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B.Arch: CAL POLY SLO vs VIRGINIA TECH

taylorbannink

I have narrowed down my options to Cal Poly SLO and Virginia Tech. So far the costs of attending are about the same, Cal Poly is just slightly less expensive. I was wondering if any one could give me some pros and cons of each school and their architecture program. 

Topics:

 - Resources 

- Studio spaces

- Design Build

- Benefits of the courses offered 

- Dorms 

- Food 

- Extra-curricular 

- etc.

Thanks!

 
Apr 17, 19 11:55 am
senjohnblutarsky

Virginia Tech has/had (it's been a while) in the Architecture building and accessory spaces:

Wood shop, metal shop, silk screen lab, 3D print labs, dark rooms, plastics lab (vacuum forming and similar), printing (roller bed presses), pottery studio, and a few random others. 

The industrial design program is in the building with the Architecture people.  Makes for some nice collaboration.  First year studio has Architecture, Interior Design, Industrial Design, and Landscape students all in the same studios (or did when I was there). 

Studio spaces are in two different buildings.  In gneral, they're all open areas with a desk about 4.5'w x 3.5' deep.  Floor space for storage.  Studios are sorted by professor.  Each professor will have multiple years of students in the space.  So, you can pick other people's brains.  Graduate studios are in the same buildings. 

There are design build programs.  Also have the solarhouse team that does design build and competition.  

4th year you have a variety of options for study.  There is a residency in Riva San Vitale Switzerland, a Europe Travel program, Chicago program (work for a firm while taking classes), and the Washington Alexandria Architecture Center.  You can opt to stay in Blacksburg for that semester, but, I wouldn't recommend it. 

Tech's food is consistently ranked in the top programs in the country.  There's plenty of variety, and plenty of good stuff available.  

The dorms are a mix of old and new.  I'd pursue one of the suite-style dorms.  They are slowly renovating the old dorms. 

Extra Curricular:  Downtown is smallish.  Plenty to do unless you're more into things like wandering malls and sitting in traffic.  Lots of outdoor activity opportunities.  National forest nearby with trails for hiking and biking.  Broad intermural sports programs.  Two different exercise facilities/gymnasiums for students.  And clubs out the wazoo. Nearest City is Roanoke.  Not a big place.  But, there's really no need to leave town.  You won't have time as an architecture student anyway. 

Tech is based on the Bauhaus model.  If that's your thing, awesome.  I liked it because I like the craft side of things.  Most professors were supportive of putting your ideas out in a variety of mediums.  They weren't pushing computers over other methods.  They all did like to see some hand drawn/sketched work accompanying the other stuff.  But, some people go through the whole program only doing computer work. 

Con: I had a teacher who nearly drove me to quitting architecture.  Pro:  I was able to move to other professors who I got along with. There are a lot of different personalities there.  You just have to find the ones you fit with.  Your first year, you'll just be arbitrarily assigned a professor.  After that, you can ask for certain ones.  Might not get them, depending on demand.  

Apr 17, 19 1:09 pm

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