Located on a steeply sloped site on Emmet Street, at the western perimeter of the University of Virginia's historic Central Grounds, Bavaro Hall doubles the size of the Curry School of Education, currently housed in Ruffner Hall, an unremarkable 1970s building, and in clinics scattered in rented quarters. Simple massing and traditional detailing—red brick and limestone facades with painted wood trim, six-over-six double-hung windows, and a metal standing-seam roof—are in keeping with the architectural traditions first established at the Lawn by Thomas Jefferson. Though stylistically opposed, Bavaro Hall works together with Ruffner to define a central landscaped courtyard framed between two open-air colonnades linking the two buildings, creating a campus within a campus for the Curry School.
Bavaro Hall's ground floor, partially tucked into the slope, houses the clinics that distinguish the school, with a public entrance at grade to the north of Emmet Street. Primary access for students and faculty is one level above, via an existing pedestrian bridge that crosses Emmet Street and new cascading steps that lead from the street up to the courtyard at either end of the building. The first floor accommodates heavily-trafficked uses, such as student services, the dean's suite, conference and meeting spaces, a large multipurpose room, a coffee bar, and the Commons, the School's primary indoor social gathering space, which opens directly to the courtyard for indoor/outdoor events. Two generously proportioned naturally-lit stairs lead up to departmental suites, faculty offices, and meeting rooms on the upper two floors.