Professor of Architecture Susan Piedmont-Palladino has been appointed director of the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center (WAAC), the urban extension of the School of Architecture + Design in the College of Architecture & Urban Studies, succeeding Jaan Holt, who held that position for 32 years.
Piedmont-Palladino joined Virginia Tech in 1991 as an assistant professor at the center after several years of architecture practice and positions teaching at the Catholic University of America and the University of Maryland. She currently coordinates the new graduate urban design program, based at the center.
“Professor Piedmont-Palladino’s 25-year history with the WAAC has been one of commitment to educating students of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design in the National Capital Region’s global, urban lab environment,” said Jack Davis, Reynolds Metals Professor of Architecture and dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. “I look forward to her continuing to seamlessly interweave students from many other national and international consortium universities to work side by side with Virginia Tech Architecture + Design students in a one-of-a-kind multi-ethnic program.”
She has lectured to public, professional, and academic audiences in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America and has served on several architecture selection committees and on numerous design awards juries. A former president of Architect/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility, she also served on the board of the National Academy of Environmental Design and consulted for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon.
In 2015, Piedmont-Palladino received the John Wiebenson “Wieb” Award for Architecture in the Public Interest from the Washington Architecture Foundation.
“In my prior role of graduate chair, I worked alongside Professor Piedmont-Palladino as she provided excellent leadership in growing our master of science in architecture - urban design program housed at the WAAC. I look forward to our collaboration continuing as she charts the future course of the WAAC as one of the integral elements of the School of Architecture + Design,” said Hunter Pittman, interim director of the School of Architecture + Design.
Pidemont-Palladino is looking forward to continuing her longstanding commitment to the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center.
“My relationship to the WAAC goes back to when I was a student. I completed my master of architecture studies there under the late Tom Regan,” she said. “I wish Tom were still with us; he was such an influence on me as an educator."
Piedmont-Palladino’s research interests include American urbanism and technology, environmental stewardship, language and communications, and music. She has been a consulting curator at the National Building Museum since 2003. She is the author of several books, including companion books for two exhibitions she curated: “Green Community” with Tim Mennell and “Tools of the Imagination: Drawing Tools and Technologies from the Eighteenth Century to the Present.” With Mark Alden Branch, she wrote “Devil’s Workshop: 25 Years of Jersey Devil Architecture.” She curated the “Intelligent Cities” initiative, a multiphase exploration of the intersection of information and communication technologies on cities; its companion book was published in December 2011. Her forthcoming book, “How Drawings Work: A User-Friendly Theory,” will be published in late 2017.
She holds a master of architecture degree from Virginia Tech and a bachelor of fine arts in the history of art from the College of William and Mary.