Introduction to the WAAC
Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, Virginia

Since 1980, the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center has served as an urban extension of the Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design. The WAAC offers a unique professional learning environment with an interdisciplinary, international, individual focus. Our pedagogy emphasizes freedom and responsibility as partners in ethical design practice. Students have the freedom to choose their own studio and thesis projects, then take on the responsibility to realize those projects. We inspire students to chart their own career paths and become the architects, landscape architects, or urban designers they want to become.

admissions

The WAAC accepts students in the fourth, fifth, and graduate years of study. Select students from the VT B.Arch or BLA programs may study at the WAAC for up to one school year as an off-campus option. Students in the M.Arch 2, MLA, Urban Design, and PhD programs may complete their entire course of study at the WAAC. Students in the M.Arch 3 program may attend the WAAC at thesis level, after completing the first two years of the program in Blacksburg. You can learn more about all of these degree options at the Degree Programs page.

Learn more about applying to the WAAC…

Degrees programs

Graduate students may conduct their studies entirely at the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center for the following degrees:

consortium

In addition to students and faculty from Virginia Tech, the WAAC also hosts a Consortium of domestic and international partner universities. Each Consortium member school provides one to fifteen students and up to one faculty member per academic year, ensuring a diverse student body, varied faculty perspectives, and a broad educational program for all at the WAAC. Visiting Consortium students attend Virginia Tech courses at the WAAC, but remain enrolled at their home institutions, receiving appropriate transfer credit upon return. Consortium students, like their VT counterparts, are either upper-year undergraduates or master’s-level graduates.

For a list of current and past Consortium members, please see the Consortium page.

location and facilities

The Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center allows students to address the complexities of urban areas, using the National Capital Region (NCR) as a resource laboratory for design and research. The Center, established in 1980 as an urban extension of the College of Architecture & Urban Studies, provides numerous opportunities in which students can pursue their selected programs of study, along with students from other universities that participate in an international consortium of architecture schools. The WAAC campus is along Prince Street in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia.

The Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center’s academic buildings are located within the historic district of Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia. The 1001 Prince Street building provides studios, administrative offices, faculty offices, classrooms, a library, darkrooms, computer lab, and exhibit/presentation spaces. Built in 1910 as the Lee School for Girls, the City of Alexandria used the building as a public school until 1980. Shops are located in a portion of the adjacent building at 1021 Prince Street. The 601 Prince Street building provides studios, faculty offices, classrooms, and exhibit/presentation spaces. The University also maintains the Gallery, a 23-unit apartment building located at 207 S. Patrick Street which serves as a dormitory for students in the region. All facilities are located within a four block radius and form an urban campus of historic structures.

The Washington, DC metropolitan area possesses many cultural and educational resources, including the various facilities of the Smithsonian Institution, the American Institute of Architects, the Library of Congress, and the National Building Museum. The Center frequently utilizes the many availabilities of the urban area by organizing and/or cosponsoring workshops, seminars and lecture programs to serve both students and practitioners in the design professions. The Washington Metropolitan area is served by a transportation network including Metro, Amtrak, Reagan National Airport, and Interstate 95, all within 15 minutes of the Center.