VCUArts Depot

The VCUArts Depot is an adaptive reuse project involving modifications to two buildings for Virginia Commonwealth University. The building at 814 West Broad Street was originally built in 1907 to serve as a terminal for a local trolley line. Our team was involved in the conversion of the Depot to an art gallery with an academic studio and instructional space.


The building behind the Depot, at 803 West Marshall Street, was originally a warehouse built several years after the Depot was completed. We helped convert this space to a dance studio.


Draper Aden worked with Commonwealth Architects to update utility connections, sidewalk positioning, parking lot configuration and to incorporate landscape and hardscape improvements. We also handled stormwater management and structural engineering considerations.


Structural engineering for the 1907 Depot building was closely coordinated with Commonwealth Architect’s program. The design included underpinning an existing bearing wall, removal of an existing freight elevator shaft, creation of a new elevator, modification of the building’s lateral bracing system, reinforcing of the original roof framing to support new mechanical equipment, and installation of a new monumental stair from the Broad Street entrance.


Structural engineering for 803 West Marshall Street included raising the roof at the central portion of the building to create clerestory windows and to provide adequate headroom for studio lighting and instruction. Work involved new roof framing, new columns, and new foundations as well as modifications to the building’s lateral bracing.


The Depot was reopened in the fall of 2014 as a new home for the VCU School of the Arts.


Learn more about our adaptive reuse expertise here.



Environmental Services

Geotechnical Engineering and Geophysics

Site/Civil Engineering

Structural Engineering


Utility Locating and Mapping


Richmond, VA