The Department of Architecture at Virginia Tech is amongst the most well known in the country, but it isn’t as well known in Richmond as one might expect. Over the past month, an exhibition at the Branch Museum has helped to change that.
The latest in a series of ambitious shows staged by the museum, “Modeling a Vision: Design, Technology, and Impact” showcases years of work created by students and faculty at Virginia Tech’s Center for Design Research. The exhibition includes drawings, models, mock ups, and furniture. These are accompanied by texts and photographs that explain the process of designing these objects. The wall text, provided by the university, is often too long and relies much too heavily on academic and architectural jargon. Luckily, the objects themselves tell the story.
Virginia Tech’s architecture school has long been known for research into new materials and construction methods, but the work shown in the exhibition also touches on wider social issues such as climate change, urbanization, and economic mobility. As the school, like many others, seeks to make its work more responsive to challenges in the outside world, it should also seek to build stronger relationships with nearby cities and rural areas. In staging this exhibition, the Branch Museum and Virginia Tech have, in a small way, contributed to the dissemination of academic knowledge into places where it can be applied. Hopefully this will be the first of many such experiments.
The exhibition is open until September 10th. See the Branch Museum website for more details.