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College of Architecture and Urban Studies tapped for ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition project


BLACKSBURG, Va., Dec. 4, 2005 – Student and faculty in Virginia Tech's College of Architecture and Urban Studies will provide their design expertise as the crew of the popular ABC television program “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” begins work on a new home for Blacksburg resident Carol Crawford-Smith.

Team leader Ty Pennington visited the Smith family Sunday morning to inform them that they were selected from thousands of nominees to receive a completely new house. Smith is the mother of two school-age boys; is a professional ballerina with multiple sclerosis; and is the founder of the Center of Dance, a Blacksburg ballet studio.

Paul L. Knox, dean of Virginia Tech’s College of Architecture and Urban Studies, was approached by Robert Fetzer, owner of Building Specialists in Roanoke, Va., who volunteered to be the builder for the project. Fetzer asked Knox whether Virginia Tech students and faculty would be willing to lead collaboration with Amanda McCreary, his company’s architectural designer and a Virginia Tech graduate, on the design of a new home for the Smiths.

"We sometimes take on design and building projects to give our students real world experience,” said Knox.” "This house - designed by Building Specialists, who collaborated with the ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ Design Team and our faculty and students, will be built by Building Specialists along with our faculty and students and scores of community volunteers - reaffirms that wonderful things really can happen to good people."

Knox asked Joe Wheeler, assistant professor of architecture, to be the lead faculty for the project. Fresh from Virginia Tech's participation in the U. S. Department of Energy's Solar Decathlon 2005 competition in Washington, D.C., where the Virginia Tech team swept the architecture awards, Wheeler and Robert Dunay, professor and director of the Industrial Design program, worked with some of that project's outstanding architecture students to create an attractive, accessible home for the Smiths.

The student design team included Chip Clark, a fifth-year architecture student from Fredericksburg, Va.; Ben McCreary, a fifth year architecture student from Roanoke, Va.; Brandon Lingenfeltser, a third year architecture student from Blacksburg, Va; and Tom Shockey, a fourth year architecture student from Lake Forrest, Ill. Still other students and faculty will be involved in the construction of the home. Research from the solar house project has been applied to aspects of the Smiths' new house. Innovative materials and building components will provide energy conservation and a rich interior environment.

All plans for the house are currently top secret, but those passing by the Smith home at 400 Ardmore Street this week can check on its progress. In keeping with “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” stipulations, the home will be completed in one week.

The design team has been working with professors Yvan Beliveau, Mike O'Brien, and Thomas Mills of the College's Department of Building Construction to integrate accelerated construction processes into the plans for the house. Professor Brian Kleiner, director of Virginia Tech's Center for Innovation in Construction Safety and Health is ensuring the build will be as safe as it is fast.

The Smith family will remove their belongings from the house Dec. 5 and pack for a vacation. The project begins Tuesday, Dec. 6, with the demolition of the Smith's current house. The family will return to their new home and their new life on Dec. 11.

The "Smith Family" episode of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" will air in Winter 2006 on the ABC Television Network. The show is seen locally on WSET-TV Channel 13 on Sundays at 8 p.m.

About “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”

“Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” is produced by Endemol USA, a division of Endemol Holding. David Goldberg is the president of Endemol USA. The series is executive-produced by Tom Forman. The show airs Sundays (8:00-9:00 p.m. ET), on the ABC Television Network.

About The College of Architecture and Urban Studies

The College of Architecture and Urban Studies is one of the largest of its type in the nation. The college 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. Programs in architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, public administration, and urban and regional planning are all ranked in the top 10 nationally. The college enrolls more than 2,000 students offering 22 degrees programs taught by 160 faculty members.

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 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.