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Gilbert Place

Rooted in Virginia's commitment to cultivating computer science talent, Gilbert Place harmonizes business innovation and academic research to create a unique ecosystem that fosters entrepreneurial growth, pioneering research, and a profound sense of community.

Virginia Tech's partnership with Amazon for an Innovation Campus in Northern Virginia has catalyzed a transformative shift on the Blacksburg campus, marked by the advent of Gilbert Place. This expansive mixed-use development introduces 256,000 square feet of office spaces, research facilities, and incubation hubs. Situated at the nexus of campus and downtown, Gilbert Place reimagines traditional boundaries by embracing its unique location at the crossroads of academia and the community.

With six floors, including two dedicated to preparing talent for Amazon's HQ2 campus, the building serves both the university and the wider community, providing space for offices, retail, restaurants, and a rooftop venue.

Initially earmarked for space within Virginia Tech's detached research park, Gilbert Place ingeniously integrates Amazon's needs with the Foundation's vision. This strategic alignment has given rise to a dynamic hub that dismantles conventional silos, fostering an environment where students, community members, and scientific researchers converge to exchange ideas and foster meaningful connections.

Gilbert Place forges a symbiotic relationship with its surroundings. Its design artfully marries scale and purpose, employing strategic terracing to create a pedestrian-friendly scale while incorporating green roofs, inviting porches, and outdoor spaces. This design narrative not only connects occupants with nature but also reinforces their ties with the campus and the community.

At street level, retail spaces and restaurants breathe life into the urban landscape, while the top floor features a rooftop venue with panoramic views of the Campus and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The exterior aesthetic gracefully transitions indoors, reinforcing the building's identity through a palette that balances modern materiality with timeless simplicity. The infusion of natural light into the building's core enlivens public zones and common spaces, simultaneously maintaining visual connections to the outdoors.

Materiality serves as a tangible expression of the building’s intent to connect with both the university and the town. The interplay between contemporary grayscale tones, reminiscent of the Hokie stone, and a modern interpretation of town brick, mirrors an ongoing dialogue between innovation and heritage. 

Subtle design elements, such as elevator cab wall stencils depicting the surrounding context and abstract incorporation of Blacksburg topography in the terrazzo floors, evoke a sense of identity and belonging.

  • Sector: Civic + Community
  • Scope: Architecture, Interior Design
  • Blacksburg, Virginia
  • 2023
  • 256,000 SF
  • Photos courtesy of © Keith Isaacs Photography
Project Team
David Keith
Rebecca B. Ensogna
Project Manager
Alec Yuzhbabenko
Design Principal
Cody Dodd
Michael T. Brady
Paige Conrad
Interior Designer
Site Development and Infrastructure
Speight, Marshall & Francis
Structural Engineering
OCI Associates
MEP Engineering, Fire Protection, Technology Engineer