The College of Architecture and Urban Studies is comprised of four schools. The School of Architecture + Design includes accredited undergraduate and graduate programs in architecture, landscape architecture, industrial design, and interior design. The School of Public and International Affairs includes undergraduate programs in smart and sustainable cities, and environmental policy and planning; graduate programs in public administration, public and international affairs and urban and regional planning; and doctoral programs in public administration and governance and globalization. The Myers-Lawson School of Construction, the first of its kind in the nation, brings together the Department of Building Construction in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, and the Vecellio Construction Engineering and Management Program in the Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, which includes graduate and undergraduate programs in building construction and in construction engineering and management. The college is also one of six colleges offering a program in Real Estate, an innovative interdisciplinary undergraduate degree program combining theory and industry practice. The School of Visual Arts offers undergraduate programs in art history, creative technologies, studio art, and visual communication design as well as a Master's of Fine Arts in creative technologies and a Master's in Material Culture and Public Humanities, jointly with the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.
These programs share a common purpose—to understand and mold the built environment through acts of creation, design, construction, and analysis. These forces give meaning to the built environments that shape our lives.
Research and outreach programs supplement instructional efforts and are carried out through college centers and laboratories. Specialized research and outreach centers offer students and faculty members opportunities for concentrated investigations in such areas as history and theory of art and architecture, housing, metropolitan studies, community design, construction safety and health, high performance learning environments, community health, governance and accountability, public policy, women in architecture, environmental design and planning, design research, and visual design.
The college offers a range of advanced digital technologies including an array of rapid prototyping devices and a wide range of computing and graphic equipment in support of the instructional and research programs of the college. The Environmental Systems Laboratory (ESL) and the Research and Demonstration Facility (RDF) are available to faculty members and students for the conduct of research, in-depth investigations of environmental systems, prototype development, and industrial, graphic, and product design. To support these endeavors, the college has the Virtual Environments Laboratory (VE Lab), Center for Advanced Visual Media, and the Visual Design Studio for Education, Research, Exhibition, and Outreach.
The Art and Architecture Library, a branch of the University Libraries, is located in Cowgill Hall and houses more than 60,000 volumes, 200 periodicals, and 65,000 architectural slides. The college also provides media facilities - VTR systems, photographic darkroom, printmaking, ceramics, and cinematographic space and equipment, 3-D printing, and plastics, wood and metal shops.
The college's Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center and Northern Virginia Center in Old Town Alexandria provide opportunities for architecture, landscape architecture, public administration, and urban and regional planning students to spend one or more semesters in the Washington, DC metropolitan area examining the range of design and planning problems found in large urban centers. In addition to classes, studios, and curricula at the undergraduate and graduate levels, the centers offer research and continuing education opportunities for students, faculty, and alumni, and facilitates participation in the rich educational and cultural opportunities of the greater Washington area.
The Europe Studio, based at the university's Steger Center for European Studies and Architecture in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland, provides undergraduate and graduate study opportunities for students college-wide. Studios, seminars, and organized travel are offered. The college also sponsors an array of additional study abroad opportunities, including study-travel programs elsewhere in the world.
Students who wish to combine degree options within the college or with related disciplines within the university should contact the major school or department regarding special undergraduate and graduate program requirements.
A Summer Qualifying Design Lab in the School of Architecture + Design is required for Virginia Tech students wishing to transfer into the college and change their major to the architecture, landscape architecture, industrial design, or interior design degree program.
Dean: Richard J. Blythe
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs: Kathryn Clarke Albright
Associate Dean for Research: Robert P. Schubert
Associate Dean for Graduate Studies: Paul Emmons
First-Year Experience course for Explore CAUS majors. Overview of the college and its degrees, majors and minors, and career opportunities available to CAUS graduates. Presents college and university resources and services that support student success. Introduces students to the basic principles of the research process by focusing on inquiry, problem-solving, and integration of ideas and experiences within the fields in the College of Architecture & Urban Studies.
Transdisciplinary practice in an inclusive, collaborative environment, through the lens of creative technologies and experiences, to describe and evaluate the convergence between art, technology, and human experience in the arts, sciences, humanities, and engineering. Exploration of play for creation of ideas and artifacts (including, but not restricted to multimedia narratives, learning simulations, immersive/performative experiences, and data exploration). Inclusive collaboration with peers and practicing professionals in diverse fields. Critical consideration of creative technologies and the impacts on history, society, cultures, individuals, and communities. Collaborative research, design, creation, and exhibition of a transdisciplinary project to identify and address a global challenge. Course contact to credit hour structure: Lecture (1H,1C), Lab (3L, 1C), Design Lab/Studio (2L, 1C).
Seminar for first-year students enrolled in Rhizome Living-Learning Community. Introduction to systems thinking. Simple and complex systems. Systems approach to sustainable development. International perspectives on, and goals for, sustainable development. Considers United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS), SDGs History, global progress towards SDGs and Criticisms of SDGs and United Nations. Exploration of Rhizome LLC yearly theme.
Course for first-year students enrolled in Rhizome Living-Learning Community. Project-based learning through student-client collaborations. Applies systems thinking concepts and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Introduces design thinking as a model for problem solving, including problem definition and iteration. Student presentations, proposal development, exhibition, client feedback and peer critiques.
Collaborative cross-disciplinary research teams support discipline-specific capstones. Analyzes the interactive relationships between place, space, identity, and community in the United States and beyond. Engages in iterative research processes through reflective teamwork addressing complex problems in senior capstone projects. Synthesizes multiple, complex sources and creates coherent arguments including ethical analyses.