FROM ITS INCEPTION, THE BUILDING that houses the Creativity and Innovation District Living Learning Communities (CID LLC) was created to serve a special purpose.

“The driving philosophy behind the CID LLC was that students live just one life, and where they live and learn should reflect that integration,” said Frances Keene, assistant vice president and chief of staff for Student Affairs at Virginia Tech. “When I visit this building, I see our students’ academic and co-curricular lives integrating in a new and exciting way.”

Outdoor gathering space at the Creativity and Innovation District
Virginia Tech’s newest housing facility, the Creativity and Innovation District, houses over 500 students. (Photo by Mary Desmond/Virginia Tech)

A collaboration between Student Affairs, the Provost’s Office, academic units, and Virginia Tech Athletics, the 232,000-gross-square-foot residence hall opened in fall 2021. It is currently home to nearly 600 Hokies, including 176 Virginia Tech student-athletes and more than 400 students who are a part of one of the building’s three living-learning communities—Studio 72, Rhizome, and Innovate.

Residents are able to interact closely with Tim Baird, the live-in faculty principal and an associate professor of geography, as well as his family and their dog, Winnie.

The building also features a visiting scholar apartment that regularly hosts influential scholars, professionals, and leaders who, as part of their stay, offer special engagement opportunities for building residents.

In addition, 33 combined School of Visual Arts or School of Performing Arts courses call the building home, taking advantage of the creative lounges, performance studios, auditorium, and outdoor learning hubs, which each include larger-than-life whiteboards. Classes frequently use the building’s makerspace lab, wood shop, and metal shop.

Worktable and view out wall of windows.
GLASSWORKS: The Creativity and Innovation District Living Learning Communities feature 534 windows that offer visibility and openness to generate curiosity and stimulate conversations. (Photo by Mary Desmond/Virginia Tech)

With so much going on, the spaces were designed to allow students, staff, and visitors to observe each other’s work, offering a high level of visibility and openness to generate curiosity and stimulate conversations.

“The whole building was built around transparency,” said Lauren Oliver, associate director of the LLCs. “The building naturally cultivates community because we felt that gathering, when our culture has felt so much loneliness recently, was really important.”

Founded on the key values of hope, creativity, friendship, artistry, learning, and service, the building’s ability to showcase student work has been appreciated by many residents, including Alexander Ismael.

“I see a lot more of the work coming out of the School of Visual Arts because [this year] it’s right in front of me rather than being tucked away somewhere,” said Ismael, a third-year architecture student and resident assistant in the building. “The fact that the building switches between being a residence hall and a space with actual classes is super unique and brings a diverse level of ages and interest levels and majors into the building.”

INNOVATE—A community for students interested in becoming entrepreneurs, visionaries, and business leaders.
RHIZOME—A community that explores the roles of art, design, construction, planning, and analytical interventions in shaping environments and bringing about change.
Studio 72 Learning Community logo
STUDIO 72—A community that encourages creativity and artistic development, with an emphasis on collaborative art-making outside of the classroom.


52 miles of IT cables

534 windows totaling 27,740 square feet of glass

30,240,000 pounds of building concrete 704 shrubs

2,543 perennials/ground cover

72 trees


MAKERSPACE LAB—Ultimaker 3D printer, WASP 3D printer, benchtop CNC mill, two laser cutters, vinyl cutter, soldering irons

WOOD SHOP—Large format CNC, table saw, drill press, band saw, wood lathe, panel saw, miter saw, scroll saw, planer, jointer, spindle, and belt disk sanders

METAL SHOP—HAAS CNC Mini Mill, welders, plasma cutter, plasma water table, cold saw, grinder, drill press, metal bench lathe, vertical mill, 60-ton iron worker, vertical band saw, horizontal band saw, belt, disk sander, box brake and slip roller, roll bender and hand bender, sandblaster


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