Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design



Oct '11 - Apr '14

  • Wood Bends... When Steamed

    By juvasquez
    Apr 9, '12 10:29 PM EST

    We have begun to confront the problem of how to bend the white oak decking that clads the amphitheatre.  We have been in contact with artist Matthias Pliessnig, who is well known for his wood bending expertise.  At his direction we built a steam box using a ten foot section of six inch PVC pipe and a professional grade laundry steamer.  After an hour in the steam box, the unbendable bends! 

    View full entry

  • Site Excavation

    By juvasquez
    Apr 4, '12 11:36 PM EST

    In the past week, our site has undergone a few notable changes.  We were given a generous discount by Hammond-Mitchell Co. to grade the site and dig holes for foundations.  A team of geotech engineers from Froehling & Robertson, Inc. donated their services and took soil borings from... View full entry

  • Prefabrication

    By juvasquez
    Mar 31, '12 10:55 PM EST

    We have finally kicked off prefabrication at the Environmental Systems Laboratory not far from Virginia Tech's campus.  Our studio has split into three groups, each working on a portion of the construction.  The back of house group has begun framing the decked green room as well as the... View full entry

  • Preparing the Site

    By juvasquez
    Mar 28, '12 10:35 PM EST

    Having completed our construction documents and received our building permit, we began to lay out our plan for grading and foundations.   Using the world's loudest and slowest saw, we cut holes in the existing slab for foundations and trees. Using string to ensure we had the straightest... View full entry

  • Construction Document Marathon

    By juvasquez
    Mar 19, '12 10:58 PM EST

    After many months of late nights, missed meals, and conflicting copies we have finally conquered the construction documents.  This evening we sent them to Draper Aden and Associates for approval as well as to the building inspector in Clifton Forge to acquire the appropriate permits... View full entry

  • Public Unveiling

    By juvasquez
    Mar 1, '12 10:20 PM EST

    Yesterday evening we presented our design for The Masonic Amphitheatre to the Clifton Forge community.  Eighty-five people arrived at The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Heritage Center despite the rain to learn about our project and give us feedback.  We were pleased by their enthusiastic... View full entry

  • Travel Week: Mission Accomplished

    By juvasquez
    Feb 25, '12 6:09 PM EST

      We wrapped up our stay in Clifton Forge this morning with a few more hours of removing unwanted concrete and vegetation.  We left the site a very different place than when we arrived.  As we made our exit, we immersed ourselves in the local culture one last time, visiting the... View full entry

  • Cultural Immersion: Part III

    By juvasquez
    Feb 24, '12 9:54 PM EST

    After a grueling day's work in the wind and rain, the design/buildLAB unwound at the Historic Jefferson Pools in Warm Springs.  While all members of the lab donned swimwear, there were two sketchy nude dudes and a cowboy.  Suffice it to say, we are using stock photography for this post... View full entry

  • Cultural Immersion: Part II

    By juvasquez
    Feb 24, '12 1:54 AM EST

    After yesterday's cultural immersion adventure, we opted for a more tranquil option.  After we finished the day's work, we drove in a convoy to Roaring Run Furnace where we climbed, hiked and took in the scenic park.  On the return trip, we enjoyed a group meal at Cucci's, a family... View full entry

  • Site Demolition

    By juvasquez
    Feb 24, '12 12:01 AM EST

    We had a successful day demolishing the concrete and clearing brush from the site.  While the primary central slab will remain to serve as the stage floor, the peripheral slabs are being removed to make way for the new park space.   View full entry

  • Cultural Immersion: Part I

    By juvasquez
    Feb 22, '12 10:00 PM EST

    design/buildLAB is in Clifton Forge for the next three days to begin site demolition and to immerse ourselves in the culture.  Clifton Forge, a once bustling rail town, is home to the C&O Heritage Center (and this unusually small train).  Oh yeah, we did some some work too... View full entry

    Cultural immersion at its best

  • Presentation to Our Client

    By juvasquez
    Feb 2, '12 11:58 AM EST

    Yesterday afternoon we presented our proposal to the board of the Masonic Theatre Preservation Foundation.  Using models, drawings, diagrams and material samples, we walked them through our program, thoroughly explaining each design decision.  They were very enthusiastic about what we... View full entry

  • WSLS Visit

    By juvasquez
    Jan 19, '12 12:43 PM EST

    Yesterday, a news team from WSLS 10 Roanoke came to cover our project. They filmed our studio working on the design and took professor and student perspectives of the process of the project. The story, which aired last night, can be viewed here. View full entry

  • Back to Work

    By juvasquez
    Jan 18, '12 11:18 AM EST

    We are back from our winter break and enthusiastically picking up where we left off.  Prior to break, we learned that The Alleghany Foundation has generously awarded us the grant that will enable us to build our project.   We are looking at a very busy and exciting semester... View full entry

  • Acoustic Analysis

    By juvasquez
    Nov 17, '11 12:23 PM EST

    Ana Jaramillo, a professional acoustic consultant and graduate candidate at Tech, joined us in Clifton Forge on Monday and took readings on sound levels on our site.  This will enable us to know how much is necessary to build to make the amphitheater acoustically sound.    View full entry

  • Pin-up in Clifton Forge

    By juvasquez
    Nov 17, '11 12:03 PM EST

    On Monday we had the opportunity to present our most recent iterations of our project to the community of Clifton Forge in Clifton Forge!  At this point in the process we had consolidated into groups and had begun to address the architecture of the project.  The presentation allowed for... View full entry

  • The "So Called" Jury

    By juvasquez
    Nov 7, '11 11:54 AM EST

    During our presentation to our clients, a group of fifth year thesis students participated in our discussion and documented each design. Later, they met to discuss  the ideas presented by each student and the concerns voiced by our clients. From this, they developed a list of specific... View full entry

  • Proposal Pin-up

    By juvasquez
    Nov 2, '11 3:06 PM EST

    Yesterday we presented individual propositions for a master plan to four of our clients from the board of the Masonic Theatre Preservation Foundation, as well as a panel of thesis students.  Feedback from this meeting will send us to the next phase of the design process as we begin to... View full entry

  • Acoustic Consultants

    By juvasquez
    Nov 2, '11 2:36 PM EST

    Recently, we had the opportunity to meet with two different acoustic consultants.  Via conference call with Josh Allen, of Theatre Consultants Collaborative (TCC), we discussed the acoustic importance of orientation on our site and how different facets of the landscape play a role in the... View full entry

  • Interviews

    By juvasquez
    Oct 25, '11 3:45 PM EST

    "I want Clifton Forge to be a gem in the middle of the rough." Last Friday our studio had the opportunity to meet with the community of Clifton Forge at the Clifton Forge School of the Arts. We conducted a series of interviews, through which we learned about the history of the town and listened... View full entry

  • The Crew

    By juvasquez
    Oct 17, '11 3:11 PM EST

  • Introduction

    By juvasquez
    Oct 16, '11 5:20 PM EST

    For our first post, we would like to introduce ourselves! We are 17 third year architecture students participating in a design/build studio.  Over the course of this year, we will be designing and building an amphitheater in Clifton Forge, VA. We will be frequently updating posts so you can... View full entry

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About this Blog

The Virginia Tech design/buildLAB 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 designing and building a fieldhouse for the Clifton Forge Little League.

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  • juvasquez

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