Virginia Tech will host the Mitchell O. Carr Symposium, titled “Creative Use of Wood in Design,” on the Blacksburg campus March 18-21.

The event begins with a three-day student competition at Squires Student Center, and concludes at the Inn at Virginia Tech, with presentations by architects, builders, and designers from across North America.

Presenters will discuss innovations in using wood as a structural and aesthetic material in the design, engineering, and construction of interiors and structures. Up to five professional continuing education credits are available to attendees.

The March 21 event will also feature presentations by the student teams. Entries will be judged and cash prizes be awarded to the first, second, and third place teams.

For the student competition, five interdisciplinary teams of 10 students each will design and build a wooden pick-up truck camper fit for cross-country travel. The participants will create sleep and lounge areas in addition to a creative interior design.

“The students get a chance to design something truly unique,” said Brian Bond, professor of sustainable biomaterials and co-chair of the symposium planning committee. “They also work with students from different disciplines and get exposure to different ways of thinking.”

The symposium is jointly organized by the Department of Sustainable Biomaterials in the College of Natural Resources and Environment, the Myers-Lawson School of Construction in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, and the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

“There have been new developments in the use of wood as a building material, even to the point of building multistructure buildings with this sustainable material,” Bond said. “We want to interact with and encourage those who design, specify, or construct interior environments to use wood in new, creative, and innovative ways.”

The symposium was made possible by a generous donation from the Carr Family Foundation and is named for family patriarch Mitchell O. Carr, who earned his bachelor’s degree in dairy science from Virginia Tech in 1955.

Carr began his career as a log buyer and over time developed a large hardwood manufacturing company with facilities across Virginia. Ultimately his company was sold to Baillie Lumber, now one of the largest brokers of hardwood lumber in the United States.

Registration for the event, which is due by March 14, is free for Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff and $50 for all others. Individuals with disabilities and a desire for accommodation should contact Henry Quesada at 540-231-0978 or email during regular business hours at least 10 days prior to the event.

Off-campus visitors who would like to attend the student competition at Squires Student Center must obtain a visitor parking permit from Parking Services. Visitor permits are not required at the Inn at Virginia Tech.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim (That I May Serve), Virginia Tech takes a hands-on, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealth’s most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 240 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 31,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $513 million. The university fulfills its land-grant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.

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