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Creativity and Innovation District

Creativity and Innovation District Proposed Rendering

The new Creativity and Innovation District (CID) on the eastern edge of campus will cultivate a community of creation and innovation.

The district will make the most of existing programs and facilities already in the area, including the Moss Arts Center; the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT); the School of Performing Arts, including its performance space, Theatre 101; and the School Visual Arts.

It will also include the Squires Student CenterNewman Library, the Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown, the Media Building, and the Media Building Annex. Several of the buildings will retain their traditional functions while providing additional spaces that foster creativity and innovation. The Media Building and the Media Building Annex will be allocated to the district. University Relations personnel in those buildings are relocating to the University Gateway Center to accommodate the expansion.

“The whole Creativity and Innovation District is becoming something quite incredible,” said Ben Knapp, founding executive director of ICAT. “I don’t really know of any other university district across the country that is merging town, gown, and live-learn communities that span the arts, design, the sciences, and engineering.”

The district was conceived by Thanassis Rikakis, professor of bioengineering and performing arts and former provost, as a geographic extension of President Tim Sands’ Beyond Boundaries vision—specifically the concept of students and faculty from a variety of backgrounds living and working together in a shared community. The idea was to combine areas of strength for Virginia Tech so that individuals working across disciplines can come together and create. Additionally, Rikakis wanted the district in Blacksburg to engage with Virginia Tech’s outposts in Roanoke and Northern Virginia.

Creativity and Innovation District Residence Hall and Living-Learning Communities

Anchoring the initial development of the district is a 225,000-gross-square-foot residential building. It will be located next to the Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown between Kent and Otey streets.

The CID residence hall will offer housing for approximately 600 students and a wide variety of academic, social, research, and collaboration spaces. The residence hall is intended for students enmeshed in the CID (at the intersection of design, technology, and the visual and preforming arts) and designed around two living-learning communities (LLCs) for the arts and entrepreneurship ⁠— while also weaving in housing for varsity student-athletes.

Innovate LLC is open to students from all majors across campus who want to gain insight into the entrepreneurial process. Also open to students is the Studio 72 LLC, tailored for those who want to make the arts a pivotal part of their Virginia Tech experience.

Virginia Tech’s LLCs connect students’ academic and co-curricular experiences to create a supportive, dynamic learning environment that becomes home.

Critical to the LLCs and Virginia Tech’s residence life programs are apartments that allow live-in faculty to be fully immersed in the interdisciplinary activity within the district and engage with students in ways that enrich the dynamic academic community. Common spaces and strategies for interconnected circulation will encourage students to interact at every scale of the building and contribute to a high level of energy and engagement.

The building and landscape are designed to create a strong sense of place in alignment with the new Virginia Tech Master Plan. Visual openness, intentional pedestrian connections, and a variety of landscape spaces will connect the building and landscape to the larger CID district and its anticipated CID Green. The building’s massing and architecture will embed the building’s character firmly within the recognizable language unique to the Virginia Tech campus.

The CID project is anticipated to be completed in summer 2021.

Virginia Tech Magazine, July 2019: A Destination For Creativity And Innovation

Gallery: May 2020 construction

Creativity and Innovation District Site
Creativity and Innovation District Site
Creativity and Innovation District Site
Creativity and Innovation District Site from Kent Street vantage

Project Details:

New construction (gross square feet - GSF)
234,000 GSF

Project status
Under construction

VMDO Architects P.C.

WM Jordan

Contacts, questions
Project Manager:
 Paul O'Keef
Media: Mark Owczarski