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UVA Architecture Students to Present Plans for Rivanna River - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVA Architecture Students to Present Plans for Rivanna River

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Students at the University of Virginia are rethinking what the Rivanna River means to the Charlottesville community, and they're hoping to grab the city's attention.

The entire architecture school at UVA is working around the clock for six days to design projects for the Rivanna River, but they're hoping the impact of this competition will last well beyond this week.

The students are designing ways to bring the Rivanna River to the forefront of the Charlottesville community. The students are challenged to think outside of the box.

"Don't be cautious, dream big," said Kate Hayes, a graduate student at UVA.

Hayes and her group are dreaming of a series of dams that would be hubs for people along the river.

"Historically there was a dam on the Rivanna and dams sort of interrupt the ecology of the river and they are very much viewed in a negative light, but we're trying to twist that definition upside down and instead view dams as sort of this positive infrastructure that can bring people to the river and act as a spectacle or destination," said Hayes. 

Last year the competition produced foundations for the two schemes being considered for the Belmont Bridge. The school hopes this year's project will inspire big ideas on the river.

"Many people in Charlottesville have no idea that we're living in a river city. These designs will make it inescapable that we're living in a river city," said Daniel Bluestone, a professor at UVA.

Hayes says even if these projects are a little extreme, she hopes they will bring attention to new ways of thinking about the river. "I hope it will open people's eyes to different conceptions of nature and how we can interact with it," she said.

The ideas range from the dam project to an amphitheater that could seat thousands of people.

To see the students' plans and models, stop by the Key Recreation Center Sunday afternoon. The students will showcase their designs before they're presented to a panel of judges.

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