As part of the exhibition, "Modeling a Vision,” the Branch Museum for Architecture and Design and the Center for Design Research (CDR) in the School of Architecture at Virginia Tech organized a workshop titled, "Democratizing Design Robotics."

The workshop was the first of a series of events designed to increase collaboration between Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and Virginia Tech.

Digital design and fabrication, including robotics, have facilitated innovative applied research, coursework, and outreach within the design disciplines. In industry, these tools are aiding in the realization of the future of practice. However, their full potential cannot be realized until access is expanded beyond the wealthiest of areas on the most expensive projects. Led by Dr. Nathan King, co-Director and Robert Dunay, FAIA, Director, the CDR is partnering with colleagues at Hampton University and Howard University. Two decades of projects (presented in the exhibition) have afforded the CDR opportunities for exploration into new modalities for the conceptualization and realization of design. 

Expanding on its goal of providing Experiential Learning opportunities, the CDR has developed a series of workshops to build research possibilities between faculty and students at Virginia Tech and those from Hampton and Howard Universities. The workshop is formulated to bridge the divide and expand collaboration across the region, fortifying engagement across multiple universities towards inclusive research in the academic environment.

The gathering involves students working with software and industrial robotic arms to produce prototypical sculptures that are extension of the research work presented in the garden of the Branch Museum.

The event will be held on Friday, September 8 at the Branch Museum for Architecture and Design with teams from Hampton University, Howard University and Virginia Tech. Robert Easter, FAIA, will discuss with the students the Future of Practice and opportunities for young individuals as part of the workshop.

Mr. Easter is former President AIAVA, and recent recipient of the American Institute of Architects Whitney M. Young Jr. Award that distinguishes an architect who embodies social responsibility and actively addresses a relevant issue, such as affordable housing, inclusiveness, or universal access.