Spectrum Design Architecs | Engineers

Hollins University - Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center

Roanoke County, Virginia

The Hollins University Richard Wetherill Visual Arts Center is an adaptive reuse of the former Hollins University Fishburn Library, built in 1954, which was relocated in a new building. The design program renovates and expands the building to 32,000 s.f., while bringing the University's art history, studio arts, photography, and film programs together all with galleries, into the vacated three-story building. It contains classrooms, studios for each major program, gallery space, special student study areas, and office space for faculty and staff. Spectrum provided all engineering services for the building.

It consisted of a two-story vertical addition, which was added to the existing structure. This presented a challenge structurally as the two-story addition was added to the top of the existing structure. The addition required new lighting, power and plumbing systems throughout the entire building. The power systems consisted of generator switches and the primary transformer and feed to the central primary electric system, which is the university's own underground electric source. Special sound systems for the auditorium and galleries were required as well. The addition consisted of three museum quality gallery spaces, which required special lighting, stringent temperature and humidity control. As the facility will be used primarily for art, the engineer and architect were to create natural light as well as task lighting. The challenge required providing enough natural light in combination with enough task lighting to be able to work well. Other spaces added to the facility were photographic dark rooms, lecture spaces and movie production instruction rooms. The addition also required the provision of flood protection measures and an upgrade of steam and chill water utilities.