Tulane To Build September 11 Memorial

January 20, 2003

Gregory Pejic, <i>Hullabaloo</i> Contributing Writer

The USG and the Tulane School of Architecture recently kicked off a ten-day competition for plans to build an outdoor lecture area in between the Civil Engineering and Richardson Buildings. In doing so, the University hopes to create a memorial that the entire Tulane community can use to pay tribute to the heroism that took place Sept. 11, 2001, and to pay respect to the many lives that were lost. While this space will primarily serve as a permanent reminder to those historical events, it will also benefit the physical environment of Tulane's campus by improving its aesthetic quality.

The finished product will provide an environment for classes to be conducted with open discussion rather than the traditional hierarchical lecture format. The goal is to construct a diverse space that can be used to serve a typical class of 30 to 40 students, a large annual event of over 200 people, and to provide a location where individuals can reflect upon and remember the events of Sept. 11.

Starting last week, the School of Architecture student body was divided into 54 random teams of four students, each representing a different class. These teams submitted their designs on Wednesday to the faculty jury that subsequently whittled the list down to a selective 10 finalists.

The winning entry will be made public Friday, Jan. 24, and then each of the finalists entries will be displayed in the University Center the following Friday. The nine-member competition jury will make the final decision, and includes: Scott Cowen, Tulane University president; Donald Gatzke, dean of the School of Architecture; Henry Fry, director of Campus Planning; Sheryl Tucker de Vazques, associate professor, TSA; Steve Dumez, Design Principle; and four student government representatives.

The winning design will be given a construction budget of over $100,000 and there is a total funding goal of $300,000. This massive project will serve to better the quality of Tulanes campus by providing a new center of social interaction, while also redefining the relationship between the traditional academic quadrangle and the engineering quadrangle.

The School of Architecture held a meeting Jan. 10 for each of the 54 teams to begin discussions about the project. James White, USG vice president of Student Life and Outdoor Lecture Area Committee chairman, addressed the groups, saying that the project was an "appropriate Tulane community response to the events of Sept. 11."

He described the project as "dynamic" while explaining how the idea arose from simply jotting ideas on a napkin immediately after Sept. 11, 2001; finally evolving into a student body-wide competition due to the support by both the university administration and the students. Different ideas were considered at first, such as a garden, a mural and a traditional memorial.

It was decided that a place of both reflection and action should be built in order to remember the tragedy while also serving as a place where constructive ideas can be exchanged and heard by others. Students involved in the project seem to be equally enthusiastic. Michael Ball, a first-year architecture student, said, "I believe the ideas and projects submitted will help to create quite the visual impact on campus."

Jason Harm, a third-year student, said that the project was "interesting since it gave students a rare opportunity to influence the campus and to pay homage to the events of 9-11 at the same time." Anticipation for the project extends beyond the architecture community.

"I think its a great idea. I wish all classes were held outside. Everyone should realize the earth is our classroom," Newcomb College senior Ashley Biden said.

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