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Dietrick Hall + Spirit Plaza Renovation

Positioned along a main thoroughfare and at a crucial junction between the residential and athletic districts, Dietrick Hall serves as a natural hub for student activities, emphasizing its role as both a functional and symbolic center of campus life.

Focused on revitalizing the 1960s aging plaza and augmenting vital campus dining space, the Dietrick Hall renovation at Virginia Tech adopts a design philosophy that softens the building's aesthetic and improves pedestrian accessibility. A pivotal design element is the seamless indoor-outdoor connectivity, achieved by extending the building's façade. This extension not only increases interior space but also aligns it with the vibrant Spirit Plaza, creating a dynamic environment suitable for both study and social interactions. The renovation substantially expands the building's usable space, incorporating a range of student services, such as a coffee shop and grab-and-go options, in a visually cohesive and continuous layout.

Transforming the previously stark and brutalist plaza, the new design introduces a welcoming, multi-scaled environment enriched with greenery, shaded areas, and various gathering spaces. Highlights include the Hokie Bird statue, engraved pavers celebrating Virginia Tech's history, and stadium seating for events, anchoring the plaza as a central student hub. 

Aligned with Virginia Tech’s broader goals, Dietrick Hall and Quillen Spirit Plaza now function as a communal 'living room', offsetting the limited communal space in nearby residence halls. This transformation not only improves student life but also enhances the university's appeal to prospective students. By revitalizing existing structures, the university demonstrates its commitment to sustainable development and a student-centered campus evolution. The project enriches the student experience and strengthens their connection to their alma mater, positioning Dietrick Hall and Spirit Plaza as central elements in the University's landscape.

  • Sector: Higher Education
  • Scope: Architecture, Interior Design
  • Blacksburg, Virginia
  • 19,155 SF
  • 2023
  • Photos courtesy of © Keith Isaacs Photography
Project Team
D. Keith Storms
Design Principal
Anna E. Carpenter
Project Architect
Matthew J. Lee
Interior Designer
Civil Engineering
Lawrence Perry & Associates
MEP Engineering
Surface 678
Landscape Architect
Broyles and Associates
Structural Engineering
Mulford Cost Management
Cost Estimator
Porter Khouw Consulting
Food Service Consultant