Signed beam ‘completes’ future data science home


The School of Data Science building faces Emmet Street, with an amphitheater and a retention basin between its facade and the street. The four-story, 61,000-square-foot facility will include four “adaptive classrooms” featuring technology to enhance the learning process and faculty offices, as well as meeting and research spaces. Plans call for a simple building footprint with double-height interior space to accommodate conferences and other events, as well as a glass facade.

In line with the University’s 2030 sustainability goals, a green roof is planned to mitigate heat gain from a south-facing roof, and offices will have windows that open to increase natural ventilation. There will be a continuous terrace on the fourth floor to provide views of the pond as well as the rotunda and the new addition of the Alderman Library. The building will connect to the structures of Central Grounds in its materials and colors, as well as in its views.

Bourne, the first dean of the School of Data Science and a renowned researcher in biomedical and data science, called the construction a milestone for AVU.

“Those of you at the University know that, metaphorically, we call ourselves ‘The School Without Walls’ to emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of our field and our attitude towards it,” Bourne said. “For that brief moment, that’s not only true metaphorically, but also in reality. Even as the walls go up to create the workplace we’re all passionate about, we’ll still think of it in the terms reflected today.

Bourne said he got a perspective on the project during a recent visit to the construction site.

“The three years of effort by so many people has created a veritable home for data science at UVA, where generations of students will be nurtured and much groundbreaking research will be done,” Bourne said. “This is a house that looks at higher education through a different lens – a lens of interdisciplinarity, public-private partnership, cooperation and collaboration evident when looking at the building itself from any angle. The excitement of this, our mission as a school, will only grow as more are built.

And he noted that data science has been applied to the project.

“A lot of science goes into it, data and methods from modern architectural design, to maintaining supply chains, to the accuracy of every pre-engineered piece of the building, and so much more,” Bourne said. “We have every intention of applying data science to ourselves, inside and for the building, as we think about a sustainable future and our relationship with the communities around us.”

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