Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture + Design, part of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, has once again earned high marks in national rankings. 

DesignIntelligence awarded both the undergraduate and graduate landscape architecture programs top marks, with each ranking second in the nation in the America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools 2013 report. Other programs within the school were also highly ranked, and Professor Robert Dunay was listed among the 30 Most Admired Educators for 2013.

DesignIntelligence conducts survey research on behalf of the Design Futures Council and publishes architecture and design school rankings each year in its November/December issue. It is the only national college ranking survey focused exclusively on design.

Deans and chairs from more than 100 academic programs in architecture, interior design, industrial design, and landscape architecture, along with close to 400 professional practice organizations in the same fields, participated in this year’s 13th annual survey, which was conducted in mid-2012.

Landscape architecture rankings

In a survey of professional firms, both the graduate and undergraduate landscape architecture programs ranked second in the nation for 2013, recognized among accredited landscape architecture programs for best preparing students for success in the profession.  

In addition to the top rankings, the landscape architecture program was recognized by hiring firms for its strengths in specific areas, ranking second for communication, third for design, second for computer applications, second for research and theory, fifth for sustainable design practices and principles, and first for cross-disciplinary teamwork.

Virginia Tech offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in landscape architecture through its locations in Alexandria, Va., and Blacksburg, Va. The four degree programs offered are a five-year first professional Bachelor of Landscape Architecture, three-year first professional Master of Landscape Architecture, one- and two-year advanced Master of Landscape Architecture, and PhD in architecture and design research.

Industrial design rankings

The undergraduate industrial design program ranked third in a survey of professional design firms, who were asked, “In your firm’s hiring experience in the past five years, which schools are best preparing students for success in the profession?”

In a survey of deans and department heads, Virginia Tech also ranked third among the most admired undergraduate industrial design programs and was noted for its, “strengths in cross disciplinary teamwork, design, and prototyping.”

As Jack Davis, Reynolds Metals Professor of Architecture and dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies commented, “It is very impressive for our bachelors in industrial design to rank third considering how young the program is. We are among the top in the country, and we just graduated our first class in industrial design in 1998.”

Interior design rankings

Based on rankings by hiring firms, the undergraduate interior design program ranked sixth, which is up two spots from last year’s eighth-place ranking.

Virginia Tech was also recognized in the dean’s survey as one of the five most admired undergraduate interior design programs for, “its leadership and consistently strong and innovative program.”

DesignIntelligence recognizes more than 160 bachelors programs in its Directory of Leading U.S. Architecture and Design Programs.

Architecture rankings

The architecture program was recognized by DesignIntelligence editors for brand strengths in the categories of Crystal Clear Vision, Making a Strong Global Statement, Environmental Stewardship, and Strong Integrator of Design Disciplines.

Survey respondents ranked programs accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board, and in rankings by architecture firms, the undergraduate architecture program ranked seventh overall and the graduate program ranked 18th.

Most admired educator 

The 30 Most Admired Educators for 2013 recognizes exemplary educators within the areas of architecture, industrial design, interior design, and landscape architecture who are selected by DesignIntelligence staff with extensive input from thousands of design professionals, academic department heads, and students. The report once again acknowledged Robert Dunay, director of the Center for Design Research in the School of Architecture + Design and T. A. Carter Professor of Architecture as one of its Most Admired Educators.

Describing him, the report stated, “A visionary leader with a proven ability to integrate teaching, research and professional practice, Dunay demonstrates how each year of service to students can be different, entrepreneurial and inspiring on a pathway of continuous change. He is a role model for inspiring authentic teamwork.”

This is the fourth time Dunay has received this honor.



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