Director - School of Architecture & Design: A. Betsky
Chair - Foundation Program J. Bassett
Chair - Core Professional Program: M. Cortes
Chair - Advanced Professional Program: H. Schnoedt
Chair - Graduate Program:D. Dugas
Professors: K. Albright, M. Breitschmid, H. de Hahn, D. Dunay, R. Dunay, P. Emmons, M. Ermann, J. Jones, S. Piedmont-Palladino, M. Setareh, M. Stamm, F. Weiner, and J. Wheeler
Associate Professors: J. Bassett, H. Bryon, M. Cortes, P. Doan, D. Dugas, K. Edge, M. Feuerstein, W. Galloway, S. Gartner, E. Grant, A. Ishida, S. Martin, M. McGrath, H. Pittman, H. Schnoedt, S. Thompson, and P. Zellner-Bassett
Assistant Professors: E. Becker, J. Bedford, N. King, and S. Tomer
Collegiate Associate Professor: R. Pieper, C. Pritchett
Associate Professor of Practice: K. Jones
Visiting Instructor: C. Vorster
Adjunct Instructors: S. Archer, S. Bitar, M. Boroyevich, S. Choudhury, R. Daniel, M. Dreher, A. Korkuti, D. Lever, R. Mars, M. Paget, D. Regan, J. Syvertsen, and D. Snook
Professor Emeritus: W. Brown, R. Chiang, S. Choudhury, R. Daniel, A.J. Davis, D. Egger, J. Holt, W. Kark, D. Kilper, S. Poole, H. Rodriquez-Camilloni, H. Rott, F. Ruiz, R. Schubert, D. Sunshine, and J. Wang
Associate Professor Emeritus: D. Jones
Assistant Professor Emerita: E. Braaten
Architecture enriches our lives by offering us environments that are sensibly compelling, thought provoking, and capable of lifting our spirits. In addition to being beautiful, architecture is, by ancient definition, functional and durable. Like art, architecture is permeated by dualities. It is stable and transitory, measurable and immeasurable, and capable of both being touched and touching us. Like science, architecture involves systematic study. Its methods are iterative, experimental, and rely on intense observation. By intertwining the poetic and practical, architecture is uniquely poised to address the challenges of contemporary life and reflect the culture of the 21st century.
The professional curriculum in architecture requires five years of study for the first professional degree, the Bachelor of Architecture (B. Arch.).
The first professional degree programs at Virginia Tech, the five-year Bachelor of Architecture degree (B. Arch.), the Master of Architecture II (M.Arch.2), and the Master of Architecture III (M.Arch.3) degrees, are fully accredited for the current maximum six-year term of accreditation by the National Architectural Accrediting Board.
All students in the School of Architecture + Design - Architecture, Industrial Design, Interior Design and Landscape Architecture - begin their studies in a common first year foundation program. Following the foundation program, students pursue professional studies in the 2-3 and 4-5 programs.
Foundation Design Lab is an immersive, interactive learning environment focused on inquiry, experimentation, discovery, and synthesis for students studying architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, and industrial design. The design lab develops self-reliance and self-critique, opens intellectual horizons, and challenges students to continually expand and deepen their aesthetic judgment and critical understanding. Studies are undertaken in two and three dimensions across multiple scales.
The Professional Program employs design theory and processes to study the design of buildings. Students conduct an interactive investigation of architectural space, environmental forces, and building technology. Foundations of discipline-specific knowledge are progressively introduced, discussed, and examined as they contribute to the complex totality of a work of architecture. Students explore natural and cultural forces as they relate to architecture through means of representation specific to the discipline. With architecture at the core, the program examines interdisciplinary sources such as art, science, and philosophy for the purpose of establishing the content the discipline shares with other forms of knowledge.
Concepts in the Professional Program are communicated through both traditional drawings and models, as well as through modern virtual tools and digital production. All coursework seeks to develop the ability to conduct a professional written and verbal discourse. Further emphasis is placed on intellectual discipline, constructive dialogue, assertion of interest, and a self-motivated search for critical issues.
