Nearly 300 University of Virginia architecture students walked a five-mile stretch on Route 29 North in Albemarle County Monday to start thinking about how the corridor will look 15 years from now.

The trek kicks off an annual weeklong design workshop that focuses on reimagining a section of the area. The project is called a "vortex," where students team up to create a vision of how their surrounding community can be improved.

Organizers say they wanted to provide more perspective with Monday's trip down one of the area's busiest roads.

The mass expedition is part of this year's "vortex" project called "29 North after the sprawl." The event officially started with a kickoff discussion at Culbreth Theater Monday.

"The vortex is kind of a workshop that all the students from different grades are working together, so it's a very energetic moment of the school," said Manuel Bailo Esteve, associate professor at UVA.

The project breaks the school up into 30 student teams that spend the next week redesigning a different 1,500-foot section of the Route 29 corridor. Panelist and Charlottesville City Councilor Kathy Galvin says it is important to think holistically for the assignment.

"If that land area around the corridor begins to be viewed in terms of multimodal and multi-use, a pattern of walkable neighborhoods, it suggests a whole different way of growing and managing growth," said Galvin.

During the kickoff discussion, students were asked to consider topics such as density, architecture, transportation, and environment on Route 29 North.

Guest architect from Belgium Xaveed de Geyder will be leading the workshop to give students a new look on how the corridor can be better connected in the long run.

"I am very much interested in not so much how architecture should be or urbanism should be but to have a very good look at what exists," said De Geyder.

Last year's "vortex" focused on how to incorporate the Rivanna River into future development. Students will present their completed projects this Sunday at the Carver Recreation Center.