Main Entrance Lubber Run Community Center
George Mason Drive Lubber Run Community Center

Scheduled to open in the summer of 2021, Lubber Run will become VMDO’s fourth net-zero energy facility in Arlington Virginia. It replaces the former 1950s-era community center with a state-of-the-art, highly energy efficient community center that also features vast green roof spaces, as well as underground parking on a 4.5 acre site.

The center is located in Lubber Run Park, a precious natural resource in urban Arlington County. Connection to nature and preservation of open space were essential to designing the new building, and as a result, parking and some programs are located underground to allow for increased outdoor amenities at ground level.

The process of designing the center highlights the importance of authentic community engagement. Robust local partnerships supported solutions for a sustainable, place-based design that integrates interior and exterior public and programmed spaces.

As a LEED For Communities Platinum winner, Arlington County is a sustainability trailblazer – combining forward-thinking environmental goals into its energy-use standards while also balancing issues around livability, diversity, and increasing development. Building on this commitment to sustainability, Lubber Run Community Center was conceived as a net-zero energy facility. Site layout, building massing, envelope design, and systems design were driven by the zero energy goal of maximizing the on-site solar array while optimizing the building’s energy performance. Using highly efficient MEP systems, along with a unique Thermawall system, increases the project’s energy performance while decreasing the number of materials. Additionally, trees that were felled during construction were milled and used to clad the primary circulation pathways inside.

Together, Arlington Parks & Recreation and VMDO developed a context-specific community engagement process involving a series of transparent public workshops that harvested community perspectives in an effort to promote equity, access, public health, and sustainable design. The team applied an empathetic approach to gathering cross-generational and inter-disciplinary voices that informed the design of numerous blended spaces connected to nature – spaces inside, outside, and thresholds in between, interweaving building and landscape.

Through the integration of building and landscape, the project offers a holistic response to an urban challenge – ultimately creating public space that is greater and greener for residents

Scheduled to open in the summer of 2021, Lubber Run will become VMDO’s fourth net-zero energy facility in Arlington Virginia. It replaces the former 1950s-era community center with a state-of-the-art, highly energy efficient community center that also features vast green roof spaces, as well as underground parking on a 4.5 acre site.

The center is located in Lubber Run Park, a precious natural resource in urban Arlington County. Connection to nature and preservation of open space were essential to designing the new building, and as a result, parking and some programs are located underground to allow for increased outdoor amenities at ground level.

The process of designing the center highlights the importance of authentic community engagement. Robust local partnerships supported solutions for a sustainable, place-based design that integrates interior and exterior public and programmed spaces.

As a LEED For Communities Platinum winner, Arlington County is a sustainability trailblazer – combining forward-thinking environmental goals into its energy-use standards while also balancing issues around livability, diversity, and increasing development. Building on this commitment to sustainability, Lubber Run Community Center was conceived as a net-zero energy facility. Site layout, building massing, envelope design, and systems design were driven by the zero energy goal of maximizing the on-site solar array while optimizing the building’s energy performance. Using highly efficient MEP systems, along with a unique Thermawall system, increases the project’s energy performance while decreasing the number of materials. Additionally, trees that were felled during construction were milled and used to clad the primary circulation pathways inside.

Together, Arlington Parks & Recreation and VMDO developed a context-specific community engagement process involving a series of transparent public workshops that harvested community perspectives in an effort to promote equity, access, public health, and sustainable design. The team applied an empathetic approach to gathering cross-generational and inter-disciplinary voices that informed the design of numerous blended spaces connected to nature – spaces inside, outside, and thresholds in between, interweaving building and landscape.

Through the integration of building and landscape, the project offers a holistic response to an urban challenge – ultimately creating public space that is greater and greener for residents

Suspended Track Lubber Run Community Center
Gymnasium Lubber Run Community Center
Lobby Lubber Run Community Center
Lobby Lubber Run Community Center

The 50,000 SF replacement structure will include multipurpose rooms for recreation programs for all ages, a fitness center with locker rooms, a gymnasium, a preschool program, communitymeeting rooms, a kitchen, reception and office space for county wide Parks and Recreation staff. Outdoor programmed and open recreation spaces will include a playground, volleyball and basketball court, covered gathering space, and improvements to site circulation and streetscape needed to facilitate access to the facility by all modes of transportation.

In planning for the facility, our team led an extensive community engagement process which included community meetings, online feedback, and on-site engagement as well as identifying and working with hard to reach groups. Engagement activities were designed to collect constructive feedback from the community and in turn drive the design process. The first meeting focused on understanding the site and neighborhood, spatial characteristics and materials of different program spaces, and the community fears and desires for the project. Design drivers were derived from this feedback as well as from existing site features, board directives, and sustainability goals. At subsequent meetings multiple schemes were presented, evaluated and refined, resulting in a hybrid solution that is integrated into the park while still presenting a strong presence on George Mason Drive.

The 50,000 SF replacement structure will include multipurpose rooms for recreation programs for all ages, a fitness center with locker rooms, a gymnasium, a preschool program, communitymeeting rooms, a kitchen, reception and office space for county wide Parks and Recreation staff. Outdoor programmed and open recreation spaces will include a playground, volleyball and basketball court, covered gathering space, and improvements to site circulation and streetscape needed to facilitate access to the facility by all modes of transportation.

In planning for the facility, our team led an extensive community engagement process which included community meetings, online feedback, and on-site engagement as well as identifying and working with hard to reach groups. Engagement activities were designed to collect constructive feedback from the community and in turn drive the design process. The first meeting focused on understanding the site and neighborhood, spatial characteristics and materials of different program spaces, and the community fears and desires for the project. Design drivers were derived from this feedback as well as from existing site features, board directives, and sustainability goals. At subsequent meetings multiple schemes were presented, evaluated and refined, resulting in a hybrid solution that is integrated into the park while still presenting a strong presence on George Mason Drive.

Multi-purpose Room Lubber Run Community Center
Lubber Run Community Center

“There was lots of community involvement and excitement surrounding the new design and plan. Attention was paid to functionality, energy efficiency, sustainability – and great design. This is truly a community project.”

– Jay Fisette Former Arlington County Board Chair
Site Plan Lubber Run Park + Community Center

Project Timeline

Client: Arlington County Parks and Recreation

Location: Arlington, VA

Discipline: Community Spaces

Completion: July 2020

Size: 50,000 SF