Project Details

3Twenty3, located in the heart of downtown Charlottesville, is a nine-story, 125,000sf Class A office with repurposed ground floor retail in the directly adjacent existing Glass House. The infill site was underutilized due to its mid-block location; the Northern Boundary rail line, mixed-use Tree House building, and a lack of commercially connected retail & restaurant frontage. The intentionality to symphonize this building with the surrounding community started with the integration of the Glass House into the base of the office shell, celebrating the contextual aesthetic, and expanding on the opportunity to create a pedestrian-friendly space at the building’s entrance.  

2Twenty3 serves to reconcile the diverse, eclectic culture and aesthetic character of the urban Charlottesville area. The unique development challenge was to surgically insert a new mixed-use building into the tight mid-block site while integrating it with two existing buildings in the urban planning context: The Glass House, an existing community retail & restaurant amenity, and the adjacent Tree House mixed-use building that frames the South edge of the site. The North edge of the site is framed by the CSX rail line.   

In order to take advantage of the well-established context, the design team began the design process by identifying the most salient features of the site for the community’s well-being:  

  • Taking cars off the street and tucking them under the office building to energize the urban streetscape  
  • Positioning the office above the adjacent public parking deck by locating the office on a parking podium provides a better opportunity for the tenants/residents to achieve better views, air-circulation, and access to natural light  
  • Adding residential opportunities to the top floor both diversifies the program and the aesthetic expression of use, while also making the development more vibrant by way of a healthy mix of uses  
  • Proximity to the downtown urban core and its walkability to community assets, such as the Mall, university, central office district, and a series of restaurants & retail  

The office building design reflects industrial cues from the CSX rail line with highlighted roofline steel beam framework, and the Glass House, which was sliced through the mid-section, connected, renovated, and integrated into the base and frontage of the office. Existing restaurants and established, long-term community fixtures and amenities were saved in the process. The elevations of Garrett Street and 2nd Street take their individual cues from the use and context. The frontage on 2nd Street takes cues from the rail line and Glass House, while Garrett Street’s frontage is influenced by the parking access and the residential use above. A diverse palette of exterior materials such as stucco, dark brick, cast stone, and anthra zinc metal panels was employed to complement the layered massing of the building.  Furthering this concept was the use of multiple glazing strategies ranging from punched storefront openings to butt-glazed curtain walls.   

Pedestrian access to 3Twenty3’s entry is by way of an ascending promenade connection to the 2nd Street main entry, wedged between the re-claimed industrial character of the Glass House and the adjacent Tree House, with its own ad-hoc, ‘found-object’ fenestration, compounding the diverse aesthetic context. Great care was taken to make sure this raised plaza complemented the Glass House and Tree House’s existing access points as well as providing for a clear and inviting pedestrian circulation zone down to Garrett St.  Inclusion of a single-family residence on the top floor contributes to the eclectic sense of place and unique urban response. The rooftop amenity culminates the design with unobstructed views of the city skyline and the nearby Blue Ridge mountains.   


Charlottesville, VA
Insite Properties
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