MARCH 2006: Home arrow Columns and Departments arrow Latest arrow First Take: Red Square Blueprints
First Take: Red Square Blueprints Print

On Dec. 7, the graduate students in Daniel Winterbottom’s landscape architecture class got together in Gould Hall to unveil their proposals for a new “Red Square.” It wasn’t a real redesign: the space officially known as the Central Plaza will remain red and, more or less, square, for the time being. But it required real legwork of the students, including visits to other major plazas in Portland and San Francisco. And there were real stakes—a grade, plus a $1,000 check, which the professional judges awarded to graduate student Michal Russo.

ImageHer winning entry, we at Columns noted with some pride, makes extensive use of columns. She put 17 of them just south of Kane Hall—one for each of the University’s colleges and schools; there are strategically placed “smoking columns” throughout the plaza, to improve the ventilation of the underground parking garage; also two pairs of “fallen columns,” symbolic of the region’s forests, that double as benches; and a “counter monument”—a column that would slowly sink into the ground over the next 50 years. The plan calls for graffiti to accumulate on its surface as it goes. This last feature piqued the curiosity of President Mark Emmert, ’75, who was present at the unveiling. “Whose parking space will be underneath that thing?” he asked.

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