This fall, the design/buildLAB studio is designing a school for autistic children. Specifically, the students are coming up with schematic designs for the Shenandoah Autism Center in Clifton Forge. Students visited the Learning Spring School in New York City to do research, but knew that they’d soon be taking a visit to Clifton Forge to see the current facility.
On September 26, we visited the Shenandoah Autism Center. We met with Mindi Gardzinski, the Education Coordinator, who gave them a tour of the facility. We proceeded to meet and talk with teachers, and learned about the day to day requirements that a school for autism needs. Students were able to look into the classrooms and talk to the teachers about the educational program, the customization of each students’ space, and the little details that make the Shenandoah Autism Center special.
The studio wanted to learn more about the program and what people wanted to see happen with the school in the future, so plans were made that day to return to the school and conduct interviews. Teachers, administrators, board members, and parents agreed to come and talk to the studio, and an interview date was set.
In addition to visiting the Shenandoah Autism Center, the students visited the site of their spring project, where the Masonic Amphitheater is located. We were all impressed by what last year’s studio created, and are excited to further develop the site this spring!
The design/buildLAB at Virginia Tech is a Project Based Experiential Learning program focused on the research, development and implementation of innovative construction methods and architectural designs. Students collaborate with local communities and industry experts to conceive and realize built architecture projects that are both educational and charitable in nature. The blog is run by design/buildLAB students, who are currently designing and building a pedestrian bridge in Clifton Forge, VA.