Paul Emmons, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies at the College of Architecture and Urban Studies discussed the origins and development of the Architecture + Design Research Doctoral Program at WAAC, which is one of the two streams of the architecture PhD program at Virginia Tech. The PhD program contributes to matters of architectural practice through the study of representation understood in its broadest sense. Architectural research inquiries are developed in line with a liberal arts tradition rather than a positivist research methodology. Doctoral students read widely in fields beyond architecture and including philosophy; however, they write in the history and theory of architecture. Selected phenomenological writings and hermeneutic theory readings support their dissertations.
Emmons’ prolific scholarship deals with the interface of hand and digital drawing to reflect on the momentous perceptual shifts brought by the introduction of digital technologies in architectural representation. His most recent book, Drawing Imagining Building: Embodiment in Architectural Design Practices, offers an insightful transhistorical reading, which starts in the Renaissance and comes up to the first half of the twentieth century, to delve into the practice of hand drawing and its import for architectural imagination.