Special Programs

Academics - Special Programs

International Urban Studies Travel Abroad Program

In the summer following successful completion of third year, students are required to participate in a travel program focussing on urban design. The academic program focusses on analysis, documentation, and observational sketching of a variety of urban spaces. During the course of the travel, students study an area that will be the focus of a follow-up design studio upon their return from travel. Most recently studies have been focussed in the south of France, where relationships have been developed with officials and citizens of an area sister city, Toulon. These contacts allow for a deeper understanding of community values and aspirations for the area under study, and thereby enrich the quality of student design proposals. Other programs in the past have involved travel to Tanzania, Thailand, Panama, and Mexico. The program is underwritten by The Sol Cohen Fund, the Marilyn and Ray Gindroz Foundation, and student fees. Most students believe the program is a crucial and beloved part of their academic development.

Spring Break at Seaside

For a number of years, faculty have run a program at the New Urbanist town of Seaside, Florida. Students stay at the Seaside Institute’s Academic Village and explore the town, its design strategies, and its architecture. A small design project is completed during the break, in addition to observational sketching, documentation, and “treasure hunts.” The class is open as a for-credit elective for both graduate and undergraduate students. A small fee for food and lodging applies.

Institute for Classical Art and Architecture Winterim/Beaux Arts Atelier

Each year the ICAA offers an intensive course in the basics of classical architecture at its headquarters in New York City. For a number of years both ICAA and the Marilyn and Ray Gindroz Foundation have underwritten tuition, travel, and lodging expenses for one or two students who have applied for the winner(s) of the application competition. Alumni of the program then participate in teaching what they have learned to other students in the program.

Virginia Prize

Each year, the state’s chapter of the American Institute of Architects sponsors a weekend long competition between students in the four accredited architecture programs in the state. There are prizes and glory involved.

Sea Level Rise

The department’s work in Adaptation to Sea Level Rise has attracted international attention and provides students who participate in its studio work a fast track to speaking engagements, professional development and networking, and employment.

Solar Decathlons

The department has competed in two U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlons, in collaboration with engineering students at Old Dominion University. Although there are no current plans to revisit this particular competition, the department has demonstrated an interest and willingness to take advantage of alternative academic opportunities.