Community through architecture
by Jane Ford
project team discusses construction details. Clockwise from
left: Andrew Burdick, John Barr, Kelly Howard, Kate Thatcher,
Barrett Eastwood, Benjamin Petrick and Brian Tabolt. Team
member Kevin Riddle is not pictured.
By Jane Ford
Andrew Eben Burdick, architecture is about creating community.
his six years at U.Va., as both an undergraduate and graduate
student, Burdick reached beyond the Architecture
School to improve student life on Grounds by putting theory
recently completed project on the second floor of Newcomb Hall
highlights years of persistence and hard work. It also demonstrates
Burdicks desire for architecture students to share their
talents with the larger community.
combination of tables, chairs and benches, designed and built
as a class project by eight architecture students, creates an
inviting space for informal meetings by student groups. The location
is a popular place for groups to set up card tables to recruit
members, promote activities and raise funds.
completed project is actually a sculpture, fusing steel and wood.
The team paid careful attention to the materials themselves
what people will touch, see and feel.
is both utilitarian and aesthetic, said Burdick.
L. Ashby, director of Newcomb Hall and associate dean of students,
said, It has been a wonderful experience for us at Newcomb
Hall. It fits into the Universitys philosophy of student
involvement in all levels of activity, from conception to execution.
the installation is small in scale, Burdick sees it as a model
for larger projects where architecture students can contribute
to creating community on Grounds.
a lesson in how to make communities for design and non-design
students, said Burdick, who contributed to several projects
over the years. With other students, he was involved in a grassroots
effort, spearheaded by fourth-year Steven Reinemund, to advance
the idea of a university center. That project is now in the Universitys
six-year construction plans.
the Architecture School, Burdick and others designed and built
an outdoor terrace where students meet and classes convene.
like these go beyond creating community at U.Va, Burdick said.
Many graduates will go on to hold positions in business where
they will make architectural design decisions. If they understand
the process, they will be able to foster community-building for
is especially proud that a larger project is already on the drawing
boards five Architecture School students are designing
the concept for a Diversity Outreach Center in Newcomb Hall. The
space will provide a spot for relaxation, gatherings, cultural
events and an outreach resource center.
Burdick leaves the University, he recalls something he wrote for
an introductory architecture course: Architecture is the most
humanistic of arts; it is the form of art which heightens our
experience on a daily basis.