The attacks on 9/11 scarred the nation; Julie Beckman's memorial helped it heal.
Beckman, designer of the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial and the Space Shuttle Challenger Memorial, joined the UT family this month as director of student services for the College of Architecture and Design.
Beckman's architectural path began when she attended Bryn Mawr College, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in the growth and structure of cities. She then earned her master's in architecture from Columbia University in New York.
Beckman has harbored an interest in architecture since high school, but her career took off when she and her husband, Keith Kaseman, entered the 2002 design competition for the Pentagon Memorial.
"We were living in New York at the time of 9/11, and so we entered the competition as a means to deal with our own grief and coming to terms with what happened," Beckman said. "Given that we are designers by profession, we felt that the competition was an opportunity for us to contribute to a conversation about how to remember."
The Pentagon Memorial design competition in Washington, D.C., was open, international and anonymous.
More than 1,200 submissions were deliberated by a jury of design professionals, family members of 9/11 victims and former defense secretaries. Six finalists were chosen to receive a stipend to further develop their design through models and drawings.
In March 2003, after presenting the designs to the families of some of those killed in the attack, Beckman and Kaseman's design was chosen.
The memorial was dedicated in September 2008.
"The process involved a lot of thinking about how one would remember the 184 individuals that were lost," Beckman said. "September 11 was such a unique event in the sense that over 3,000 people lost their lives, and these are people who were just going to work or going on the trip."
It was an array of all kinds of people, so we wanted to make sure the memorial would be timeless and the remembrance of those people would go on for generations to come, long after those who experienced 9/11 were gone."Upon winning the memorial competition Beckman and Kaseman formed Kaseman Beckman Advanced Strategies, a small design practice operating out of Knoxville and New York City.
KBAS was chosen as the design team for the Space Shuttle Challenger Memorial in Nacogdoches, Texas. However, the project was delayed when Hurricane Katrina hit the South.
Often, Beckman's design process begins with questions not only about the building's future purpose, but its untapped potential and versatile uses."We like to come up with these 'hard to pinpoint the answer to' questions that would get us thinking differently about how space could be used," Beckman said
.Beckman said she eagerly anticipates working with UT's architecture program.
"At UT I am looking for the opportunity for the students to get connected with outside industry professionals like local, regional, and national design firms," Beckman said. "I'm looking for an opportunity to expand the travel abroad possibilities and for ways to recognize students' outstanding and exemplary works through internal and external opportunities.
"I'm really happy to be here and to help build this program. We have a relatively new dean, and so I am excited to be joining his forces to make the College or Architecture nationally known."