Centers + Institutes
Extending our Impact
Our centers focus in three primary areas: funded research, scholarship, and community engagement. Each center extends the work of our college and provides opportunity for collaboration within the university and with industry, government, and communities across the Commonwealth.
College of Architecture and Urban Studies
Director: Elizabeth Gilboy
The Community Design Assistance Center was established in 1988 through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education program. The two main goals of establishing the center were to provide underserved communities in southwest Virginia with low-cost planning and design assistance and to provide landscape architecture, architecture, planning, and building construction students with an opportunity for paid experience related to their future careers that also taught students about participatory design and planning processes.
Director: Enric Ruiz-Geli
The Global Forum on Urban and Regional Resilience seeks to offer new ideas and perspectives for studying ‘resilience’ with a particular focus on how the discourse on resilience relates to the traditional foci of political economy – the relationships between markets, institutions and the state – and on how these relationships are challenged by the scale and complexity of contemporary socio-economic processes that are spatially highly uneven. Our research efforts are organized around four distinct thematic clusters: Resilient Infrastructure, Financial Resilience, The Resilience Machine, and Socio-Political Dimensions of Resilience, each advancing research excellence through individual endeavors and a variety of formal collaborations.
School of Architecture + Design
Directors: Joe Wheeler, Bob Dunay
The Center for Design Research (CDR) links the academy, industry, and design practice by creating opportunities for collaboration through applied research; establishes corporate partnerships and sponsorships within the prospectus of design research; expands capacity by building relationships within the design professions and affiliated industries; initiates collaborative research projects within and beyond the boundaries of the university; and strengthens all areas of research through cross-disciplinary team building, and the integration of teaching and research. The work of the CDR and its participants expands the scope of design and embraces collaboration across many scales and disciplines with the goal of technological innovation and paradigm shifts that enable more with less in ways that have the potential to expand the research of design/designers to influence systemic global impact.
Director: Jim Jones
The Center for High Performance Environments (CHPE) serves as a first-of-its-kind resource for designers, engineers, system consultants, teachers, school administrators, facility managers, building owners and others interested in improving the design and operation of built environments. The CHPE takes a holistic approach to the design of buildings and focuses on a range of multidisciplinary activities, including energy efficiency, sustainability, systems integration, evaluating the building envelope, and integrating appropriate technology into indoor environments of the 21st century.
Director: Donna Dunay
The International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA) was established in 1985 as a joint program of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and the University Libraries at Virginia Tech. The purpose of the Archive is to document the history of women's contributions to the built environment by collecting, preserving, and providing access to the records of women's architectural organizations and the professional papers of women architects, landscape architects, designers, architectural historians and critics, and urban planners.
Myers-Lawson School of Construction
Director: Deborah Dickerson
The Center for Innovation in Construction Safety, Health & Well-being (IC-SAFE) is consortium of researchers, students, industry leaders, worker and trades representatives, and professional staff conducting interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research to improve safety and health in construction. The goal of IC-SAFE is to markedly reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities for American construction workers, which will lead to measurable improvements to the national statistical profile. Ultimately, our integrated design and delivery team involves architects, engineers, safety professionals, public health, statisticians, students, industry, and others.
Director: Andrew McCoy
The Virginia Center for Housing Research (VCHR) is the official housing research and information center for the Commonwealth of Virginia and is an interdisciplinary college research center in Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies. VCHR provides services to localities, the state, federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit businesses.
School of Public and International Affairs
Director: Max Stephenson
The Virginia Tech Institute for Policy and Governance is actively involved in empirical and theoretical research, and supports sponsored research endeavors for the School of Public and International Affairs. We engage in research, capacity building, technical assistance, and community-based participatory inquiry with and on behalf of those we serve, principally public, nonprofit and private organizations, and the populations and communities these entities support.
School of Visual Arts
Director: Jeff Joiner
FourDesign is a faculty-led, student-run design studio in the School of Visual Arts at Virginia Tech. We work with local, regional and national clients to develop well-designed, strategy-based branding and marketing materials that help them build stronger relationships with their customers.