The second year is characterized by an increase in the complexity of design exercises to foster a better understanding of the interplay between situation, time and desired spatial definition. Architectural constructs of smaller scales build on knowledge of basic design principles studied in the first year. The laboratory discourse focuses on principal elements of architecture and their compositional and material role in space. Architecture as the art of building is conveyed through the detailed study of exemplary built works.
The third year provides for study of fundamental design principles, technical concepts and their applications, including measures of quality in architecture. The instructional content of this year articulates and communicates to students the unique nature of architecture through the study of interrelationships of material, construction systems, site, and building programs. The Architecture III design laboratory guides the student's growing experience with practical design problems and provides order to the gradual exploration and learning of the nature and means of achieving architecture. Associated with Architecture Ill are lectures, presentations, and workshops intended to challenge students toward sensible integration of necessary systems and legal responsibilities in the design and construction of buildings.
The fourth year builds on the increased comprehension of building systems acquired during the third year. On-campus or off-campus, the aim of the various program options is to promote an in-depth understanding of the relationship between architectural idea and physical building form. On-campus students are offered studio courses with various focus topics. Off-campus options include several VT and non-VT Study Abroad Programs, the Extern Program, the Washington-Alexandria Center, or the Chicago Studio.
Off-campus programs directed by the Architecture program include:
- The Europe Study Abroad Fall Travel Program studies seminal European historic and contemporary architectural works and urban spaces, which are visited and documented with analytical drawings, sketches, and photographs, supplemented by on-site lectures by architects and professionals. Documented research before and after the program leads students to greater depth of understanding of the issues surrounding the architecture.
- The Steger Center Residency Program: Each semester, 16 architecture students take part in this program at Virginia Tech's European Steger Center for International Scholarship in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland. An 18th century villa and its gardens on the southern tip of Lake Lugano provide residence and dining facilities for Architecture + Design students, as well as 30 Virginia Tech students from other academic disciplines. Studio work, courses, research, and travel are directed to advance first-hand knowledge of the architecture, geography, and culture of Europe.
- Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco Studio options are alternatives to the traditional fourth year Blacksburg-based semester. These off-campus programs integrate design education with interactions between the profession within an urban context.
- Professional Extern Program allows students to spend one semester in an approved professional setting and receive up to 12 hours of academic credit. This program provides a valuable link between the academic environment and architectural practices, discipline-related government agencies, and other design offices throughout the world.
- The Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center affords students from the School of Architecture + Design and from related College disciplines the opportunity to study with students and faculty from a national and international consortium of schools in the historic urban context of Old Town Alexandria. The Center complex offers studio space, classrooms, exhibition and review spaces, shops, and computer labs for the students and faculty of the consortium. The University also offers a limited number of apartments for students studying at the Center.
In the fifth year, students conduct a yearlong advanced study with individual faculty advisors. The in-depth engagement with research, theory, and design is intended to broaden a student's expertise in a particular area within the field of architecture. Fifth-year students are expected to formulate and accomplish advanced high-level work in the form of a terminal project. Working with their advisors, students develop and discuss their research and design progress, and have periodic formal peer reviews throughout the year. Students are required to leave the project documentation of their 5th-year work with the school upon graduation.
The first professional degree programs (B.Arch., M.Arch.2 & M.Arch.3) in architecture are accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).
- In the United States, most state registration boards require a degree from an accredited professional degree program as a prerequisite for licensure. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB), which is the sole agency authorized to accredit U.S. professional degree programs in architecture, recognizes three types of degrees: the Bachelor of Architecture, the Master of Architecture, and the Doctor of Architecture. A program may be granted a 6-year, 3-year, or 2-year term of accreditation, depending on the extent of its conformance with established educational standards.
