There’s more to learning than books. Books are important, so are classrooms, but another pillar of solid education is experience. More than just learning how to do something, experience helps you discover what you like about that something. Which parts of your future bring you the most joy. That’s the sort of thing any student would love to figure out.
At the University of Virginia, the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) believes in experiential learning. They believe in building and tinkering. Creating satellites, steel bridge components, vehicles, and remote-controlled airplanes. UVA president Teresa A. Sullivan said “We know that experiential learning is one of the most profound and effective ways for students to acquire new knowledge.”
Lacy Hall is a facility where students and instructors can put those beliefs into practice. The SEAS centerpiece is a high-bay collaboration space for large project mock-ups and experimentation by engineering students. The bottom half of the building belongs to Facilities Management, with a millwork shop, lock shop, sign shop, and a variety of offices and meeting spaces. The sloped site allows both of these programs to have separate, primary entrances. As the programs and the students evolve, this open-design will allow for flexibility and adaptability.