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Ambler Johnston Hall is a two-wing residence hall located on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute State University. East Ambler Johnston (East AJ) houses over 300 University Honors Students living at in the Honors Residential College. West Ambler Johnston (West AJ) is home to the Residential College at West Ambler Johnston. Construction on the hall began in 1967, but the hall was not fully completed and occupied until 1969. The building was named for James Ambler Johnston, a lifetime supporter of the university, former president of Alumni Association, and a founder of Carneal and Johnston—an architectural-engineering firm that designed many campus buildings.


  • Ambler Johnston - North Elevation

James Markham Ambler Johnston (graduated 1904) was a lifetime supporter of his alma mater, the president of the Alumni Association, and a co-founder of Carneal and Johnston. His architectural firm designed many of the Collegiate Gothic buildings on the university's campus. Johnston was known for being an authority on the American Civil War. He helped purchase battlefields around the area of Richmond, Virginia, and was responsible for installing the first cast-iron markers that identify points of interest on battlefields. His efforts toward preserving historic sites in Virginia earned him numerous awards.

The residence hall that bears his name was constructed beginning in 1967. By fall of the following year, the building was partially occupied, though it would not be fully occupied until 1969. This 272,019-square-foot hall cost $4,853,966 to build and houses 1,306 students. It consists of two wings connected by three cross-over lounges. The wings are East Ambler Johnston (also known as East AJ) and West Ambler Johnston (also known as West AJ).

East AJ houses over 300 University Honors students living in the Honors Residential College. The program is made up of a community of faculty, staff, and students who are members of the university honors program. The freshmen through senior-level and graduate students who reside here are led by two live-in faculty principals and supported by more than 30 faculty, staff, and community members.

West AJ is the home of the Residential College at West Ambler Johnston. This community consists of 830 first-year to graduate level students from all academic disciplines. They are divided into "houses" of roughly 200 students, each led by an associate principal, a live-in graduate fellow, and two undergraduate resident advisors.

In 2011 and 2012, Barton Malow and architect Clark Nexsen provided design and construction services for a comprehensive renovation of the building. The renovations, conducted in two phases, transformed the traditional dorm-style bedrooms into suites and added residential apartments for faculty and graduate staff. Additionally, new amenities, such as teaching labs; a media theater; game room; group kitchens; library; Honors Commons; and a fitness center, were added. In 2014, the building earned the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. Additionally, the renovated building earned first place in the Virginia Interior Design Excellence Awards; an Award of Merit for the Mid-Atlantic Region from Engineering News-Record; and a Gold Citation from American School and University.

Ambler Johnston Hall is located on Washington Street, adjacent to the West End Market dining facility and Cassell Coliseum.

"Ambler Johnston Hall." Virginia Tech. Accessed February 15, 2017. http://www.vt.edu/about/buildings/ambler-johnston-hall.html.

"Campus Buildings - History of Virginia Tech." Virginia Tech. Accessed February 15, 2017. https://www.unirel.vt.edu/history/physical_plant/campus_buildings.html.

"Virginia Tech - Ambler Johnston Residence Hall." Barton Malow Company. Accessed February 15, 2017. https://www.bartonmalow.com/projects/ambler-johnston-residence-hall.

Spieldenner, Bob. "Ambler Johnston Hall LEED Gold certified, wins three design awards," Virginia Tech Daily. February 28th 2014. Accessed October 29th 2019. https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2014/02/022814-vpa-ajleedcertification.html.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

B. W. Townsend on Flickr (CC-BY 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/79838019@N00/4038942460