New Degree Program Offered at WAAC

© 2006, The American Institute of Architects. All rights reserved.
© 2006, The American Institute of Architects. All rights reserved.

The School of Architecture + Design at the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center (WAAC) now offers a Master of Science in Architecture with an Urban Design Concentration.

The boundaries among the practices of Landscape Architecture, Architecture and Urban Design are increasingly fluid. Graduates of the School of Architecture + Design from both the Architecture and the Landscape Architecture programs increasingly find themselves practicing as de facto urban designers, bringing the considerable tools of their disciplines to bear on large-scale, city-changing, development projects. The Urban Design Concentration will provide a rigorous and formalized setting for students who are interested in synthesizing the design and planning disciplines to prepare them to address the significant issues facing cities and metropolitan regions today.

[adrotate banner=”54″]Based at the WAAC, the program will be positioned to leverage the unique assets of the WAAC, such as proximity to the nation’s capital, an international student body, the close relationships among existing graduate programs in Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Urban and Regional Planning, and Public Administration and Policy. The WAAC was founded to provide an urban laboratory for Virginia Tech students. In its 30 years in Alexandria, the WAAC and its faculty have cultivated close and productive relationships with institutions and organizations focused on urban issues.

Admission to the Urban Design program requires a design background. The program requires the completion of 36 credits, three semesters of full-time study. The curriculum includes a minimum of required courses, including design studio and thesis, intended to give the student competencies across design, planning and public policy. Students with non-professional degrees must provide a transcript showing a minimum of four semesters of design studio.

Students without previous design experience will be required to enroll in and successfully complete a sequence of qualifying design studios.
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Member Named Among Most Admired Educators

Robert Dunay, FAIA. Image courtesy Va. Tech.
Robert Dunay, FAIA. Image courtesy Va. Tech.

Robert Dunay, FAIA, the T.A. Carter Professor of Architecture in the School of Architecture + Design at Virginia Tech, has been named one of the 25 Most Admired Educators of 2012 by the magazine DesignIntelligence.

DesignIntelligence, the only national college ranking survey focused exclusively on design, annually selects educators and education administrators who exemplify excellence in design education leadership for this distinction. The disciplines of architecture, interior design, industrial design, and landscape architecture are included.

This is the third time Dunay has received this recognition from the magazine.

Other notables include Scott Poole, who recently left Virginia and his position as director of the School of Architecture and Design at Virginia Tech to become Dean of College of Architecture and Design at the University of Tennessee; and Elizabeth Meyer, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at University of Virginia’s School of Architecture.

Tech’s LumenHAUS Wins AIA Honor Award

LumenHAUS, courtesy Va. Tech

Virginia Tech’s acclaimed LumenHAUS has earned another feather in its much-adorned cap. This net-zero-energy house — which has garnered attention not only for design excellence but as an educational tool — has been awarded a 2012 Institute Honor Award for Architecture from the national component of the AIA. Recognized by the Society with a 2011 VSAIA design award and the Prize for Design Research and Scholarship in 2010, the LumenHAUS also took home the top prize at the European Solar Decathlon in 2010.

The house has been on display in New York’s Times Square, Washington, D.C. and alongside Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House as an exhibition, not only on good design, but as a tool informing the wider public about issues of alternative energy and sustainability.


Prize for Design Research and Scholarship Announced

Lumenhaus in Madrid at sunset
Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech

The 2010 VSAIA Prize for Design Research and Scholarship jury met via conference call on Sept. 3, to select this year’s Prize winner.  Jury Chair Dennis Andrejko, FAIA led the process as the jury carefully reviewed and discussed the eight papers submitted for the 2010 prize. After significant deliberation, the jury selected Eclipsis System: An Innovative Sun Control and Insulation Fenestration, submitted by a Virginia Tech team of Robert Dunay FAIA, Director, Center for Design Research;  Joe Wheeler AIA, Lead Coordinator Lumenhaus;  Robert Schubert, Associate Dean for Research; and Jonathan Grinham, Graduate Student.  The paper described the research behind and development of a screen and shutter system used for both sun shade and climate control in Lumenhaus, Virginia Tech’s winning entry in the 2010 Solar Decathlon Europe in Madrid. The Jury (other members included Angela Brooks AIA, Dan Williams, FAIA, and Rafael Longoria) commented:

“This is a very strong piece and research investigation.  We loved what it has done and how it sets the foundation for further work.  The project is an interesting idea that has been researched, tested, and thoroughly documented.  It is a modern interpretation based on a time-honored cultural system of ventilation walls.  This could go into the public realm and be used by architects to further the practice of architecture, graphics and public presentation.  We liked the mixing of technology, aesthetics, and cultural/societal grounding, with the skin becoming both a design driver and an energy system to help power the building.  This is a growing and necessary part of architecture that we would like to see investigated even further.”

The 2010 VSAIA Prize for Design Research and Scholarship will be awarded at the VSAIA Annual Meeting at ArchEx Nov. 4,  and the winning paper will be presented immediately following at 2:30 p.m., during session 203.