Joseph Wheeler, professor of architecture in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech, has received the Virginia AIA Prize for Design Research and Scholarship for Virginia Tech’s FutureHAUS. Professor Mehdi Setareh, also a professor in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, received an honorable mention. 

The prize is intended to encourage theoretical awareness, educational exchange, thought and research in architecture, both within academic institutions and within the offices of practicing architects who participate in theoretical pursuits. Wheeler and Setareh will receive their awards during this week’s Architecture Exchange East conference in Richmond, Virginia. Wheeler will also present on the FutureHAUS project during the conference.

Virginia Tech’s FutureHAUS is a fully functional working prototype of a next-generation responsive home. Wheeler and Denis Gracanin, associate professor in the College of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science, are leading a multidisciplinary research team of faculty and students working on the FutureHAUS. The underlying concept of the project is that kitchens, bathrooms, audio visual walls, mechanical rooms and closets can be preassembled as ‘cartridges’ in manufacturing plants and shipped as pre-finished, pre-plumbed and pre-wired assemblies.

“This concept could be used for a single-family home or it could be utilized for mass production housing,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler is co-director of the School of Architecture and Design’s Center for Design Research. He has been a primary faculty member on multiple interdisciplinary research projects, including the 2005, 2009, and 2010 Solar Decathlon houses. The most recent of which, LumenHAUS, won first place overall in the International Solar Decathlon in Madrid, Spain, and received a 2012 AIA Honor Award for Architecture. He received his bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University, and his master’s degree in architecture from Virginia Tech.

Mehdi Setareh, a professor in the School of Architecture + Design, was awarded an honorable mention for his work on the Structure and Form Analysis System. The system is an educational tool for architecture students, engineering students, architects, engineers, and anyone interested in built environments designed to help individuals better understand the relationships between structure and form through an interactive web-based system.

Setareh, co-director of the Center for Advanced Visual Media and director of the National Science Foundation-funded Vibration Testing Lab, received a 2010 National Award for Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel from the American Institute of Steel Construction for his work on a dramatic cantilevered corporate headquarters in Michigan.
He received his Ph.D. in structural engineering from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Institute of Steel Construction, the Society of Experimental Mechanics, and the American Society of Engineering Education.



Written by Hannah Samlall of Warrenton, Virginia, a senior majoring in communications in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. 
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