The Catholic University of America

Oct. 31, 2008

American Institute of Architects Honors CUA Students

Students of the "Spirit of Place/Spirit of Design" course stand in front of their completed James Hoban memorial in Callan, Ireland.

A group of CUA architecture students and their professor received an Award of Merit in Architecture Oct. 30 from the Washington, D.C., Chapter of The American Institute of Architects (AIA) for their design of a memorial to the Irish-born architect of the White House, James Hoban.

The Hoban memorial was designed by the group of 23 CUA students during the spring 2008 semester, and then constructed by the class at Hoban's birthplace in Callan, County Kilkenny, Ireland, during a nine-day trip last summer.

The project was part of a CUA design-build course known as "Spirit of Place/Spirit of Design." Adjunct Professor of Architecture Travis Price III, a D.C. architect and director of CUA's Sacred and Cultural Studies Space concentration, taught the course.

The merit award was one of 10 distributed in that category this year by the AIA's D.C. chapter, and is not typically awarded to students.

Students spent a semester designing this memorial before traveling to Ireland to build it.
During the semester-long design process, the architecture students studied Hoban's works within the historical and cultural context of Irish and early-American history. They worked individually on a theme for the memorial, and then collaboratively, honing themes into a final design. The class presented the design to a visiting delegation of the Kilkenny County Council and community members during their visit to D.C. in the spring.

Once in Callan, students worked alongside several local stone masons to complete the memorial, learning how to construct its six stone walls. They also laid the floor paving, installed glass panels, secured the glass roof, installed lighting and completed the final landscaping. The Kilkenny County Council and the James Hoban Society sponsored the trip and the memorial's construction as part of a yearlong commemoration of the 250th anniversary of Hoban's birth.

"We are thrilled with the AIA's recognition of this important memorial project in Ireland by our school's architecture students," said Randall Ott, dean of CUA's School of Architecture and Planning. "Through the "Spirit of Place/Spirit of Design" program, our students have had opportunities to design and construct over a dozen honorific structures across the globe."

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