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CAUS young alumni dominate national American Institute of Architects Awards

April 27, 2017

Clayborne and Velez-Alvarez.

Photo of Clayborne and Velez-Alvarez.
College of Architecture and Urban Studies alumni Corey Clayborne and Luis Velez-Alvarez were both named national AIA Young Architect Award winners.

Two of 14 architects earning top honors as national American Institute of Architects 2017 Young Architects Award winners launched their careers in Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies.

R. Corey Clayborne, a 2004 graduate of the School of Architecture + Design (A&D), and Luis Vélez-Alvarez, a 2005 graduate of the master’s program and former A+D faculty member, are being honored at the 2017 AIA Conference on Architecture, April 27-29 in Orlando, and also at a Virginia Tech reception.

Virginia Tech was the only architectural program to boast two 2017 national Young Architect alumni winners.

“I think it’s great that two Virginia Tech A+D alumni received awards celebrating the accomplishments and leadership of architects early in their careers,” said Vélez-Alvarez. “This serves as an example of how the School of Architecture + Design prepares students for their professional life and commitment to the community. It also validates the choices I’ve made to work hard in my profession and give back through volunteering and education.”

“It truly is a tremendous honor to receive this award from the AIA,” said Clayborne. “Our university motto at Virginia Tech is Ut Prosim, which means That I May Serve. This award is a reflection of just that.”

The AIA Young Architects Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers.

"The recognition of Corey and Luis is a demonstration that our alumni are constantly striving for excellence in their work for their clients, the community, and in service of the profession,” said V. Hunter Pittman, director of the School of Architecture + Design. “Their commitment to these goals and continuing strong connection to the school is a testament to the school's core mission of strong professional education as an enduring impact on the profession and the communities it serves."

Clayborne is a project manager in Wiley|Wilson's Richmond, Virginia, office. He was appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to Virginia’s Board for Architects, Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, Certified Interior Designers, and Landscape Architects in 2015 as the board’s youngest-ever appointee.

He’s also served as president of AIA Richmond and currently serves on the City of Charlottesville Planning Commission and Board of Architectural Review.

At Wiley|Wilson, Clayborne directs and designs a variety of projects for many of the firm’s local, state, and federal government clients. He has given back to his community in organizations such as Computers4Kids, 100 Black Men of Central Virginia, and the First Baptist Church.

Vélez-Alvarez is an associate and architectural designer at SmithGroupJJR’s Washington, D.C., office. His passion to make architecture an extension of nature has led to projects that gained LEED certification, one of which was awarded the LEED Core and Shell Project of the Year in 2009.

He has helped design the Mortgage Bankers Association’s 170,000-square-foot headquarters; award-winning buildings for Carr Properties in Washington, D.C; and currently leads the design effort repositioning the 500,000-square-foot National Press Building.

As AIA|DC's associate director, he has helped educate young students about architecture through the Washington Architectural Foundation's Architecture in the Schools program; co-founded its Latin American Interior Designers, Engineers, and Architects committee; and participated in the Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program. In 2016, he was named AIA|DC Emerging Architect.

Vélez-Alvarez also spent two years as a visiting assistant professor in the Virginia Tech College of Architecture and Urban Studies, where he taught first-year design students.

“These two professionals represent the quality education we strive to offer in the college,” said Jack Davis, dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. “The Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia have strong histories of architectural significance, and we are proud that Corey and Luis have contributed greatly to this heritage.”

Virginia Tech’s architecture program is consistently ranked in the top five nationally by DesignIntelligence, the leading source of design school rankings. It also is home to internationally recognized, award-winning faculty and countless students and alumni who have earned national and global recognition for their work.

“The architectural education that I received at Virginia Tech was tremendous,” said Clayborne. “CAUS offers students the resources and freedom to explore design solutions as much as they like. Those are the types of opportunities that I still remember 13 years later. Our firm has many Hokies on board, and we see candidates from Virginia Tech get stronger and stronger each year.”

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