The Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington announces the Charles W. Steger Design Competition to visually enhance the aesthetics of the common areas of the executive conference space on the second floor of the center. 

Winning designs will be those that best exemplify scientific discovery and innovation. The competition is open to Virginia Tech faculty, students, and staff; to Virginia Tech partners associated with Virginia Tech's Arlington facility; and to the members of the Arlington, Va., arts community connected with the Arlington Artisphere. Entries from teams of Virginia Tech faculty, students, and staff are encouraged. Cash prizes in the amount of $5,000, $3,000, and $1,000 will be awarded, respectively, for first, second, and third place winners selected by a seven-member jury comprised of representatives of the university.

“We are looking for a visual design concept reflecting our research mission of innovation and discovery here in the National Capital Region that can be implemented by the Virginia Tech Foundation or the university,” said Jim Bohland, vice president and executive director of Virginia Tech National Capital Region Operations. "And naming the design competition for President Steger was a way of acknowledging the strong support he has afforded not only this particular building but all our efforts to increase the university’s footprint in the National Capital Region."

The Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington, which opened this past June, is a 144,000-square-foot research space located in the heart of Ballston, one of the major science nodes on the east coast. The focus of the research undertaken in the space is development of computational models for investigation and application of theory. The infrastructure in the building is designed to support that scientific mission. The network connectivity is one of the highest currently available (20 channels of 10 gigabits each). The network also connects with most of the world’s scientific networks providing researchers with access to data from a myriad of sources. The research spaces in the building are grouped into four major clusters: informatics and data analytics; cyber-security; medical technologies and bio-imaging; and alternative energy.

The Charles W. Steger Design Competition is focused on the second floor executive conference space with high level presentation technologies, including a 20-foot visualization screen for modeling and visual presentations. The meeting rooms are intended to support scientific conferencing by Virginia Tech and other organizations that have requirements suited to the space. The competition comprises three distinct spaces which should all be addressed in the design submission: corridor display walls including lit shadow box inserts along several hallways, and the east and west lobby reception spaces.

The building is LEED-certified Gold for the exteriors and is under review for Gold or Silver certification for the interior. The spaces throughout the building are open and flexible to encourage collaborative approaches to science, and this theme should be reflected in the design submissions.

Competitors will have an opportunity to view the competition areas, as well of other parts of the building, during one of several scheduled tours offered the week of Sept 26, 2011.

Entrants are asked to create multimedia artistic approaches that convey two key elements:  transdisciplinary scientific approaches to inquiry and creative dynamics between science, design, and art. Concepts may propose visual enhancements in any form, including, but not limited to artwork, photographs, sculpture, digital representations, physical material constructions, lighting, lasers, movement sensors, projections, and any combinations of these.

"I am surprised but very honored to have this design competition inaugurated in my name," said Steger upon learning of the competition. "I have strong roots in the architecture program at Virginia Tech, both in Blacksburg and here in Northern Virginia. That, along with our belief that expanding our research mission in the National Capital Region is crucial to the university's continued success and growth, makes this designation even more meaningful to me."

Steger, who will chair the jury for the competition, received his professional bachelor of architecture degree in 1970, master of architecture in 1971, and Ph.D. in environmental science and engineering in 1978, all from Virginia Tech. Subsequently he served as teaching faculty, academic department head, and college dean in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies prior to being selected the 15th president of Virginia Tech in November 1999. Steger is also a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects.

All entrants must submit a letter of intent to enter the Charles W. Steger Design Competition by Sept. 15 to competition coordinator Heidi Sung, Virginia Tech, 900 N. Glebe Road, Arlington, Va., 22203 or send an email. Upon receipt of the letter, materials concerning copyright and ownership will be sent to the applicant for signature along with photos and diagrams of the design spaces. Final design entries must be submitted by close of business on March 15, 2012. Winners will be announced April 15, 2012.

For more information visit the website.

Awards for the Charles W. Steger Design Competition are made possible through generous gifts to the Virginia Tech Foundation in support of the Virginia Tech Research Center — Arlington.



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