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University of Virginia Ivy Stacks Expansion

Project summary provided by submitting company.

The Ivy Stacks Building at the University of Virginia marks the first use of tilt-up construction at the historic campus founded by Thomas Jefferson. The tight campus layout and Jeffersonian brick-and-stone architecture make the campus a very challenging location for tilt-up to be physically practical or to blend in aesthetically. The original Ivy Stacks building is a 12,000 square foot precast building that opened in 1994, and is home to over two million volumes of historic records, books, and documents. A 32-foot tall rail mounted movable storage system is utilized to maximize file storage space. An expansion and renovation was needed to double the storage capacity, improve operations spaces, and drastically improve the aesthetic value of the building. Nielsen Builders and Needham DBS engaged very early in the design process with the University architect to help explore possibilities to expand the building using tilt-up. This early design-assist collaboration allowed for a more architecturally appealing panel design while helping to steer the project toward the most economical solution. The tilt-up panels feature a partially composite, insulated panel design, using the innovative IconX shear connectors. Panel heights over 46’ were achieved using a 4 5/8” – 2” - 4 5/8” panel configuration (11 ¼” overall). A mix of formliner patterns and horizontal and vertical reveals were used to create visual interest and texture. Construction of the panels on the extremely tight site presented many challenges. Roads surrounding the site were required to remain operational during construction, forcing all activity to remain within the site footprint. The small building footprint added to complexity in panel layout and staging, requiring supplemental casting beds. The only crane path available for panel erection ran over top of the casting beds, requiring detailed planning of erection sequence. Panels that were cast on the finish slab were formed within inches of the existing building. The existing stacks building was required to remain operational during construction, including the building’s fire pump system. This was especially challenging as the building expansion lies on top of the existing fire service entry. Tilt-up panel erection was completed in December 2017, with full building completion in the Spring of 2019.

Main banner image for University of Virginia Ivy Stacks Expansion

Project Location

Charlottesville, VA
United States

Project Images


Project Team (TCA Members)

General Contractor:
Concrete Contractor:

Project Specifics

Project Category:
Librarys / Learning Centers
Building Types:
Concrete (Raw/Sealed)
Sandwich Panel (Composite)
LEED Certified
Number of Floors:
Number of Panels:
21 panels
Tilt-Up Wall Area:
14,994 sq ft (1,393 sq m)
Total Floor Area:
25,674 sq ft (2,385 sq m)
Project Footprint:
23,412 sq ft (2,175 sq m)
Tallest Panel:
46 ft 7 in (14.20 m)
Heaviest Panel:
45,900 lbs (20,820 kg)
Longest Spandrel:
18 ft 7 in (5.66 m)