Officials from Mzuzu University in Malawi, Africa visited the Virginia Tech campus this past week to review design schemes for a new library for their campus. For the past seven months, a team of students and faculty members with the Center for Design Research in the School of Architecture + Design developed design proposals for the new library for Mzuzu, a 4,000-student institution in the country’s northern region and Malawi’s second national university, to replace their previous library building, destroyed by a fire in 2015.
The primary design team includes Architecture students Martin Angst, Lindsey Blum, Pablo Cabrera, Cody Dodd, Erik Fendik, Dhawal Jain, Amanda Milella, and James Wood. They were assisted by more than 20 other students enrolled in several of the School’s architecture studios and courses. Architecture faculty members Profs. Robert Dunay, Jack Davis, and Nathan King visited Mzuzu in February 2017 to assess project needs and to meet with employees and students. Profs. Donna Dunay and Kevin Jones are also serving as faculty co-leaders for the project. Prof. Ralph Hall in the School of Public and International Affairs, who has previously worked with Mzuzu as part of TEAM Malawi, initially proposed that the Center for Design Research help to create a plan for a new Mzuzu library.
The design team presented three different design schemes to Mzuzu officials via a video conference in December, and, while at Virginia Tech this past week, representatives from Mzuzu University met with the design team multiple times, reviewing the library schemes and further sharing their vision for the new space. Mzuzu officials ultimately chose a design scheme for the project which situates the new library as an expansive entranceway to the campus. They hope to break ground on the project this spring.