Through dialogue with Bruce Lindsey, dean of the College of Architecture/Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design at Washington University in St. Louis, Gateway Welcome Project President Peter Tao planted the seed of the NCNAA project as a site for this year’s undergraduate design-build class project.  Chandler Ahrens, assistant professor, was recruited to teach the class.

Previous year’s projects of this class — which takes a project from the discovery phase all the way through fabrication and installation — in recent years have included a unique bird blind for an Illinois sanctuary and a mobile that hangs in the atrium of the T-Rex on Washington Avenue.

The students wanted to design a shelter with landscaping and planters that evoked the energy and fun exuded by the students they had met. Admittedly the design they arrived at — a tubular structure resembling nothing so much as an insect from another planet — took a little bit of warming up to by SLPS officials.

In the end, the fact that NCNAA students and faculty had been involved by the WUSTL student architects  throughout the project created a sense of comfort. Ahrens said that the students involved on the project hail from a number of countries, including Austria and China.