2014 Sparking Innovation

Building, transforming

The Eads Bridge is a St. Louis jewel, a historic landmark and a wonder of open steel framing. But over time, many of its iconic archways have been bricked shut, forming a dense barrier between the Gateway Arch and Laclede’s Landing.

“It’s a physical disconnect,” said Wassef Dabboussi, a master’s candidate in architecture from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts. “And it’s disabling to Laclede’s Landing.”

arch extrusion on Eads bridge

In “Eads Re-sistance,” his graduate degree project, Dabboussi proposes transforming those blocked archways into lobby spaces for a new hotel. “The purpose of the project is to extrude the archways and make architecture of the space,” said Dabboussi, a native of Lebanon who came to WUSTL on a Fulbright Scholarship. “People could arrive at Lambert Airport and come directly into the lobby.”

Bird BlindLast summer, Dabboussi was part of a team that worked with the Audubon Center at Riverlands and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Rivers Project Office to construct a new avian observatory at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.

“We did everything,” said Dabboussi, who will join HOK in Toronto after graduation. “We were the architects and builders. I learned that you have to adapt to changes — but also that what we design on the screen is actually going to get built. That’s an important responsibility.”

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