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New arts venue reinvigorates Virginia Tech's campus

The STV-led Building Team creates a world-class performance and arts venue with learning and entrepreneurial dimensions.

April 10, 2015 |
New arts venue reinvigorates Virginia Tech's campus

The new arts venue at Virginia Tech is the ninth building on campus to be LEED-certified. Jeff Goldberg/Esto Photographics Inc.

The Moss Arts Center—named in honor of the landscape painter Patricia Buckley Moss—is the ninth building on Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus to be LEED certified, and its fourth LEED Gold. Ninety-six percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills. Sixty percent of the wood products used were Forest Stewardship Council–certified. Water use was reduced 40%. The complex was incorporated into the rolling hillside to diminish its overall mass.

Shultz Hall, an old dining facility, was gutted and converted into a new arts center outfitted with performance, research, production, and education spaces. Two new additions, totaling 72,550 sf, encompass the 1,274-seat Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre and the Collaborative Performance Lab, known as “The Cube.”

The Cube, originally designed as a four-story black box theater, evolved into a research space with performance, rehearsal, and audience areas surrounded by technical galleries. A motion-capture system and a sophisticated array of 150-plus speakers let researchers create virtual environments, explore 3D renderings of large objects, and work on advanced acoustical research.

The renovated Schulz Hall’s low-velocity ductwork and underfloor air distribution system control noise. The theater is within the Street and Davis Performance Hall, which features an expansive structural glass and aluminum curtain wall system. 

The Fife Theatre’s HVAC system includes hundreds of diffuser cores located in the concrete slab beneath the theater seating. Holder Construction developed a Revit model to communicate the diffuser core layout accurately to subcontractors, to reduce interference among the trades.

The Moss Arts Center also houses the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, a research enterprise focused on the intersection of science, engineering, arts, and design. 


Moss Arts Center, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Blacksburg, Va.

Submitting firm: STV (executive architect,MEP, SE, CM)
Owner/developer: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Signature design architect, interior design, landscape design: Snøhetta
Civil engineer: Thompson and Litton
Acoustic, performance sound, A/V: Arup
Theater design: Theatre Projects
Lighting design: Tillotson
Cost consultant: Davis Langdon
Hazardous materials survey: ECS Mid Atlantic
Third-party construction supervision: MBP
General contractor: Holder Corporation

Project size: 150,000 sf
Construction cost: $95 million
Construction period: September 2010 to January 2014
Delivery method: Contractor GMP

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