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Albert Davis

Anniversaries are an opportunity for reflection. In reflecting on the fifty years since the College of Architecture and Urban Studies’ founding in 1964, it’s clear that our students, faculty, staff and administration have built a legacy of excellence in pedagogy, innovation, and engagement. To commemorate that, we have a three-volume set of monographs that chronicle at least the last 15 years of those topic areas. We have also compiled a brief DVD of reflections made up of 17 speakers, titled, “Old Riverbed, New Water.” The college began with four topical areas: architecture, construction, art, and planning. Today, those disciplines have spawned complex and rich schools. Within those schools, the college has expanded, added new departments, introduced new degrees, and continuously integrated new technologies into our teaching, scholarship and research. But while change and growth is constant, we remain true to the pedagogical foundations instilled by our founding Dean, Charles Burchard.

Today the College of Architecture and Urban Studies encompasses the School of Architecture + Design, the Myers-Lawson School of Construction,the School of Visual Arts  and the School of Public and International Affairs, and maintains primary campuses in Blacksburg, Virginia; Alexandria, Virginia; and Riva San Vitale, Switzerland.

I have often referenced the analogy of the college as an old riverbed, new water. This concept resonated with me when James Turrell first used it during the Permanence Symposium in Blacksburg in 1996. When considering this anniversary, it seemed to be a particularly appropriate analogy. The solid foundation of our fifty years constitutes an old, established riverbed that guides the fluidity of new water, like fresh ideas and ever-evolving students and faculty through the geology of a solid pedagogy.

To celebrate our golden anniversary, the 50th Anniversary Committee is planning a wide variety of events, including a black tie gala, lecture series, emeritus faculty art exhibit, alumni receptions, open houses, and a party on Burchard Plaza. An agenda will be coming soon after the first of the year.  We hope that this anniversary will bring together alumni near and far, faculty and staff, both present and past and, of course, our students to celebrate the future of our past.

Jack Davis, FAIA LEED AP
Reynolds Metals Professor of Architecture and Dean