University of Virginia: School of Architecture

SALAd Symposium: Design + Politics: Advocacy and Action Symposium


Design + Politics: Advocacy and Action Symposium addressed the environmental, economic, and socio-political issues confronting practitioners as agents of resilient, built environments in a post-Katrina and post-Sandy world.

Thursday, April 4, 2013



Updated: April 8, 2013

U.S. Institute of Peace Announces Design Competition


“Lights and Windows Challenge”

Help the Institute find a more time- and cost- efficient way to wash windows and change light bulbs.

USIP seeks to reduce costs and minimize the time needed to wash the windows and change the light bulbs in its Schulz Great Hall and International Women’s Commons.

USIP is fortunate to have one of the most beautiful buildings in Washington. Designed to be a symbol of America’s commitment to peacebuilding under a striking glass roof, it is also a transparent and functional workspace and conference center.

The Institute has two large atria—one 82 feet high and the other 58 feet high. Floor to ceiling windows line three sides of these great halls; a row of lights caps the top edge of each of those three panels. Currently, for a crew to wash the windows and change the light bulbs, the Institute must install scaffolding to reach the upper heights. The process is both time-intensive and expensive. The slideshow below demonstrates the problem. There are a number of challenges that must be taken into consideration with all design proposals:

  • The floor is made of soft limestone, and under these floors there are small water hoses used for the radiant heating/cooling system. Any structure coming from the ground must take care not to damage the floor. The present cleaning process begins with covering the floor with a ½” of Homosote and a ¾” plywood before securing the scaffolding;
  • The process needs to minimize the time during which these halls cannot be used;
  • The top of the walls have fiberglass panels. Any installation incorporated into the building’s design must not come into contact with these panels if that would cause damage;
  • The steel in the curtain walls are coated with fire retardant special insulation. Any disturbance needs to be recoated.

The deadline for submission is April 23rd, 2013.

Inquiries and submissions should be sent to: USIP will host two open house events on March 30th and April 5th for interested parties to visit the building and meet with our Chief Building Engineer. Submissions should include a detailed description of all processes involved – including the creation of new tools or any possible installation suggestions – as well as an expected budget.

Visit for more information.

Updated: April 4, 2013

Mountaintop Removal and Coal Mining: Human Perspectives


Mountaintop Removal and Coal Mining: Human Perspectives, part of Spring 2013 class "The Arts and The Environment."

Updated: April 3, 2013

Daphne Spain Named 2013 Cavaliers' Distinguished Teaching Professor



Daphne Spain has been named the 2013 Cavaliers’ Distinguished Teaching Professor Chair. This award recognizes an eminent scholar for outstanding and enduring excellence in the teaching of undergraduates, and is the highest award the University of Virginia bestows on faculty members. Daphne is the first person from the School of Architecture to win this award. 

Established in 1991, the two-year Chair appointment includes significant monetary award, together with an annual $2,000 research fund.

The Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost issues a call for nominations each fall and the Teaching Resource Center administers the awards program. Anyone may nominate a colleague, and nomination packets include recommendations and quantitative data from students, letters from colleagues and the departmental chair, and a reflective statement from the nominee.

Thanks to Daphne for her inspiring teaching over many years, which made her an obvious choice for this prestigious award, and to Tim Beatley, Bruce Dotson, Reuben Rainey and many others who supported her nomination.

Congratulations Daphne!

Updated: March 25, 2013

Student Work at the AIA New York Center for Architecture


Student work will be exhibited at the AIA New York Center for Archictecture as part of a Mary Miss / City as Living Laboratory (MM/CaLL) project.

BROADWAY: 1000 Steps, a project initiated by MM/CaLL, seeks to establish New York City's iconic avenue as its ‘green’ corridor where current and planned sustainability initiatives can be made tangible and accessible to every citizen at street level. The long-term goal is to create a framework to incrementally transform Broadway through a series of projects by artists, designers, and creative thinkers in collaboration with scientists and citizens that reveal our connections to and our dependence upon the resources supplied by the natural environment.

This exhibition presents the initial steps that have been taken to map issues along the length of Broadway and the Toolkit, designed by Miss, to reveal these issues. Also represented are voices of community leaders, local citizens, and expert scientists who have helped guide the CaLL team as well as research and proposals by over 100 students from U.Va. and other colleges and universities around the country.

Karen Van Lengen was Director of the Academic Initiative of the eight schools that participated.

Learn more on the AIA New York website


Updated: March 11, 2013

Laurie Olin Awarded 2013 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal


The University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello will present their highest honors, the 2013 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals in architecture, law and citizen leadership, to, respectively:

  • Laurie Olin, a distinguished professor, author and renowned landscape architect whose designs include the Washington Monument Grounds in Washington, D.C. and Bryant Park in New York City.
  • Robert S. Mueller III, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who has led the bureau’s post-9/11 transformation.
  • Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach For America, which has inspired more than 38,000 top recent college graduates and young professionals to join the movement to ensure educational opportunity for all.

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals recognize the achievements of those who embrace endeavors in which Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and third U.S. president, excelled and held in high regard.

