in the built environment was not just about researching, but about designing. So, I transferred to the University of Virginia and switched my academic focus to architecture — and loved every minute of it. After graduation, I worked for an architecture firm in Philadelphia for several years before returning to UVA for graduate school.

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The Case for Public Space: Green Spaces & Wellness

cycling child in public green spaces.
Image courtesy VMDO. © Prakesh Patel

Public spaces are easy to take for granted. They are always there. Backdrops for our social outings, phone conversations, dog walks, and commutes. As our daily footprint narrows under “stay at home” measures, we must reconsider our relationship with public spaces – those parks, trails, and green spaces – that provide incredible health benefits, at a time when one could argue that we need them the most

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