The Center for the Arts building, opening its first event on Oct. 28, embodies the blending of tradition and innovation in its progressive design - an element of Virginia Tech’s arts history.
Snohetta, an architecture firm, spent time on campus studying the iconic aspects of Tech buildings from glasswork to the gothic style. From the start, designs for the center unified traditional designs on campus with the dynamic landscape-incorporated style unique to their firm.
Ruth Waalkes, associate provost for the arts and executive director of the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech, said this welcoming feel of the outside in is Snohetta’s trademark style, pointing with special attention to the glass walls housing the Cube studio.
It creates a visual layered affect of glass and stone, a menagerie that dazzles an eye unaccustomed to transparent architecture.
The traditional meets modern narrative was also captured in the building process of the visual arts gallery.
This space, originally the bottom floor of Schulz Dining Hall, was gutted to open the space that will soon be overflowing with an array of visual artwork.
The transformation of Schulz has cherished meaning to alumni and the Corps of Cadets, but the change seems to be welcomed on the corner of campus.
Daniel Hankins, a senior cadet and business management major, said they may have lost their Schulz breakfast express, but the building has a nice design that will look great with the new buildings planned for the upper quad.
“I think it was very interesting that we were able to keep the basic footprint of Schulz, and incorporate that into the new center,” Waalkes said. “I think it’s a nice reference point to show the growth and progression of the university as well.”
The initial plans for the center were for a central focus on a performance hall, but ideas continued to expand with the evolution of the design.
“What really developed in the process was this emphasis on the creative technologies and the intersection of technology and the arts,” Waalkes said.
The Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, uniquely partnered with the Center for the Arts, is a university-level research institute that focuses on the innovation of interdisciplinary studies of arts, design, engineering, and science.
Together, these organizations are part of a national alliance with other leading universities in the exploration of this type of research.