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Elizabeth River Project's Resilience Lab set to break ground this year

Work Program Architects is designing the project.

March 02, 2021 |
ERP Resilience Lab aerial view

All renderings courtesy WPA

Elizabeth River Project (ERP), a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the Elizabeth River in Norfolk, Va., is working with Work Program Architects (WPA) to develop plans for a new Resilience Lab. The goal of the project is to demonstrate accessible, approachable methods of resilience and sustainability for homeowners, developers, or small business owners.

The 6,460-sf facility will be located on an urban site between Colley Avenue and Knitting Mill Creek. The water side will be redeveloped with a living shoreline and an expansive new educational park and dock that is open to the public for tours.


ERP Resilience Lab exterior


In addition to offices, meeting and education/recreation spaces, ERP's Resilience Lab will also feature:

— A floating dock that will cater to local university/college students and other partner organizations conducting environmental research

— Amphibious storage buildings with floating foundations

— A circular boardwalk that will allow visitors to walk above the wetlands and living coastline

— An elevated main building with ground-level flood proofing

— A 40kW roof-mounted solar array to supply power to the building

— Site paving that is designed to absorb water from rain and floods

— Green walls that provide passive shading and reduce energy usage

— Bike racks and electric vehicle charging stations


ERP Resilience Lab interior gathering space


The building will be engineered to withstand flooding and heavy rain events with the potential to serve as a refuge during catastrophic storm events. All primary functions are located above ground with on-site parking and outdoor classrooms located underneath the building. The main floor will house staff work areas and a series of public spaces meant to welcome volunteers and guests for events.

ERP’s Resilience Lab will be the first light commercial Earthcraft Gold Certified building in Virginia. It will be built responsibly so when the facility has run its lifespan it can be easily deconstructed instead of abandoned.

In addition to WPA, the Skanska Integrated Solutions team will provide owner’s representative services and oversee the design and construction of the facility.


ERP Resilience Lab water view

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