In.Site: Architecture, the firm run by Rick Hauser, entered a proposal for a design of the Flight 93 memorial. The proposal was one of 1,000 entries, and finalists were announced Feb. 4. An interview with Hauser about the proposal aired on WOKR/WHAM Channel 13, the Rochester ABC affiliate, on Feb. 3.
“It’s our 'contribution' to the story and memory of the heroes of Flight 93, and will become part of the Flight 93 archives,” said Hauser of the design proposal. “I think what’s important to understand for those not familiar with the project is the sheer, utter, unadorned immensity of the site where the plane went down. It is an abandoned strip mine, meaning nothing grows on a stretch of land probably five miles long and over a mile wide. It’s a barren, wind-swept (and this is important), pockmarked, undulating, sloping piece of earth, with standing bodies of water in the pockmarks and a thin veneer of “soil” spread over the rock when they were done, that barely supports a sparse growth of weedy grass. Did I mention the incessant wind? What’s also tremendous is the context – this strip mine is surrounded by the most beautiful rolling landscape of patchwork trees, farmland and old barns known as the Laurel Highlands.”
On the first anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, Hauser assigned his students the task of designing a “Memorial, Monument and Mini-Museum” on the site. The class traveled to the site in October, then spent several months crafting solutions appropriate in scale and context for a memorial expression.
“Ever since then,” said Hauser, “I’ve been bursting with ideas, waiting for the competition. Given our firm’s emphasis on site, and the Shanksville, Pa., site’s enormity and intensity, we have worked to propose a memorial that channels the energy and raw power of the place into a solution that is at once comprehensible and comforting. We have proposed an earth-sculpture of an upturned hand, a mile across, emerging from the site to 'receive' (or 'release') the 40 courageous passengers and crew, as well as to gather up visitors to the site. The upturned hand is a deeply embedded symbol of peace, sacrifice and security across most major religions and cultures. The memorial expression is at a scale visible from an airplane, much like other great feats of civilizations. Its fingertips will allow points of reverence and reflection, views to the distant Highlands as well as to the memorial sculpture. This sculpture is a sound-sculpture, turning wind into 40 voices singing through the air.”
In.Site: Architecture has received the Rochester AIA Design for Excellence Award each year it has been offered since the firm was founded in 2001 – for a library addition, a sanctuary design for a church (unbuilt), and a new house. In.Site: Architecture has been featured nationally in “Residential Architect” magazine, and regionally in the home design issue of City Newspaper.
Hauser, an assistant professor of art and the principal of In.Site: Architecture, has background is in landscape architecture and received his master's degree from the University of Virginia.
His business partner Ali Yapicioglu has also taught architecture at the Colleges. Prior to receiving a bachelor's degree from the University of Yildiz, in Istanbul, Yapicioglu worked in the family trade as a stonemason in Cyprus. He received both a Professional Architecture and a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Kansas.
Hauser and Yapicioglu emphasize site and place, amplifying the experience of place through design. They work in the southern tier, southern Finger Lakes, and the Niagara region.
More information on the memorial project is available at www.flight93memorialproject.org. In.Site's project is at http://flight93memorialproject.org/dessta1geign_version2.asp?GroupID=11542&Expanded=&Page=46. This is page 46 and the project is #28-530.