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Richard Blythe named dean of Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies

May 16, 2017

Richard Blythe
Richard Blythe

Richard Blythe, an award-winning architect and educator with more than 25 years in higher education and architectural practice, has been named dean of the Virginia Tech College of Architecture and Urban Studies (CAUS).

Blythe, professor and dean of RMIT University School of Architecture and Design in Melbourne, Australia, will join Virginia Tech on Oct. 10, when the college’s sixth dean, Jack Davis, will step down to teach after 11 years of leadership.

“I am thrilled to have Richard Blythe joining us to lead the College of Architecture and Urban Studies,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Thanassis Rikakis. “He’s truly a beyond-boundaries leader, internationally known as a highly accomplished practitioner and academic who leverages this experience to embed transdisciplinary learning and technology across the curriculum. Above all, he's someone who embraces continuous innovation, both in practice and in education. His collaborative and transformative leadership will be a great benefit to the college and the university, and I am very excited to see what the future holds for us together."

“It’s a privilege to join a college with an outstanding legacy of global service and innovation in art, architecture, construction, design, public policy, and international affairs,” Blythe said. “I’m excited to support Virginia Tech’s visionary leadership and the world-class people and partners of CAUS to write the next bold chapter in our history. Through our collective efforts, we’ll advance the college as a model of 21st-century scholarship, research, and outreach, and work with our partners in the pursuit of the wonderful and in the service of our communities.”

Blythe’s career reflects a passion for creative practice and research, with a history of robust fundraising and global interdisciplinary collaboration. Under his leadership since 2012, the RMIT School of Architecture and Design achieved $6.8 million in funding for multi-university research alliances, including a grant from the Australian government to lead a 15-university Design and Architecture Practice project. He also established the RMIT practice-based research Ph.D. program in Europe and Asia and was primary author and lead researcher for the 2013 Marie Curie Initial Training Network grant ADAPT-r, a collaboration between RMIT and six European universities.

Prior to his role as dean, Blythe served for five years as head of the RMIT School of Architecture and Design. He lectured at the University of Tasmania for 14 years, where he served as deputy head of the School of Architecture and was the vice chancellor’s representative on the Tasmanian government’s Building and Construction Industries Council.

A founding director of the architecture firm TERROIR in 1999, Blythe continues to contribute to the practice. He is a visiting research professor at Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland.

Blythe has served in numerous professional leadership roles and garnered many awards. He is an Advisory Board member for Ashgate Publishing’s “Design Research in Architecture” series and a review editor for Routledge and the Journal for Architecture Research. He has served as a member of the Australian Deans of the Built Environment Executive Committee; president of the Society of Architectural Historians Australia and New Zealand; and chair of the Australian Institute of Architects National Education Committee. In 2011, he received a prestigious Velux Professorial Fellowship at Aarhus School of Architecture in Denmark.

Blythe earned a Ph.D. in design/practice-based research from RMIT University; a master of architecture from the University of Melbourne; and bachelor’s degrees in architecture and environment design from the Tasmanian State Institute of Technology.

Virginia Tech’s nationally ranked College of Architecture and Urban Studies’ mission is to understand, through acts of creation, design, construction, and analysis, the forces that give meaning and value to the built environments that shape our lives. With an enrollment of 2,200 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 30 countries, the college houses four schools: the School of Architecture + Design; the School of Public and International Affairs; the Myers-Lawson School of Construction; and the School of the Visual Arts. CAUS students invent creative, sustainable solutions to global problems, working directly with faculty, community, and industry partners.

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