December 18, 2001
GENEVA, N.Y.-On the afternoon of September 11, all eight students in Rick Hauser's architecture class at Hobart and William Smith Colleges showed up for class. After discussing the events of the day with the class as best he could, and allowing students to leave if they wanted, Hauser encouraged them to use the creative process of design as a therapy in a time of confusion and chaos. The models that took on a new meaning on that day were recently completed and are on display in Houghton House Gallery on the Colleges campus.
Each student's model features a landscape of various places, ranging from the rainforests in Costa Rica to a mountain range near Jackson Hole, Wyoming-from a waterfall near the coast of Nova Scotia, to a canyon in the badlands of South Dakota. These designs contain places for individual thought as well as collective memory of September 11.
“These designs include places where people might go to experience healing,” said Hauser, of Perry, N.Y., an assistant professor of art who has worked at Hobart and William Smith Colleges since 1996.
One student, Joseph Rivera-Ramos, a Hobart sophomore from New York City, lost three members of his extended family in the collapse of the Twin Towers. Rivera-Ramos' landscape of Nova Scotia included two sheltered places where people can go to reflect. Other students included Logan Hobstetter, a Hobart sophomore from Palo Alto, Calif.; Wristen Paschich, a Hobart first-year from Corrales, N. M.; Michelle Harris, a William Smith junior from Buffalo, N.Y.; Elizabeth Terry, a William Smith sophomore from Morrisville, Vt.; Karen Harvey, a William Smith sophomore from Londonderry, N.H.; Allison Fries, a William Smith sophomore from Madison, Conn.; and Whitney Nields, a William Smith sophomore from Lyndborough, N.H.
Last week the models were reviewed. In addition to Hauser, two guest jurors presided over the four-hour review. They were Paul Schulhof, an architect from the New York City design firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Associates, and Herb Gottfried, a professor of landscape architecture at Cornell University.
“It seemed the only thing to do after 9-11 was to work through it architecturally or ban it from the classroom. The assignment resulted in some exciting projects,” Hauser said.
Read the article about the work, titled “HWS students create 'places of healing,'” from the December 14 Finger Lakes Times.