Students try hand at courthouse design
Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 1, 2001
Saturday, September 01, 2001
The Natchez Democrat
Nine architecture students from Texas Agricultural & Mechanical
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University are getting hands-on knowledge of historic preservation
at Memorial Hall this weekend.
The graduate students arrived in Natchez Thursday and will
leave Sunday. During their time here, they are measuring and sketching
the historic Pearl Street building in order to compile plans to
renovate the building for use as a federal courthouse.
In 15 months, Memorial Hall should be renovated, furnished
and ready to use as a federal courthouse.
But the students’ plans will not be used to actually renovate
the building – an architect will do that, said Natchez City Planner
Instead, the project will count as one-third of the work needed
for the students to earn certificates in historic preservation,
said Bob Warden, the university’s master of science in architecture
&uot;This is much more valuable than sticking in a classroom,&uot;
student Ann Thomas said, while wielding a laser device used to
measure the dimensions of the building. &uot;You can learn so
much more by actually seeing the building than looking at some
slides on a screen.
&uot;This is three-dimensional; that’s two-dimensional,&uot;
she added. &uot;And in reality, when you’re an architect, you
don’t stay in your office 24/7 – you out to go the building and
take a look. This way you learn how to investigate.&uot;
Outside, student Doratee Chootinun was busy sketching the outside
of the building. &uot;You get a lot more experience this way,&uot;&160;she
said. &uot;You get to see the details of the building – and this
is an outstanding building.&uot;
&uot;It’s an opportunity for them to learn more about historic
preservation and how those issues are addressed in Natchez,&uot;
said Preziosi, himself a Texas A&M graduate with a certificate
in historic preservation.
In planning the renovation of such a building, one must consider
not only the building’s history, but must follow local building
codes and specific guidelines for the building of federal courthouses,
While in Natchez, the students will also gather information
necessary to draw up plans for replacing another building, a Franklin
Street structure that was heavily damaged by severe weather.
They will also visit other sites, such as antebellum houses
– good background, said Warden, in case students want to later
write their theses on Natchez topics.
And after their Natchez trip, the students will build a model
of the building and the buildings surrounding it, Warden said.
&uot;They’ll be looking at the context of the building, not
just the building itself,&uot;&160;he said.