Some of the brightest young architects across the Commonwealth are focusing on part of Roanoke for a new revitalization project. They'll make a presentation to city council tonight.
The Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects has been doing a year-long project with emerging architects for the last few years. The ELA program consists of seven intensive day-long seminars. Each session focuses on one or more essential strategies or skills such as financial management, presentation and communication skills, negotiating techniques, understanding legal and ethical issues, and public service. It gives the students and graduates an opportunity to work closely with working architects and firms.
As part of the program, participants choose a class project in one of the cities in which they meet. It lasts the entire year, is real-world and real-client based, and serves to help the participants put the knowledge and skills they are learning into practice. This year's ELA class chose Roanoke's West End.
Right now, the West End is a target area for revitalization.
The student's plans and proposals are intended to go along with the work the city is already doing. "The hope was to present ideas that would help unify the community, a sort of branding if you will, of the West End Village idea," said Gwyn Gilliam of Gilliam Katz Architecture + Design. "There are also drawings they've done showing different kinds of street scape improvements and the logos might be used on buses, on banners, bike lanes."
Students will give their presentation tonight at 7:00 p.m. in council chambers. There will also be time for questions.