- Doctor of Architecture and Master of Architecture degree programs may consist of a pre-professional undergraduate degree and a professional graduate degree that, when earned sequentially, constitute an accredited professional education. However, the pre-professional degree is not, by itself, recognized as an accredited degree.
- Next accreditation visit for all Architecture programs: 2026
A four-year, pre-professional degree is not offered at Virginia Tech.
The graduation requirements in effect during the academic year of admission to Virginia Tech apply. Requirements for graduation are listed on checksheets. Students must satisfactorily complete all requirements and university obligations for degree completion. The university reserves the right to modify requirements in a degree program.
Please visit the University Registrar's website at https://www.registrar.vt.edu/graduation-multi-brief/checksheets.html for degree requirements.
Upon successful completion of program requirements of the foundation level of study and the professional levels of study in architecture and with completion of 160 credit hours of study, a first professional degree of Bachelor of Architecture is awarded.
University policy requires that students who are making satisfactory progress toward a degree meet minimum criteria toward the General Education (Curriculum for Liberal Education) (see "Academics") and toward the degree in Urban Affairs and Planning.
Satisfactory progress requirements toward the degree can be found on the major checksheet by visiting the University Registrar website at http://registrar.vt.edu/graduation-multi-brief/index1.html.
1014: INTRODUCTION TO ARCHITECTURE: LESSONS IN FORM & CULTURE Introduction to the discipline of architecture for non-architecture majors. Emphasis on the basic elements of design and the relationships of a culture to the forms, shapes, and structures it expresses in architectural production. (3H,3C)
1015-1016: FOUNDATION DESIGN LABORATORY Foundation Design Lab is an immersive, interactive learning environment focused on inquiry, experimentation, discovery, and synthesis for students studying architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, and industrial design. The design lab develops self-reliance and self-critique, opens intellectual horizons, and challenges students to continually expand and deepen their aesthetic judgement and critical understanding. Course contact to credit hour structure: Lecture (1H,1C), Lab (6L, 2C), Design Lab/Studio (5L,3C). (1H,11L,6C)
1024: INNOVATIVE DESIGN THINKING Engages students in learning environment of the design laboratory, which is interactive inquiry, experimentation, discovery, and synthesis. Develops thinking and making skills in 2D and 3D across multiple scales. Advances abilities to solve problems through exploring strategies with viable consequences. Engages students in a series of iterative drawing, and modeling exercises relevant to architecture and design education. ARCH 1024 is restricted to incoming freshmen. (3H,3C)
1034: SEEING DESIGN: TRANSFORMING OBSERVATIONS Introduces students to ways of perceiving, and recording the built and natural environment in Southwest Virginia. Introduces students to travel studies as an essential part of their architecture and design education. Transforms students’ observational skills. Employs photography and sketching as means of documenting findings. Employs screenprinting and digital technologies as a way to transform documentation. Prepares students for an exhibition of their work, including oral presentations. ARCH 1034 is restricted to incoming freshmen. (3H,3C)
1115-1116: QUALIFYING DESIGN LABORATORY 1115: An immersive, interactive course focused on inquiry, experimentation, discovery, and synthesis. Employs a series of iterative drawing and modeling exercises, at a beginner’s level, in two and three dimensions across multiple scales. Develops self-reliance and self-critique, which opens intellectual horizons. Challenges expand and deepen aesthetic judgment and critical understanding. Develops fundamental thinking and making skills that advance their abilities to solve problems by exploring strategies toward viable consequences. Restricted to students transferring into the School of Architecture + Design and changing their major to architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, or industrial design. 1116: An immersive, interactive course focused on inquiry, experimentation, discovery, and synthesis. Employs a series of iterative drawing and modeling exercises, at an intermediate level, in two and three dimensions across multiple scales. Develops self-reliance and self-critique, which opens intellectual horizons. Challenges expand and deepen aesthetic judgement and critical understanding. Advances foundational thinking and making skills that develop their abilities to solve problems by exploring strategies toward viable consequences. Restricted to students transferring into the School of Architecture + Design and changing their major to architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, or industrial design. (1H,6L,3C)
1984: SPECIAL STUDY Variable credit course.
