Graduate, undergraduate landscape architecture programs to be unified in Blacksburg
Editor's note: This story has been updated to clarify the work that Autumn Visconti has conducted with the New York City waterfront.
Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies will fully unite its Landscape Architecture Program in Blacksburg, bringing all its students and faculty to one location to further strengthen its overall teaching and research program.
Effective the start of the Spring 2019 semester, no new Master of Landscape Architecture degree students will be admitted to the program currently offered at the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center. All graduate students currently enrolled at that location will be able to complete their degree in the National Capital Region.
“Our landscape architecture program is highly regarded and I believe this change will help us to further distinguish our program,” said Richard Blythe, dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. “This new direction will create many exciting opportunities. It will create new learning opportunities within the program and foster new collaborations with other departments and programs across the university.
“In addition, the undergraduate studio learning environment will be re-energized by this with the addition of more professional master’s degree students and graduate design studios to the landscape architecture studio,” said Blythe. “We will assist current Alexandria students to graduate on schedule during this transition, and when appropriate, we can begin to redeployed resources to expand the enrollment, scope, and impact of the landscape architecture program in Blacksburg.”
Blythe added the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center will continued to be used as a center for project based studies for both graduate and undergraduate students. The center will continue to be used as a vital intersection of focused work related to problem-based studies across disciplines to maximize collaborations between the program with professionals and agencies in the National Capital Region.
“The landscape architecture profession is at a critical juncture as there are not enough landscape architecture graduates to fill available positions in the industry,” said Terry Clements, professor and chair of the Landscape Architecture Program. "This refocused effort in Blacksburg will help us meet the current and future needs of the profession. We intend to complete a comprehensive undergraduate and graduate curriculum review in Blacksburg and do that work with alumni and industry to enhance our recruitment and placement efforts.”
The Landscape Architecture Program at Virginia Tech, which encompasses the design, analysis, planning, management, and stewardship of sustainable environments, has an important development role to play in economic, social, and environmental futures in this region and beyond. Graduates have worked on projects such as protecting 10 miles of the New York City waterfront from future storm surge and sea-level rise. Virginia Tech landscape architecture alumnus and CAUS Dean’s Advisory Board member Autumn Visconti led that project for the Danish design firm BIG.
Housed in the School of Architecture + Design, the program offers a five-year Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, a three-year professional Master of Landscape Architecture, a two-year advanced Master of Landscape Architecture, and Ph.D. studies focused in landscape architecture. Non-degree students from other universities often attend for one or two semesters. Virginia Tech undergraduates can pursue a minor in landscape architecture.
The move to have all degree programs based in Blacksburg will create opportunities for shared undergraduate and graduate level courses to cover content required for the professional degrees. The unified program will increase the viability of conjoined graduate/undergraduate studio and seminar offerings.
In addition, the academic and financial resources accessible in Blacksburg will be available to all master’s degree students. The program will offer a wider variety of courses that all students may choose from as well as more opportunities for students to participate in faculty research projects.
“We will be better able to maintain and enhance the continuity of our bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and Ph.D. programs,” said Clements, “and provide our students and faculty with greater access to a more robust range of Virginia Tech resources.”
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