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Welcome to the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center

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Category: campus experience Video duration: Welcome to the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center
Come and explore the unique campus of the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center. The Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center (WAAC), is an extension center of Virginia Tech's College of Architecture, Arts, and Design, located in Old Town Alexandria.

Well hey VT! Welcome to Alexandria and welcome to The Washington Alexandria Architecture Center. Come on in and get cool. So I'm Susan Piedmont pellet Dino, and I'm the director of this program. We call it the WAAC. W-A-A-C sound a little like an FM radio station, but it's not. It's the Alexandria Center. The Urban Extension of the School of Architecture program up here in Alexandria. It's a great building. A lot of unique stuff to it. So come on, I'm going to show you around. Welcome to the WAAC library, where we've sort of made a wonderful place to study and a place that shows how our students have sort of adapted an old 100-year-old building to contemporary use. We've made all the shelves that you see. We've opened up the floor to give us a second floor. And we've got a few special elements that we're going to talk about as we walk through it. We're going to talk about a staircase, we're going to walk up. And then a special room with a big door and a few other cool things. So staircase took a few years to build, 22 (years), because we had to learn different techniques and technologies, wood, metal, glass, etc. So as we go up, look down and you'll see a piece of felt on the tread. That's the last thing we added. Here's the second floor of the library. A couple of things worth talking about here. One, is it gives you a great view into the lower level. And two, when we cut that hole in the floor, we saved all the wood, hundred-year old lumber because his building was built in the early 20th century. And then we figured out finally what to do with it. We're going to look at that right now. Welcome to what we call the secret room. The secret room is a wonderful place for a seminar. Students called it the secret room because he had, they had hoped to make a bookcase door, the tread to know just the right book to take off the shelf to have access to the room. And if you look at the table, this is the wood that came out of the floor. When we opened up the hole in the library. We cast a concrete and steel base. So this table doesn't go anywhere. We're all about adaptive reuse, all about minimal waste and making use of the environmental resources we have at hand. So next stop on our tour is our workshop where we make all of the wonderful things you just saw in our other building. Hello. Hi Ryan. Hi. Welcome to the WAAC Shop. My name is Ryan Piper and I teach all of the maker courses that we have here at the WAAC and I also manage the wood and metal shops on this campus. All of the wonderful things that you've seen in and around our main buildings were created over the years by students here in the shop using the tools and equipment that you see here. One of which has gotten a lot of use is our CNC machine. However, there was a period when we didn't have this and there was a lot of things cut by hand. Why don't we take a look in the metal shop. We're pretty well equipped back there as our scrap bin. And for example, someone will start with a piece on, on that bin usually, and it gets cut down to a rough size with our drops saw. And then it ends up being milled or turned on a lave. This is our glass kiln that was used to slump the curved sections of glass on our spiral staircase. The process takes about three days, if I remember correctly, about one day to actually get it hot into slump the glass. But then there's about two days of cooling where we gradually bring the temperature back to room temperature at a slow rate and this is to prevent cracking. Well, thank you for checking out the workshop and all the things we've made. I'm going to hand the tour off too Susan. A few words to remember as you leave. Even though we're facing an increasingly digital and virtual and meta world, it's still important for us to understand that, making things by hand and understanding what it took to make the worlds that we have inherited is still part of an architect's education. And that's what we do here at the WAAC. Alright, thanks so much for coming. See you next time.