Stonehaus Development with the Charlottesville Community Design Center solicited competitions entries from Charlottesville VA architecture firms for their new civic core at Belvedere community. HEDS with and landscape designers Siteworks were the winning entry and for their submission imagined a civic place that could become a true “belvedere” — the literal Italian translation of “beautiful view”: a place that harmonizes with the landscape and provides views and prospects to the surrounding landscape, a place where indoor space flows into outdoor space. Building on this concept, a series of structures are organized around and defined by a wooded courtyard.
The 21,000 SF project, to be located in Charlottesville, Virginia, includes a “Great Hall”, – a multi-purpose space for meetings, performances, camp activities or weddings. Complementary commercial components including a post office, restaurant, café, wine shop and a Montessori school.
At the center of the plaza is the powerful and unique presence of the “great hall” situated on a plateau overlooking the greenway below. The Great Hall is designed as an iconic open-air pavilion (when the weather permits or enclosed with large glass panels during inclement weather). This civic space builds on the diversity of amenities already provided elsewhere. The pavilion is large enough to accommodate a large gathering and programmed to provide maximum flexibility of use: large and small gatherings, indoor and outdoor concerts, movies, art exhibits, conferencing, classes (art, dance or yoga, for instance), summer camp activities, annex space for the Montessori school, weddings or worship.
HEDS imagined this “great hall” flowing onto an overlook terrace with an immense stone fireplace, a structure that harmonizes with the site, one where indoor space flows into outdoor space.