On October 3rd, the studio returned to Clifton Forge to conduct interviews at the Shenandoah Autism Center. Board Members, teachers, administrators, and even parents gathered at the school to meet with us and talk about the school. Everyone had positive experiences, as well. We gained invaluable information about autism and designing for autism, day to day activities in the school, and the educational program. The interviewees were happy to talk about the program, the students, and their hopes for the future of the school. We originally planned for the interviews to take half an hour, but everyone was so excited to talk that nearly all of the interviews went over that time. People talked for 45 minutes, an hour, even two hours about the school.
The interviews not only provided information for our designs, but also emphasized the reality of what we’re doing. This school is real, the teachers and parents are real, and all of them want to see the school grow in positive directions. Getting to know our “clients” has made the design process very interesting- we’re thinking in more real terms than we have in our past years in studio.
After everyone was finished with the interviews, we all gathered in the cafeteria for pizza and chit chat. Everyone that we interviewed was incredibly helpful, and we are looking forward to seeing them again in the future!
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.