Virginia Tech® home

Ben Kirkland

Instructor of Design

Ben Kirkland is a professional industrial designer and adjunct instructor at Virginia Tech where he teaches human factors, computer-aided design, and studios for the industrial design program. His academic interests include videography for online education, critical & speculative design thinking, and building empathy for the human condition regarding design problems. Ben holds a M.S. Architecture from Virginia Tech and a Bachelor of Industrial Design from Auburn University.

For more than a decade, Ben was a designer and design manager for the award-winning custom lighting firm Crenshaw Lighting, where he specialized in custom fine lighting and historic restoration. Companies and firms he has collaborated and designed with include RAMSA, Gary Steffy Lighting Design, HGA, and the Architect of the Capitol. His works can be found at the Minnesota State Capitol building, the United States Supreme Court, 520 Park Avenue, Provo City Center Temple, University of Michigan’s Law Library, and more. Ben has also worked professionally in the custom timber frame industry as a timberwright and frame designer at Dreaming Creek Timber Frames.

Outside of academia, Ben is the content creator for YouTube channel Appalachian Bonsai, with over 85,000 subscribers and nearly 10 million views.

Human Factors, Design Visualization, Solidworks, Novelty

IDS 2034: Design Visualization
IDS 2044: Human Factors
IDS 3015: Industrial Design Lab III
IDS 3016: Industrial Design Lab III

"Tanuki: A Radical Redesign" A Short Film
"The American Elm: A Naturalistic Legacy" A Short Film

CETL Certificate of Teaching Excellence


M.S.Arch., Architecture, Virginia Tech

B.IND, Industrial Design, Auburn University