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Resilience Lab - Final Animation

Resilience Lab

4610 Colley Ave., Norfolk, VA


The Elizabeth River Project has purchased .75 acres on Knitting Mill Creek, on the North Colley Avenue commercial corridor experiencing strong resurgence, to establish the Resilience Lab. Preliminary concepts have been developed to demonstrate environmental resilience to rising seas. Among benefits the Resilience Lab will achieve for the Elizabeth River Project, with your support:

  • A key position on the frontline of regional and national efforts to combat sea level rise and changing climate conditions
  • The first urban redevelopment project in Virginia to re-build intentionally in the floodplain to demonstrate environmental resilience to sea level rise
    • Intentional life span of 30 to 50 years to match sea level predictions
    • Conservation easement to place the shore in long-term conservation once the building is no longer viable
  • A changing laboratory open to the public for the demonstration of emerging practices in coastal environmental resilience including carbon reduction
  • The only green building in the region emphasizing practical approaches that reasonably can be replicated by the average home or business
  • Exposure to an exponentially increased audience of potential donors, researchers, volunteers and stewardship partners along one of the fastest growing commercial corridors in the region
  • An arresting street frontage and public “porch” to engage the busy pedestrian and vehicle traffic and join in the transformation of North Colley corridor to become an Eco-Corridor
  • Strong new connections to multiple universities and their research endeavors, especially Old Dominion University, whose campus begins across the street and which already is collaborating with Hampton University on design approaches
  • A showcase for Elizabeth River Project’s signature “living shorelines” and River Star Homes backyard projects, from wetlands and oyster habitat to rain barrels and eco-friendly lawns
  • The only site identified by RISE and the City of Norfolk as available to try resilient practices and cutting edge zoning approaches
  • The first regional demonstration of light industrial storage to be environmentally responsible and flood resistant in the floodplain through means such as floating containers

Special thanks to Hampton University School of Architecture, Old Dominion University, and multiple community stakeholders for contributing concepts for the Resilience Lab, especially during a fall 2019 planning charette hosted by Hampton University whose students conducted further design exploration. Final design is underway by Work Program Architects. Special thanks to University of Virginia School of Architecture students who proposed Blue Norfolk, a resilience planning plan for Knitting Mill Creek in 2018.

Kudos also to Lafayette Wetlands Partnership (LWP) for focusing attention on Knitting Mill Creek for many years. Among the best things about the site of the Resilience Lab is an LWP restored wetland immediately south and an LWP rain garden immediately north.