Project Overview

Washington and Lee University

Lexington, VA

A new village is created in a combined effort to house the Washington and Lee University junior class and provide increased athletic opportunities for all on campus. 

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Washington and Lee University is a small, private liberal arts university nestled between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains in Lexington, Va.  It is the ninth oldest institution of higher learning in the nation. The original campus was built on a ridge surrounded by ravines. Expansion to the north has occurred over time and is continuing with the Natatorium and 3rd Year Housing projects. The Natatorium completion enables the renovation of the Indoor Athletics Facility.


Part of a campus-wide juggling of athletic facilities and on-campus residence expansion, the 15 acre site north of the historic core accommodates the Natatorium and 3rd Year Housing.  Locating the Natatorium on the hill at the corner of Denny Circle allows the mass of this large building to be tucked into the hillside, reshapes the slope of the hill into a more attractive landscape, and provides a link to the future campus build out to the north.

The Natatorium path connects with the Law School and continues up along the west face of the building to 3rd Year Housing.  3rd Year Housing’s Village Square is bracketed by the Natatorium on one end and a grand stair on the other.  The Square is wrapped by housing and civic buildings, and is a large central gathering space overlooking the stadium.  The grand stair rises 25 feet to the Village Commons which is centered on a lawn ringed by trees. Hardscape is in the same language as the historic core campus, though with a modern twist. 

The Indoor Athletics Facility is located on the central campus.  The Facility and surrounding site are redesigned to enhance the building’s presence in this central location.  Plantings are all native. 

The projects were designed in conjunction with Cannon Design and Hanbury.

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