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Strategic Focus Areas

Cowgill dome assembly on the main Virginia Tech campus

Stay tuned for updates to this page as AAD identifies strategic priorities and initiatives.

The College of Architecture, Arts, and Design community identified strategic priorities for the college through a collaborative and wholistic process that incorporates the Beyond Boundaries vision of the university.

As an academic institution, we have the opportunity to help redefine the future of our disciplines in ways that leave lasting impacts on our local and global communities.

We've thus centered our college's priorities around four strategic areas that collectively define our path forward as we reimagine our future and our continued commitment to scientific excellence:

  • Smart design
  • Health design research and policy
  • Intelligent infrastructure
  • Educational innovation

Smart Design


New technology can enable humans to live more productive, sustainable, healthier, and fulfilling lives through smart, responsive infrastructures and human-centered environments. In the Virginia Tech College of Architecture, Arts, and Design, we aspire to design programs that support planning, designing, and constructing an intelligent and adaptable built environment for improved performance, resilience, and sustainability.

State-of-the-art facilities are being constructed to support this domain and participating faculty, including the Hitt Hall Construction and Intelligent Infrastructure Fusion Complex, and a Smart Design and Construction facility. A drone cage was recently completed. Smart roads and villages are being expanded.

Faculty, industry partners, and students collaborate and innovate using such emerging processes and technologies as digital construction, lean construction, smart buildings/performance, production systems, robotics, CNC, CAS, VR, RTS, lasers, digital tracking, AR, BIM, wearables, GNSS, drones, or 3-D printing.

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Health Design Research and Policy


As the global demand for improved health grows increasingly urgent, designers and planners have the opportunity to contribute meaningfully by understanding the relationship of design and planning with health outcomes. The Virginia Tech College of Architecture, Arts, and Design aims to prepare leaders in the field who consider the relationship between the design of the built environment and products with global health and the quality of human life around the globe.

Research in this area aligns related research interests, complimentary resources and expertise across campus and beyond, and strategic partnerships with industry, governments, and NGOs to reposition design as a leading force within critical areas of public health in local, regional, national, and global contexts.

Beyond health outcomes, the development of enhanced design processes offers the potential to bring together disparate groups of stakeholders to enhance economic, social, and environmental impact during the design, construction/manufacturing of health care related infrastructure, products, and systems.

Intelligent Infrastructure


With rapid urbanization and explosive population growth come challenges in developing infrastructure with economic and policy structures that are equitable, fair, and lead to the overall well-being of society. The Virginia Tech College of Architecture, Arts, and Design seeks to champion a blend of urban analytics and decision-making with sustainable approaches to development and revitalization to pave the way for intelligent infrastructure in our cities and towns.

Educational Innovation


Meeting current and future challenges will require education that is evolving, innovative, applicable, and trans-disciplinary. In our college, we aim to equip our future workforce with the tools and abilities needed to thrive within the rapid pace of change they will have to contend with throughout their careers. This requires a recognition of the idea that talent development will be ongoing throughout one’s professional life, and that education must continue to be accessible, flexible, and adaptive to the learner's unique needs and competencies.