VMDO Architects

VMDO Architects

Charlottesville, VA | Washington, DC


Lubber Run Community Center

Scheduled to open in the summer of 2020, Lubber Run will become VMDO’s fourth net-zero energy facility in Arlington Virginia. It replaces the former 1950s-era community center with a state-of-the-art, highly energy efficient community center that also features vast green roof spaces, as well as underground parking on a 4.5 acre site.

The center is located in Lubber Run Park, a precious natural resource in urban Arlington County. Connection to nature and preservation of open space were essential to designing the new building, and as a result, parking and some programs are located underground to allow for increased outdoor amenities at ground level.

The process of designing the center highlights the importance of authentic community engagement. Robust local partnerships supported solutions for a sustainable, place-based design that integrates interior and exterior public and programmed spaces.

As a LEED For Communities Platinum winner, Arlington County is a sustainability trailblazer – combining forward-thinking environmental goals into its energy-use standards while also balancing issues around livability, diversity, and increasing development. Building on this commitment to sustainability, Lubber Run Community Center was conceived as a net-zero energy facility. Site layout, building massing, envelope design, and systems design were driven by the zero energy goal of maximizing the on-site solar array while optimizing the building’s energy performance. Using highly efficient MEP systems, along with a unique Thermawall system, increases the project’s energy performance while decreasing the number of materials. Additionally, trees that were felled during construction were milled and used to clad the primary circulation pathways inside.

Together, Arlington Parks & Recreation and VMDO developed a context-specific community engagement process involving a series of transparent public workshops that harvested community perspectives in an effort to promote equity, access, public health, and sustainable design. The team applied an empathetic approach to gathering cross-generational and inter-disciplinary voices that informed the design of numerous blended spaces connected to nature – spaces inside, outside, and thresholds in between, interweaving building and landscape.

Through the integration of building and landscape, the project offers a holistic response to an urban challenge – ultimately creating public space that is greater and greener for residents.

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Status: Under Construction
Location: Arlington, VA, US
Firm Role: Architect of Record