Betsky the Hokie

John Hill
13. March 2020
Aaron Betsky (Photo by Roderick La Foy for Virginia Tech)

Aaron Betsky, the head of the School of Architecture at Taliesin (SOAT) since 2015, has been appointed director of Virginia Tech’s School of Architecture + Design in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.

The timing of the announcement comes after months of turbulence at SOAT, which revealed in January that this year — the school's 88th — would be its last. Just last week that closure appeared to be reversed, as the school found new funding sources that may allow it to remain open beyond its current semester.

Now Betsky, who steered SOAT through difficult years as it strove for financial independence in order to remain accredited, will be heading to Blacksburg, Virginia, home of the Hokies and Virginia Tech's School of Architecture + Design. The School is one of four within the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, which was founded in 1964 and has functioned under Dean Richard Blythe since 2017. (The other schools are the School of Visual Arts, Myers-Lawson School of Construction, and the School of Public and International Affairs.) Betsky takes over for Hunter Pittman, who has led the School of Architecture + Design since 2016 and will return to teaching.

In the school's announcement, Blythe said, "Aaron is a proven leader with demonstrated dedication to cross-disciplinary exploration, academic excellence, and educational innovation. His international standing and connections in architecture and design are considerable and will undoubtedly help the college expand its global reach, activities, and influence."

Before Betsky helmed SOAT, the prolific critic and author of numerous books was the director of the Cincinnati Art Museum (2006-2014), director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute (2001-2006), and curator of architecture, design, and digital projects at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1995-2001).

Bestky is quoted in the announcement: "The School of Architecture + Design in particular has a stellar history of experimentation and leveraging its position within a land-grant institution to serve its many communities – particularly in the Commonwealth of Virginia, but also beyond. I look forward to furthering the school’s commitment to using technology as a tool to build better cities and steward the landscapes we inhabit in ways that are not only beautiful, but also deeply sustainable for our planet into the future."

Betsky takes on his new role at Virginia Tech on June 1, 2020.

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