The awards are presented annually on Jefferson's birthday – April 13, known locally as Founder’s Day – by U.Va., which he founded in Charlottesville in 1819, and by the  Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the independent, nonprofit organization that owns and operates his home, Monticello. This year, April 13 falls on a weekend, so the medals will be presented April 12.

Laurie Olin will be presenting a talk titled Civic Realism and Landscape on April 12 at 3pm in the Old Cabell Hall Auditorium.

Read the full story at UVA Today.

Updated: May 28, 2013

Charlottesville Planning Commission awards U.Va. School of Architecture


On February 12, Inaki Alday and Kim Tanzer accepted the Design Professional of the Year Award on behalf of the School of Architecture’s Belmont Vortex design workshop.

The workshop developed in response to the “Project Gait-Way” initiative, a design competition organized by residents of the Belmont neighborhood. Approximately 300 students, representing all disciplines of the School of Architecture, formed 29 teams to re-imagine the Belmont Bridge and its function within the larger community. The workshop proved to be a success, sparking dialogue amongst the community, producing innovative and creative design concepts that are informing future planning decisions, and creating a model for similar design competitions in the future. 

The Belmont Vortex project was commended as an invaluable collaborative opportunity with the City of Charlottesville as well as its residents, and paves the way for continued engagement with the community.

Urban Planning graduate student Yusen Wang also received an award for his work during the summer of 2012 with Neighborhood Development Services. The Herman Key Jr. Access to the Disabled Award was given to Yusen's "invaluable service" to the City of Charlottesville through his efforts in accessibility issues and resulting ADA improvements.

Updated: February 15, 2013

School of Architecture's Rivanna River Workshop and Competition Sparks Innovative Ideas


by Robert Hull and Jenny Abel

"Water covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, and our bodies are roughly 60 percent water.

Acknowledging water’s omnipresence, students and faculty at the University of Virginia School of Architecture have focused this year on the idea of water through coursework, lectures and research.

Last week, as a part of an ambitious weeklong design workshop, nearly 400 U.Va. architecture students, from second-year undergraduates to the master’s graduating class, gathered from all four of the school’s disciplines – architecture, landscape architecture, urban and environmental planning and architectural history – to explore the subject of water – specifically, the Rivanna River.

The “Rivanna River Vortex All-School Workshop” followed a similar format as last year’s successful “Belmont Bridge Vortex,” in which the entire school was also mobilized."


Read the full story at UVAToday

Updated: January 30, 2013

All-School Research Focus: Water



Water defines the blue planet, Earth.  Its surface is 71% water; our bodies are roughly 60% water.  But water's distribution is uneven and unfair.  Even in climatically stable times, parts of the planet receive less or more rainfall, leading to deserts and rain forests, each with inventive human adaptations.  In today's time of rapid change, evidenced in sharp population increase and mass migrations, dramatic resurfacing of lands through deforestation and erosion, and catastrophic weather events, water can amplify this destabilization.  Often negative impacts disproportionately fall to those least able to protect themselves: many of the world's poorest people live in flooding deltas; others drink polluted water; and millions walk miles daily to find it.   But not always:  hurricanes do not avoid wealthy communities, polluted or drying aquifers serve the rich and poor alike, floods ravage lakeside vacation homes, and tidal surges wash out everything at the water's edge.  Nonetheless, it is often said that a small minority of the people on the planet use the vast majority of its resources, water included.

How can we imagine the blue planet in equilibrium, with adequate water where we need it, when we need it?  How can we re-imagine the theoretical and physical construction of adaptive water infrastructures, equitable distribution systems, and daily individual practices? Can water be safe to drink and to bathe in and, very selectively, to use for irrigation?  What can we learn from the past and from cultures beyond our own?  Can we envision preferred futures in which the constructed environment is part of the solution?   How can we hold in our minds and practices the paradox that water is equally a design element, a valuable resource, and a dangerous threat?

At the School of Architecture we focus on water in our daily actions, in our teaching, and through our research.  From the rain garden at Campbell Hall, designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz as part of the Campbell Constructions, to a study-abroad program in India and a recent alumni project based in Cape Town, Ghana, to a longtime focus on coastal resilience and clean water, faculty, students, staff, and alumni have concentrated on the importance of water on the blue planet.  During the 2012-13 academic year we will further concentrate our efforts on water, through ongoing coursework and a special series of lectures, exhibits, and an all-school charrette on Charlottesville’s Rivanna River.

A Zen saying tells us, “If you want to understand the teachings of water, just drink.”  At the School of Architecture, we do.

For more, visit The Water Index, a blog that tracks various SARC water activities this year as well as water resources within the School. 

Updated: December 18, 2012

Isaac Cohen (MLA'13 and Howland Travelling Fellow) to present at Eruv Symposium


Isaac Cohen (MLA'13) will present at the Mystery and History of the Eruv Symposum at the Yeshiva University Museum Center for Jewish History on Sunday, October 28. His presentation, titled "Expanding Eruv: Urban Typologies and the Making of Jewish Space," will develop his research initiated on the Howland Travelling Fellowship.

See the attached document for the symposium schedule and information.

Updated: October 22, 2012