Virginia Tech's university architect Liza Morris participated in a panel discussion of local business development leaders on March 22 in Arlington, Virginia, that addressed future innovation in the National Landing district. The group, convened by Bisnow, included representatives from the National Landing Business Improvement District, JBG Smith, and AT&T, as they focused on “Smart Cities, Smart Growth.”

“With the Innovation Campus, Virginia Tech will bring people, in form of consumers, and most importantly - leading-edge academics and researchers - to the region. This talent and proximity is a critical part of making Smart Cities happen,” Morris said. “We envision partnerships within the district and opportunities to create a test-bed for new technologies.” Morris updated the crowd of more than 200 about the Innovation Campus construction, stressing the importance of being located within a five-minute walk of the new Potomac Yard-VT metro station that is set to open in fall 2022.

In her role as assistant vice president for planning and university architect, Morris provides leadership and long-range planning of Virginia Tech’s buildings, grounds, and overall environment in support of the university’s mission and strategic vision. Her career in architecture spans 29 years in higher education and private practice.

Morris was joined on the event’s first panel by Evan Regan-Levine, executive vice president at JBG Smith, Tracy Sayegh Gabriel, president of the National Landing BID, and Andrea Raney, director at AT&T. The panel was moderated by Nick Cumings, a land use attorney for Walsh Colucci Lubeley & Walsh. A second panel discussed “Redefining Live-Work-Play” in National Landing.

National Landing is the combination of three Northern Virginia neighborhoods that are in the midst of tremendous change and growth. Panelists identified Amazon as the northern anchor of the District and the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus as the southern anchor. The area includes Crystal City, where the new Amazon HQ2 is being built, and Pentagon City, in Arlington, Virginia, and North Potomac Yard, home to the Innovation Campus in Alexandria, Virginia.

Virginia Tech broke ground on the Innovation Campus in September 2021. The campus will create a new model of graduate education, focused on educating students through experiential project-based learning, partnering with industry leaders to create an innovative curriculum, and filling existing gaps in the technology talent pipeline. The architectural design outcomes for the campus and first building are an exemplar expression of next-generation computational and generative design/machine learning methods in architecture.

“Liza is a terrific partner who helped Virginia Tech and SmithGroup achieve an outstanding, futuristic design for Academic Building One of the Innovation Campus,” said Lance Collins, executive director of the Innovation Campus. “We are excited to see these plans come to fruition.”

The Innovation Campus is slated to open its doors in fall 2024.

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