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Interior design students are finalists in the Hospitality Design Awards for Creative Achievement


BLACKSBURG, Va., May 26, 2005 – Students from Virginia Tech’s Interior Design Program in the School of Architecture + Design are finalists in Hospitality Design Magazine’s annual Hospitality Design Awards for Creative Achievement. Four finalists were selected in the Student Project category and two of those winners were Virginia Tech interior design students.

The magazine’s first annual design competition featured a student category. Jessica Toro of Norfolk, Va., a sophomore majoring in interior design and Cara Williams of Willis, Va., a sophomore majoring in interior design, were selected for their design of a restaurant and lounge.

Faculty selected six projects from a class of 40 outstanding projects for submission to the competition. In addition to the two finalists, the other Virginia Tech interior design students whose projects were selected for submission were sophomores Catherine Gengo of Manassas, Va., Kimberly Picklap of Winchester, Va., Kristen Ruch of Midlothian, Va., and Stephanie Brooker of Ladsdale, Penn.

Hospitality and Design Magazine is the premier trade magazine serving the field of hospitality design and it features the work of major interior designers, architects, and design firms that specifically design hospitality spaces such as restaurants, hotels, resorts, spas, nightclubs, conference centers, senior living facilities and all other hospitality-oriented projects.

The Virginia Tech finalists designed a restaurant and lounge to be located in Singapore. These designs were specifically selected for submission to the magazine by interior design faculty because of their conceptual depth in creatively designing a space that was both aesthetically unique and appropriately connected to the cultural context of the restaurant's location. Brad Whitney and Katrina Choi were supervising interior design faculty.

Greg Tew, professor and chair of the Interior Design Program in the School and Architecture + Design said, “We are always excited when our students are recognized for outstanding work, but our success in the Hospitality Design Awards competition is particularly satisfying. Design competition winners are typically senior level students working on semester long projects. We found out about this competition less than a month before the submission deadline and quickly created the restaurant assignment for our sophomore students to submit for the awards. For these students to be selected as finalists in an important competition shows how quickly our students develop the creative skills needed to be successful designers.”

Winners and finalists will be honored at an awards presentation and celebratory reception on Wednesday, June 8, 2005, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at the Hudson Theater in New York City, where the Best of Show will also be announced. Images from each project will be featured in the July issue of Hospitality Design Magazine.

Virginia Tech’s Interior Design Program is a FIDER-accredited program in the School of Architecture + Design. The School of Architecture + Design, part of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, offers a Bachelor of Architecture (NAAB-accredited), Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design (NASAD-accredited), and Bachelor of Science in Interior Design (FIDER-accredited), as well as Master of Architecture, Master of Science in Architecture, and Ph.D. in Environmental Design and Planning.

The College of Architecture and Urban Studies is one of the largest of its type in the nation. CAUS is composed of two schools and the departments of landscape architecture, building construction, and art and art history. The School of Architecture + Design includes programs in architecture, industrial design and interior design. The School of Public and International Affairs includes programs in urban affairs and planning, public administration and policy, and government and international affairs. The college enrolls more than 2,000 students offering 22 degrees programs taught by 160 faculty members.