The capstone building of an early 1900s master plan for Virginia Tech was recognized this fall when Torgersen Hall received two distinguished architectural honors.
The Washington, D.C. chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) conferred the Merit Award in Architecture and the 75 year-old American School & University magazine of design and construction awarded a Bronze Citation for Torgersen's design. Only 20 such citations from American School & University are given nationwide. Esocoff & Associates of Washington, D.C. was the Torgersen Hall design architect and SFCS, Inc. of Roanoke was the architect of record.
Torgersen Hall, the AIA jury noted, completes the original master plan initiated by the celebrated Boston architect Ralph Adams Cram. His concept was a series of collegiate Gothic-style buildings arranged in quadrangles framing the Drill Field. Each building was to be faced with stone dug from a quarry located near what is now Cowgill Hall, which houses the administrative offices for the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.
The jury praised the Torgersen design for continuing to use traditional native stone for the exterior, while inside housing advanced technologies for computer labs and multimedia classrooms. The jury also commented on Torgersen's functional connection to the campus library via a bridge across Alumni Mall. A long, vaulted reading room, with an up lit wood ceiling, offering commanding views of the campus and mountains, becomes "the university's emblematic interior space," commented jurors.
Jurors for American School & University described Torgersen as having a beautiful and dramatic functional design. In awarding the Bronze Citation in the Libraries/Media Centers category, the jury noted that Torgersen's design facilitates the use of a variety of digital media, thus "redefining the traditional concept of a university library." Another recognition by the jury was Torgersen's arrays of spaces and labs, many reconfigurable, to develop and evaluate new technologies for research, teaching and learning.
Also known as the Advanced Communications & Information Technology Center, the 150,000 square-foot facility was completed in January 2001 and is home to engineers, computer scientists, instructional technologists and library faculty who participate in joint collaboration and research.
AIA presented its Award of Merit on Nov. 8, 2003 in Washington, D.C. The American School & University featured Torgensen Hall and its Bronze Citation in the magazine's 2003 Educational Interiors Showcase issue.
Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech's eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top 30 research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 170 academic degree programs.