Virginia Tech’s undergraduate architecture program is ranked No. 3 in the nation among architecture schools for 2016 in a national survey conducted by DesignIntelligence. In addition, the graduate program has moved into the top 10, appearing on the list at No. 9.
For universities in the South, Virginia Tech was ranked No. 1 for undergraduate and No. 2 for graduate programs in architecture.
In the same report, assistant professor of architecture Aki Ishida was recognized among the 25 Most Admired Educators for 2016. “Aki Ishida is invested in and encourages independent exploration by pushing the students of her studio to consider all factors in design by developing unique prompts to build focus on different aspects of design,” the report said. In addition to teaching in the School of Architecture + Design, Ishida has been heavily involved with the Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology at Virginia Tech, working on interdisciplinary projects such as the “Cloud” and the “Lantern Field.”
Each year, DesignIntelligence conducts survey research on behalf of the Greenway Group, sponsors of the Design Futures Council, and publishes the resulting architecture and design school rankings. It is the only national college ranking survey focused exclusively on design.
Rankings are based on the responses of professional practice leaders who have direct experience with the performance of recent architecture and design graduates. Survey participants, who are drawn from the Greenway Group database of leading firms throughout the United States, must verify that they are currently responsible for hiring or supervising design professionals in each of the design fields for which they respond: architecture, industrial design, interior design, and landscape architecture.
Virginia Tech’s undergraduate architecture program has ranked in the top five for eight of the last nine years.
“This year’s ranking is a wonderful way to legitimize our efforts to stand firm on a foundational educational pedagogy that emphasizes a contemporary approach to the education of an architect," said Henri de Hahn, director of the School of Architecture + Design. "The profession has been very well served in having our alumni contribute in a meaningful manner to enhance the increased complexity of our environment.”
In a survey of 90 deans, Virginia Tech was recognized among the top five for, “its advanced technology and the quality of the faculty and program.” The architecture program was also acknowledged within the top 10 universities for education in computer applications, communication skills, construction methods and materials, cross-disciplinary teamwork, sustainable design practices & principles, and research.
Architecture was not the only program within the School of Architecture + Design to appear in the DesignIntelligence rankings. The undergraduate landscape architecture program ranked No. 13 nationally this year, No. 4 in the south. In the student survey, 100 percent of landscape architecture students from Virginia Tech reported that they believe they will be well prepared for their profession upon graduation.
Additionally, the undergraduate interior design program is ranked No. 3 in the south and the undergraduate industrial design program ranked No. 5 in the south. Both programs were recognized for skills education in construction materials and methods.
The bachelor of architecture in the School of Architecture + Design takes five years to complete, and in addition to studies in design theory and process — covering building design as an interactive investigation of human factors, environmental forces, and technology — the students benefit from myriad opportunities to participate in immersive and hands-on experiences. In addition to the Blacksburg campus, the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center offers students the opportunity to study architecture and landscape in an urban environment.