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Updated 10:00 AM September 21, 2007




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Lorch column project connects present, past

To memorialize Emil Lorch's seminal role in founding the College of Architecture and to celebrate its centennial, the Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning has erected a familiar landmark.
(Photo courtesy Taubman College Of Architecture + Urban Planning)

The marble column has been relocated from the courtyard of Lorch Hall, the old Art & Design Building on Central Campus, to the front of the Art & Architecture Building on North Campus, which has been home to the college since 1974.

The truncated column, measuring 7 feet wide and 20 feet tall, has been restored to its original height by inserting a contemporary steel armature, which will raise its composite capital to 55 feet above the entrance plaza to the building. The column rises from a new concrete base designed and landscaped by Lorch's grandson Peter Osler, who was an associate professor of practice at the college and is moving to the Illinois Institute of Technology to direct a new program in landscape architecture.

A public dedication ceremony is planned for 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12.

Architecture alumni donations have funded the design and construction of the column. Henry Ruifrok ('38) and Dan Swartz ('71) each made lead gifts of at least $50,000. A plaque will recognize the major donors and the design team.

The neoclassical column — originally from an insurance company's building in Newark, N.J. — was presented to the University by Col. William Starrett,who earned a bachelor of civil engineering in 1897 and an honorary doctorate in engineering in 1931. Starrett worked as general contractor for the Empire State Building and was responsible for its record-making construction pace (completed in one year and 45 days).

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