Architecture ranks as nation's best

Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture + Design, in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, has been ranked No. 1. It offers the nation’s best undergraduate architecture program, according to the Design Futures Council and the journal DesignIntelligence. The school's graduate program has been ranked fifth in the nation and first of all public universities, as well.

    Architectural digital rendering of a house

The rankings reflect the results of a survey targeting design partners, managing principals, and human resource directors in firms that have direct experience with the hiring and performance of architecture graduates. Collectively these firms employ more than 100,000 individuals.

A year of successful activity

The rankings follow a year of successful activity in the school including honors, innovative collaborations, and research. CHICAGO STUDIO, an undergraduate fourth-year studio option, offered exclusively by Virginia Tech, has received one of six National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) prizes for its integrated set of courses that situate students in Chicago architecture firms for six weeks of a semester.

    Virginia Tech's solar house on the National Mall.

The school recently won an NCARB Honorable Mention for the Creative Integration of Practice and Education in the Academy for its role in creating the Virginia Tech Solar House for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Students from multiple disciplines were an integral part of the team, from design conception to construction. This NCARB win marks the third time in the past four years that Virginia Tech has been honored in the competition, becoming the only school in the nation to win three NCARB honors.

The school is also collaborating with the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum, located in Winchester, Va., on a new building. The 30,000-square-foot museum will include innovative, environmentally sustainable systems. This collaborative agreement provides research opportunities for faculty in the School of Architecture + Design and Virginia Tech's Myers-Lawson School of Construction.

A National Science Foundation-funded project in the School of Architecture + Design will allow the establishment of a Vibration Testing Laboratory, which will house a two-story steel structure to be used for various studies related to building vibration serviceability issues. The lab will test structural effects of architectural elements such as partitions, raised flooring, and suspended ceilings, in addition to the presence of occupants on the dynamic performance of building floors.

One excitation will be the influence of human structure interaction; the other will be a study on the effects of non-structural building elements, such as mechanical ducts, suspended ceilings, raised flooring, and cantilevered and full-height partitions on the response of floors subject to human activities.

People make the difference

Faculty and students lead and participate in projects that garner national and international recognition, and take major strides for the university in outreach endeavors:

  • Margarita McGrath, assistant professor of architecture, has established a memorandum of agreement for academic collaboration with the architecture department of Shih Chien University in Taipei, Taiwan. Also, McGrath and her partner, Scott Oliver, received a 2007 American Institute of Architects New York Chapter Merit Award for their firm, no-roof architects’ first built work, the Slot House. This is one of the most prestigious design award programs in the country, and the Slot House was among the winners selected from hundreds of international and national submissions.
  • Gene Egger, professor of architecture, was named one of the top architecture educators of 2007 by DesignIntelligence. Egger was also elected international president of the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars.
  • Donna Dunay, professor of architecture and chair of the International Archive of Women in Architecture, has recently been bestowed the Truman Ward Endowed Professorship in Architecture.
  • Susan Piedmont-Palladino, associate professor of architecture, recently published her second book, "Tools of the Imagination: Drawing Tools and Technologies from the Eighteenth Century to the Present," which is based on an exhibition for which she was curator at the National Building Museum in 2005.
  • Nathan Williams, of Manassas, Va., a third-year undergraduate architecture student in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, was selected as one of two grand prize winners from more than 200 entries in the national Jeld-Wen Door Design Contest. Williams’ proposal was conceived as a new entry door for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Jacobs House and was completed during his fall 2006 Architecture III design lab taken with Visiting Assistant Professor Ron Dulaney, Jr. The jury announcement stated that the two grand prize entries were inspired by legendary architects of the past, but incorporated up-to-date technology and materials in their winning designs.
  • During their fifth year as undergraduate architecture students, Jeff Franklin, of Martinsburg, W.Va., and Miron Nawratil, of Gliwice, Poland, designed and built a pavilion for the Town of Blacksburg’s new skate park in spring 2007. The two designed the pavilion, sought funding for its realization, and built it themselves.

For more information on this topic, e-mail Heather Riley Chadwick, or call (540) 231-2108.

From the Homepage

    Student architecture exhibit

The School of Architecture + Design regularly features exhibitions of student work.

This exhibition, which was displayed last spring in the lobby of Cowgill Hall, is an example of a formal study in material explorations.

Superior Rankings

In its newest issue, Architect Magazine features the School of Architecture + Design.

Faculty and Staff

School of Architecture + Design faculty and staff

  • present a wide spectrum of knowledge in the areas of architecture and design;
  • are educated at major institutions throughout the world; and
  • rank among the nation's best.

Learn more about our faculty and staff.

Study Architecture Abroad

    Center for European Studies and Architecture; CESA

A wide variety of semester-long and summer study abroad programs provide diverse learning experiences for students.

Virginia Tech's Center for European Studies and Architecture is in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland.

Spotlight Archive

Look through previous Spotlight stories

Access the archives