Master Plan, Morven Farm

University of Virginia and the University of Virginia Foundation

Albemarle County, VA  USA

Client: University of Virginia and the University of Virginia Foundation

Scope: Master plan and feasibility study for a conference center and residential facility;  new buildings and the adaptive reuse of existing buildings; meeting and dining spaces that can accommodate 125 guests; support structures for administrative offices and maintenance

Morven Farm is a historic property once owned by President Thomas Jefferson in Albemarle County, VA—near Monticello and Ash Lawn-Highland, his residence, and that of President James Monroe. At Morven, Jefferson experimented with his prototype for the American agricultural landscape. Gifted to the University of Virginia (UVA) in 2001 by businessman and philanthropist John W. Kluge, the 2,913-acre site—43 buildings, formal gardens, and a working farm—now extends Jefferson’s legacy, functioning as an immersive educational retreat with experimentation and cross-group collaboration at its core. Morven has become a global destination where the University meets with practitioners—emerging world leaders, business innovators, artists, authors, architects, and others—to think deeply about important issues that have the capacity to change the world. Representatives of government, institutions, and organizations have also leveraged this unique resource for international colloquiums, including the State Department.

In 2015, UVA and the University of Virginia Foundation commissioned Charles Rose Architects and Charlottesville-based Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects to create a master plan for the Farm’s expansion: a $20M residential facility in support of its increasing programmatic capacity. Central to the team’s inquiry were questions of how Morven could become a residential retreat that is respectful of the site’s cultural legacy and landscape. Another team member, the Conference Center Consulting Group, investigated the type of business model required to support Morven’s expanded operations. More than 100 UVA faculty, students, and staff participated in the planning process that produced the planning report.

Landscape Architect: Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects