March 27, 2006

Architects' Dragon Once Again Storms Campus

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Once again, in grand fashion, the Dragon made its triumphant appearance onto the scene, rampaging down East Avenue to mock the Engineering Quad, before swinging through the Arts Quad for its fiery demise on Friday, March 17. This year, however, it also had to face down a Phoenix resurrected from the ashes of history, as a band of about a dozen engineers pulled together an answer to the perennial first-year architects’ traditional thunder lizard.

Ashley Blum ’08, who helped organize the Phoenix coalition, said that bringing back the bird was an “awesome” experience.

The group went out on a limb, spending their own money before getting reimbursed for materials by some funding from the College of Engineering and T-shirt sales.

It was an experience in self-reliance, she said, “We didn’t have anyone to fall back on for questions or help.”

But the real show, as usual, was the Dragon itself. A parade of fanciful creatures proceeded the giant mechanical creation, which this year poked its head out of a miniature Rand Hall.

“The general consensus for everybody was that we just had an awesome time,” Oscar Hernandez-Gomez ’10. “We started to really realize how amazing this was when we started lifting it up and seeing how tall it was.”

Hernandez-Gomez was also proud of how innovative this year’s dragon was.

“We did a lot of things that had never been done before,” he said, pointing to the fact that the Dragon did not ride directly on the chassis, that the Dragon’s neck was much more mobile and that the freshmen architects experimented with a cloth, rather than cardboard, shell for the Dragon.

Each year, the architects spend the weeks before St. Patrick’s Day selling T-Shirts to raise money, and then most of the week before actually working on turning raw materials of steel, cloth and cardboard into a life-like creation that will live proudly for a day before turning towards ash.

The Phoenix is a long-standing tradition as well, meant to ultimately destroy the Dragon. However, its appearance has not been nearly so as steady as the Dragon’s. Hernandez-Gomez welcomed the Phoenix’s return, saying he enjoyed the rivalry.

“We were hoping for more of a confrontation but that didn’t really work out,” he said.

As for Blum, she said that she hoped for more Engineering School support in the future.

“The architects are lucky,” she said. “They have a week of class off to work on it and the support of their professors.”

Archived article by Michael Morisy
Sun Managing Editor