WAAC history

The Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center (WAAC) of Virginia Tech inhabits the former Lee School for Girls on Prince Street between the north–south branches of Route 1. This sixteen room high school operated intermittently from June 1909 until the mid-1970s. It was transformed into an office building in the 1980s until the Virginia Tech Foundation purchased it in 1989.* Since then, the robust brick structure, designed by Richmond-architect Charles M. Robinson, has served as a living laboratory for student and faculty architectural interventions producing magical transformations of the rooms into libraries, exhibit halls, high tech classrooms, and even a stair theater. These interventions, somewhat in the nature of archaeological digs, uncovered evidence of the life of the former high school frozen in time, such as colorful drawings preserved on the slate chalk boards, framed and made visible today.

* “Out of the Attic: Designed to teach girls, it now houses a design school,” Alexandria Times, June 2, 2011. https://alextimes.com/2011/06/out-of-the-attic-designed-to-teach-girl/

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