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Artisan Center Breaks Ground in Southwest Virginia
August 19, 2009

Construction began recently on the new Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway, a multi-faceted tourism destination to showcase the region’s artisan culture and encourage travel to artisan studios throughout surrounding communities. A groundbreaking ceremony was held on August 6th, on an 8-acre site which was donated by the Virginia Highlands Community College (VHCC) in Abingdon, Va., visible from Interstate 81.

Spectrum Design, the Roanoke-based architecture and engineering firm that designed the building, developed a concept that features segmented gambrel barn shapes fitted together to create an alluring and slightly abstract facility that complements characteristics of classic Southwest Virginia architecture.

The 28,600-square-foot, two-story center will feature a silo-shaped entry constructed from pale green glass block and exposed concrete. Other materials on the facility include pre-finished metal siding with a stone veneer foundation. Upon entering, visitors will be able to see through to the building to a scenic view of Whitetop Mountain and Mt. Rogers, the highest peak in Virginia’s Appalachian mountain range.

Spectrum Design will also oversee the process for attaining LEED® certification for the building and included sustainable elements in its design such as a roof garden, rainwater filtration system and closed-loop geothermal HVAC system.

Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway is part of ‘Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network, a nonprofit organization that also sponsors The Crooked Road Heritage Music Trail.

Construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2010.

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