Paul Emmons, professor of architecture, has been named associate dean for graduate studies in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech.

Emmons, who is based at Virginia Tech’s National Capital Region in its Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center (WAAC), will start his new role this spring. A registered architect, professor, and coordinator of the WAAC’s Ph.D. program in Architecture + Design Research, Emmons has been a university faculty member since 1999.  

“I’m delighted to name Professor Emmons to this important position in our college and look forward to leveraging his expertise to continue building Virginia Tech’s strength in the National Capital Region,” said Richard Blythe, dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. “Professor Emmons was selected on the advice of associate deans and colleagues from a short list of impressive internal candidates. He brings extensive experience in leading Ph.D. programs at Virginia Tech. His expertise will be paramount to expanding our excellent Ph.D. programs through the introduction of practice-based approaches and enhancing our current master’s program offerings in architecture and landscape architecture.”

An internationally renowned scholar in his field, Emmons earned a Ph.D. in architectural theory from the University of Pennsylvania, a master of architecture from the University of Minnesota, and a bachelor's degree in business administration & marketing from University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire.

His research focuses on theories of practice and drawing in architectural design. In addition to co-editing  "Confabulations, Storytelling in Architecture" (2017) and "The Cultural Role of Architecture" (2012), Emmons has also published numerous book chapters and journal articles, including: “Bodies, Books and Buildings: Encountering the Renaissance Frontispiece” in "Chora Seven, Intervals in the Philosophy of Architecture" (2015), “On Reading what is written between the lines; the esoteric dimension of Ebenezer Howard’s 'Garden Cities'” in "Architecture’s Appeal" (2015), and “Teaching Drawing and Representation” in "Two Centuries of Architecture Education in North America" (MIT Press, 2012).

His article “Embodying Networks: Bubble Diagrams and the Image of Modern Organicism” was recently selected by the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Journal of Architecture for reprinting as one of the leading articles in the Journal over the past 20 years. Emmons has lectured at numerous scholarly conferences around the world and was Visiting University Professor at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

At the WAAC for the past 19 years, where there is disciplinary and vertical learning integration, Emmons teaches undergraduate, master’s, and Ph.D.-level students in architecture as well as some in landscape architecture and urban design. He teaches design studio labs and seminars in architectural history and theory and chairs many undergraduate and graduate thesis committees. Graduates of the Ph.D. program are teaching at universities throughout the world. With Associate Professor Marcia Feuerstein and the help of many others, he has been organizing the recurring Frascari Symposia, most recently "Ceilings and Dreams" in 2017, which will be an eponymous publication by Routledge. Emmons was also a leader in acquiring and establishing the Marco Frascari Collection based at the WAAC library in 2014.

“I look forward to the challenges of working to develop new practice-based graduate degrees that will expand the impact of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies while continuing the high level of quality in existing programs,” Emmons said. “An important part of my role will be to support and promote the success of students and faculty in CAUS’s numerous graduate programs by working closely with program directors and the Graduate School.”

Emmons fills the position previously held by Professor Patrick Miller, who stepped down as associate dean for graduate studies and outreach earlier this semester. Miller, who served in the role since 2006, continues to teach in the landscape architecture program. He recently received the top honor as Outstanding Educator from the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture during the annual conference hosted this spring at Virginia Tech.

“We are grateful to Patrick Miller for successfully and steadfastly guiding the college as associate dean for graduate studies and outreach over the past 12 years,” Blythe said. “He’s an exemplary landscape design educator who has provided great leadership and design skills to our college and poured vast compassion and knowledge into our students.”  

Emmons can be reached at Miller can be reached at

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