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Virginia Tech interior design student wins grand prize in national competition

May 6, 2016

Leigh Ann Soistmann
Leigh Ann Soistmann

Leigh Ann Soistmann of Yorktown, Virginia, a senior interior design major in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, is the grand prize winner in the 2016 ASID National Student Portfolio Competition sponsored by the American Society of Interior Designers.

She will be recognized during Celebration: The ASID Awards Gala in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on July 16.

Competition entrants were asked to compile a portfolio of up to four projects that best represented their design capabilities, along with their resume and an opening statement telling the jury about themselves and how they think.

“I begin a project by looking at the site and the activities being performed by the users of the space,” Soistmann said. “For example, during my junior year I designed a flagship store for REI in Washington, D.C. I began by thinking about the activities the consumers would be doing with their freshly purchased merchandise. People would either be hiking, camping, participating in water sports, etc. From here I began to sketch the undulating ridgeline of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the waves of the ocean. These sketches eventually became a mountainous form that, as I iterated, became a design element that informed all aspects of the project.”

Soistmann has also been recognized as the College of Architecture and Urban Studies’ 2016 Outstanding Senior.

Students from Virginia Tech’s Interior Design Program, part of the School of Architecture + Design in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, have a history of success in national and international design competitions, including the ASID Student Design Competition, which was also won by Virginia Tech student in 2011. Virginia Tech students received honorable mentions in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Founded in 1975, the ASID is the oldest, largest, and leading professional organization for interior designers. The Society’s membership also includes nearly 5,000 students of interior design with more than 280 student chapters at college, universities and design schools with 2-year and 4-year programs throughout the U.S. as well as several virtual chapters through online institutions.    

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