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Centers + Institutes

Faculty and students of the Community Design Assistance Center discuss a project together

Extending our Impact

Our centers focus in three primary areas: funded research, scholarship, and community engagement. Each center extends the work of our college and provides opportunity for collaboration within the university and with industry, government, and communities across the Commonwealth.

College of Architecture, Arts, and Design

Community Design Assistance Center logo

Community Design Assistance Center

Director: Elizabeth Gilboy

The Community Design Assistance Center was established in 1988 through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education program. The two main goals of establishing the center were to provide underserved communities in southwest Virginia with low-cost planning and design assistance and to provide landscape architecture, architecture, planning, and building construction students with an opportunity for paid experience related to their future careers that also taught students about participatory design and planning processes.

School of Architecture and School of Design

Center for Design Research logo

Center for Design Research

Directors: Joe Wheeler, Bob Dunay

The Center for Design Research (CDR) links the academy, industry, and design practice by creating opportunities for collaboration through applied research; establishes corporate partnerships and sponsorships within the prospectus of design research; expands capacity by building relationships within the design professions and affiliated industries; initiates collaborative research projects within and beyond the boundaries of the university; and strengthens all areas of research through cross-disciplinary team building, and the integration of teaching and research. The work of the CDR and its participants expands the scope of design and embraces collaboration across many scales and disciplines with the goal of technological innovation and paradigm shifts that enable more with less in ways that have the potential to expand the research of design/designers to influence systemic global impact.

Center for High Performance Environments

Director: Jim Jones

The Center for High Performance Environments (CHPE) serves as a first-of-its-kind resource for designers, engineers, system consultants, teachers, school administrators, facility managers, building owners and others interested in improving the design and operation of built environments. The CHPE takes a holistic approach to the design of buildings and focuses on a range of multidisciplinary activities, including energy efficiency, sustainability, systems integration, evaluating the building envelope, and integrating appropriate technology into indoor environments of the 21st century.

International Archive of Women in Architecture logo

International Archive of Women in Architecture

Director: Donna Dunay

The International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA) was established in 1985 as a joint program of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and the University Libraries at Virginia Tech. The purpose of the Archive is to document the history of women's contributions to the built environment by collecting, preserving, and providing access to the records of women's architectural organizations and the professional papers of women architects, landscape architects, designers, architectural historians and critics, and urban planners.

Vibration Testing Lab exterior

Vibrations Testing Laboratory

Director: Mehdi Setareh

The Vibrations Testing Laboratory (VTL) was established in 2011 at 165 Inventive Lane, Blacksburg, Virginia,  through a major support from the National Science Foundation. VTL's main mission is to conduct research and support educational activities as related to vibration serviceability issues in architectural structures. It is the only such facility in the country dedicated to research on vibration serviceability issues. The laboratory houses a two-story full-scale steel structure and an assortment of testing and measurement equipment such as dynamic signal analyzers, force platforms, impulse hammers, and computers.

School of Visual Arts

Four Design logo

Four Design

Director: Jeff Joiner

FourDesign is a faculty-led, student-run design studio in the School of Visual Arts at Virginia Tech. We work with local, regional and national clients to develop well-designed, strategy-based branding and marketing materials that help them build stronger relationships with their customers.