Urban Campus

The Future

There have, to date, been two different proposals for what to build in the space now occupied by the Franklin Street Gym.  The proposal in the VCU 2004 Master Plan called for Student Housing to be built on the site.  The proposal in the VCU 2013 Master Plan called for the construction of two separate buildings,  a STEM Research Building and a College of Humanities and Sciences Administrative and Dean's Office.

Source: VCU 2004 Master Plan / Student Housing


The obsolescence of the Franklin Street Gym has led to the decision to remove this structure and replace it with housing development that is consistent with the residential scale and texture of historic Franklin Street.  The pattern of this housing would follow that of the Grace Street Housing, except that the ground floor spaces would be designed for housing instead of commercial use.  The alley behind the site should be developed along with the housing to enhance circulation to the Academic Core.  Athletic spaces displaced from the Franklin Street Gym will be located in the structures to be acquired west of the Sports Medicine Center on Broad Street, and in a new swimming pool to be developed adjacent to the Cary Street Gym.

 Source: VCU 2013 Master Plan / STEM Research Building & College of Humanities and Sciences Administrative and Dean's Office


The replacement of the Franklin Street Gym provides an opportunity to replace an obsolete structure and enhance this important street with high-quality facilities for campus research and a distinct home and identity for the College of Humanities and Sciences.  The buildings should form a continuous street façade and meet the street after the pattern of the historic structures further west on Franklin Street, stepping back with layers of street-level entrances, porches, and outdoor spaces.  An opening between the structures will connect Franklin Street to the important mid-block circulation network beyond.  Buildings should be no less than six stories and no more than eight stories in height, composed to make a transition in scale between the smaller structures to the west and the high-rise housing structures on the Park to the east.  Streetscape and Landscape development should extend the character of existing Franklin Street.  Buildings built in phase should be complementary to one another in form, scale, articulation, and material. 

The Future