Architecture majors usually spend years sketching, drafting designs and creating small models for buildings and other physical structures. But University students in one section of professor William Doran’s ARCH 4001 class will venture out of the classroom to turn their ideas into realities. 

The class works with professional clients to create work that not only shows its knowledge of architecture techniques, but also to make a change in Baton Rouge. On Oct. 10, one section of the class will launch the first phase of its project to help the Mid City area of Baton Rouge, appropriately titled


The goal of “#iammidcity” is to create a rotating art wall that will capture Mid City’s personality and change its image every six months to a year. Before constructing the wall, the students will poll Mid City residents using six wooden panels with six different mediums for feedback, such as a photo booth, to take pictures of interesting people or a board of words relevant to the area. 

Doran calls the project an “urban intervention.” In his syllabus, he says “the process of creating something new is infinitely preserved in the cyclical removal and installation of the work.” The class is using that definition as its

platform to create a potentially impactful piece. 

The rotating art wall will not physically rotate. Instead, Doran and his class will create the first work of art that will be placed on the wall. After the first few months, the art displayed is expected to change with contributions from the Mid City art community and sponsors. 

The class has partnered with Letterman’s Blue Print and Supply Online on Government Street, The Walls Project and a few other sponsors to hold the open artistic forum in front of Letterman’s in Mid City. There also will be a map displaying places in Mid City that residents consider the liveliest.

“Mid City has a lot of old infrastructure and an art community that we felt should be highlighted,” Doran said. 

He said after the project is completed, he and the class will hand the rotating wall over to Mid City residents. He said he hopes Mid City businesses will sponsor the creation of new works of art by its residents so the wall can become a permanent part of the area’s culture. 

This project is the third time Doran’s class has worked with a Mid City project, but it’s the first time the students have built anything. He said working with clients and receiving a community perspective is an important part of understanding how to build the class’ piece. 

Doran said students are working in such a large group because teamwork is a pivotal part of the architectural profession. 

“We can’t do anything alone in architecture, and we wanted this project to represent what the students will encounter after graduation,” Doran said. 

After Oct. 10, students will take the input gathered from the event and plan the exhibit’s grand design. The reveal of the rotating wall’s first installation is set for Nov. 21 during White Light Night in Mid City. 

“This project is a grade for the students, but it’s much greater than that,” Doran said. “We want this to be for Mid City and all of Baton Rouge.” 

You can reach Joshua Jackson on Twitter @Joshua_Jackson_.


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