Julie Beckman and her partner, Keith Kaseman, are members of UT’s architecture and design faculty and the creators of a unique 9/11 memorial.
Six months after the terrorist attacks, the Pentagon announced an international design competition for a memorial.
The couple, who had experienced the 9/11 attacks as residents of New York, spent evenings and weekends over the next several months working on their proposal.
They strove to create an inviting place that incorporated natural aspects—water, trees, and stone—into the space to allow for a peaceful experience.
Ultimately, their concept—184 cantilevered benches, each engraved with a victim’s name and resting above a pool of water that glows at night—was selected out of more than 1,200 proposals.
The memorial—located just outside the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia—was dedicated on the seventh anniversary of the attacks. It was the first national 9/11 memorial to open. The project took six and a half years to complete.
The couple eventually moved to Knoxville and joined UT’s College of Architecture and Design. Beckman is director of student services and an adjunct assistant professor. Kaseman is an architecture lecturer.
”Words will never describe how honored we feel to have played such a significant role in the Pentagon Memorial,” Beckman said. “What my experience has given me is realizing how architecture can positively impact people. If you can instill that value in students, we’re all that much better moving forward.”