Professor Robert Dunay of Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies will receive the architecture profession’s highest award from the American Institute of Architects Virginia on Friday in Richmond.
Dunay, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Distinguished Professor and director of the Center for Design Research, will be honored with the William C. Noland Medal in a gala event at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
The annual awards ceremony honors Virginians for their life commitment to creating, preserving, and enhancing Virginia’s communities. The William C. Noland Medal is the organization’s most prestigious award, presented to one member architect who has made a profound and lasting impact on the profession.
In a career connecting academia and architectural practice, Dunay has influenced thousands of architects, created projects that captured international acclaim, and helped establish Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture + Design as one of the nation’s top-ranked.
Active in both domains, he is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and the only professor to be recognized four times with the Most Admired Educator Award from DesignIntelligence, the definitive ranking of U.S. architectural schools and educators.
“As an architect who has spent most of my life in academia, it’s a great honor to receive this recognition from the profession,” Dunay said. “At Virginia Tech, we link the university, industry, and practice through integrative teaching, research, and outreach, encouraging our students to apply their own internal strengths and vision to national and international issues and questions impacting design. This award validates that our graduates are making a difference in architecture.”
A graduate of Virginia Tech’s master of architecture and bachelor of architecture programs, Dunay worked as a licensed architect in Colorado before joining academia.
Ever since, he has taught students at every level and developed innovative cross-disciplinary projects connecting the university with international architectural practice.
The first director of industrial design at Virginia Tech, Dunay now heads the Center for Design Research. There, he pilots projects that partner students, faculty, business, and industry leaders in research merging design, technology, sustainability, and societal needs.
Dunay has co-led students in three Solar Decathlon Competitions sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. LumenHAUS, Virginia Tech’s most recent entry, won the 2010 competition in Spain. It was recognized with an AIA Honor Award and cited as one of the nation’s best works of architecture in 2012.
Dunay also has teamed with colleagues and students to exhibit work worldwide. Students have showcased work at six International Contemporary Furniture Fairs in New York, brought exhibitions to Germany’s Cologne Furniture Fair and the Salon de Mobile at the Milan Furniture Fair, mounted LumenHAUS in Times Square and Millennium Park in Chicago, and helped design and build a home in four days for “Extreme Makeover Home Edition.”
“He is the consummate architect/educator, advancing Virginia architecture through celebrating student achievements while simultaneously contributing to the professional knowledge base of architecture and design,” said Jack Davis, Reynolds Metals Professor and dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.