2015-2016: ARCHITECTURE II Introduction to the discipline of architecture, isolating and intertwining fundamentals that contribute to the complex totality that constitute a work of architecture. Explores how architecture concentrates and conveys natural and cultural forces through means specific to the discipline. Focus on fundamentals realized artistically and practically in works by selected architects. Articulates the unique reality of architecture through the study of basic interrelationships of material, construction, site, and program. Introduces the complex interplay of situation, space and time in the making of places. Examines interdisciplinary sources such as art, science, and philosophy for the purpose of establishing the content architecture shares with other forms of knowledge and how that content, expressed through architecture, contributes to human well-being. Concepts communicated through drawings and models. Emphasis on intellectual discipline, dialogue, assertion of interest, and a self-motivated search for critical issues. Pre: 1016. (2H,12L,6C)
2034: ART OF BUILDING Introduction to contemporary building construction practices and conventions, addressing and examining the physical making of buildings. Constructive conditions will be presented and analyzed based on the materials, assembles, details, performance, and programmatic requirements that inform and comprise a building’s physical reality. Pre: 2044. (2H,2C)
2044: BUILDING MATERIALS Introduction to the attributes of materials with which buildings are built such as masonry, reinforced concrete, steel, stone, timber, glass and insulation; introduction of the impact of soil, vegetation, watersheds and other natural conditions on buildings and their material fabrication. Pre: 1015. (2H,2C)
2974: INDEPENDENT STUDY Variable credit course.
2984: SPECIAL STUDY Variable credit course.
3015-3016: ARCHITECTURE III First design laboratory for the Professional Program in Architecture. Provides for exploratory investigation and analysis of the fundamental design principles, technical concepts and applications, and the measures of quality in architecture. Co: 3045 for 3015; 3054, 3046 for 3016. (1H,12L,6C)
3045-3046: BUILDING ASSEMBLIES The designs of building assemblies, elements, systems and sub-assemblies are studied. Building assemblies as controlled by formal idea, geometry, construction, materials, details, structure, function, enclosure, and finish work are considered. Pre: 2016. Co: 3015 for 3045; 3054, 3016 for 3046. (2H,2C)
3054: BUILDING ANALYSIS Study of exemplary built works of architecture through analysis of design documents, interviews, and inspection of actual construction. Course is completed as a group project resulting in both an oral presentation and a written document. Pre: 3015. Co: 3046, 3016. (2H,2C)
3115-3116: HISTORIES OF ARCHITECTURE Disciplinary study of architecture across time (pre-history to present) and across continents (Eastern, Western, Northern, and Southern hemispheres). Histories, principles, and factors grounding architecture\031s expression, form, and methods. Architecture as a cultural production reflective of its social, political, artistic, intellectual, technological, and environmental context. Exploration through artifacts, texts, drawings. ARCH 3115: emphasis on artifacts and architecture between 25000 BCE and 1600 CE; ARCH 3116: includes architectural productions from 1600 CE to present. Pre: 1015 for 3115; 3115 for 3116. (3H,3C)
3514: DESIGN-RELATED MEDIA Properties and uses of various media, materials and processes as tools for analysis, documentation and presentation of the designed environment. Basic skills and techniques relating to photography, printmaking, and pottery will be explored. Repeatable with a maximum of 6 credits. (3H,3C)
3954: STUDIO-STUDY ABROAD The Europe Studio offers students the opportunity to make comparative studies of European cultures, as well as to study the relationship of culture to the physical environment, the organization of cities, and the history and behavior of their inhabitants. Exercises include analysis and documentation of elements of the physical environment, exploration of the interface between buildings and the fabric of the existing city, and examination of the professional community’s reactions to urban design solutions. X-grade allowed. (*H,6C)
3974: INDEPENDENT STUDY Variable credit course.
