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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Architecture project to become TX-TF1 memorial

Task+Force+Memorial
Photo by Photo by: Alexis Will
Task Force Memorial

The design of one A&M student will be the framework for a memorial honoring Texas Task Force 1, a group which responds to national and state disasters —including the Bastrop Fires of 2011 and the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
Sydney Farris, environmental design sophomore, was tasked — along with other members of a sophomore-level design studio class — with designing the Texas Task Force 1 memorial, meant to honor both 9/11 first responders and the Task Force’s own fallen members. The memorial will be built at the Texas Task Fore 1 headquarters in College Station. Out of a class of 16 students, Jeff Saunders, director of Texas Task Force 1, and Brian Blake, the Task Force’s director of communications, chose Farris’s design to become a reality.
Farris’ design, entitled “Answering the Call,” features the names of both human and canine TX-TF1 members, a piece of steel from the World Trade Center, and an architectural statue facing north east — the direction of New York City — along with other aspects.
Farris said the process for this project was different from others because they had to present their design to an actual client.
“We spent a lot of time — probably more time than usual — on presentation since we were presenting to real clients,” Farris said. “It was an individual project and we really didn’t know what they were going to do with our designs — if they were just going to take them as different ideas to pass to someone else, or if they were going to choose one or a few of them. A week or two later they ended up choosing one design and they chose mine.”
TX-TF1 is a national urban search and rescue program under FEMA and includes skilled individuals ranging from doctors to structural engineers to canines handlers. This team can respond to an emergency and be logistically self-sufficient for the first 72 hours of operation.
Aracely Hernandez, environmental design sophomore who was also tasked with creating her own design for the memorial, said there were several components to the memorial that TX-TF1 wanted.
“We had some goals that they gave to us; one of them was that we had to, in some way, commemorate the different major missions they had gone on,” Hernandez said. “Another component was that they have a piece of the World Trade Center at their headquarters and they wanted to display that. Afterwards they also wanted to commemorate those members who have fallen, including their search and rescue canines, who are actually a big part of the Task Force.”
Elton Abbott, the associate dean for International Programs & Initiatives and the professor who assigned the memorial project, said the students were able to visit the site where the memorial was going to be built and interview members of the Task Force to get a better idea of what they wanted to create.
“The students visited the site and attended the groundbreaking for the memorial; it was attended by the chancellor, local politicians, state politicians and all the members of the task force were there,” Abbott said.
In an email sent to Abbott, Blake praised Farris’ design.
“After visiting with Jeff and discussing the design with some others it confirmed what [Abbott], Jeff, and I felt was the strongest design,” Blake said. “‘Answering the Call’ by Sydney Farris was a nearly flawless execution of the required elements … we are very excited about this design.”
Abbott said the next step for Farris’ design is for TX-TF1 to begin the process of turning it into a reality.  
“Sydney is tremendous; she is a leader in the class,” Abbott said. “She did a really good job, she’s a good student. I saw her project evolve and she responds well to constructive criticism.”
Farris said she was surprised her design won but was grateful to have the opportunity to work on a real-word project.
“I was actually really surprised,” Farris said. “I was kind of like, ‘What? There are way better projects than mine.’ I got caught up on the flaws of the project, but I am obviously grateful that they did pick me. Overall it was a unique opportunity, and we had a lot of time to refine the project and make it good.”
Editor’s note: Sydney Farris is a page designer for The Battalion.

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    Photo by Photo by: Alexis Will
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    Photo by Design by: Sydney Farris
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