Shannon Cain Recognized: AIA Blue Ridge Merit Award

Shannon Cain Recognized: AIA Blue Ridge Merit Award

(February 12, 2021) – We are taking a moment to celebrate the achievement of one of our own! Every two years, the Blue Ridge Chapter of the American Institute of Architects recognizes outstanding design by practitioners and students. These awards showcase the diversity, skill, and talent of the region. In the most recent round of awards, an architect in our New River Valley office, Shannon Cain, had a project recognized with an AIA Blue Ridge Merit Award. The project was completed during her time at Virginia Tech.

The project was a collaboration between her architecture class and the music department at Virginia Tech. The concept was to design and build in two weeks a structure that could be placed anywhere and could be used by a small group of musicians to interact with the public.  The group created a performance platform that allowed the audience and performers to meld. The structure was a collection of 10 pieces put together into a square.  Each “ribbon” was two pieces connected. The system had three levels with a base just off the ground acting as the floor, a seating level and table level which was twice seat height. 

The flexible layout allowed for people to sit or stand at different heights and allow performers with different needs to be able to use the space.  When the string players used the structure, the audience sat in with them, some even holding music for the performers. When brass players performed, the audience was further away in the grass. Seeing the different ways people could interact with the performers was new for everyone.  Through-out the day when the performers where not there, students and staff found other uses for the structure.  It was a study place, a group hangout, a lunch area and even an occasional jungle gym for kids.

Our congratulations go out to Shannon and all the dedicated members of the design group. This recognition is certainly merited for such an interesting and inspired project.


About Balzer & Associates, Inc.
Established in 1968, Balzer & Associates is a development consulting company that provides planning, architectural, engineering, surveying, and related services throughout Virginia and surrounding areas. The company is headquartered in Roanoke and has additional offices in Richmond, Staunton, New River Valley, Harrisonburg, and Lynchburg.