Five third-year undergraduate architecture students in Assistant Professor Elizabeth Grant’s design laboratory in Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture + Design were recently recognized for their designs of a building enclosure educational center for the Town of Pulaski, Va. 

A student design competition sponsored by the RCI Mid Atlantic Chapter, an affiliated chapter of RCI Inc., challenged students to design a facility that would serve as a forum for discussion of best practices and new developments in building enclosures.

In preparation for the six-week-long competition, the student group visited the Raymond F. Ratcliffe Transportation Museum in Pulaski, Va., where Pulaski Mayor Jeff Worrell greeted them and John White, director of economic development, gave them an overview of the history and built legacy of the town. 

The students also visited the training center of the Community Housing Partners Energy Solutions Research and Training Center in Christiansburg, Va., to gain exposure to a facility geared toward community outreach and education in the areas of building science and weatherization.

Several students in the design laboratory also travelled to Baltimore, to attend the RCI Region I meeting where they learned about current developments in window technology, vegetative roofing, flashing systems, brick masonry rain screens, and air barriers.

RCI, Incorporated is an international association of professional consultants, architects, and engineers whose mission is to advance the profession of building envelope — roofing, waterproofing, and exterior wall — consultants.

The competition jury comprised Matthew Innocenzi, PE, representing the RCI Mid Atlantic Chapter, Professor James Jones, Director of the Center for High Performance Environments, and Grant. Awards totaling $2,500 were presented to the students, with five students receiving special recognition. 

Tommy Kim of Ashburn, Va., was awarded first place; Andres Jimenez Botero of Saint Paul, Minn., received second place; and Chelsea Bryant of Houston, Texas, placed third. Honorable mentions were given to Shira Chu of Marlboro, N.J., and Brandon Holcombe of Wilmington, Del. This is the second consecutive year that the RCI Mid Atlantic Chapter has supported a student design competition at Virginia Tech.