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Gilmer Chemistry Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

Gilmer Hall was built in the early 1960’s.  The building is three stories tall on the north elevation and five stories tall on the south elevation.  Conventional reinforced concrete was used for the structural framing system.  Cast stone, stacked bond architectural CMU screen walls, and brick were used for cladding.  Numerous problematic conditions were identified including: loose and unstable portions of the large screen walls comprising the north and south elevations, distress and displacement in the exterior cast stone parapet and column covers, and corrosion and cracking in the existing concrete structural members.  Additional areas of the façade were included in the project after unforeseen conditions were discovered as construction progressed.  A portion of the veneer on the south elevation had to be stabilized after it was discovered that the veneer ties and light gage framing had experienced complete section loss and the veneer was loose and had the potential to fall. 

WDP evaluated the exterior of Gilmer Hall and developed a set of Contract Documents for the first phase of exterior repairs to address numerous unsafe conditions.  As a part of this work, the loose cast stone column covers and parapet stones were removed and re-anchored.  Also, the cause of the instability in the masonry screen was evaluated, and the condition of the wall was documented as it was disassembled.  Repairs were also undertaken to address significant section loss in the steel soffit and hung veneer framing along the south elevation of the building.  Numerous other problematic conditions were identified in the building envelope, and the study was incorporated into the scope of work for the full renovation of the building.

After completion of the first phase of the exterior repairs, the University issued a solicitation for full renovation of the building. The lead architectural firm selected for the project was Perkins+Will.  The renovation budget was $120 million dollars and includes:

  • A comprehensive renewal of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems for all of the 505,000 GSF in Gilmer Hall and the Chemistry Building. When complete, the project will replace antiquated and inefficient systems with a modern, energy efficient, and adaptable infrastructure for each building
  • Renovation of over 300,000 GSF of instructional and research space for the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology. This will maximize space utilization through efficient and flexible teaching and research laboratory design.
  • New high performance exterior glazing and masonry systems for Gilmer Hall. The proposed project will provide a new watertight and energy efficient exterior envelope that is consistent with Gilmer Hall’s original design intent.
  • Additional new teaching facilities. This project will replace waterproofing and roof surfaces and renovate the space under the Chemistry terrace to create four (4) new general assignment classrooms.