3984: SPECIAL STUDY Variable credit course. X-grade allowed.
4015-4016: ARCHITECTURE IV Design laboratory in conjunction with alternative studies in one of the College’s off-campus centers. Focus on the evaluation of skills developed in the third year professional studies and emphasis toward individualized topical areas of study leading to the development of a thesis project. X-grade allowed. Pre: 3016 for 4015; 4015 for 4016. (2H,12L,7C)
4034: BUILDING CITIES Analytical studies in the historical evolution of cities, towns and villages. Comparative studies of urban form in relation to their constructive and imaginative means with an emphasis on modern construction processes. Specific case studies in designing and building cities. Co: 4016. (3H,3C)
4044 (LAR 4124): PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE Introduction to scope and diversity of the building enterprise, addressing private and public macroeconomic, industrial, technical, professional, and regulatory institutions. Analysis of historic evaluation of professional roles and practices; emergence of new modes of practice, including innovative facilities procurement methods. (3H,3C)
4055,4056: ENVIRONMENT AND BUILDING SYSTEMS A design oriented study of environmental forces, environmental impacts of the built environment, and related building environmental control, life safety and service systems, with concern for the human psycho-physical impacts of building form and systems performance. (3H,3C)
4075-4076: BUILDING STRUCTURES Building structures in steel, timber, and reinforced concrete; design of typical components: beams, slabs, columns, beam-columns, connections, and foundations; design of retaining walls; the resistance of buildings to gravity and lateral force action; building stability; floor/roof framing systems; design of simple buildings. Pre: ESM 3704. (3H,3C)
4114: IDEAS, CONCEPTS, AND REPRESENTATIONS OF ARCHITECTURE Survey of ideas, concepts, and representations that have shaped architecture. Particular emphasis is given to ideational constructs and how they have been adapted in the projecting of buildings. Pre: 3016. (2H,2C)
4144: ADVANCED BUILDING STRUCTURES I Study of long-span building structures. Introduction to geometry, form, and structure of folded and bent surfaces. Study of space grid geometry, close-packing systems, and cellular tensegrity. Approximate design of folded plate structures, single and double curvature shells, single and double layer space frames, suspension roofs, tents, and pneumatic structures. Pre: 4075, 4076. (3H,3C)
4154: ADVANCED BUILDING STRUCTURES II Study of highrise structures ranging from building slabs and blocks, terraced buildings, and skyscrapers to towers. The complexity of load action including wind, earthquake, and hidden loads. The effect of building height, form, and proportion on force action; considerations of stability and redundancy. Preliminary design of masonry buildings, core structures, suspension buildings, braced skeletons, rigid frames, interstitial systems, staggered truss buildings, tubes and hybrid structures. Pre: 4075, 4076. (3H,3C)
4164: COMPUTER APPLICATIONS IN DESIGN Computer system fundamentals. Very brief introduction to assembly programming. Programming in a high level language. Construction of a simple text editor. Construction of a simple relational file. Computer graphics fundamentals. Geometric transformations. 3-space geometry and projections. (3H,3C)
4204: URBAN TECHNOLOGY AND ARCHITECTURE Architecture as determinant of urban spaces and urban form; perceptual, morphological, and typological characteristics of urban spaces as expressions of social values, ideals, and technological innovation. Theoretical models of technological, function, environmental, and social determinants of urban configurations are related to their cultural and historic precedents. X-grade allowed. (3H,3C)
4214: TOPICS IN ARCHITECTURE HISTORY AND THEORY Topics in the history of architecture and theory, predominantly with reference to the Western World. Special emphasis on methods of analysis and interpretation. Repeatable with a maximum of 9C. X-grade allowed. Pre: 3115, 3116. (3H,3C)
4304: TOPICS IN DESIGN METHODS Topics in systematic methods of design and the nature of the design process including application of creative techniques, analogous thinking, analytic methods, computer-aided procedures, and information handling in design. Repeatable with a maximum of 6 credits. X-grade allowed. (3H,3C)
