2010-11 was an exceptional year for the School of Architecture + Design. Record numbers of students – over 2,000 from across the U.S. and the world – applied for less than 200 places in the school’s undergraduate and graduate programs. Again this year DesignIntelligence listed professors from the School among the 25 design educators “Most Admired” by their peers nationwide. Professor Ron Kemnitzer, FIDSA, Chair of the Industrial Design Program and Professor Robert Dunay, FAIA, Director of the School’s Center for Design Research. Professor Kemnitzer was listed for the third time and Professor Dunay for the second time. This is the 15th time in the past 6 years that faculty members in the School have been included in this elite group.
The year began with the School’s Lumenhaus Solar Team, led by professors Robert Dunay, FAIA, Joe Wheeler, AIA, Robert Schubert, and Chip Clark, winning the prestigious Solar Decathlon Europe in Madrid in late June over 17 Solar Houses from 7 countries. Jurors included Pritzker Prize winner Glen Murcutt and award winning Spanish architect Francisco Mangado. Following that success, the team was invited by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to exhibit Lumenhaus on the grounds of the internationally celebrated Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe. Lumenhaus will be on exhibit in Plano, Illinois through the fall. Already this spring, the dual exhibit of Lumenhaus-Farnsworth House has brought a record number of visitors to the Plano, Illinois exhibition site.
This year, for the first time, all programs in the School – Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Industrial Design and Interior Design – had programs ranked in the top ten in North America by DesignIntelligence. For the fourth consecutive year, the undergraduate program in architecture was ranked in the top five programs in the U.S. This is a particularly prestigious honor considering the fact the majority of all students receiving first professional degrees in architecture graduate from B.Arch. Programs. The undergraduate Architecture program was tied for #4 in the rankings of B.Arch. programs accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), and the graduate Architecture program is ranked #12 among accredited graduate programs. The Architecture Skills Assessment ranking, which surveys both undergraduate and graduate programs, lists Virginia Tech #2 in Construction Methods and Materials, #4 in both Analysis and Planning and in Sustainable Design Practices and Principles, and #5 in Computer Applications and in Communication. The undergraduate Landscape Architecture program is tied for #3 in the nation, and the graduate program is tied for #4. In the Landscape Architecture Skills Assessment, Virginia Tech is ranked #4 in the three categories of Design, Communication and Computer Applications. The undergraduate program in Interior Design is tied for #6 nationally, and the graduate program is tied for #9. In the Interior Design Skills Assessment rankings the program is tied for #1 in Computer Applications and tied for #3 in Communication. The Industrial Design program was tied for #10 in the nation and, in the Industrial Design Skills Assessment, is tied for #3 in Computer Applications.
Two prestigious awards were conferred on faculty members at the American Collegiate Schools of Architecture annual meeting in, Montréal, Québec. Professor Robert Dunay, T.A. Carter Professor of Architecture, was honored with the ACSA Distinguished Professor Award for his sustained creative achievement and advancement of architectural education. Prof. Dunay is the second Virginia Tech faculty member to receive this honor, with Olivio Ferrari being the first in 1988. The ACSA also honored Jim Bassett, Assistant Professor of Architecture with the ACSA / AIA New Faculty Teaching Award for demonstrated excellence in teaching performance during the formative years of a teaching career.
Teams from Virginia Tech won prizes in the 2011 NCARB Prize Competition. This marks the fifth time that teams from the School of Architecture + Design have won honors in this national competition. This year, Marie and Keith Zawistowski won the Grand Prize of $25,000 for their project, “Designing Practice.” Professors Robert Dunay, FAIA, Joe Wheeler, AIA, Robert Schubert, and Chip Clark also received an Honor Award for “A Sustainable, Net Zero Energy Dwelling.” This was the first time in the history of the competition that two teams from a single school won awards.
Professor Donna Dunay, G.T. Ward Professor and chair of the International Archive for Women in Architecture, was invited to curate an exhibition in Tokyo, Japan in titled, “For the Future: Pioneering Women in Architecture from Japan and Beyond.”
Margarita McGrath, Associate Professor of Architecture, and Principal in noroof architects, was a 2011 Residential Architect, Design Award Winner for the Finger | Kennedy Apartment in New York City. Her project was one of 40 selected from 824 entries. In the same competition, alumnus David Jameson, B.Arch. ‘90, was the Grand Award Winner for his Record House Revisited project in Owings Mills, MD.
Interior Design Program visiting faculty member Matt Wagner, was a member of the team that won the ‘Images That Provoke Award’ in the International Living Future Institute’s Living City Design Competition. The award was presented in Vancouver, B.C. in April.
Interior Design Student Kala Letts, a senior in the Interior Design Program was awarded an honorable mention in the American Society of Interior Design Society of America’s Student Design Competition.
Two architecture graduate students, Ph.D candidate Negar Kalantar Mahjardi and Jonathan Grinham, MS Arch ‘10, were members of a team that was awarded the University’s XCaliber Award (shorthand for exceptional high caliber work), for excellence in technology assisted teaching. The team was recognized for their PARTeE project (Prototyping in Architectural Robotics for Technology-enriched Education)
Director, School of Architecture + Design