An Upgrade at Virginia Tech

auditorium McBryde upgradeMcBryde 100 auditorium, a 550-seat raked floor auditorium, is the largest classroom assembly space on the main campus of Virginia Polytechnic and State University (Virginia Tech) in Blacksburg. Heavily used by multiple departments for large format “101” classes, the instruction space, like many similar auditoriums built in the 1970s, was in need of updates and improvements. Designed and executed by the Washington, DC, studio of Westlake Reed Leskosky, the interior renovation addressed accessibility compliance, life safety issues, aging infrastructure, aging technology and worn interior finishes and furnishings.

With one strategic sectional change, Westlake Reed Leskosky solved a variety of accessibility compliance issues, accommodates instructor circulation within the room, and provides for future evolutions in teaching pedagogy. The key renovation design concept of a modified floor slab improves accessibility throughout the space and facilitates more integrated teaching methods for instructors and students. Specifically, the strategy involved changing the rake of the floor to 1:12, adding continuous rails at side aisles, introducing an intermediate aisle, and interspersing ADAcompliant seating spaces throughout the room, while sacrificing only a minimal number of seats from the previous condition.

auditorium McBryde upgradeModern teaching systems via the podium, AV systems projecting on a fixed surface, new seating systems, interior finishes, lighting and acoustical treatments make the auditorium one of the most elegant large-scale teaching environments on campus. The interiors feature new maple wall and ceiling paneling, highly sustainable fabric-wrapped panels, and other finishes inspired by the existing Hokie Stone walls that are prominent throughout campus.

This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of College Planning & Management.

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