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Undergraduate landscape architecture program ranked No. 1 in North America

Virginia Tech's undergraduate landscape architecture program, in the School of Architecture + Design, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, has been ranked No. 1 in North America in the 11th annual America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools study by DesignIntelligence on behalf of the Design Futures Council.

   

The landscape design for the Virginia Tech Lumenhaus featured green roof terraces that were used for water treatment and to lower the home’s carbon footprint. The landscape design for the Virginia Tech Lumenhaus featured green roof terraces that were used for water treatment and to lower the home’s carbon footprint.

Virginia Tech’s graduate landscape architecture program in the School of Architecture + Design, College of Architecture and Urban Studies, has been ranked No. 2 in North America, behind Harvard University in first place. The Master of Landscape Architecture program is offered both in Blacksburg and at the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center in the National Capital Region.

   

A master plan for the upscale resort community of Zhang Jia Gang, China, is underway. The plan aims to convert a highly polluted area into an ecologically sound environment A master plan for the upscale resort community of Zhang Jia Gang, China, is underway. The plan aims to convert a highly polluted area into an ecologically sound environment.

DesignIntelligence ranks accredited undergraduate and graduate programs from the perspective of leading practitioners. Its survey, conducted in mid-2009, tapped professional practice leaders who have direct experience in hiring and evaluating the performance of recent architecture and design graduates.The rankings are compiled using data from surveys conducted and analyzed by DesignIntelligence. In addition to the best schools study, deans and chairs from 166 academic programs participated in their own separate survey.

Recent successful activity

Projects that involve the undergraduate landscape architecture program are listed below.

Virginia Tech Lumenhaus at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon

Ben Johnson, professor of landscape architecture, was the lead faculty member working on the landscape design of the Virginia Tech Lumenhaus, a solar-powered house designed and constructed for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. The landscape featured green roof terraces that were used for water treatment and to lower the home’s carbon footprint.

Lakewood Park project

Dean Bork, associate professor of landscape architecture, and students worked with the Roanoke Parks and Recreation department to develop a master site plan for Lakewood Park in Roanoke, Va. Bork and a team of visiting scholars from Tongji University in Shanghai, China, developed five plans that were presented to citizens. Ashleigh Marshall of Buchanan, Va., a fourth-year landscape architecture student, created an overall site master plan derived from the schematic plans and public comments.

   

The proposed design of the Medical Arts District Corridor of Study in Lynchburg, Va., intends to improve imagability and way finding. The proposed design of the Medical Arts District Corridor of Study in Lynchburg, Va., intends to improve imagability and way-finding.

Sustainable lighting: Evaluating light pollution

Mintai Kim, associate professor of landscape architecture, has developed an evaluation method for assessing light pollution and its effects on energy use and public safety. Light pollution is a growing environmental and sustainability concern.

George Washington Memorial Parkway vegetation

Paul Kelsch, associate professor of landscape architecture, with graduate students Annalisa Miller, Irene Mills, and Jacye Swallow, worked on a cultural landscape report for the vegetation of the George Washington Memorial Parkway north of Alexandria, Va.

Medical Arts District Corridor of Confidence

Patrick Miller; along with Hooman Koliji, doctoral student; and Shuhardi Maulan, post-doctoral researcher, completed the Medical Arts District Corridor of Study in Lynchburg, Va. The proposed design intends to increase imagability and way finding.

   

This sketch shows a possible design for a roundabout in Roanoke, Va. This sketch shows a possible design for a roundabout in Roanoke, Va.

Virginia Department of Transportation roundabouts

Miller; Scott Kennedy, research associate;  Maulan; and Koliji completed a project for the Virginia Department of Transportation and the City of Roanoke to identify precedents to improve traffic and safety, to contribute to the pedestrian scale and character of the community, and to enhance identity of the 13th Street and Hollins Road area.

Stock car racing landscapes

Brian Katen, landscape architecture program chair and associate professor of landscape architecture, has documented more than 150 current and past Virginia speedway sites. 

   

Brian Katen has documented more than 150 current and past Virginia speedway sites. Associate professor and program chair Brian Katen has documented more than 150 current and past Virginia speedway sites, including the Floyd Speedway in Floyd, Va. The top image show the speedway in the 1950s while the bottom shows the same site today.

Zhang Jia Gang master plan

Johnson was principal designer on a collaborative project with David Hill, of the Hill Studio in Roanoke, Va., to develop a master plan for the upscale resort community of Zhang Jia Gang, China. The plan incorporated water quality restoration plans to convert a highly polluted area into an ecologically sound environment. The plan won a Virginia Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects Merit Award.

International design workshop with Tongji University, China

Wendy Jacobson, associate professor of landscape architecture, participated with two students and a recent Virginia Tech graduate in an interdisciplinary, international design workshop sponsored by Tongji University. Amy Yu of Vienna, Va., a third-year landscape architecture student; Nicholas Wilson of North Potomac, Md., a third-year architecture student; and alumnae Jana Davis, who holds a 2005 bachelor’s degree in urban planning, tied for second place in an associated juried competition.

Landscape design, landscape experience, and the multiple intelligences

Terry Clements, associate professor of landscape architecture, researches people’s experiences with place and its influence on mental well-being. This research is based on the theory that places engaging their users in ways complementing needs and expectations contribute to a person’s positive sense of well-being.

Project seeks to revive local history

   

Gateway National Recreation Laurel McSherry took third prize in an international design competition for the 25,300-acre Gateway National Recreation Area in New York and New Jersey.

Laurel McSherry, associate professor of landscape architecture and director of the master’s of landscape architecture at the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, took third prize in an international design competition for the 25,300-acre Gateway National Recreation Area in New York and New Jersey. McSherry’s design, a field guide to the landscapes of Gateway, seeks to revive local and regional history and provide tangible connections to pre-existing, ongoing, and emerging ecological conditions.

Award-winning student work

   

Fulton Culture Park in Richmond, Va. Fulton Culture Park in Richmond, Va., designed by Christina Hicks of Stafford, Va., a fifth-year landscape architecture student, connects the area to the city’s larger network of parks.

These projects are two examples of award-winning work conducted by students in Virginia Tech's landscape architecture program. 

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