An undergraduate student team from Virginia Tech's School of Architecture & Design, led by Terry Surjan, associate professor of architecture, traveled to Chicago in September to erect and display an archway/pavilion entrance to WIRED magazine's NEXTFest at Millennium Park. The architecture student team traveling to Chicago includes fourth-year student Nick Ross of Winchester, and third-year students Josh Eager of Reston, Ivan Bustamante of Fairfax and Griffin Ofiesh of Falls Church.
In August 2008, Surjan and his students created the icon archway that will serve both as an exhibit and the official entry into NEXTFest, after the "SuitCase Pavilion" they created for last summer's London Festival of Architecture caught the attention of NEXTFest organizers. The students used both analog and digital technologies to conceive and create stacking and interlocking components that form both the pavilion and the archway's structures. More than 14,000 parts for the NEXTFest archway structure were cut over 10 days in September. The archway had to be completely re-manufactured, redesigned and reconfigured for the NEXTFest exhibit. With a footprint of 20 feet by 20 feet, the archway is three times the size of the structure Surjan and his students created for the London exhibit.