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Jaan Holt steps down as director of the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center

January 19, 2016

Jaan Holt
Jaan Holt with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. Holt managed the design competition for Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial on behalf of the Alpha Phi Alpha, the foundation charged with its creation.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Jaan Holt, Patrick and Nancy Lathrop Professor of Architecture and longtime director of the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, has announced his decision to step down as director, effective Jan. 15. Holt will continue to teach at the center for at least the spring semester.

An interim director will be named until a search for the new director can be completed.

“Many are aware of Jaan’s health concerns and I respect his decision to step down at this time. I greatly appreciate the numerous contributions that he has made to the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center. His influence, vision, and passion can be seen there every day and will be an important legacy for the center and the college,” said Jack Davis, Reynolds Metals Professor of Architecture and dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.

While chair of Virginia Tech's architecture program in the summer of 1980, Jaan Holt and fellow professor Hans Rott brought 18 architecture students to design studios at the just-closed Alexandria Elementary School at 1001 Prince Street. This successful summer was followed by the appointment of Thomas Regan as the first director and thus, with the support of the then-Provost John Wilson and Charles W. Steger, then the dean of architecture and now president emeritus, the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center was born on the second and third floors above a CVS Pharmacy in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.

Steger appointed Holt as center director in 1984 upon the departure of Thomas Regan. Since that time, Holt has worked diligently to expand the program and facilities of the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center to encompass multiple buildings along Prince Street.

Holt earned his Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, and his Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech. He has served on the faculty of Virginia Tech since 1972.

“Jaan’s work in the National Capital Region has set the stage for our future. As we undergo this change in leadership at the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, we have the opportunity to continue to build on the work he has already done to establish a significant presence for Virginia Tech, creating greater opportunities for students to study and gain experience in an urban environment” said Davis.

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