4414: ADVANCED ENVIRONMENT BUILDING SYSTEMS Advanced studies of environment and building systems, including development in building systems, urban systems, service systems, construction systems, materials and component systems, psycho-physical considerations, systems analysis, and computer technology. May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credit hours in varied options offered. X-grade allowed. Pre: 4055, 4056. (2H,3L,3C)
4514: THESIS INQUIRY Student-led, design thesis project research articulated by an aggregated, reflective record of the first semester design work of ARCH 4515-4516 (Architecture V) through an appropriate array of representational means, such as writing, models, images, and drawings. Schematic, critical compilation of ideational and physical process includes critique, evaluation, and presentation of historical, contextual, professional, ethical, and aesthetic considerations; conceptual and theoretical foundations; development of the project\031s parameters and its design. Pre: 4016. Co: 4515. (1H,5L,3C)
4515-4516: ARCHITECTURE V Advanced architectural design research requiring articulation of a terminal thesis project with a conceptual and professional position. ARCH 4515: Student-led focus on identifying research field; probing professional interests; developing conceptual and project parameters; proposing and evaluating design through varied means of critique. ARCH 4516: Emphasis on resolution of project, formal presentation of work, communication of conceptual position, and assertion of professional trajectory. Design/lab studio. Course contact to credit hour structure: Lecture (1H, 1C), Lab (6L, 2C), Design Lab/Studio (5L, 3C). (1H, 11L, 6C). Co: ARCH 4514 for 4515; 4515 for 4516. Co: 4524 for 4516. X-grade allowed. Pre: 4016. Co: 4514 for 4515; 4524, 4515 for 4516. (1H,11L,6C)
4524: THESIS DOCUMENTATION During the second semester of the fifth year, the student takes a required three hour thesis documentation course where their conceptual and professional position is defined and tested by the documentation of the terminal architectural project. Pre: 4515. Co: 4516. (3H,3C)
4705-4706: QUALIFYING DESIGN SEMINAR Exploratory overview of selected theories and issues relevant to the design and use of the environment. 4705: Emphasis on history, human behavior, and environmental context as it relates to architecture. 4706: Presentation and discussion of the nature of principal construction materials in relation to building design. Characteristics of primary structural materials: wood, steel, concrete, masonry; environmental control systems; supporting technologies. Not for credit for majors holding a first professional degree in architecture. (3H,3C)
4715-4716: QUALIFYING DESIGN LABORATORY 4715: Design laboratory in which student and faculty teams explore the nature of problems and potentials with which architecture is concerned, and experimentally develop methods and process through which existing contexts are transformed into new conditions. 4716: Provides introduction to basic concepts of building structures, materials, and enclosure systems, and appropriate site and climate responses. Not for credit for majors holding a first professional degree in architecture. X-grade allowed. (3H,18L,9C)
4904: PROFESSIONAL STUDIES Pass/Fail only. X-grade allowed. (1H,1C)
4944: CONSORTIUM STUDIES IN ARCH International consortium of Schools of Architecture. Undergraduate students are provided an academic environment utilizing the Washington D.C. metropolitan area as an educational laboratory for pursuit of architecture, landscape architecture and urban design and planning. Consortium studies courses are not for credit but reflect enrollment as a full time student. Approval for participation required by student home institution and Virginia Tech. Special fees apply. (0C)
4954: STUDY ABROAD Variable credit course.
4964: FIELD STUDY Variable credit course.
4974: INDEPENDENT STUDY Variable credit course. X-grade allowed.
4974H: INDEPENDENT STUDY Variable credit course.
4984: SPECIAL STUDY Variable credit course.
4994: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH Variable credit course.
4994H: UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH Variable credit course.