Designing a $100 million, 256,000 square-foot, six-story building that serves both historic downtown Blacksburg, Virginia and Virginia Tech University was no easy feat for Hanbury Architects and developer, W.M. Jordan Company.

The new Gilbert Place building is a mixed-use project developed for the Virginia Tech Foundation, a non-profit that supports the Virginia Tech University and its initiatives. It is also the tallest building in downtown Blacksburg. 

Blending the new building with an existing building across the street, and making the building not feel like a six-story building was a challenge for the architects, but successfully accomplished. 

The solution included using a variety of cladding, including traditional brick, thin brick, Kingspan Designwall 2000 and Designwall 4000 insulated metal panels, single skin panels, MCM panels, concrete panels and high-pressure compact panels. The building also incorporates some Hokie Stone, a native limestone sourced from a Virginia Tech-owned quarry that dates back to 1869, commonly used on campus buildings. 

Behind all those different facades is one constant; 95% of the Gilbert Place building’s wall system is Kingspan’s KarrierPanel with QuadCore®, serving as the high-performing air and vapor barrier by providing continuous insulation in an all-in-one product. 

KarrierPanel utilizes Kingspan’ full engineered KarrierRail that facilitates the use of a wide range of facade options. In addition to facilitating the use of several different facade materials, using KarrierPanel also helped with the speed of build; other building envelopes were considered during the design phase.

“I think one of the most compelling reasons we selected KarrierPanel was not having to scaffold the entire building; the contractor quickly came on board to be able to dry-in this building and get multiple trades on the site almost simultaneously,” said David Keith, chief executive officer of Hanbury.

Four floors of office space are leased to the university, in addition to having retail and restaurants on the ground floor, as well as a rooftop restaurant. Two floors are dedicated to the university’s Department of Computer Science and College of Engineering, which have a focus of supplying talent for Amazon’s new HQ2 campus in Northern Virginia.