The College of Architecture, Arts, and Design has named interim leadership for the School of Architecture and the School of Design and appointed a chair for the Interior Design Program within the School of Design.

All three faculty members — Jim Bassett, Aki Ishida, Brad Whitney — are channeling their energies and creative visions into key roles as the newly restructured college enters its first semester.

With approval from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia effective July 1, the reshaped College of Architecture, Arts, and Design brings together the performing and visual arts and design disciplines while retaining its roots in the college’s history of architectural innovation.

“It is a rare opportunity to be part of the development of a new college, and I share with my colleagues the unique quality of optimism that beginnings afford,” said Bassett, the interim director for the School of Architecture and the School of Design. “Together with students, faculty, and staff across the four schools in the College of Architecture, Arts, and Design, I look forward to the year, discovering potential in new relationships and forms of engagement.”

Bassett is an associate professor of architecture whose research focuses on the range of forms and influence of context on design disciplines, in particular the way that architecture produces context. Additionally, he has maintained a design practice, Zellner + Bassett, with Paola Zellner since 1998.

He holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture from North Carolina State University and a Master of Architecture from the Southern California Institute of Architecture.

Ishida, an associate professor of architecture and a senior fellow of Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, is serving as interim associate director for the School of Architecture and the School of Design.

“I am excited to be part of a school of architecture that prepares students — in intellectual, artistic, technical, and social capacities — to work across a wide range of disciplines and make a difference in this complex world,” she said. “The new college is well-positioned to become a leading institution of architecture, art, and design situated in a land-grant university with cross-disciplinary expertise and resources enviable to other schools of architecture.”

In both designing and writing, Ishida’s work centers around aspects of architecture that are temporal, impermanent, and ever-changing. Additionally, she worked for 17 years in professional practice in New York City.

She received a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in advanced architectural design from Columbia University.

In the School of Design, Whitney, associate professor of interior design, has been appointed program chair of the Interior Design Program.

The new school offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in industrial designlandscape architecture, and interior design.

“It’s a very exciting time for the Interior Design Program,” Whitney said. “I am proud to be part of the leadership who worked hard to create our new home in the School of Design. I am also excited about the many new and promising possibilities ahead for all our students, faculty, and staff as well as our partners in industrial design and landscape architecture.”

Whitney has taught interior design at Virginia Tech since 1998, and his work explores people’s relationships with the spaces they create and occupy. Through drawing, painting, sculpture, and photography, he presents narratives on the nature of the places people make as a reflection or extension themselves.

He holds a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Fine Arts in Interior Design from Florida State University.

Share this story