Architects of the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech, recently received Europe's most prestigious award for contemporary architecture, the Mies van der Rohe Award.

The Norwegian architectural firm, SNØHETTA, won this distinction for their design of The Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo, Norway. The Mies van der Rohe Award is granted every two years by the European Union and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, Barcelona, to acknowledge and reward quality architectural production in Europe.

Renderings and a model of the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech, a project of the Arts Initiative, will be on display on Monday, June 21, at 1 p.m., at the groundbreaking ceremony on Shultz Lawn. The groundbreaking ceremony is free and open to the public.

"It is enthralling to begin seeing increasingly detailed designs and floorplans created by this internationally celebrated architecture firm," said Center for the Arts Executive Director Ruth Waalkes, "The Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech promises to be an innovative and dramatic venue for performances, exhibitions, and special events."

Ian Colburn, a 2003 graduate from Virginia Tech's School of Architecture + Design, has been working on the Center for the Arts from SNØHETTA's New York City office since March 2010. Previously, Colburn worked at SNØHETTA’s Oslo office for a year during his undergraduate studies.

“It is gratifying to know that our graduates continue to be in high demand by prestigious firms throughout the world,” said School of Architecture + Design Director Scott Poole. “That the university is realizing its longstanding vision of a new Center for the Arts with an architecture firm of such high international distinction, demonstrates that Virginia Tech is indeed committed to moving within the circle of the world’s most distinguished universities.”

Through the comprehensive Virginia Tech Arts Initiative, the university has made a strong commitment to the arts on campus and in the surrounding communities. The cornerstone of the Arts Initiative is the $89 million Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech. Scheduled to open in 2013 at the corner of Main Street and Alumni Boulevard in Blacksburg, the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech will house:

  • A 1,260-seat, state-of-the-art performance hall for music, theatre, and dance performances;
  • Visual arts galleries for traditional, digital, and new media exhibitions; and
  • Creative technology laboratory spaces for the Center for Creative Technologies in the Arts, which will provide an applied research environment for faculty, artists, and educators and will serve pre-kindergarten through 12th grade (PK-12) education by engaging teachers and other school personnel in the development of models and programs through the integration of the arts and technology to enhance the development of critical thinking skills and the teaching of math, science, social studies, and language arts in PK-12.
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