Professor Andrew Gipe-Lazarou has received the Diversity Achievement Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ASCA) for his course: Blind Design Workshop: Advancing Inclusivity with Non-Visual Pedagogy.

The award recognizes the work of faculty, administrators, or students in creating effective methods and models to achieve greater diversity in curricula, school personnel, and student bodies, specifically to incorporate the participation and contributions of historically under-represented groups or contexts.

The Blind Design Workshop established by Dr Andrew Gipe-Lazarou, is an annual collaboration between Virginia Tech and the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI), in the spring semester. The five-day workshop brings 15+ vision-impaired learners, aged 14-24, from across the state to participate in a series of design exercises that students in the School of Architecture prepare. By exploring innovative non-visual means of design communication, and involving practitioners with disability as mentors, the workshop aims to empower vision-impaired participants with the understanding that they can meaningfully impact the design of the built environment. Doubling as a professional elective, the workshop also challenges architecture students to question the ocular-centrism / discover the multi-sensory potential of their profession, and to consider the significance of accessible space-making.

Congratulations to Andrew!