A+D: Simply the Best

Virginia Tech ranked one of America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools

Architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture programs and faculty in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies earned top ratings in a national survey by DesignIntelligence.

Visiting instructor Deidre Regan leads a discussion with her students about their first foundation design lab projects. Photo by David Franusich.

By Marya Barlow, CAUS director of communications

Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture + Design in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies is a leader once again in the 2017-2018 rankings of America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools by DesignIntelligence. The school ranked in the top five nationally for its undergraduate programs in architecture and interior design, and the top 15 for landscape architecture. Three faculty members were honored among the nation’s “25 Most Admired Educators.”

The rankings, published annually by DesignIntelligence in its 2017-2018 Design Schools Rankings edition and in Architectural Record’s “Top Architecture Schools of 2018,” are the only national college ratings focused exclusively on schools of architecture and design. The results are based on survey responses from more than 7,000 hiring professionals, deans, department chairs, students, and recent alumni in 215 college architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture programs.

Virginia Tech’s undergraduate architecture program ranked #4 the nation, rising one spot from last year. The program also earned recognition as #3 most admired by architecture deans and department heads. The graduate architecture program ranked 11th.

The studios in Burchard Hall, home of the nation’s fourth-ranked architecture program. Photo by Jud Froelich.

Two architecture faculty members were honored among the nation’s 25 Most Admired Educators. Jim Bassett, associate professor and foundation program chair, earned praise for “inspiring students to think in new and innovative ways using creative prompts and stimulating questions.”

Hilary Bryon, associate professor and assistant director for special projects, was cited for her “deep commitment to students … revealed through a sense of personal investment and ensuring students make the most of opportunities available to them.”

A student works in the wood shop in Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture + Design. Photo by Logan Wallace.

The interior design program, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, ranked #5 among U.S. undergraduate interior design programs. Professor Lisa Tucker, interior design program chair, was also named one of the 25 Most Admired Educators.

“Tucker is raising the bar on education,” DesignIntelligence said in the rankings summary. “Adapting coursework as changes emerge in the profession, this academic leader creates key learning opportunities for her students and prepares them well for practice.”

The undergraduate landscape architecture program ranked #15.

Most Admired Educators


Each year, DesignIntelligence conducts the America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools survey, ranking undergraduate and graduate programs from the perspective of professional practitioners who hire and supervise graduates of architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture programs. The 18th annual survey was conducted April 17 through June 9, 2017. The rankings reflect responses from 2,654 design industry hiring professionals and practitioners representing 1,923 firms, 4,359 students and recent alumni, and 111 architecture school deans and program chairs.

Survey respondents also rated Virginia Tech’s architecture program in the top 10 nationally for its focus on construction materials and methods, design technologies, engineering fundamentals, communication and presentation skills, interdisciplinary studies, project planning and management, and practice management.

The survey results can be found in third quarter 2017 issue of DesignIntelligence Quarterly at https://di-publications.net/quarterly-q3-2017/#virginia-tech.

An architecture student works on her model in Cowgill Hall. Photo by David Hungate