To be an architect used to mean being involved in every aspect of a project-- from drawings to ribbon cutting. But like most modern professions, architecture has become specialized and more segmented. Students in a unique design/build program at Virginia Tech do it the old-fashioned way though-- and their efforts won them the American Architects 2012 Building of the Year Award.
Architecture Professors Keith Zaristowski and his wife Marie created the design/build lab at Virginia Tech as a way to give students a taste of everything that goes into designing a building. Last summer’s project was an outdoor amphitheater for the town of Clifton Forge in Allegheny County.
“The students designed the building in a way where it just emerges out of the landscape of the park. So it’s an outdoor amphitheater and the band shell is this wooden surface that just peels up out of the ground. So it’s a very modern building but it’s rough sawn wood on the back and then it’s this range of metals inside and it really fits in the context of the old historical rail town," said Marie Zaristowski.
There's also a new documentary on the Clifton Forge Amphitheater, called “Reality Check." It recently premiered on the Virginia Tech campus.