Elizabeth River Project, a growing non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the Elizabeth River, is working with WPA to develop plans for a brand-new, nationally-recognized Resilience Lab in the rapidly redeveloping North Colley Business District. The focus of the project is to demonstrate accessible, approachable methods of resilience and sustainability for the homeowner, developer, or small business owner.
The new building will be located on an urban site, formerly a small marina, between the bustling Colley Avenue and Knitting Mill Creek. The water side is planned to be redeveloped with a living shoreline replacing an aging bulkhead, along with an expansive new educational park and dock. The public will enjoy access to the park, for self-guided tours as well as interactive guided tours from staff.
The building will be engineered to withstand flooding and heavy rain events, and potentially serve as a refuge during catastrophic storm events. All primary functions are elevated a story above the ground, with on-site parking and outdoor classrooms located underneath the building. The main floor will be home to staff work areas, as well as a series of public spaces meant to welcome volunteers and guests for events.
Sustainability will be a primary focus, with the goal of reaching net zero energy usage. Solar power, rain water collection, and green roofs will be just a few of the highly-visible strategies employed on the building and site.